Our Weekend “Getaway”: Day 3 of 3 (Singapore Botanic Gardens)

We managed to start the day pretty early. But to our surprised, the day was pretty slow until we saw the Buffy Fish Owl. Our first reaction, “OMG”.

SBG_013_01
Buffy Fish Owl
Shot using Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS on a Canon 760D.
Aperture: f/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 558mm

There’s not one but two of these perched on the tree. I managed to get the other owl when it was stretching itself.

SBG_004
Buffy Fish Owl
Shot using Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS on a Canon 760D.
Aperture: f/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 459mm

After a short break, we continued walking around the area and decided to enter the forest trail (i forgot what’s the name of the trail). We bumped into a fellow photographer from Japan. We were talking about the different birds that we looking for. He told us that he was looking for a Pitta but it went further into the forest. We bid farewell and wanted to continue with our walk when suddenly a bird flew right past us. We turned and look at it and realized it was the Greater Racket-trailed Drongo! Another “OMG” moment for us.

SBG_001
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Shot using Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS on a Canon 760D.
Aperture: f/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 230mm

My partner has been dreaming of looking at this species with his own eyes for a few years now, ever since he was still in school. When we started bird watching and photography together last year, he was talking about it and I was surprised and couldn’t believe that a bird can look this unique. We did come across it once when we were at MacRitchie but it just flew past us and didn’t stop. So you can imagine our excitement when this gorgeous bird stopped and posed for us. 😀

Once we are done getting our shots, we walked further down and exited the area.

We decided to walk for a bit more before we make our way to Pasir Ris Park in the afternoon. While walking, we saw a group of fellow photographers wandering around the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. We followed them and to our surprise, another rare species!

SBG_005
Von Schrenck’s Bittern
Shot using Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS on a Canon 760D.
Aperture: f/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 600mm

We made our move to Pasir Ris Park right after but to our disappointment, there’s nothing much there. It could be the weather because it was quite cloudy and rained for a bit. Nevertheless, we did manage to spot a Dollarbird (didn’t get a shot, sadly), an Oriental Piped Hornbill and a Grey Heron.

Our Weekend “Getaway”: Day 2 of 3 (Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore)

The second day at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve was a better day. We arrived later than what we have initially planned but the day went on pretty smooth.

Sadly, we did not manage to witness many shorebirds in action except for one who made an appearance after we photographed the Little Egret.

SBWR_002
Little Egret
Shot using Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS on a Canon 760D.
Aperture: f/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/1250
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 600mm

I got better with the Sigma 150-600mm lens. I managed to rectify the problem and was elated that my photos turned out sharp and clear.
As mentioned in the previous post, the issue that I have with the Sigma lens was that I am not able to AF on the subject. I will explain the suggested solution that I used to rectify the problem.

 

Image result for sigma 150-600mm
Top view of a DSLR camera with Sigma 150-600mm lens.
Credits of photo: The-Digital-Picture.com

With reference to the image above, the ring that adjusts the focal length the one that is closer to the body. After you slightly depress the shutter button, the camera will AF on the subject. It may or may not be a sharp focus and to rectify that, simply adjust the focal length after the camera has focus until you get the subject at its sharpest focus before depressing the shutter button fully. (I hope this helps those photographers who face the same issue.)Moving on to the next photo, here is the little shorebird that I mentioned earlier, Common Greenshank.

SBWR_005
Common Greenshank
Shot using Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS on a Canon 760D.
Aperture: f/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/1250
ISO: 400
Focal Length: 569mm

After slightly more than an hour camping in Hide 1C (one of the observatory huts in the area), we decided to walk around and hoped to see more birds. Luck hit upon us when we arrived at the Main Hut. A group of Milky Storks and Grey Herons were found perched along the river.

In case I have never mentioned it in my blog earlier, the Milky Stork was one of the first few species that I was first encountered last year on my birthday. I was elated when I saw it that day.

SBWR_003.jpg
Milky Stork & Grey Heron
Shot using Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS on a Canon 760D.
Aperture: f/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/800
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 600mm

Look at that drama captured on still. It felt like there’s a story behind this image. The love story between 2 different species (lol!). On another note, I finally managed to get a still shot of the Milky Stork still in flight! That’s an achievement unlocked for me. I am always in awe when I come across photos of other bird enthusiasts that managed to get photos of birds still in flight. And on that day, I achieved it! I think that I can be better at it but for starters, I think it looks great.

We decided to call it a day because we were quite worn out from all the walking and we still have another full day of walking the next morning.

