Singapore’s 53rd birthday Celebration

This year, I was invited to view some of Singapore’s National Day Parade events from the rooftop of The Esplanade (a performing arts centre) which is situated near the edge of Marina Bay where the festivities take place. Singapore always celebrates it’s birthday in style with a series of performances which are capped off with the highly anticipated, crowd favorite fireworks show. The ticketed portion of events were held at the floating platform to the left of us (our vantage point was not good enough to see the happenings on stage unfortunately) but the water events were right in front of us, as were most of the fireworks. None of us were able to acquire tickets for the live performance apparently because they are randomly distributed to the locals who apply for inclusion in the drawing for the tickets. That’s what I was told. Anyways, it must have been awesome judging from all the singing, cheering and laughing!

Some of the stuff I got to see were the Navy parachute divers, Parachuting in wet suits and flippers. Then there were wing suit equipped paratroopers jumping from a club record altitude that was so high I couldn’t see them, even though they were bright red.

There were squadrons of helicopters, fighter jets, bombers and surveillance planes doing fly bys and a few stunts as well as a squadron of floating cannons performing gun salutes. It was quite inspiring to see the personnel so methodical in their procedures to fire off the cannons but also frustrating, for me, because I wanted to see them go through the whole routine faster as if they were doing it for real. Anyways, I’m glad they performed at ceremonial speeds because it was harder than I thought to capture the fire coming out of the cannon muzzle. After several tries, I finally caught one. I also was able to catch the commemorative F-15 with afterburner rings (a first for me).

As the day wore on, I got to see what ‘powderworks’ were, I found them so interesting I wrote a post about them here on Steemit. So the time has come for the fireworks and I thought I was prepared. I was told where the fireworks were being launched, the general location of where they would burst etc. I couldn’t have been more wrong! My full battery turned out to be not full at all, my remote trigger decided that it didn’t want to work consistently and I found my 17-40 lens not quite getting it all, after a while I stopped trying and just watched. While packing up, a bunch of us were talking and I’m not the only one who had remote trigger issues, the three of us were using wireless remotes (not IR) so maybe that was the issue, we all had a good laugh and called it a night. All in all good fun and good people.

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What are powderworks?

I had never even heard of powderwords before, much less seen them. So admist all the hooha of Singapore’s 53 birthday celebration, I waited patiently for what was slated in the itinerary as ‘powderworks.’ With the intention of shooting the fireworks, I had set up in between the area where the live performances were to be performed and the area where the fireworks were to be set off (as well as where the Navy divers and floating cannons were going to be performed). When the allotted time came, a mini boom sounded, way over where the stage was and I saw my first ‘powderwoks’! and yes I had my camera pointed in the wrong direction. Sigh…

It was pretty cool to see these ‘fake’ fireworks. It kinda reminded me of Holi powder throwing. Since I missed the first barrage,  I’m now getting nervous because there’s only one barrage left and I don’t know where it’s going off. Luckily, I brought a second camera setup and shot the above images handheld. Having seen and captured the second set of powderworks, I was happy. Watching the powder dissipate, I couldn’t help but to wonder which was worse, the colored ‘smoke’ or the fireworks smoke but came to the conclusion that there was much less powderworks so the amount of ‘smoke’ was considerably less and it didn’t last as long. Then I started to wonder which was worse to inhale, oh well, at least it looked nice.

Here’s the shot details:

 

Camera Canon 5d2
Focal Length 40 mm
Aperture f8
Shutter Speed 1/750
ISO 200

Thanks to @kalemandra for hosting the colorchallenge contests!

Consider following me for updates and to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes,

Ray

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1001 Places to remember – Introducing Butchart Gardens to the next generation

If you’re a fan of flowers and visiting Victoria (British Columbia, Canada) then you definitely must go visit Butchart Gardens, especially in the summer when all the gardens are in full bloom. If you’re a flower fanatic, it would be worth a trip to Victoria from Vancouver! I remember visiting Butchart Gardens in the summers, as a child (too young to appreciate nature but I remember the rose garden was impressive) and walking until my legs felt like they were going to fall off. So, my brothers and I decided we should subject our children to the wonders of walking vast distances. OOPS, I mean showing our children the wonder and beauty of plants and flowers. The only ‘problem’ was that I took my family back home during early spring (still kind of cold, sunny but chilly) there weren’t that many gardens in full bloom but there were enough in bloom or about to bloom to keep things interesting. Plus it was nice not having crowds of people all over the place and made it easy to keep track of everyone (for those goofy family photos). It was especially nice to let the younger kiddos wander on their own and still being able to keep an eye on them.

