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30 Oct 2013

This morning I returned to Bay East Garden - 2 weeks back, I came here in the wee hours for the night cityscape of Singapore and did not have a chance to look around the park since it was dark. I only managed to cover a third of the huge park before it started to rain heavily.

Lotus Pond

The moment I entered from the visitor's center, I cannot help noticing a huge pond that is full of lotus. Not many parks in Singapore have lotus ponds - most have water lilies that may be mistaken by many as lotus. Lotus have a unique lotus seed pod that grows inside the flower, after which the flower withers leaving only that lotus seed pod behind.

Lotus not only has important symbolic meaning in Buddhism (i.e. purity), but lotus seed in Chinese culture also carries the meaning of "many descendants to come".

Looking closely into the lotus ponds, I could also find lots of water spiders and other insects.

Beautiful Flowers and Plants

I love photographing colorful blooming flowers. If you are just like me, then this is the right place to come. Besides lotus, there are many different types of flowers and plants.

Some Tips on Close-Up Photography of Flowers

  • If you are using macro lenses to photograph flowers, then you should avoid using too wide aperture as the depth of field (DOF) would be so shallow if shooting the flower at close proximity, which will ruin the shot i.e. the focus area of the flower would be very sharp and the rest would be blurred. For example, the DOF would only be around 0.1cm shooting at F/2.8 using 100mm focal length at a distance of 30cm away from the flower! Using lenses with a shorter focal length with a smaller aperture (i.e. bigger F number) and standing further away from the flower would help to increase the DOF.
  • Alternatively, using a long telephoto lens to zoom into a particular flower from a distance using a wide aperture could throw the foreground and background into out-of-focus so that you can draw your viewer's attention to the flower in the picture.
  • If using auto-focus in close-up photography, the auto-focused point could be thrown off easily with slight movement that is caused either by your hand or the wind. Hence switching to manual focusing could be a better option.
  • Don't be shy to use a tripod especially when using macro lenses as the slightest movement could result in the picture to be out-of-focus. The help of remote shutter release would also help to minimize potential shakes on the camera.
  • If you do not have a tripod, then try to maintain shutter speed that is equivalent or faster than the inverse value of the focal length of your lens used to minimize potential out-of-focus problems caused by slight camera movement. For example, shutter speed of 1/100s or faster should be used if using a lens with focal length of 100mm.
  • Sometimes lighting condition may not be ideal, as such using reflectors could help to brighten up the scene. Simply have a white piece of cardboard or towel to redirect/bounce the available light from other sources onto your subject. 
  • The wind can always ruin your picture and definitely frustrating. Unless you can move the entire plant indoor, otherwise just have to be patience and wait for the wind to subside. We cannot fight nature right :)

Butterflies, Bees and Other Insects

There are definitely a lot of beautiful butterflies and bees (and wasps) flying around the flowers. Photographing them is definitely not going to be easy as they are hardly still, and would fly away whenever you try to approach them - just gotta be patience and wait for your chance.

Dragon Boat at Kallang River

As I was photographing around the lotus ponds, I heard cheers and shouts at the Kallang River next to the park and pop by to take a look. To my surprise, there were students (I guess) practicing dragon boats. Quite fun to watch them rocking their dragon boats and rowing away.

Day View of Singapore Cityscape

Of course, not to mention the Singapore cityscape view that you can photograph.

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