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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Morning Walk At Venus Drive (25 May 2013)

It rained in the early morning but not wanting to miss the opportunity to test out my new camera, I decided to still go to Venus Drive for a quick walk. The place was wet and the prospect of finding beetles in such wet condition seemed slim.

After walking for 5 minutes, a beetle finally flew past and landed on a leaf nearby. It was a 3 mm Spiny Leaf Beetle. Notice the wetness of the leaf that the beetle was on.

The next beetle was a common Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulental). Although this is a rather common beetle that one would encounter in our parks and nature reserves, this was the first time that I come across it at Venus Drive.

After encountering the Tiger Beetle, it was a while before I found this Fungus Beetle sitting calmly on a white fungus. It was motionless despite all the camera flashes on it. This was probably due to the wet weather and overcast sky.

The next beetle was this <3 mm beetle on a blade of palm leaf. You can easily find this type of beetle in abundance after rain.

Moving further down the trail, a Darkling Beetle was found hiding between a leaf and a dead log. This type of beetle usually come out in the night, and finding it in the morning was really a surprise find.

Another 'late' sleeper, a nocturnal Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus assamensis) that can occasionally be seen in the day time.

Walking further down the trail, a flash of red passes the corner of my eyes. It was a Net-winged Beetle (Dictyoptera aurora). This is a hyper-sensitive beetle that is easily spooked.

This Leaf Beetle was found under a leaf. It must be due to the overcast sky as it remained motionless despite me turning the leaf over and kept flash photographing it. It remained motionless after I returned the leaf to its original position. Amazing.

Into the shaded area of the trail, an interesting beetle (~15 mm) was found in between two leaves.

Coming to a rotting tree stump, a small (~5 mm) Ground Beetle (Pericalus tetrastigma) was seen running on it. I did not spot it until it started to move. It blended nicely with its background, and with the low light condition, it was almost invisible when it stopped moving.

Passing a group of bird photographers, I came across this small 3 mm Leaf Beetle. Thinking back, it was such a big contrast as I was only carrying two small cameras, whereas the bird photographers were lugging all their huge and heavy gears (super-zoom telephoto lenses, tripods, etc). Glad that I am taking macro photographs of beetles.

Another 10 minutes passed by before this lovely beetle appeared.

Walking into another shaded area, a 5 mm Leaf Beetle was found resting on a leaf.

Nearby, walking gingerly on a wet leaf was this interesting looking Weevil Beetle. This was the first time that I come across this type of beetle. It was a fast beetle and did not for a moment stop moving around.

Almost at the end of the trail, a small (~5 mm) Click Beetle was seen resting on a shaded leaf.

The last beetle (~2 mm) was found at the base of a big tree. Although it was a rather small beetle, its orange coloration contrasted  strongly with the brown background of the tree, thus making it to stick out like a sore-thumb.

Although the trip was a short one, it was a good opportunity for me to get familiar with the new camera. Hopefully with more of such trip, I will be able to get better photographs in the future.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Night Walk At Venus Drive (17 May 2013)

Have been looking forward for the night to test out my new Sony SLT-A58K camera for night macro shoot. The weather is nice and dry, so I made a beeline for Venus Drive when the night got dark. For this trip I decided to make use of the ring-LED light that I bought some time back but was put aside as I didn't like the light-ring effect on shining subjects. Nevertheless, I decided to use it after considered that I may not be able to hold a torch light and adjust the focus of the camera with another.

The first beetle that appear was a commonly seen Darkling Beetle. It took me a while to get used to the features of the camera, so photographs taken for this beetle was not very sharp.

The second beetle that appeared looked very much like the Phyllophaga marginalis Chafer Beetle but it is smaller and with slightly different coloration.

Nearby was another Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus). This is a commonly encountered beetle in the night.

Further down the trail was another Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis). This is also a commonly encountered beetle, that can be found in parks and gardens. 

