Macro Workshop at RSPB Portmore Lough

Portmore Lough

Our second macro workshop, and fifth in total for 2018 was held at RSPB Portmore Lough near Aghalee today.

The lough and reserve are close to Lough Neagh, and has a host of native insects and invertebrates on the wetlands of the reserve.  Many dragonflies were present including common darter, 4 spotted chaser.

Once we got the theory out of the way (and good friend Rosie had provided my lunch),
we started at the giant bird table pollinator flowerbed, alive with insects.  After an hour there, we moved on to the path to the lough, hoping to see dragonflies and butterflies on the way.

The wind was pretty strong so we had no luck on the dragons, but attendee Lucy got a great speckled wood butterfly, and plenty of peacocks were also present.


On the boardwalk to the hide, we spotted a Grey Dagger moth caterpillar in the railings.  It posed nicely for everyone before being escorted to a safer location. This striking little larvae is easily spotted with pale yellow, red and black markings, and the trademark "spike" on the back:

Dagger Moth Caterpillar  - 1/125s, f/10, ISO100, 105mm


The dragonfly session was scuppered by the wind....BUT, I did get one on the path a few hours before I started the workshop when it was calmer:

Common Darter 1/125s, f/10, ISO100, 105mm


The group had an array of gear, with Nikon being the most popular amongst them.  Canon & Olympus were also well represented.  Guiding people on workshops with different gear can be challenging as you need to be clued in to the settings and intricacies of each system, but as I shoot Canon and Olympus this wasn't such a big deal today.

It's always a pleasure to meet new people who are passionate about the natural world and photography, its great to share and swap ideas on kit and settings.

Next up is the Fungi and Woodland workshop in September, more details to follow on that one soon!


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