Journal Workshop

Borneo Bootcamp Tawau 2015 Day 1

24 June 2015

Borneo Bootcamp 2015: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

The Borneo Bootcamp was recently concluded with an exceptional group of macro photographers from 5 different continents. It is an honor to have met this insanely passionate group of macro photographers who refused to stop to rest (except for beer) throughout the 5 days. Everyone got truly excited at almost every bug, arachnid, amphibian, reptile and avian that we saw (and of course, many other invertebrates). Thank you for the overflowing enthusiasm and I hope to shoot with you all again in the future! I did not shoot much, but am expecting an avalanche of photos from everyone else in the coming weeks!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all participants for their overwhelming enthusiasm, and all my friends who tirelessly helped out during the bootcamp. Thanks to Chris the Water IC, Siew Li the Food IC, Andrew the Light Trap IC, Joanna the behind the scenes photography IC, Sea Wei the Toilet IC (?!?) and Dennis for handling most of the liaison with the park staff. Special thanks also to Jeff for assisting with arrangement of logistics!

Here’s a brief journal of the bootcamp. Each entry will be updated when I receive more photos from the participants. I have also set up a Borneo Bootcamp Flickr group for photos from all participants of the bootcamp.

  1. All ready at Senai Airport

    We were exceptionally early and had lots of time to mull about.

  2. P1080559
  3. Still early

    More time means more photos!

  4. P1080562
  5. Touched down!

    The Johor group alighting from the plane.

  6. 20150624_133948
  7. Arrival at Tawau Airport

    Posing around while waiting to collect our luggage.

  8. DSC00181
  9. Marching to the supermarket

    Stocking up on groceries for the 5 days ahead!

  10. DSC00189
  11. The Water Team

    Well, not much of groceries but we made sure water was stocked up well.

  12. DSC00190
  13. Impromptu meeting?

    Making sure our loot was sufficient.

  14. DSC00211
  15. Arrival at Tawau Hills

    Our driver, Mr Rosle, is one of Malaysia’s top body builders. Maybe we could get him to lift all our water to the cabins…

  16. 20150624_154042
  17. Checking in!

    Unloading our luggage and supplies in preparation for check in.

  18. 20150624_154109
  19. Our water supply

    Would this be enough???

  20. 20150624_154319
  21. Siew Li & Joanna

    Always ready for a picture!

  22. DSC00215
  23. Bombilai Jungle Lodge

    Allocating rooms, where the bootcamp would be held for the next 5 days!

  24. 20150624_170909
  25. Gear session

    Preliminary fine-tuning for everyone’s lighting in preparation for the night’s first shoot.

  26. DSC00217
  27. No time to waste!!

    Some participants couldn’t wait and started their bug hunting around the cabins.

  28. 20150624_184731
  29. Dinner’s served!

    Dinner was late, but we found that it was prepared by just one lady! Thanks Dewi!

  30. 20150624_194355
  31. Lesson 1: Composition, Lighting

    First lesson was held in front of the cabins. Lengthy but essential to get everyone started on the same foot.

  32. P1080577
  33. Zzzz…

    While everyone else was following the lecture, Andrew was spotted in lala-land, he had seen my presentations before and was just waiting to set up the light trap. He had also just returned from a long trip to China the night before, making back to back flights!

  34. P1080585
  35. Hng??

    Haven’t figured out what she was doing. Perhaps only Chris would know.

  36. First Night Shoot

    Although the plan for the first night shoot was to enter the first trail, hardly anybody entered the trail til hours later. Everyone else was distracted along the way and ended up shooting around the cabin! I roamed around and only took a few record shots while making sure everyone had something to shoot and practise on.

    Fishing spider (Nilus sp.) - DSC_3813
  37. Fishing spider (Nilus sp.)

    Ben found this relatively large fishing spider before the bridge. It was pretty docile and easy to shoot.

  38. Fishing spider (Nilus sp.) - DSC_3815
  39. Fishing spider (Nilus sp.)

    Tried getting the rest to take shots of the eye arrangements as well.

  40. Monkey grasshopper (Erianthus sp.) - DSC_3820
  41. Monkey grasshopper (Erianthus sp.)

    Nothing spectacular but just documenting whatever I saw. 🙂

  42. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_3836
  43. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae)

    Andy found this shield bug nymph at the bottom of the bridge and had everyone excited and queuing up!

  44. Giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_3842
  45. Giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae)

    An adult shield bug was then spotted behind the cabins, and we found it to be laying eggs! She had beautiful textures on her dorsal body with green metallic pits!

  46. Giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_3857
  47. Giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae)

    Anterior view

  48. Giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_3867
  49. Giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae)

    Close up on her eggs

  50. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.) - DSC_3876
  51. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.)

