Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to you and your family!

Merry Christmas...... IMG_8558 (2) copy

Now a muack from the fly :D (front a couple of years ago :D)

Merry Christmas!

Hover fly Santa and giraffe weevils reindeer :D..recycled from last year, or maybe 2 years ago:D. Remind me to do a new one next year!
Merry Christmas

Oh I couldn't resist adding the red nosed lanternfly in :D...that was last year :D
Merry Christmas version 2 :D

If you want to see more lanternflies, click here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011 Fave Macro Images

2011 is almost over and as usual, I spent some time going through the images I have taken this year to come out with this mosaic.

Created using BigHugeLabs' Mosaic Maker.

It's been a good year. I only realized I found 5 new species (to me) of lantern bugs this year after going through the whole year's images. I had also managed to cross off a few insects/arthropods from my wish list, such as mantisfly, lacewing, owlfly, jewel wasp. The unexpected finds in Maliau Basin like the violin beetle, jewel beetle and dead leaf mantis are wonderful surprises too!

All in all, it's been a great year!

2011 fave macro images orionmystery kurt

All taken with a 40D. Mostly full flash with Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens, and Sigma 150mm f/2.8 AF APO EX DG OS HSM Macro Lens for natural light for bigger subject.

Full flash macro shot with an MP-E65, Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite Flash, and Concave Diffuser. 

Natural light macro shot with a 150mm F2.8 (with or without a 1.4x teleconverter).

Should you like to check out any image in the mosaic above, just use the links below. For example, if you want to find out more or view bigger image of the mantis, a quick count will tell you that it's image #7. You can then click on #7 below and that will take you to that mantisfly image in my Flickr Stream.

1., 2. IMG_7512 copy, 3. IMG_8642 copy, 4. IMG_6788 copy, 5. IMG_8151 copy, 6. IMG_9433 copy, 7. IMG_6100 copy, 8. IMG_7643 copy, 9. IMG_7152 copy, 10. IMG_6898 copy, 11. IMG_2530 copy, 12. IMG_6748 copy, 13. IMG_8414 copy, 14. IMG_2407, 15. IMG_0204merged copy, 16., 17. IMG_7325 copy, 18. IMG_1477 copy, 19. IMG_8640 copy, 20. IMG_0609 copy, 21. IMG_1663 copy, 22. IMG_0472 copy, 23. IMG_8850 copy, 24. IMG_9640 copy, 25. IMG_9955 copy, 26. IMG_0020 copy, 27. IMG_0024 copy, 28. IMG_0598stk copy, 29. IMG_9235 copy, 30. IMG_8983 copy, 31., 32. IMG_1229 copy, 33. IMG_8132 copy, 34. IMG_7332 copy, 35. IMG_9358 copy, 36. IMG_7353 copy

You can find my 2010 Fave here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wireless Macro Rig

This is an alternative to the FMMB and it is also wireless! No ETTL cord (CANON OC-E3 OFF CAMERA SHOE CORD ) needed!

If you really like the FMMB (Front Mounted Macro Bracket) but don't know how to DIY one for yourself, fret not. There's an easy way out, and it won't really cost you a lot! Items like extension tubes and Canon Speedlite 270EX II Flash  are items that will come in really handy in macro anyway!

Chances are, you might already have most of the items already, and all you need is one simple bracket. (HDE flash bracket shown below, or something similar) so you can bring the 270EX II even closer to the front (if you have to), and closer to your macro subject.

wireless macro rig R0016006 copy
I used my 40D body, MP-E65 lens and 1.4x teleconverter here just for illustration. This wireless macro rig works only with IF (internal focus) lenses like the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM  or Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, or Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR , and with extension tubes (prefered over teleconverter), and of course, newer bodies like Canon EOS 60D , Canon EOS 7D , Canon EOS Rebel T3i /600D

Some side notes:

- the 270 EX II should be upside down/belly up.
- Only the newer Canon body like 60D, 7D, and 600D can trigger the 270EX II wirelessly.
- Mount Ring/tripod collar B is for the older Canon 100mm (USM) while D is for the newer Canon 100mm L (IS)
- You won't be able to rotate the mount ring all the way up (flat surface on top) unless you have at least one tube attached to the body, as the mount ring will hit the popup flash.

Why you need at least one extension tube if you want to use the tripod collar/mount ring:
R0016009 copy

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lacewing and Mantidfly

Lacewing and mantidfly are insects in the order Neuroptea (net winged insects). Both are quite rare, at least here in Malaysia. I have only seen like 7 lacewings in four years of macro photography, and even fewer mantidflies! Other Neuropterans like antlions and owlflies will be included here as well.

My first mantidfly. What a gorgeous creature!
mantidfly mantisfly mantispidae IMG_7640 copy

Another shot of this beauty.
mantisfly mantispidae IMG_7626 copy

Another one with slightly duller color. Not sure if it's the same genus with only sexual dimorphism or what? Or immature, yet to fully color up?
IMG_9104 copy mantisfly / mantidfly

Some very interesting images of a mantidfly laying eggs here. It is in Mandarin but you can just enjoy the images. Another one here.

Check out this totally cool clip on mantisfly larvae:

A new lacewing species I found in Selangor. Also my first time lucky with lacewing. Saw a couple before but never managed any decent shots. I first saw and photographed this species in the wild in its natural habitat on May 10, 2011. A few lacewing experts informed me that this could be a new species. Luckily, I came across this beautiful species again on Jan 27, 2012. Specimen was captured and sent to Mr. Winterton.