An unexpected find was this Fungus Beetle that was sitting on a leaf. Unexpected because this beetle is usually found on or near rotting logs. I didn't like the light ring reflection on the elytra of the beetle.

Coming to some fallen tree log, there were a number of this Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus assamensis) on it. The ring-light worked nicely on this beetle unlike those beetles with shiny elytra.

On the same log was this 3mm Fungus Beetle (Platydema unicornis). This is the first time I come across this Fungus Beetle at Venus Drive. Interesting to note the unicorn-like horn on its head.

Another small (~3 mm) Fungus Beetle on the same tree log.

Moving onto another fallen log nearby. This time round the log was full of this type of Darkling Beetle, all about 10 mm in size.

A few of this small (~5 mm) Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis) were found the same log. The coloration of this beetle matches very closely with its background, which render it rather difficult to locate through the camera's view finder.

Moving along onto another fallen tree, I came across this 3 mm roundish Fungus Beetle.

On the same log was this great find  - a male Darkling Beetle (Cryphaeus gazelle).

An interesting find on the trunk of a tree. It is about 2 mm in size and looked like a black speck until you zoom-in and see the interesting pattern on it.

A curious little black beetle (~3 mm) was found on some large white fungus at the base of a tree stump.

On another tree was this 2 mm Fungus Beetle. It was a great challenge to photograph it as it was very sensitive to the light shining on it and was moving around quickly. The quick movements turned out to be challenging as I am still not used to the camera.

Another tiny (~2 mm) Fungus Beetle (Beccariola coccinella). Not easy to focus on such a tiny beetle especially when it was also moving around quickly. Only managed to get some sharper photograph when it decided to stop for a few short moments.

A Fungus Weevil high up on a tree trunk. A test of steady hands. This is when I realized that my the other camera (Canon SX30 IS) is so much lighter. The focusing and depth of field was a challenge for this overhead shot.

While photographing the Weevil Beetle, my attention was drawn to some movements at the lower part of the tree trunk. It turned out to be a 3 mm Click Beetle (Xanthopenthes schawalleri). Like the other beetles, it was hyperactive and was moving on the tree trunk quickly.

Desperate to want to catch a nice photograph of this beetle, a blew a breath of air at it. To my pleasant surprise, the beetle stopped moving and allowed me to photograph it for a short while.

Resting on a dead log was this female Darkling Beetle (Cryphaeus gazella). Notice that it does not have any horns growing out of its thorax, unlike the male beetle I photographed earlier.

Interestingly, there were a large number of this shiny little beetle (~4 mm) on another rotting log nearby.

Hiding in a crevice on a piece of broken tree log was this 5 mm Darkling Beetle. The good thing about this beetle is that it can remained pretty still for you to photograph, even with all the camera flashes.

On a leaf near to the log was this lone Fungus Beetle. I was not able to get a good shot of it due to its odd location it was found.

Finally the first Ground Beetle (~15 mm) for the night. This beetle was particularly cooperative as it didn't attempt to fly away despite the strong light. This was unusual as they often flew away when I photograph them in previous sessions.

Near to the above was this smaller (~10 mm) Ground Beetle with a much darker coloration.

Passing by some ferns, I found this tiny beetle (~2 mm). This was the only photograph that I managed to take before it dropped off the leaf because of the camera light.

Resting on a tree trunk was this 5 mm Darkling Beetle. It looked slightly rounder compared to the earlier Darkling Beetles.

Almost nearing the end of the trail, a pair of mating Lady Bird like beetles were disrupted by me. Interesting to see them move in unison despite one was moving backward.

The last beetle for the trip was this hairy Fungus Beetle, perfectly camouflaged with its surrounding.

This was a good trip as it provided me with some good 'field' experience working with the new camera in the night. I hoped to be able to shoot better photographs with this camera soon.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

A Morning Walk At Venus Drive (11 May 2013)

I finally got my hands on the Sony SLT-A58 camera and was ready to try out the new camera. Going to Venus Drive is a sure way of catching some beetle actions and Venus Drive I went.

