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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Night Walk At Venus Drive (24 Jan 2014)

The weather was dry and it was perfect for a night walk at Venus Drive Nature Trail. The reason for going to Venus Drive was mainly because of its large number and variety of beetles, perfect for me to test out my extension tubes with my Tamron AF 70-300 mm lens.

I previously bought a set of extension tubes for my Sony SLT A58 (18-55mm lens) but found it not as useful compared to the Raynox DCR250 lens. Anyway I chanced upon a book on photographing insects and was intrigued by the book's claim that all the beautifully taken photographs were taken mainly using extension tube with a 100-200 mm lens. To quench my curiosity, I decided to use the extension tubes for the night walk, with my good old Raynox DCR250 in the camera bag as a backup.

The first beetle was a commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis). It took me a while to adjust the flash, LED ring-light,  my DIY diffuser and the lens (with the extension tubes) all at the same time. Nevertheless, after a while of tweaking, I managed to get the photographing going.

[oops, the same "speckled-effect" (which happened to the next photograph when I first posted) crept into this photograph after I corrected some typo and updated the post. :( ]


The second beetle was a hyperactive 4 mm Leaf Beetle that finally gave up moving around the plant that it was on and let me took some closeup photographs of it.  [Pardon the speckled photograph as I still do not know what happened after I uploaded the photograph. The original photograph looks perfectly alright on my computer.]


Moving closer to the entrance of the trail, a sleepy Leaf Beetle was found resting on a blade of grass.


Near to the Leaf Beetle was another Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa) which I hardly find in the night.


On a  red young leaf of a tree next to the entrance was this large 12 mm first-time-encountered beetle.


On a rotting log along the trail was this commonly encountered Fungus Beetle. Many of this type of beetle were seen on the log.


On another log was this small 3 mm Fungus Beetle. It was very active and was trying to get out of my lighting.


On the same log was this tiny 1 mm beetle (possibly a Fungus Beetle).  I didn't notice it initially but was attracted by the movement of a juvenile millipede which led me to notice it through the view finder.


Moving on, a first-time-encountered 2 mm Fungus Beetle was seen on a tree. At this point in time I was still trying to get use to taking macros with the extension tube, photographing this small moving beetle was a great learning experience indeed.


On another tree was this curious looking first-time-encountered beetle.  Not sure which family it belongs to.


On the same tree were a number of this Fungus Weevil.


Moving actively on the same tree was this shiny small 3 mm beetle.


A surprised find was this beetle which I only encountered it at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Not sure the ID of this beetle but it was identified to belong to the Darkling Beetle family. This beetle looked like a Fungus Beetle to me though.


On another tree trunk was a number of this shiny Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi).


Hiding on the underside of a fallen tree were several of this Fungus Weevil (Anthribus wallacei). A fierce looking beetle I must add.


Nearby to the Anthribus wallacei Fungus Weevil was another Fungus Weevil (Stiboderes impressus). This Fungus Weevil was infested with mites.


Resting motionlessly on the same log was this first-time-encountered Long Horned Beetle (Eoporis elagans). The markings on this Long Horned Beetle made its identification easy.


Like the previous time that I was here at Venus Drive, the wind was very strong. The weatherman said that the wind was coming from the North (from far away China) and is blowing at a speed of 70 km/h. It was pretty unnerving as there were loud squeaking sounds coming from the tree foliage above each time the wind blew. Trying hard to stay focused, I managed to find this small 4 mm Ground Beetle (Pericalus tetrastigma).


Braving the mosquitoes at the place, I found another of this commonly encountered Fungus Beetle feasting on a patch of fungus. Notice the dent the beetle made in the fungus.


This Fungus Weevil looked like the previous Fungus Weevil except for the eye catching red spot on its elytra. Not sure if this is a different type of beetle or just a sexual dimorphorism.


It was interesting to note that this trip I was not able to find any of the usually encountered  Fungus Beetle such as the Eumorphus politus or Eumorphus tetraspilotus. Sadly the only Eumorphus assamensis Fungus Beetle that I encountered was the dinner for this Assassin Bug.


Moving on to another fallen log, a small 2 mm Fungus Beetle was feeding on an upturned  fungus mushroom.


On the same log was this Fungus Beetle.


While photographing the Fungus Beetle above, I noticed some movement on the log nearby and found this pair of small 3 mm Fungus Beetle.


Time flew past quickly and it was time for me to leave and just then I encountered the last beetle for the trip - a small 4 mm Ladybird (Chilocorus circumdatus).


It was an interesting trip as I managed to get a good feel of how to use the extension tube for taking macro photographs, plus the few first-time-encountered beetles which as a bonus.