You guys have no idea how unrealistically refreshing it felt when I woke up this morning having over 9 hours plus worth of quality sleep. Having worked in Australia for quite a while, I got used to the habit of lazy and very relaxing weekends. Unfortunately this part of ideal lifestyle must be sadly sacrificed, forseeing the stress and pressure of work being carried forward in near weekends to catch up with oh never-ending deadlines.
Therefore, I tell myself this, I have just started working, obviously I would not be expected to work overtime during the weekends just yet, and I do not know how long will this luxury last, but what I must do now, is to make full use of my precious weekends.
CORN FOR LUNCH
WHAT SEXY RED LIPS
After looking into a few considerations, and places of interests in this city of Kuala Lumpur which is quite new to me, I have decided to make a trip to the National Bird Park near the city center.
This bird park is the largest covered bird park in the world, and so initial impressions from what I have gathered from the literature suggested this could be something I can really immerse myself into for the whole afternoon. I am not exactly a bird lover, though my name itself... robin... is a bird, which is interestingly popular in European countries. You know, they say if you find a robin nesting and laying eggs on your roof, you are going to strike good luck.
No, I am not going to lay eggs on your roof, ok, scrap that idea off.
It is quite sad seeing the broken parts of the tail...
I have got myself a tele lens recently. Under my super tight budget, I only have these two choices: (1) Zuiko 40-150mm F4-5.6 ED lens, or (2) and older lens, Zuiko 40-150mm, F3.5-4.5 lens. In rough comparison, choice (1) is a much newer lens, obviously with superior build quality, with ED and much, much smaller in size.
However, since both lens, and my camera body did not have any Image Stabilization options, the unusually lower aperture F-number of choice (2) seemed very tempting. More than one F-stop at full telephoto end does make a lot of difference, especially in dim situations. Therefore, I settled for the older, and bulkier lens.
Now I have the lens, it is time to put it to use.
Hey, hornbill is supposed to be from Borneo !!
EYES OF AN EAGLE
I made my stop at Kuala Lumpur KTM station, and for some odd reasons, the place reminded me of the Perth central train station. I walked my way to the Bird Park, and little did I expect, the whole walking took more than 20 minutes. It was a good thing that the day was overcast, and not only I did not have to pump out excessive sweat, but I generally like the picture output from cloudy lighting, in comparison to direct clear sunlight.
Less highlight and shadows, and more balanced overall picture. I know a lot of people hate cloudy conditions, since you get less contrast and colour saturation, but hey, if you have too much highlight clippings, and burned black shadow areas, you lose plenty of details.
Of course, the ideal situation would be somewhere in between, which is seldom encountered. Nevertheless, we just have to work with whatever weather we are thrown into.
WE ALL LOVE LONG LENS
now if that flashgun was fired....
WHAT MANY COLOURS YOU HAVE
UP CLOSE BUT NOT SO PERSONAL
The range of display inside the park was rather impressive, although the land area was somewhat limited. You get to watch all kinds of birds, from land non-flight birds, to colorful bright and superbly noisy parrots, to swans swimming in the man-made ponds.
I guess this park has been around for quite some time, and the place was not exactly packed with many people. Most of the people who went there were tourists, or people like me who do the "tourist things". I noticed there was also a group of DSLR users, serious photographers judging by the lens and equipments they carried around with them. I feel so noob photographing alongside them.
*shying away... paiseh lah !!
WHITE OLD SISTER BIRD (burung kakaktua?)
MUNCHING FROM THE CLAWS
Photographing the birds was definitely a challenge for me, and being the first time doing bird photography, and fairly new to the lens, it was quite an interesting experience. I guess the most difficult part of this session, was being patient. The birds, are uselessly often staying at the worst location for photo taking. Either their faces were looking away from you, or they were somewhere hidden behind the leaves or branches.
You need, heaps and heaps of patience to wait for the birds to stop at the right position, and you gotta be quick, because they do not stay at that auspicious spot for very long. Having a smaller and much lighter camera body did help me a lot, since I could move around much easier, and not feeling the weight even steadying it for quite a while, in waiting period.
Another seemingly difficult aspect would be the grills on the cages the birds are in. Most of the birds, especially the rarer and stunningly beautiful ones are put behind the cages, and this makes it quite tough to extract good shots, without having the grills at the forefront distraction in the frames. If the bird was too far into the cage, not only was it quite unreachable by my limited zoom, but the inner cage area was... very, very dark.
SHOOTING RIGHT ON YA FACE
That pink bird is very, very common in Perth, it can be found wondering around the grass compounds in my university grounds. Maybe the bird park people just went to Perth and... kidnapped a few of those back to Malaysia? Who knows, right?
WTFF is this swan doing here????? It was supposed to be an endangered species, and commonly found in the water/rivers in Perth. It is the official symbol of Western Australia, even my university crest has the black swans on it !!
IN THE WATER...
I have to day that shooting birds was damned fulfilling. Maybe this was due to the fact that it was one of my early attempts with a tele lens, but hey, I just love the sharpness of the lens, and the "bokeh" factor (blur background) that the lens generated.
I would say the park was quite an enjoyable place to have a look see, but you will definitely appreciate it more if you are into photography.
It is one good place to start having a feel on wildlife shooting, and this bird park was easier since everything was in a controlled environment.
SOME RANDOM HEADSHOTS
The whole land area surrounding the Bird Park was designed as tourist attractions, and amongst the popular destinations include the Butterfly Park, Hibiscus Garden, and the Lake Gardens. I only went to the bird park, and spent more than 2 hours in there. I walked my way to the nearby Tugu Negara (national monument/memorial thingy) and snapped some pictures too, but I shall save that for another entry, since this post is already over-flooded with heavy pictures.
At the children playgrounds, there were of course, no children, but something else crawling and jumping around the places.
They were MONKEYS !!
I caught one of them (no, not literally CAUGHT), and he was trying to open that container of leftover fried rice. It was kind of cute seeing the puzzled face, trying to figure out how to open the container, he rotated the whole thing 360 degrees, trying to bite it, but still could not get it open. I was watching the monkey for over 10 minutes, and he still could not get it opened. Now we know what separates us from them.
I guess the big question is, when will I be stopping by the national zoo? I am not quite sure myself, but I might be making a visit not too late from now, at least before my work starts to pile up.
I miss my time in Perth, especially during summer, when I got off work at 5pm, and still have at least 3 hours worth of sun to do outdoor shooting.
Sometimes, I still dream of myself walking along Matilda Bay in the evening.
*poof.... reality breaks in. Life sucks.