The first beetle that came into view was this Leaf Beetle (Lema cyanella).  I didn't realize that taking photograph of this beetle with my old camera was a breeze until I struggled to take some decent close up with the new camera. I ended up making use of the "Auto" functions of the camera and the results were a bunch of not so sharp photographs or photographs shot with high ISO setting.

A surprised find was this Flower Chafer Beetle found on a vine under a shady part of the trail. In order not to miss the opportunity of photographing it, I hurriedly took out my old camera and took some zoomed photographs of it without noticing that it was on "Auto" mode and the ISO setting was high. This resulted in pretty grainy photographs.

Just when I wanted to take some close-up shots with the new camera, it flew off into the thick bushes.

Coming to some fallen logs, I found a few Fungus Beetles still out on the bracket fungus. This is probably due to the wet morning and overcast sky. From the photographs taken, I would need to spend more time playing with the new camera. Here's one of the better photographs out of a dozen of not so nice photographs.

A Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus politus) was moving quickly along the fallen tree. This is when I notice that I really need to be acquainted with the new camera. Many blurred shots were taken.

Walking into the open part of the trail where there were very little tree canopy overhead, I found a hyperactive Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana). As the new camera does not have a good zoom, I quickly took out my old camera to take a zoomed photograph of the beetle.

To test out the camera's flash, I found this tiny (~2 mm) beetle at the shady base of a big tree. The flash was very harsh especially over the wet tree trunk. More learning to go.

A shot of another tiny beetle on the same tree trunk.

Some beetle larvae on a tree trunk. The depth of field needs a lot of work.

Coming to some low bushes, I saw a whitish beetle in flight and followed it until it landed. To my surprise, it was a Leaf Beetle that I saw on the internet but have not come across before. This time round I was trying out manual focusing. This resulted with many slightly out-of-focus photographs.

Moving on to another fallen tree log, I found this Fungus Beetle crawling on it. Photograph was shot with natural sunlight.

Another Fungus Beetle on the same log but this one was hyper-active and was moving around at a very high pace. I had a hard time trying to manual focus and move the camera quick enough to follow this small beetle.

Moving along, I came across this lovely colored beetle larvae on a tree trunk. Like the color contrast of the larvae.

Coming to another shady part of the trail, a lovely beetle was resting on a leaf. This turned out to be harder to photograph than I thought. Not many acceptable shots. And for this particular photograph, the flash was once again too harsh.

Passing by a pile of chopped up tree branches, I found this Fungus Beetle. Guessed that shooting under natural sunlight makes a lot of difference for the photograph.

A busy Leaf Beetle was found on a rattan tree leaf and it highlighted the difficulties in macro photographing a small moving subject.

Moving along the trail, at the height of ankle was this lovely colored beetle. Looks like a Leaf Beetle. Shot in "Auto" mode. The photograph looked a little grainy, probably due to the high ISO setting in shaded conditions.

Not too sure what is the reason, there were a number of Net-winged Beetles found during the trip. Here's a shot using the "i-Auto" mode.

This was a real challenge as I was trying to photograph this tiny beetle (<2 mm) under natural sunlight. The photograph was shot in "Auto ISO" mode and the camera ended up taking a series of different shots with each snap. Interesting.

An interesting looking beetle shot under natural light. Out of a few of the photographs taken, only this badly photograph is usable as a record of this beetle for the trip.

The highlight of the trip was coming across this lovely furry blue beetle (Trichochrysea hirta). Read about it on the internet and finally got a chance to photograph it myself. Well, the usual problem of depth of field cropped up for photographing this beetle.

The last beetle that appeared before the end of my trip was this Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa).

Although the photographs taken on this trip was not too good, finding some interesting beetles made the trip; albeit I need to work a lot more on the camera settings.