Journal Workshop

Night Macro Workshop at Pulau Ubin

28 May 2016

The first Night Macro Workshop at Pulau Ubin has concluded with a maximum turnout! This would not have been possible without the help of my friends who turned up early and helped to guide the participants through the diffuser making and leading them through the night shoot. Heartfelt thanks to my good friends Victor, Melvyn, David, Sagita, Chris, Seawei, Siewli and Joanna for sacrificing their evening to ensure that everything ran smoothly!

Special thanks also to Uncle Lim for hosting the workshop, to Ria and Vanessa for the Pesta Ubin badges and supporting the workshop! Remember to check out the other activities at Pesta Ubin! While you’re in Ubin, remember to visit Uncle Lim to get a drink and say hi!

As the group was large, not everyone saw what the rest spotted. From an initial glance at the photos, there were sightings of numerous orb weavers, huntsman spiders, wolf spiders, net-casting spiders, ornamental tree trunk spiders, scorpions, antlion, shield bugs etc.

Thanks to Melvyn, Chris and Sagita for the behind the scenes and group photos!

    01 Registration
  1. Registration

    Joanna and Chris helped out with the registration and welcomed the participants into Uncle Lim’s shop.

  2. 02 Waiting to Start
  3. Waiting to Start

    Many arrived early and waited around, while some played with Uncle Lim’s cats.

  4. Uncle Lim's Cat - DSC_2322
  5. Uncle Lim’s Cat

    Lazing around but very playfully running around once the workshop started!

  6. 03 Lesson
  7. Pre-Lesson Instructions

    Many purchased the focus light from me, so several demonstrations were made on attaching it to the camera.

  8. 04 Lesson
  9. Workshop in the Kampung

    A rustic setting for the workshop, with hanging laundry and a toilet in the background and occasional cats running above our heads on the canvas roof.

  10. 05 Lesson
  11. Demonstration

    Brief demonstration on focusing techniques.

  12. 06 Making DIY Diffuser
  13. Making DIY Diffuser

    Victor, the creator of the diffuser, was there himself teaching the participants to get the concave shape for their diffusers.

  14. 07 Making DIY Diffuser
  15. Making DIY Diffuser

    As everyone had a slightly different setup, some diffusers had to be customized.

  16. 08 Ready To Go Out
  17. All Set to Go!

    Everyone endured the lesson for over 1.5 hours and couldn’t wait to get into the field to start shooting.

  18. 09 Xmas Lights
  19. Demonstration with Huntsman Spider

    Quick demonstration on stabalizing both the photographer and a very skittish huntsman spider.

  20. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) - DSC_2947
  21. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.)

    The result from above. Used the same single flash setup as everyone with a cheap macro lens to show that complicated lighting rigs are just a preference and not a necessity to get decent shots.

  22. 10 Xmas Lights
  23. Xmas Lights

    With everyone’s focusing torch on full power, we had a troupe of walking Xmas trees!

  24. 12 Xmas Lights
  25. Observing the Foliage

    Participants were taught various techniques in searching for subjects within the foliage.

  26. Scale insect (Coccoidea) - DSC_2959
  27. Scale insect (Coccoidea)

    Spotted in the foliage was this beautiful scale insect. Would probably have been ignored if it had not been pointed out by Melvyn!

  28. 14 After The Shoot
  29. After The Shoot

    After the shoot, we had a review with a question and answer session to address some of the problems encountered during the shoot. It was a long night, but everyone couldn’t get enough!

  30. Participants’ Photos

    With their permissions, here are some of the photos and testimonials submitted by the participants of this workshop. Some shots have been lightly cropped and white balance tweaked. Some participants are completely new to macro photography, while some already have some experience in day macro.

  31. Midge (Culicomorpha) ©2016 Hewson Koh

    “Excellent presentation and sharing sessions. Friendly instructors who are more than willing to share their knowledge.”
  32. joshuatan_wolf_spider
  33. Wolf spider (Lycosidae) ©2016 Joshua Tan

    “It was a great opportunity to learn from the pro himself and be further assisted by his kakis who shoot macro together every week. The learning was extremely rich and Nicky was open in sharing his knowledge, skills and experience with the group!”
  34. leeweixiang_herennia
  35. Ornamental tree trunk spider (Herennia sp.) ©2016 Lee Weixiang

    “I have thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. The explanations on the considerations and methods of macro-photography were informative and excellent.

    Nicky, through humor, had made his presentation interesting and easily understandable. What was learnt during the workshop could be immediately applied during the hands-on.

    The workshop exceeded my expectations and significantly expanded my knowledge in macro-photography.

    This workshop would definitely benefit anyone who is interested to learn about macro-photography.”

  36. seahtm_lizard
  37. Sleeping lizard (Agamidae) ©2016 Seah TM

    “I do recommend beginner who is keen to know about Night Photography to join the workshop. It will shorten the learning path.”
  38. shirleyng_mosquito
  39. Mosquito (Culicomorpha) ©2016 Shirley Ng

    “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!”

  40. terrencechua_grasshopper
  41. Grasshopper (Caelifera) with spider mite ©2016 Terrence Chua

    “Nicky was able to convey the key ideas in shooting macro insects in a clear and concise manner. His insights are invaluable for the beginner/ intermediate macro photographer in forging new ground in this genre of photography.”
  42. wyn_huntsman
  43. Huntsman spider (Olios sp.) ©2016 Htike Htike Win

    “I have never had that kind of chance for macro shooting at night even at the mainland and not mentioning to be at the Pulau Ubin.

    I got to know this workshop during the Nikon Macro Photography Workshop when Nicky shared with us the news of the workshop.

    The price may seem to be a bit high but I signed up as I personally feel that it’s worth to try since I had no experience of shooting macro photography at night.

    Definitely, it wasn’t a waste. It was the great experience.

    Nicky and his friends were quite friendly and give us suggestions, advice and even helped us to hold the subjects when we couldn’t reach in the field. 🙂

    I enthused over the shooting in the field and couldn’t even noticed the time to go back.”

  44. rachellim_thomisidae
  45. Crab spider (Thomisidae) ©2016 Rachel Lim

    “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!”
  46. chuaboonjin_huntsman
  47. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) ©2016 Chua Boon Jin

    “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.”
  48. yeoweileong_scarab
  49. Scarab beetle (Scarabaeidae) ©2016 Yeo Wei Leong

    “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.”
  50. lindaphua_shieldbug
  51. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae) ©2016 Linda Phua

  52. chang_cockroach
  53. Cockroach (Blattodea) ©2016 Chang Hon Leong

  54. chris_mantis
  55. Mantis (Mantodea) ©2016 Christian Nijhuis

  56. eugenetoh_orb_weaver
  57. Orb weaver spider (Araneidae) ©2016 Eugene Toh

  58. keebee_antlion
  59. Antlion (Myrmeleontidae) ©2016 Seah Kee Bee

Though I’m glad that most participants had keepers, night macro photography requires a lot of practice and I will be facilitating some night shoots for the participants in the coming weeks through a private Facebook group for participants. The first night shoot has already been scheduled this week!




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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