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Back-lit Macro Attempts

Back-lighting is not a conventional way to light up subjects in nature and especially in macro photography, because it is inherently difficult to carry or manipulate the lights around a tiny subject which might disappear at any point of time. But then again, that's also what makes successful shots unique. Note that back-lighting does not work well with many subjects - I personally only attempt back-lighting on subjects with bodies that allow light to pass through, or with an elaborate outline, such as abundance of hair. On this night, a rare subject presented the perfect opportunity to practise back-lighting!
    Owlfly larva (Ascalaphidae) - DSC_3737
  1. Owlfly larva (Ascalaphidae) with a bristle-like outline and thin, slightly translucent body seems to be perfect to put my flash behind.

  2. Gray's Leaf Insect (Phyllium bioculatum) - DSC_5061
  3. Leaf Insect (Phyllium sp.) has a thin wafer-like body, allowing light to pass through easily.

  4. Forest Leaf Grasshopper (Systella rafflesi) - DSC_7530
  5. Forest Leaf Grasshopper (Systella rafflesi) is another good example of a thin translucent body with intricate leaf-like veins that can be highlighted with back-lighting.

  6. Caterpillar - DSC_6184
  7. A large caterpillar's lengthy hairs can be highlighted with a flash behind

  8. Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_3154
  9. Not a typical subject for back-lighting, but the Whip Scorpion (Thelyphonida) has a really interesting tail/whip that shows up differently with light from behind.

  10. Water Measurer (Hydrometridae) - DSC_6520
  11. Back light on a Water Measurer (Hydrometridae), not too impressive.

  12. Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3616
  13. A Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) lighted from a different angle, creates a bit of a silhouette and an interesting feel to the photo.

  14. Dead Leaf Mantis (Deroplatys sp.) - DSC_3122
  15. The Dead Leaf Mantis (Deroplatys sp.) has shoulder "wings" which might show up like an X-ray by shining a light through it.

  16. Spotted Tree Frog (Nyctixalus pictus) - DSC_0582
  17. A Spotted Tree Frog (Nyctixalus pictus) at this position allowed me to try to "see through" it.

  18. Tarantula (Phlogiellus sp.) - DSC_9963
  19. One of my favorites, a Tarantula (Phlogiellus sp.) running about on a tree trunk with back-lighting causing the hairy exterior to stand out prominently.

  20. Caterpillars - DSC_8985
  21. Another bunch of hairy caterpillars, lots of hair means a good opportunity!

  22. Eight Spotted Crab Spider (Platythomisus octomaculatus) - DSC_3032
  23. In this photo of the Eight Spotted Crab Spider (Platythomisus octomaculatus), back-lighting causes a different view on the leaf rather than the actual subject.

  24. As with every blog post, here are the other interesting finds for the night. Many exotic looking finds too! Owlfly larva (Ascalaphidae) - DSC_3567
  25. How the Owlfly larva (Ascalaphidae) looked in the leaf litter. Much less significant and well camouflaged.

  26. Owlfly larva (Ascalaphidae) - DSC_3579
  27. Look at the eyes and mandibles... woahhh...

  28. Net-Casting Spider (Deinopis sp.) - DSC_3527
  29. Simple shot of a Net-Casting Spider (Deinopis sp.), not so simple after all as it is almost always facing down.

  30. Mating Beetles - DSC_3529
  31. Pair of beetles busy working hard for the next generation

  32. Mangrove Longhorn Beetle (Aeolesthes holosericeus) - DSC_3530
  33. The common Mangrove Longhorn Beetle (Aeolesthes holosericeus)

  34. Mangrove Longhorn Beetle (Aeolesthes holosericeus) - DSC_3534
  35. Always an easy subject for face shots!

  36. Orb Web Spider (Eriovixia pseudocentrodes) - DSC_3539
  37. A common Orb Web Spider (Eriovixia pseudocentrodes)

  38. Orb Web Spider (Eriovixia pseudocentrodes) - DSC_3541
  39. The elongated abdomen is pretty typical for this species.

  40. Big-Jawed Spider (Tetragnathidae) - DSC_3546
  41. Big-Jawed Spider (Tetragnathidae) busily running up and down its web to harvest prey.

  42. Orb Web Spider (Araneidae) - DSC_3550
  43. Male Orb Web Spider (Araneidae), usually presented as a tiny speck on leaves

  44. Grasshoppers (Caelifera) - DSC_3556
  45. Many grasshoppers (Caelifera), big and small resting on the leaves on a wet night.

