Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tired, with birds

Last night the fireworks went off at midnight, which didn't wake my wife from her baby-induced slumber, and also didn't signal the end of the music from below. There was another hour of loud music, and now if I hear Gangnam Style ever again I may punch somebody in the face.

About 1 o'clock it either got quieter, or fatigue finally overcame noise, and I fell asleep, waking up at 6:30 to switch off my alarm, and again at 7:45 to get up and go out to the Bird Park.

We were there with two couples and their young children, which put me in the strange position of being far more exhausted than people who routinely had to deal with sleep deprivation. I had coffee, and I didn't have actual physical pain, but I didn't feel great.

I hired a lens for my camera for this weekend: a Canon 300mm f4 IS, which is a pretty effective way of getting good shots of birds that are a long way away. It's also lighter than similar quality zoom lenses, but because you only have one focal length, it can be a little bit harder to use. You have to think about your position much more, because you can't cure things by zooming in or out. That's a good thing in most circumstances, and in any case I needed to have a lighter load today.

My wife got to have a vulture eat out of her hand: we'd been to the falconry show before, and, knowing what happened if you volunteered, we'd positioned ourselves close to the front, so she had the chance to wear a big leather glove and have two kilos of carrion bird perch on her arm. That close, a 300mm lens was close to overkill; especially when there are birds flying overhead, it's much harder to get up and reposition yourself, but I had a few shots I was pleased with.

We saw most of what the park has to offer; the lorys, the largest indoor man-made waterfall in an aviary in the world in Singapore, the flamingoes. We didn't get close to the shoebills or the smaller birds this time round, but by 1pm my eyes were starting to cross, and by 2 the torrential rains had arrived - both good reasons to abandon photography for the day and retreat to bed.

However, because it's Chinese New Year, lots of the taxi drivers were off-duty, and as everyone knows, rain water will dissolve most taxis, so after a frustrating wait at the taxi rank, we took the bus to the MRT and then the train home. It beats being stuck in the rain, I suppose.


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