A day with the Animals

Singapore Zoo, Bird Park and Night Safari were the places I wanted to visit first, after getting my SLR. The animals and birds would make some excellent subjects for my photographic experiments. I got that chance when my friend took a package (for all the 3 places) ticket for 2 - he and his cousin - and could visit only 2 places. So, I set out for one of my first photographic expeditions with my Canon EOS 450D.
We started by collecting the map from the information counter. There were colorful parrots to invite us at the entry point.

The next was the beavers. They were really cute. They looked at the visitors and made noises all the time. I guess they were looking for food.

A field full of flemingos. There was no cage or no restrictions, they were free ranging ones. They could fly off whenever they want to, but I think they hardly did.

“See what I am writing”
Orang utans are one of the primary attractions of the Singapore zoo. Most of them are free ranging ones. By the time we visited them, they were enjoying the afternoon nap after their lunch. This guy here was concentrated in picking something from inside that iron pole. First I thought he (or she?) was writing something.

“Do not Disturb!”

“Say Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssseeeeeeeee!”

“I don’t like you, I am going”.
(Check out closely, can you identify whether he is hanging upside down or straight?)

“Where is my mom?”
(This young chap was trying to catch up with his mom, it was fun to watch him jumping and running around to catch up with his mom)

“Don’t worry son, I am here, lemme be a model for this snap!”

Then came our first feeding session, the polar bear - Inuka (means silent hunter in Eskimo language). There were 2 polar bears there, Inuka and his mother Sheba.

We started at around 11:30 which is the feeding time for most of the animals. In the information brochure, they had marked the times and that’s the time when they will be the most active. They had organized the feedings in such a way that, if we plan a bit, we could cover all of the feedings one by one. Believe me, the zoo keepers are really serious about their animals’ wellbeing.

“I am getting ready for my meal”.
When we made our first pass, before the feeding time, I felt they are quiet animals, simply lazing around in their air-conditioned caves. But the moment the food started coming in, Inuka turned out to be more active than a kid with his favorite toy. He jumped in to the water and splashed the water all over. What more to say, he IS a messy eater as the narrator put it. He even chased a live fish in the tank and ate it.

There are so many facts we don’t know about the polar bears which they narrated. Their fur is not white, but clear, it’s the light reflection that makes it look white and their skin color is black. Their milk contains 46% fat which helps their young ones to stay warm in the ice and so on.
I couldn’t get good pictures because I was in the back of the crowd.

After Inuka’s feeding session, it was time for our feeding session. We went to the nearby hotel and there we saw a wedding. They allow wedding ceremonies, other functions, corporate parties etc to be conducted in the zoo and arrange the animals to be near you. These newly wedded couples were taking pictures near the elephant.
Since we didn’t get a close look at the feeding of the polar bears, we went to the white tiger feeding by 2pm even when the actual feeding was at 2:20pm. I got a good spot in the front of the crowd. That gave me more than enough time to play with my SLR. Also, the tigers were getting really hungry it seemed and they were restless and running around the whole place. There were 3 of them.
“I am tired of waiting for my food, where is the foood?”

“What are you looking at?”
I guess the tigers were annoyed by the crowd that they sometimes stared at us. Also whenever they see someone who they think is their trainer with food, they came near the crowd in a hurry.

“Here I go!”
They caught their food in mid air when the trainer threw the food. Sometimes the trainer threw the food to the water and the tigers knew exactly where it’s going to hit.

“Finally, I got my food, I am happy”
This is the place I enjoyed the most in all aspects. I could take all the snaps I wanted and I spent lot of time enjoying the big cats’ activities, first being restless and then enjoying their food. Cats are my favorite species of animals. I simply love their company.

“Ladies and gentleman, meet Carlos, the naughty sea lion”, the narrator started during the Animal show and there came a big black sea lion and he stood steady in his paws first. He is a very well trained Sea Lion. Also he is naughty, funny and splashes water all over the place.

He even talks to pelicans

And see this, he can leap high up the water and get the ball. He swims very fast, he claps along with the audience.

He even kisses you on your cheek

After the show, when we came out, there was this colorful bird, waiting for my camera.