A lot of the buildings still look the same as when I used to visit, decades ago, and all the “iconic” statues that I remember were still there. The park is actually bigger than what I remember, I thought it would seem smaller since I’ve grown and my strides are much longer, but no, we still walked until my legs felt like falling off. Then again, it could be old age or the weight of my backpack full of camera gear. I’m pretty sure there are more garden display and fountain areas than before because due to time constraints, we didn’t even get to walk through them all and we had absolutely no recollection of some areas within the park. We even found an indoor carousel that wasn’t there when I was a kid, not fair, lol. There are benches and rock ledges spread sparsely around this dog friendly park but I didn’t notice that many so if you need a break and see a rest area, take it.

Although there weren’t as many flowers to marvel at, we still had a blast reminiscing and recreating past photos. During one of our ‘messing around, reminiscing’ sessions at one of the statues, we were told by some fellow park goers (yearly members) that Butchart Garden’s is even more beautiful and fun in the winter, when there’s snow! Anyways, we had to cut the messing around to a minimum as we still had a lot to see in the park and other sites in Victoria, like the Craigdarroch Castle (which I wrote about in this post). We only had the long weekend to spend in Victoria as everyone else had to be back to work.

If you get hungry there’s a tea house and restaurant, sadly I’ve never been inside either one, maybe next time. Maybe next time I’ll get better images of the gardens because I won’t be too busy messing around and taking pictures of us messing around (it was a consensus that I’m not allowed to post those photos, lol). There is also a huge gift shop where they sell all the usual gift shop type stuff but what was amazing was the huge variety of seeds you can buy to plant in your own garden. I’m not sure if they sell seeds for all the plants and flowers you can find in the park, but it looked possible, from the sheer number of different seed packets I saw.

Consider following me for updates and to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

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Ray

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1001 Places to remember – Craigdarroch Castle, just WOW!

The Craigdarroch Castle is not really a Castle, it’s a mansion that was originally a family home. Through the years it’s been turned into a military hospital, a College, a school board office, a music conservatory and is currently a Museum. The original stained glass, abundantly found in all over castle are documented as original and authentic by the Institute of Stained Glass in Canada. What makes them so special are the complexity of the cuts, the finely soldered lead joints and the use of cut crystals as opposed to the readily available, pressed glass types of stained glass. This mansion/castle is so well preserved, intricately detailed and having led such a storied life is listed both as a National Historic Site of Canada as well as a World Heritage Site.
 
While the exterior is made of mostly large and bumpy stone bricks, the interior is mainly finished wood, very intricately carved wood. The four floors are furnished with Victorian mock ups of what it would have been like. If you’re into this kind of historic site it’s definitely worth a visit and budget at least a couple hours especially if you’re an admirer of woodwork and details. There’s really lots to see as well as info plaques to read. The museum attendants were all very cheery and polite and more than willing to answer any questions or provide more details of whichever part of the castle you’re in.

 

Just in case you’re wondering, even having been a military hospital, the ambiance wasn’t creepy at all, anywhere. We even asked if there was any haunting shenanigans but the answer was no. Too bad, I think, it would make this amazing ‘Castle’ more amazing! Also, I would suggest to use the toilets before you enter the castle because I didn’t notice any ‘public use’ facilities in the castle. So when you buy your tickets from the ticket counter (in the building next to the castle), use the toilets in there. 😃

 

Located just minutes away from Downtown Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), the Craigdarroch Castle resides in an area full of beautiful and unique homes, in a very peaceful and pleasant looking neighborhood and was a joy to drive through, much like the rest of Victoria, BC.

Consider following me for updates and to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes,

Ray

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Stadium Walk – mypictureday submission

Just for the fun of it, I took a walk along the section of Singapore’s Kallang River where the national stadium is located. I could have picked a better day, I suppose, as it started to rain pretty heavily. The relatively new National Stadium which is dome shaped and features a retractable roof is the reportedly the world’s largest dome structure. Unfortunately, the retractable roof’s reliability as well as the quality of the artificial turf has been less than desirable. The structure does look pretty cool though, I think.

 

 

In contrast to the National Stadium, is the much older Indoor Stadium, which is just next door. Instead of a rounded mound look, it sports an angular circus tent look and reminds me of the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars. Both stadiums are within the same complex called the “Sports Hub” which also has an indoor pool as well as a shopping mall. The Indoor Stadium is where a lot of the music concerts, MMA events and basketball games are played.

 

 

Consider following me for updates and to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome. As are upvotes and resteems, if you like what you see.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes,

Ray

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

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