S’porean’s macro photography reveals all the weird & wonderful species of insects on this island

Such is the mind-boggling beauty and diversity of creepy crawlies in Singapore.

By Belmont Lay | January 14, 2015

Now here’s a part of Singapore I bet you’ve never seen before.

A Singaporean photographer, Nicky Bay, uses macro photography to capture the weird and vibrant fleeting world of insects that reside locally but would normally escape the human eye.

For those who are not in the know, macro photography is extreme close-up photography of very small subjects where the size of the subject in the photograph is enlarged hundreds or thousands of times in high definition to be greater than life size.

The quality of his shots look like those you marvel at in National Geographic, fit to be accompanied by Sir David Attenborough narration. The minute, never-before-seen details of the tiniest of creatures get blown up to such an extent you can see the insects facial features that are ripe for anthropomorphisation.

On Bay’s blog, where he chronicles some of his shoots and puts up stunning macro photographs of insects, arachnids, and fungi, he wrote that he took some 20,000 photos from 46 field trips in 2014 alone.

It was also a milestone year for him in 2014 as he held his first overseas photo exhibition in France for two months.

This is impressive considering he started macro photography in May 2008.

 

Here are some of his macro photos of insects found in Singapore. All images are republished from his blog with permission:

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Longhorn beetles (Sclethrus newmani). Oh yeah. Giggity giggity.

 

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Ant-mimic crab spider (Amyciaea sp.) The tiny Amyciaea is capturing a red weaver ant much larger than itself, but it might have lost its two front legs in the process.

 

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Scorpion (Liocheles sp.) The fluorescence from scorpions is much brighter than that from other arthropods, making them much easier to shoot for beginners.

 

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Black tarantula (Selenocosmia sp.) This mini-gorilla was captured on camera after a year as none had been cooperative enough.

 

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Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.) The bold colours on this heavy jumper made it stand out. It is sometimes called the “gentle giant” as it is more docile compared to other salticids.

 

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Big-jawed spider (Tetragnatha sp.) Despite being very common, the overly large chelicerae of Tetragnatha have always been great macro subjects. This one had particularly hairy chelicerae.

 

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Cicadae parasite beetle (Rhipiceridae) Famed for their fanned antennae, these beetles are favourite subjects to shoot.

 

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Darkling beetle (Tenebrionidae) This is referred to as the “oil-spill” beetle for the vivid reflections on its elytra and pronotum. This poor fella had clusters of mites sucking on it!

 

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Earless agamid (Aphaniotis fusca) This agamid was asleep.

 

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Caged pupa (Cyana sp.) Metamorphosis almost complete. The wings, eyes and antennae are already visible! The cage made of spines from the larval (caterpillar) stage has served its purpose well, protecting the pupa from potential predators.

 

You can check out this video of Bay talking about his photography:

 

In the video, this is what Bay had to say about what was the worst and best parts of doing his kind of photography:

“The downside of macro photography is that we are always out in nature. So, we’re exposed to various elements like rain or mosquitoes or other insects that bite, and not to mention, other snakes or leeches. And most of the time you have to sweat a lot.”

“The upsides will be the thrill in finding a new behaviour, something that no one has ever seen before. Because in the world of nature it is so vast it is actually quite possible for an amateur photographer to chance upon some things that’s never been recorded in science.”

 

All images by Nicky Bay

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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