Here is another beautiful bird with a crown on his head. I got this shot while I was on the tram and so I couldn’t catch its name. I guess this one is from Africa.

Then we visited the fragile forest. There is a giant dome inside which many animals, birds, butterflies even bats freely roamed around. It felt like a real journey through the woods.

I was fortunate enough to capture a battle between an unknown rat like animal and a big chameleon. The brown animal wanted to cross the branch towards the right side of the tree and the chameleon wanted to go the other way. As soon as the crowd noticed this and came near them, they stopped their fights and went back to their own ways.

There we are, Charles and me, inside the tropical rainforest.

On our way back, we just passed through the lion’s place. This lady was up after her nap.

By this time, it was almost 5pm and we were very tired since it started as a hot day and by the end of it, it started raining. But we were nowhere near covering the entire zoo. I think we covered around 20-40% only. We couldn’t continue as we were tired and my camera was full with photos and its battery, almost drained. So we decided to stop for the day and promised ourselves that we will come again to continue our expedition to the animal world. All in all, Singapore zoo exceeded all my expectations and in my opinion, it kept the reputation as one of the best zoos in the worlds.

p.s. There are more photos, its just that I cannot put all of them here.

Movie Review: Transformers 2: Revenge towards the Audience

No, the title of this post (movie name) is not a typo, I mean it. It was revenge from Michael Bay, at least from my point of view. I would consider the film in the romantic comedy genre than action genre . I will give a max of 3.5-4 out of 10 for the move since the only thing I liked in the movie are the action sequences.
When the first movie (Transformers I) was announced back in 2007, I was thrilled since I used to be a fan of the transformers cartoon series. When I saw it in the silver screen, it felt great. All the cartoon characters came to life through the movie. And it was a great experience and the movie was above my expectations.
From what I have written so far, you might guess what my reaction was when they announced the sequel (Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen). From the day I read about it, I was waiting for the movie release date. And above all, most of the reviews seemed good and Wikipedia said this, “Revenge of the Fallen achieved the highest Wednesday opening gross in history, bringing in $62 million in North America alone and close to $100 million worldwide; this is also the second-highest opening day gross of all time, behind only The Dark Knight's $67.8 million.” (I know the crew created the wiki page, still) One of my friends told me that this is the first movie to become house full in all theatres at the same time in Singapore.
I couldn’t wait to watch the movie and I tried last weekend and I was not able to get the ticket. Finally I or we (some of my unfortunate friends who came for the movie upon my persuasion) made it to the show yesterday. We got only the second row seats from the front. Still I was thrilled to watch the movie.
Before even getting through halfway, my friends started looking at their watches, and wondering when this is going to end. I am a fan of transformers and even I felt that the time is not passing. I think Mr. Bay tried to make this movie everything for everyone. There was comedy and romance (I think so) and action. The comedy was ok, but the romance was pathetic, even worse than a 3rd rate Hindi movie (my dear Hindi film fans, please forgive me, I couldn’t get a more decent term to compare). I noticed one thing in particular, the heroine spend most of her time running in the screen in short tops - one of the oldest tricks in the book, just like putting a heroine in rain. But I have to admit that she is hot. The emotional scenes in the middle of a battle were suicidal. After some time even the remote possibility of an emotional scene made me sad thinking that I could have done something better with this time. and the movie turned out to be quite lengthy, 2 hrs and 30 mins of ________ (you fill in the blanks after you watch the movie)
I am not adding many spoilers, but here are some facts for you to think about before going for the movie,
1. More than half an hour of the movie is spend showing how the heroine and hero gets to a rendezvous point
2. In my opinion, never bring parents in to the middle of a military/robot fight, and have long scenes of emotions in between a fast paced action sequence
3. Don’t make too many robo-comedians
And so on..
All in all, the movie was much below my expectations. After the movie, my friends have told me to kiss goodbye to their share of the tickets which I bought for them.
Lesson learnt: No matter how great a director is or the reviews are, don’t risk buying someone else’s ticket for a movie you want to watch.
p.s. Guess what, Transformers 3 is coming, its listed in imdb. I wonder what they have in mind for that one.