Close Encounter with Four-Legged Lizards
Four-legged lizards are perhaps the easiest and most common to be spotted among the mangrove forest and along the walkway due to their sizes which can be more than 1m long. The big ones does not seem to be afraid of human as I can get as close as 2 feets from them. In most cases, they would run away when I make too much noise or get too close. Anyway, precaution should still be taken although they appear to be "friendly" - I don't know if they will attack and bite :) I was also lucky to spot a baby four-legged lizard which is only less 10cm long.
Fast Moving Squirrels
There are a lot of squirrels around, and you know it when you hear tree branches snapping sound. Squirrels move very fast among the trees which makes it hard to track them with the camera. The low light condition also makes it difficult for a shutter speed fast enough to freeze their movement for a sharp picture. They are also quick to escape your view with the slightest sound made.
Observing and anticipating their movement, along with a higher ISO and large aperture would help in getting a shutter speed fast enough to get a good sharp picture of them.
Hard to Spot Insects?
Definitely in a mangrove forest, there are definitely lots of insects - ants, beetles, snails, grasshoppers, spiders and some insects that I never even see it before. Although there are many insects, I think it is very hard to "search" for them. I did not purposely hunt for them - I only photograph them only if I stumbled upon them by chance.
Dragonflies can also be spotted at the freshwater pond area within the reserve. If you are interested in photographing dragonflies, you can refer to some of my tips given in my previous article on Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk.
Wetland Plants and Mangrove
Mangrove with their roots sticking out of the mud/water can make nice photography subject.
If you think that plants in the reserve looks "all the same" and nothing interesting to photograph, then you could be wrong. Try look out for plants that have interesting patterns such as spirals which will make good pictures.
There are wooden bridges that cuts across the mangrove area which will allow you to spot and photograph interesting living organism (e.g. crabs, shellfish, etc.) commonly found living or growing in mangrove area.
The picture of a huge mudskipper which I spotted by observing the mud swamp.
- Get hold of the wetland reserve map at the visitor centre (or download it online beforehand). The map indicates the location of the resting stations/huts for shelter which could be useful if caught in sudden rain. The map will also come in handy if you are lost.
- Make sure you are medical fit enough to "survive" the walk in the wetland reserve. It is more than 10km to explore all the available routes. You could get exhausted fast if you are going to carry lots of photography equipment.
- Decide what photography equipment to bring as they will add on to the weight. The variety of photography subject requires lens with a wide range focal length (i.e. from macro to wide angle to super telephoto).
- Avoid venturing into the wetland reserve during rainy weather or thunderstorms. Always check weather forecast before deciding to go to a wetland reserve. You will be surrounded by tress and definitely do not wish to get struck by lightning.
- Singapore weather is very humid and you can get dehydrated from the walk, especially carrying additional weights from your camera equipment.
- While it is good to get closer to your subjects when photographing them, you also have to be careful not to fall into mangrove swamps. Safety comes first.
- Insect repellents! I was bitten by tons of mosquitoes (really a lot)... These mosquitoes are one of a kind - they continue to stick on my skin even when I try to wave them off. I had to smack and kill them.
Please visit http://jefzlim.smugmug.com/Destinations/Singapore/Sungei-Buloh-Wetland-Reserve/ to see more photos ...