Night Macro Photography Workshop @ Pulau Ubin, 3 June 2017

8 May 2017

Night Macro Photography

Night macro photography is undoubtedly much more productive and exciting than in the day. After the sun sets, nocturnal creatures emerge from their hideouts to hunt. At the same time, diurnal critters are significantly less skittish due to the lower temperatures. To top it off, it is definitely more comfortable than hiking under the sun! Many beginners to macro photography are unaware of the advantages of night macro photography and have absolutely no idea how to start.

This workshop is held in conjunction with Pesta Ubin 2017 — almost 2 months of activities on Pulau Ubin led by the community to highlight Ubin’s unique charms. The workshop is ideal for those starting out on macro photography, and for those who have field experience but have never tried macro photography at night. This is the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded photographers and learn from highly experienced photographers in night macro photography. More than 90% of my trips are done at night, and it is definitely incomparable to any day trip.

If you are already an advanced macro photographer, do consider the upcoming Borneo Bootcamp (details coming soon) instead which will be a week-long macro workshop adventure into some of the oldest rainforests in the world. Subscribe to the mailing list to be notified of updates!

Workshop Details

  1. Date/time: 3rd June 2017, 6pm to 12 midnight, arranged boat will depart from Ubin Jetty at around 12:30am

  2. Location: Pulau Ubin

  3. Workshop includes:

    • 1 hour presentation
    • Basic DIY flash diffuser construction
    • 3-4 hour night shootIn case of wet weather, we will conduct shooting practice at the shelter.
    • Debrief
  4. Topics covered:

    • Searching techniques
    • Focus stabalization
    • Light diffusion
    • Field ethics
    • Group dynamics
    • General tips
    • Introduction to some nocturnal critters of Ubin


  1. Keen interest in insects, spiders and all other small creatures
  2. Basic photography knowledge
  3. Some experience in macro photography would be ideal
  4. Camera and lens with ability to focus at 1:1 (ask in comments if unsure) No need for tripod, try to avoid using focal lengths beyond 105mm.
  5. External flash/speedlite mounted on hotshoe
  6. Able to hike and shoot for 4 hours
  7. Search light and focus light (see below for add-on options)
  8. Extra batteries for equipment to last 4 hours


  1. Email [email protected] to register with the following details:
    • Name
    • Contact number
    • Emergency contact name and contact number
    • Equipment: camera / macro lens / flash / close up adapters / extension tubes / diffuser / photo of current setup. The Raynox DCR-250 is highly recommended.
    • Description of your macro photography experience, provide links to your online macro album and a photo of your current macro setup (if any)
    • What you wish to learn or achieve in this workshop.
    • Any optional add-ons (see below, you must have a focusing light)
  2. Registration fee of S$120 includes:
    • Night macro photography workshop
    • Materials for flash diffuser
    • Chartered night boat to return from Pulau Ubin to Changi Point Ferry Terminal (Changi Village)
    • Boat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal (Changi Village) to Pulau Ubin will be at your own time and cost (S$3)
  3. Payment, meetup and other pertinent details will be provided upon registration
  4. Workshop seat is only confirmed after receipt of payment via bank transfer
  5. Participants will be required to move in groups for safety reasons. You are encouraged to sign up with friends, or make new friends. 🙂
  6. No refund for cancellations, but there is also no admin fee for transfer of seats.

Optional Add-Ons

In my past workshops, many participants did not know the type of lights to buy and had no idea where to get them. For everyone’s convenience, participants may opt to purchase the following items for the trip. These are not the cheapest, but I have procured them in bulk and made them available at prices lower than at retail shops. Participants should order the items when registering, and collect them during the workshop. Limited stock available on a first-come first-serve basis.

  1. Search Light (S$40)

    Good search lights are essential for night macro photography. This is the exact brandless torch that I am using, so you can expect it to be as bright as branded ones that cost well over $100.

    Includes 1x Panasonic 18650 3400mAh Button-Top Protected Battery

  2. Focusing Light (S$30)

    This is a less powerful light that will be attached to the camera to aid in focusing at night.

    Includes 1x Panasonic 18650 3400mAh Flat-Top Non-Protected Battery

  3. Panasonic 18650 3400mAh rechargeable battery (S$12)

    Extra batteries for the torches above.

    Either Button-Top Protected (longer, can’t fit focusing torch) or Flat-Top Non-Protected

  4. Soshine H4 Battery Charger (S$40)

    4-bay universal battery charger

    Up to 1000mA charging per battery

    Supports Li-ion / NiMH / LiFePO4 (most others don’t support LiFePO4)

    Supports 14500 18350 18650 26650 CR123 AA AAA C

  5. Step-down Ring (S$10)

    Step down ring for Raynox DCR-150 and Raynox DCR-250, let me know your lens filter size.

    Much more secure, and ensures center position of filter (recommended!)

  6. Venus Optics Laowa Lenses (ask for prices)

    I am partnering with Venus Optics to bring Laowa lenses and flashes to workshop participants. Prices will be cheaper than retail, with full warranty. Links provided on Amazon for reference.

About the Instructor

Nicky Bay is a prolific macro photographer based in Singapore. His photos have been published on National Geographic, BBC, WIRED, numerous magazines, books, newspapers, TV segments and online publications. He has had two solo exhibitions in Europe, and has conducted extensive macro photography workshops in Borneo and Central America with participants from around the world, many of whom are advanced photographers themselves. Nicky’s photography style is diverse, approached with continual innovation on his techniques and equipment setup.

With weekly field trips, he owns one of the largest collection of arthropod photos in the world and is currently co-authoring Borneo Spiders: A Photographic Field Guide. Nicky publishes a journal of his expeditions and field trip discoveries at


Some participants from my previous workshops have kindly provided some testimonials. Some will be coming back to join in the fun this year!

Nicky is one of the best macrophotographers in Singapore and is a very dedicated person and teacher. He prepared extensive materials for all participants and was very supportive in making sure I had the best equipment to take photos. His passion shines through in his interactions with everybody, and I really appreciated that help was readily available during shooting on a one to one basis, not only because of Nicky but also all his friends who came along. I think Nicky has a great deal to teach to any nature photographer, be it a total beginner or a seasoned professional, and you should definitely take the chance to attend a workshop if it comes along!
Rachel Lim
Nicky is very knowledgeable and is willing to share what he knows. He has proven that cheap and everyday items can be used for photography. You just need to think out of the box and be creative in macro photography.”
Chua Boon Jin
This workshop is not only about learning how to capture sharp details of subjects in the micro world but also teaches proper lighting techniques, good practical demonstrations and also the important ethics for a macro photographer. The trainers, Nicky and his team were very influential. They have plenty of experiences and knowledge to share. Absolutely an awe-inspiring experience after learning from them.
Yeo Wei Leong
Nicky’s macro session was fun, and wasn’t a death by PowerPoint class. The hands on session to make your own diffuser was good as it gives everyone an idea of what can be done. The outdoor practise was good too as it help participants realise that there are many subjects available if one just looks. The other factor is knowing your camera n settings, n being able to control them. It makes one realise that it takes lots of passion n hard work to produce those great macro photos. Thank you!
Shirley Ng

To find out how the workshop is conducted and see more testimonials, check out Night Macro Workshop at Pulau Ubin 2016.

Night Life in Pulau Ubin

This is a small preview of the kind of arthropod life to expect at night in Pulau Ubin based on my previous trips. As with every macro photography trip, there is no guarantee to find any specific subject but there is always the possibility to find something new and unexpected! I am partial to spiders, so expect to see more spiders as well!




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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