Day 3 was the best day out of the whole weekend in my opinion. From having a good start of the day to the first time encounters and conversations with other photographers, I couldn’t be more excited to share the story. Stay tuned readers. 😀

 

Getting back to my hobby

An awesome read on his birdwatching trip over the weekends.

When Shah Shoots

0122I can’t believe three months of not bird watching can be excruciatingly painful. Ever since this hobby re-ignited in the beginning of 2017, I was fortunate enough to be able to bring my camera out at least once a month to shoot photos of wildlife, particularly birds. However, mid-year was a bit tough due to time and financial issues (I rent the Tamron 150-600mm lens when I go shoot birds).

The long Christmas weekend finally allowed me time to be back in nature. 3 full days of birdwatching around selected Singapore parks and reserves made me realize how much I needed peace from nature after all the stress from work and responsibilities. My hobby took me to Gardens by the Bay, Sungei Buloh Wetlands, Singapore Botanical Gardens and Pasir Ris Park.

Rusty from spotting birds after 3 months of bird watching inactivity and having to get used to the Tamron…

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Our Weekend “Getaway”: Day 1 of 3 (Satay by the Bay, Singapore)

It has been almost 3 full months since I last held a camera. I had to let go of my Canon 60D due to some issues hence, the long hiatus. I have yet to get a camera to call my own, but I managed to rent a Canon 760D for the long weekend (since Christmas falls on a Monday here in Singapore).

We decided to walk our way to down to Gardens by the Bay from Clarke Quay. It was a torturous walk because the weather was hot. We almost drenched ourselves in sweat.

We did have the idea of walking around Gardens by the Bay and birdwatch but we realized that the number of people was at least 100 times more than the number of species of birds that can be found there. So we decided to walk down further and we found the location that birdwatchers in Singapore mentioned in forums; the Kingfisher Lake.

Anyone can easily find the location because that’s the only lake that you can find photographers camping around the lake with their “super mega lens” (actually, we are using the same lens. :p)

We set up our equipment and waited for a while. Thirty minutes in, a Yellow Bittern flew into the area and it became the star of the day. All lens around the pond shifted and focused on it. I only managed to get one useable shot though.

SBTB_002
Yellow Bittern. 
Shot using Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS on a Canon 760D.
Aperture: f/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/1250
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 600mm

I was struggling with the AF for the Sigma 150-600mm. I read a few posts on forums and mentioned that the said lens, in fact, do have some AF issues on Canon. However, I am hoping that I will be able to switch to manual and take better shots tomorrow.

Just about when everyone got bored with the Yellow Bittern, a Common Kingfisher flew into the frame. We were so excited at the sight of the little bird. To be honest, this species is not as common as we expected it to be. Since the start of my journey, I have never come across a Common Kingfisher, until today. As mentioned earlier about the struggle I had with the lens, I only managed to get one not-so-bad shot of it.

SBTB_001
Common Kingfisher
Shot using Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS on a Canon 760D.

Aperture: f/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 569mm

After which, we decided to walk down to Marina Barrage and hope to score some shorebirds but to our disappointment, we didn’t find any.

Tomorrow is gonna be another whole day of adventure in the wild and because we are going to a place where I first fall in love and develop the passion for birdwatching and bird photography.

 

 

<3

Bella Luna
Mystery the moon
A hole in the sky
A supernatural nightlight
So full but often right
A pair of eyes a closin’ one
A chosen child of golden sun
A marble dog that chases cars
To farthest reaches of the beach and far beyond into the swimming sea of stars
A cosmic fish they love to kiss
They’re giving birth to constellation
No riffs and oh no reservation
If they should fall you get a wish or dedication
May I suggest you get the best
For nothing less than you and I
Let’s take a chance as this romance is rising over before we lose the lighting
Oh bella bella please
Bella you beautiful luna
Oh bella do what you do
You are an illuminating anchor
Of leads to infinite number
Crashing waves and breaking thunder
Tiding the evenflows of hunger
You’re dancing naked there for me
You expose all memory
You make the most of boundary
You’re the ghost of royalty imposing love
You are the queen and king combining everything
Into twining like a ring around the finger of a girl
I’m just a singer, you’re the world
All I can bring ya
Is the language of a lover
Bella luna, my beautiful, beautiful moon
How you swoon me like no other
 
May I suggest you get the best
Of your wish may I insist
That no contest for little you or smaller I
A larger chance happened, all them they lie
On the rise, on the brink of our lives
Bella please
Bella you beautiful luna
Oh bella do what you do
Bella luna, my beautiful, beautiful moon
How you swoon me like no other, oh oh oh
Songwriters: Billy Galewood / Jason Mraz