Macro Photography Workshop – BugShot Belize 2015

6 February 2015

This workshop has concluded. Read more here: BugShot in the Belizean Jungles of Central America

I am honoured to be one of the instructors at the coming BugShot Belize 2015 alongside highly acclaimed macro photographers Alex Wild, John Abbott and Thomas Shahan. It will be an 8-day adventure with bug-nerds (including photographers and entomologists) where you will learn to take awesome photographs of arthropods in the fastest way possible – by shooting with and learning from the world’s top experts in different genres of macro photography.

The instructor to participant ratio will be 1:5 to ensure that everyone gets more than enough individual attention to learn and improve on their photography techniques. Near the end of each day, there will also be an entomological lesson by the experts in the respective taxonomic order or family. This enables participants to fully appreciate the natural wonders of their tiny subjects. Register for BugShot now!

Here is the tentative schedule (i.e. subject to changes).

 Day 1
5 Aug
Day 2
6 Aug
Day 3
7 Aug
Day 4
8 Aug
Day 5
9 Aug
Day 6
10 Aug
Day 7
11 Aug
Day 8
12 Aug
7am  Breakfast  Breakfast  
8amBreakfastField Trip
Groups 1 & 2 to Caves (NB, TS)
Groups 3 & 4 to Green Hills Butterfly Ranch (AW, JA)
BreakfastBreakfastField Trip
Groups 3 & 4 to Caves (NB, TS)
Groups 1 & 2 to Green Hills Butterfly Ranch (AW, JA)
BreakfastBreakfast / Closing
9amMethods of Magnification (TS) Composition and Specialized Techniques (NB)Free Day
Enjoy one of Caves Branch’s many tours, take a day of relaxation, or schedule one-on-one time with an instructor.
Insect Identification (all)Departure
10amIn the field
1: Bot. Gard. (TS)
2: River (JA)
3: Trail (NB)
4: Orchard (AW)
In the field
1: Trail (NB)
2: Orchard (AW)
3: Bot. Gard. (TS)
4: River (JA)
In the field
1: River (JA)
2: Trail (NB)
3: Orchard (AW)
4: Bot.Gard. (TS)
12pmArrival to Caves Branch LodgeLunchLunchLunch
1pmOpen timeOpen timeOpen time
2pmIn the field
1: Orchard (AW)
2: Bot. Gard. (TS)
3: River (JA)
4: Trail (NB)
High Speed Flash Photography (JA)Panel Q &A; topics TBD by group interest (all)
3pmFocus-stacking (AW) 
4pmOpen timeImage processing (all)Open time; cleanup
5pmLighting & Flash (AW)Open timeOpen timeOpen time
7:30pmWelcome to BugShot! (JA)Intro to entomology (JA)Jumping Spiders (TS)Camouflage and Mimicry (NB)Dragonflies (JA)Tropical Ants (AW)Photo Review & Awards
8pmInstructors’ top photo tips (all)Night Walk (all)Blacklighting/open (all)Photo sharing & critiqueNight Walk (all)
 Blacklighting / openNight Walk (all)

During Open Times, instructors will be available for individual sessions.

AW = Alex Wild; JA = John Abbott; TS = Thomas Shahan; NB = Nicky Bay

The trip will cost US$3,249 to US$3,449, which includes all meals during the stay, airport transfer and accommodation at Caves Branch‘s jungle suites, with direct access to a rich diversity of arthropods in a high quality tropical habitat, including forests, rivers, caves, and a botanical garden. For more details on the travel and lodging, please refer to the BugShot Belize tips and program (PDF). You may read reviews and information on past BugShot events and photos in the BugShot website.

For more questions regarding this workshop, please contact me at [email protected] or the event organizer at [email protected]. Alternatively, you may leave your questions in the comments below.

This will probably be one of my very few trips to Central America and slots are extremely limited. Every BugShot workshop has been fully registered early in the past years with several return participants. Register for BugShot early, don’t miss it!

Here is a small selection of photos from past Belize BugShot participants and instructors to get a glimpse of the fauna to expect at the workshop.

    Walker's Moth (Sosxetra grata) - Belize
  1. Walker’s Moth (Sosxetra grata) © Thomas Shahan

  2. Rhinostomus barbirostris (40mm), the Bearded or Bottlebrush Weevil
  3. Bearded weevil (Rhinostomus barbirostris) © David Hilmy

  4. Zebra hairstreak butterfly
  5. Zebra hairstreak butterfly (Panthiades sp.) © Gil Wizen

  6. Tropical forests host a tremendous diversity of plant species, fueling a corresponding diversity of plant-feeding insects. This Stolas sp. leaf beetle (Chrysomelidae) was found along a trail at Caves Branch and photographed in an indoor studio.
  7. Tortoise beetle (Stolas sp.) © Alex Wild

  8. Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
  9. Stink bug (Pentatomidae) © Jack Owicki

  10. Orchid bees
  11. Orchid bees (Euglossini) © Gil Wizen

  12. Mexican Burrowing Toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis)
  13. Mexican Burrowing Toad (Rhinophrynus dorsalis) © David Hilmy

    The Zoological Society of London’s EDGE program writes: “The only species, within the only genus of the family Rhinophrynidae, and with over 190 million years of independent evolution, the Mexican burrowing toad is the most evolutionarily distinct amphibian species on Earth today; a fruit bat, polar bear, killer whale, kangaroo and human are all more similar to one another than this species is to any other amphibian.

  14. Parasitic nematode
  15. Parasitic nematode “hatching” from trapjaw ant © Jack Owicki

  16. Lantern Bug 20130928_2211
  17. Dragon-head lantern bug (Phrictus quinqueparitus) © John Abbott

  18. Stuart-Wilson-12
  19. Red eyed tree frog (Agalychnis callidryas) © Stuart Wilson

  20. Fulgorid - Belize
  21. Fulgorid planthopper (Fulgoridae) © Thomas Shahan

  22. There are many more excellent photographs taken in the past workshops that I can’t show them all here. Try searching the internet for “BugShot Belize” if you want to see more. Or better still, sign up right away!:)

More photos can be viewed in these albums and blog posts about BugShot Belize.

This is probably the most anticipated workshop in the world each year, so Register for BugShot early, don’t miss it!

If Belize is too far for you, the Borneo Bootcamp will be another alternative!




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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