I have taken many nature shots since 2008 but it didn’t occur to me to do a round up of my favourite images for each year. I think it is good to do so and here are my 12 favourite shots chosen from thousands of images taken in 2014.
#1 – It Ain’t My Shadow, It’s My Brother!
I have always wanted to take leaf in back lighting showing clearly the line, texture and pattern of its veins. With two different species of leaf-footed bugs on it, this is more than I could possibly ask for. The shadow creates an sense of illusion ie. my shadow or my brother, and hence the caption of this image.
Segar Nature Trail, 4 January 2014 (Canon 7D, 180T, f16, 1/50s, ISO 400, fill flash)
#2 – Triplets
Zhenghua forest is one of the best places in Singapore to find leaf-footed bugs as they were so many of them, both adults and nymphs. The nymphs are often seen staying close together sometimes as many as a dozen. On this occasion, I was fortunate to spot 4 of them on a single leaf. Three obedient bugs lined up nicely in a single file while the shy little one chose to hide behind the leaf which is a blessing in disguise as an odd number is always better. The vivid green and the leading line created by the blue bugs make this a likable image.
Zhenghua Forest, 25 January 2014 (Canon 5D2, 180T, f11, 1/13s, ISO 400, natural light)
#3 – “A” Formation
This is just a simple shot of a pair of mating moths. I chose it because it formed an “A” shape, an interesting sighting of nature. “A” stands for A grade image but more importantly, “A” also stands for my name, Anthony!
Nanyang Trail, 16 February 2014 (Canon 5D2, 180T, f16, 1/20s, ISO 800, fill flash)
#4 – Lotus Flower
As in previous years, this is one of the very few flower shots that I have in 2014. Instead of the usual top down view, I chose to compose the underside of a lotus bloom where it shows a different beauty. The bright green leaf background with its vein lines keeps the eye within the picture and lead us to the focus point of the vibrant magenta lotus flower. The colours of the leaf and flower complementary each other very well too. A friend told me that he uses this image as a screensaver and I am still using it now.
Ang Mo Kio Town West Garden. 22 February 2014 (Canon 5D2, 180T, f16, 1/80s, ISO 400, fill flash)
#5 – Morning freshness
I like shooting every early in the morning and 2014 was no exception. This gave me ample opportunities to shoot insects with dew. Of the many interesting shots, this one stands out from the rest. I chose a wide crop as the negative space from the top and bottom does not support the composition. The presence of the 2 larger dew drops provided a balance to the left-footed bug and overall image. The reflections in it is a bonus.
Mandai Forest, 13 April 2014 (Canon 7D, 180T, f16, 1/20s, ISO 400, natural light)
#6 – Walking on Dew
Another insect with dew image which is eye-catching. This is a tiny long-horned hopper which appears to be walking on crystal clear dew drops of different sizes. The translucent green body of the nymph stands out very well from the dark background. It is a pity that I did not include the complete curve of its feeler.
Chua Chu Kang Ave 5, 7 June 2014 (Canon 7D, 180T, f16, 1/10s, ISO 400, fill flash)
#7 – Twins
This is the only shot which was photographed outside Singapore. Baby snakes are rarely seen in the wild, so we were really fortunate to find five painted bronzeback baby snakes, about 20 cm long, at a small tree near our chalet at Endau Rompin National Park. Although I have a few shots with 3 snakes in a single frame, I like this the best because these 2 baby snakes stayed so close together giving the impression that they were twins.
Endau Rompin National Park, 21 September 2014 (Canon 7D, 180T, f11, 1/100s, ISO 400, fill flash)
#8 – Balancing Act
Grasshoppers & Katydids spend most of their lives on the plants or grasses that they eat. They are neither friends nor enemies. It was nice to see both of them sharing the same perch in upside down position showing some kind of a balancing act. They were both busying consuming their breakfast and did not notice one another. The smaller katydid nymph later leaped off when it spotted the grasshopper.
Zhenghua Forest, 11 October 2014 (Canon 7D, 180T, f11, 1/40s, ISO 400, fill flash)
#9 – Katydid Grooming
It is interesting to watch katydids cleaning their feet or curved feelers by licking them. They look so graceful such as this adult spotted at Segar Nature Trail. The translucency of the backlit pea pod under the morning sun makes it special. My friend commented that the pod looks a little like the katydid!
Segar Nature Trail, 18 October 2014 (Canon 7D, 180T, f11, 1/160s, ISO 400, fill flash)
#10 – Adorable Jumping Spider
The wet weather has started since November and it has been raining almost everyday. As a result, mushrooms have sprouted up overnight all over Singapore. They are particularly abundant in forested areas and my last 3 favourite images are all about them. These two beautiful mushrooms were found at Rifle Range Nature Trail and it was a bonus that a little jumping spider was sandwiched nicely between them. I like the big round eyes staring straight at me as if to ask “Am I cute?”.
Rifle Range Nature Trail, 19 November 2014 (Canon 5D2, 180T, f16, 1/25s, ISO 800, fill flash)
#11 – Backlit Wild Mushrooms
This is an ordinary image of a group of wild mushrooms (Mycenoporella sp.) but the lighting is the aspect that bring this simple and effective composition to life. The backlit against the dark background really helps to show the details, pattern of the gills and this makes it an appealing shot. However, some may find the white areas are just a touch over-bright.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, 19 November 2014 (Canon 5D2, 180T, f16, 1/13s, ISO 400, backlighting)
#12 – Love Under The Shades
These pretty mushrooms really look like umbrellas. They were easily spotted on decomposing leaves and thin branches on the ground at Chestnut Avenue Nature Trail. While I was photographing them, a pair of stilt-legged came along. My guess is that they prefer to do their business under the comfort of the shades!
Chestnut Ave Nature Trail, 23 December 2014 (Canon 7D, 180T, f16, 1/25s, ISO 400, fill flash)
I am looking forward to another fruitful year of nature photography in 2015!