    On a neighboring tree, a pair of jumping spiders (Epeus sp.) was spotted. This is the male.

  52. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.) - DSC_3878
  53. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.)

    The female is less striking in colour.

  54. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.) - DSC_3883
  55. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.)

    Close up on the male, as it had a gently sloping “mohawk”.

  56. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.) - DSC_3887
  57. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.)

    Waited a bit to get it to look directly into the lens!

  58. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.) - DSC_3892
  59. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.)

    This view shows the mohawk clearly.

  60. Unknown pupa - DSC_3894
  61. Unknown pupa

    Not sure what pupa this is, but the additional hair made me wonder if it was parasitised.

  62. Unknown pupa - DSC_3896
  63. Unknown pupa

    Dorsal view of the odd pupa.

  64. Masked hunter assassin bug (Reduviidae) - DSC_3898
  65. Masked hunter assassin bug (Reduviidae)

    On the tree trunks, we found the masked hunter, an assassin bug that piles debris upon itself to conceal its shape.

  66. Masked hunter assassin bug (Reduviidae) - DSC_3902
  67. Masked hunter assassin bug (Reduviidae)

    The masked hunter is usually hidden from sight and difficult to spot when it stays still.

  68. Mantis moulting (Hierodula sp.) - DSC_3908
  69. Mantis moulting (Hierodula sp.)

    Timothy found this moulting mantis in front of the Magdalene Chalet. Oddly, this is the first time I’m seeing a mantis moulting!

  70. Mantis moulting (Hierodula sp.) - DSC_3913
  71. Mantis moulting (Hierodula sp.)

    A wider view with Raynox removed. We wanted to wait for the wings to pump out but it took really long and we gave up.

  72. Stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_3917
  73. Stick insect (Haaniella sp.)

    One of the chunky looking stick insects in the trail. Yes we finally ushered everyone into the trail!

  74. Stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_3920
  75. Stick insect (Haaniella sp.)

    Lateral view. A nymph as wings were not developed.

  76. Stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_3922
  77. Stick insect (Haaniella sp.)

    Close up on the face, always fun to shoot!

  78. Centipede (Scolopendra)
  79. Centipede (Scolopendra) ©2015 Tom Astle

    Portrait of a centipede by Tom – note the venom opening on the black fang

  80. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) - DSC_3929
  81. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.)

    Ben and Andrew spotted this huntsman spider high above, but nobody could reach it. I climbed a little to get a record shot of the face, but nobody else wanted to try.

  82. Lynx spider (Hamadruas sp.) - DSC_3934
  83. Lynx spider (Hamadruas sp.)

    A lovely new batch of spiderlings crowding around their mother.

  84. Lynx spiderlings (Hamadruas sp.) - DSC_3939
  85. Lynx spiderlings (Hamadruas sp.)

    Mother lynx got spooked and went to hide behind.

  86. Lynx spiderlings (Hamadruas sp.) - DSC_3940
  87. Lynx spiderlings (Hamadruas sp.)

    Closing up on one spiderling. Not like the mother??

  88. Lynx spiderlings (Hamadruas sp.) - DSC_3945
  89. Lynx spiderlings (Hamadruas sp.)

    Closing in on a cluster of them.

  90. Trilobite beetle larva (Platerodrilus sp.) - DSC_3947
  91. Trilobite beetle larva (Platerodrilus sp.)

    The trilobite was a regular near the entrance of the trail, just a record shot.

  92. Rove beetle (Staphylinidae)
  93. Rove beetle (Staphylinidae) © Seawei Ying

    Seawei spotted what could be a rove beetle on his bag!

  94. Grasshopper (Caelifera)
  95. Grasshopper (Caelifera) ©2015 Tud Yinn

    Cham shot this fascinating grasshopper with an overhanging pronotum.

  96. Weevils (Curculionidae) - DSC_3954
  97. Weevils (Curculionidae)

    Some weevils were feeling up to it tonight!

  98. Weevils (Curculionidae) - DSC_3961
  99. Weevils (Curculionidae)

    The leaf was huge, so it was difficult to get an ideal angle of both in focus.

  100. Weevils (Curculionidae) - DSC_3969
  101. Weevils (Curculionidae)

    Another weevil mating pair spotted just 1 meter away!

  102. While shooting the weevils, the sky opened up and it was pouring. As it was already way past midnight, I decided to call it a night. HOWEVER… it seemed that most of the rest did not get enough and continued shooting til well past 2am. I’m looking forward to update this post with their shots!

The complete album for the first night shoot can be viewed here.

Borneo Bootcamp 2015: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4




Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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