New species. Semachrysa jade. Taxon Author: Winterton, Guek & Brooks, 2012. More info here, here and here.

More images of this beautiful lacewing can be found here.

Semachrysa jade new lacewing species IMG_1619 copy

Beautiful lacewing - Semachrysa jade. hock ping guek - IMG_0155 merged copy

Beautiful lacewing - Semachrysa jade. - hock ping guek IMG_0161 merged copy

Semachrysa jade new lacewing species IMG_1624 copy

Lacewing from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia (Borneo). Chrysopidia (s. str.) sp. - ID suggested by Roberto A. Pantaleoni.
IMG_1012 copy

Closer shot
IMG_1024 copy

My second time lucky with lacewing :)
chrysopidae lacewing IMG_4021 copy

Third time lucky with green lacewing:)
green lacewing IMG_9375 copy

Another one we found in Gunung Gading, Sarawak. Beautiful brown lacewing. Family: Hemerobiidae, Genus: Micromus(?)
brown lacewing Hemerobiidae Micromus IMG_7036 copy

Brown lacewing IMG_7033 copy

White lacewing, Ankylopteryx sp.
white lacewing Ankylopteryx  sp. IMG_8054 copy

white lacewing Ankylopteryx  sp. IMG_8048 copy

Italochrysa cf. insignis, ID credit: Roberto A. Pantaleoni. Selangor, Malaysia.
Italochrysa cf. insignis _MG_4518 copy

Beautiful lacewing photobombed by a winged ant! Italochrysa sp., near I. insignis - ID credit: Roberto A. Pantaleoni. Selangor, Malaysia.
Italochrysa cf. insignis _MG_4514 copy

Italochrysa cf. insignis _MG_4506 copy

Italochrysa cf. japonica, ID suggested by KS Wong.
Italochrysa cf. japonica_MG_3737 copy

Italochrysa cf. japonica, ID suggested by KS Wong.
Italochrysa cf. japonica_MG_3814 copy

Mnay of you may not have seen a live lacewing before but I am sure you have seen lacewing junior (larva!) at one time or another. Both adult lacewings and larvae are predatory and feed on plant pests like aphids.
lacewing larvaIMG_9019 copy

Check out this cool clip on lacewing larva:

All images shot with a 40D, MP-E65, MT-24EX Twin Flash and DIY Concave Diffuser. Full flash, 1/200, around F13, ISO 100, handheld.

Owlflies from Maliau Basin:
owlfly from Maliau Basin IMG_7137 copy
Ascalohybris borneensis

owlfly from Maliau Basin IMG_7152 copy

My first antlion (Myrmeleontidae)

A larva
antlion larva IMG_9510 copy

Full body shot. Myrmeleon sp. - IDed by Roberto A. Pantaleoni
adult antlion IMG_9730 merged copy

antlion IMG_9714 copy

Adult antlion, Distoleon sp., possibly D.dirus (Walker, 1853) - ID credit: Davide Badano. Selangor, Malaysia.
Distoleon sp. IMG_1089 copy

Dendroleon, close to caelestis. Possibly a new species - IDed by Виктор Кривохатский and Davide Badano.
Antlion Dendroleon sp. IMG_9352_3 merged copy

Same specimen as above
Antlion Dendroleon sp. IMG_9399 copy

Same specimen as above, closer.
Antlion Dendroleon sp. IMG_9366 copy


Friday, September 30, 2011

Sleeping wasps

This is a collection of all the sleeping wasps and bees I have encountered during night macro. You won't find them sleeping like this during daylight.

Sleeping blue cuckoo bee, Thyreus sp.
sleeping blue cuckoo bee, Thyreus sp IMG_9640 copy

profile shot
IMG_9621 copy

I don't like to sleep alone :D (Halictidae: Nomiinae)
A bunch of sleeping bees I don't like to sleep alone.............IMG_8889 copy

sleeping bees IMG_3003 merged copy

Blue banded bee
Sleeping bee, added canvas to fix central composition problem

Hover wasp (Vespidae: Stenogastrinae)
hover wasp (Vespidae: Stenogastrinae) Sleeping wasp...IMG_1154 copy

Another sleeping bee (Halictidae: Nomiinae)
sleeping bee macro IMG_3233 copy

Mud-dauber wasp (Sceliphrinae; Chalybion sp.)
Sleeping wasp...IMG_1144 copy

Scoliidae wasp
sleeping scoliidae wasp IMG_3213 copy

Larrinae under the family Crabronidae. This could be a Liris sp. or another genus such as Tachytes; the specimen will be needed for identification.(IDed by: Vespa bicolor)
larrinae family crabronidae IMG_0489 copy

The same sleeping wasp
larrinae family crabronidae  IMG_0472 copy

Sleeping bee (Genus: Amegilla; sub-genus: Glossamegilla - info credit: Zestin Soh and Doug Yanega). Selangor, Malaysia.
Sleeping Bee IMG_9103 copy

Two bees...IMG_8492 stk copy

As you can see, some of them sleep by locking their mandibles onto the perches/plants while the others just rest on the perches. All taken with a 40D, MP-E65, MT-24EX and DIY concave diffuser, full flash.

Other wasps and bees

A male crown wasp (Stephanidae).
male crown wasp - Stephanidae IMG_8678 copy


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