Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Kubah National Park Visit

It has taken me more than a year to finally able to update my blog. It has been a long wait.

Recently I had a replacement for my old camera with the new Canon 70D, partly the reason why I was on a long photography holiday was due to my broken camera. Time by time…I have also forgotten the password of my blog! Ahaha….just managed to retrieve it again. Well..enough with excuses, credit to Sam and Kubah to get my blog up and running again..

In Kubah I met a new friend Sam Yue from Hong Kong who is also a photography enthusiast on frogs and snakes as I know from our chat in Kubah. I only had a chance to go out with him on my final night in Kubah as I way on official work there this time.

We started walking along the road to the telecommunication tower from our hostel at 6.00pm. It was a very nice walk with some wind and evening breeze at the higher elevation. About an hour later rain was pouring down with mist covering everything around which made visibility up to only few meters. 

I was so determined to get my first frog shot in Kubah even though it was raining. I was also keen to test my DIY diffuser that I have made before coming to Kubah. At last the commonest species you can see along the road in Kubah is where I land my first shot at

 Limnonectes kuhlii

The rain stopped for a while and Sam was telling me how he wants to have a photo of Microhyla nepenthicola on a pither plant. That is when I start to hear this clicking sound that goes like Trrrtt..trrrttt…crttt… and there are that sound coming from all over the place at the roadside. I saw Sam looking through the bushes with his torchlight and he told me 'nepenthicola!'.

I also was looking around trying to find anything that moves from where the sound was coming. The sound was literally everywhere and I have to find a spot to look at next to the roadside. As I was on my knees, I could hear a clicking sound in front of me, I saw some movement..a tiny object jumping and then stopped. I was trying hard to see where it was when suddenly it jumps again and landed on top of a dead leaf.
I finally got my first Microhyla nepenthicola!!! Not on a pitcher plant though.

 Microhyla nepenthicola

After taking some photos of the M. nepenthicola we continued our walk uphill. It started to rain again.I had to dismantled my DIY diffuser and put my camera in the bag because the rain was pretty heavy.

About half an hour later the rain again stopped and I took out my camera with the diffuser..but this time my diffuser was all wet…it was not really made of a stronger material either. The front of the diffuser is made of paper while the whole body was made of plastic cupboard attached with staplers. I then replaced the paper front cover with thin polystyrene sheet. Took a couple photo of frogs with it including this one of which Sam don’t think I will be able to do…taking photo of a Limnonectes kuhlii submerged underwater in a pond in the middle of the road.

Limnonectes kuhlii 

Then it rain again and it was misty too….we reached approximately 2500 feet then decided to turn back down again...visibility was very poor with I would say five meters only. 

On the way down, rain had stopped. We saw more of L. kuhlii on the roadside, then I found this one of which I heard the calls the day before near our hostel.

There it is..Megophrys nasuta!

I was looking forward to test my diffuser on this species as it was always hard to get a good photo of it. Not the best I have seen though. I need some more adjustment but I can’t do it there at the moment. 

Megophrys nasuta

In my opinion the light was still a bit harsh, not enough background lighting as I intended to get, shadow looks just too hard. More example in these shots too:

Probably Limnonectes kuhlii. Just a record shot.

Record shot of Limnonectes malesianus

But, if I go a closer to the smaller subject such as this Katydid (I’m not sure what this is) the direct light coming from the flash actually goes to the background meanwhile the bounce off light produce a nice diffuse light as shown on the insect. However, the shadow still looks a bit hard and too dark.

After taking few hours of walk back, we finally reach the Frog Pond. I then replace my polystyrene front diffuser with a double thin white plastic bag. Actually it diffuses the light far much better than the polystyrene!

Here are all the shots I took at the frog pond. Really the Frog Pond. I was surrounded by so many frogs mainly calling all around the pond and I really love the Rhacophorus pardalis, so I took a lot of shot from different individuals at the pond.

The first species I spotted at the entrance of the Frog Pond was a species that I am not sure of. Probably a juvenile of Limnonectes sp just not sure.

And then this is probably Microhyla borneensis…a bit larger than the M. nepenthicola that I saw earlier..not sure though

Polypedates macrotis
First shot of Rhacophorus pardalis. What a beautiful colour, love the eyes too.

With the diffuser doing great…so more R. pardalis shot!

Then another Polypedates macrotis

Polypedates otilophus

Again I turn back to another R. pardalis

After spending roughly an hour at the Frog Pond we head back to the hostel and look for more frogs along the way back.

Here are some more things we found later on.

Leptobrachium abbotti

Meristogenys sp possibly M. jerboa

Ingerophrynus divergens

And lastly our prized found was this species...was approximately 200 meter from our hostel. Sam spotted this one...he has better eyes than I am!

 Rhacophorus kajau

We reached our hostel around 12.30 am. 

It is really satisfying for me. A couple of hours of walk for a night I already seen and photographed approximately 13 species of frogs. I recall Sam was saying he got more than 20 species from his night walks since he arrive at Kubah. 

Pretty nice place to do some frog photography, especially for a place that has a record of 55 amphibian species (www.frogsofborneo.org). 

I only wish I could have done the night walk since arriving at Kubah..well maybe next time.