  46. Flatid Planthopper (Flatidae) - DSC_3561
  47. Very common Flatid Planthopper (Flatidae)

  48. Ground Spider (Zodariidae) - DSC_3605
  49. Ground Spider (Zodariidae) with a captured ant

  50. Katydid (Asiophlugis temasek?) - DSC_3620
  51. The bug-eyed Katydid (Asiophlugis temasek?)

  52. Checkered Beetle (Cleridae) - DSC_3623
  53. Haven't seen this Checkered Beetle (Cleridae) in quite a while!

  54. Checkered Beetle (Cleridae) - DSC_3625
  55. Some actually mistake this to be a tiger beetle.

  56. Checkered Beetle (Cleridae) - DSC_3638
  57. Lots of details on the eyes and face of the Checkered Beetle (Cleridae)

  58. Weevil (Curculionidae) - DSC_3648
  59. The usually shy looking Weevil (Curculionidae)

  60. Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_3655
  61. Here's one of the smallest Huntsman Spiders (Sparassidae) carrying her egg sac. It measures only 1cm including legs wide spread.

  62. Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_3664
  63. Top view of the Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae), egg sac not too easily visible to the naked eye.

  64. Flower Mantis nymph (Hymenopodidae?) - DSC_3684
  65. Thanks to Chris, we got to shoot this very shy Flower Mantis nymph (Hymenopodidae?)

  66. Flower Mantis nymph (Hymenopodidae?) - DSC_3690
  67. At times, it might pose for us.

  68. Flower Mantis nymph (Hymenopodidae?) - DSC_3694
  69. Most of the time, it had the back facing us. We called it "du shen" (赌神), referencing to an old God of Gamblers movie where the main character often had his back to the camera.

  70. Flower Mantis nymph (Hymenopodidae?) - DSC_3698
  71. It had a very curious look despite being so shy

  72. Flower Mantis nymph (Hymenopodidae?) - DSC_3706
  73. Rare moment facing the camera!!!

  74. Moth - DSC_3739
  75. Lots of moths attracted to our lights

  76. Nursery WebSpider (Pisauridae) - DSC_3745
  77. The Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae) is quite common here

  78. Huntsman Spider (Thelcticopis sp.) - DSC_3754
  79. Huntsman Spider (Thelcticopis sp.). For the record, this used to be under Clubionidae.

  80. Velvet Ant (Mutillidae) - DSC_3762
  81. Beautiful Velvet Ant (Mutillidae), also known as the "Cow Killer" for the extremely painful sting.

  82. Velvet Ant (Mutillidae) - DSC_3767
  83. Bright colours to warn you perhaps?

  84. Stick Insects (Phasmatodea) mating - DSC_3775
  85. Lovely pair of mating Stick Insects (Phasmatodea), looked dull at first glance but they are really quite cute!

  86. Snail (Gastropoda) - DSC_3768
  87. Interesting looking Snail (Gastropoda) dangling from a leaf

  88. Snail (Gastropoda) - DSC_3778
  89. @.@

  90. Wandering Spider (Ctenidae) - DSC_3779
  91. Small little Wandering Spider (Ctenidae) running about on the leaf litter

  92. Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_3790
  93. One of the spiny looking Harvestman (Opiliones)

  94. Harvestman (Opiliones) under UV light - DSC_3794
  95. Behold, it fluoresces under ultraviolet (UV) light!

  96. Nursery Web Spider (Pisauridae) - DSC_3796
  97. Some called this the unicorn for the tuft of hair in front, some think it is a Sparassid, but I'm going with Pisauridae for now.

  98. Baby scorpions - DSC_3805
  99. Baby scorpions! Lots of fat ones!

  100. Scorpion with babies - DSC_3826
  101. And here's the proud mother!

  102. Scorpion with babies - DSC_3830
  103. Her babies literally climbing over her head.

  104. Huntsman Spider (Gnathopalystes sp.) - DSC_3834
  105. Huntsman Spider (Gnathopalystes sp.) freshly squeezed from its moult.

  106. Huntsman Spider (Gnathopalystes sp.) - DSC_3837
  107. This was very high up, had to raise my camera way above my head to get this shot.

  108. Huntsman Spider (Gnathopalystes sp.) - DSC_3839
  109. Spinning crazily on its silk, so it allowed me to get a ventral view.

  110. Caterpillar - DSC_3844
  111. Beautiful caterpillar with "wings". Possibly a hawkmoth larva?

  112. Caterpillar - DSC_3855
  113. Clearer view of the tail

  114. Jumping Spider (Portia sp.) - DSC_3857
  115. Looks like a Portia, but no tufts of hair to mimic detritus on the body. So... not sure!

  116. Jumping Spider (Portia sp.) - DSC_3859
  117. Side view

  118. Jumping Spider (Portia sp.) - DSC_3862
  119. Dorsal view, first required view for Salticid identification.

The complete album can be viewed here.

The back-lighting macro album can be viewed here.


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