Photo Essay: The Birds of KL Bird Park

Malay Eagle Owl

Malay Eagle Owl

Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Nikon 180mm f/2.8D ED-IF AF
Post Processing: Adobe Lightroom

When we first arrive in Kuala Lumpur some friends recommended that we visit the KL Bird Park. Yesterday we had a chance to explore the bird park, which is the largest free-flight aviary in the world, and we’re not disappointed. Armed with my trusty Nikon 180mm telephoto lens we toured the park and we were amazed at the colorful and interesting species of birds.

The park opened in 1991 and is 20.9 acres in size. Many of the zones within the park try to match the bird’s natural habitat, which makes for great bird photography!

The Owls

One of our favorite birds at KL Bird Park was the Malay Eagle Owl. It reminded me of a real life Furby. And for only 10 RM ($3.10), you could have your picture taken with your choice of two birds.

Malay Eagle Owl

Malay Eagle Owl

Malay Eagle Owl

Malay Eagle Owl

Sydney with the Malay Eagle Owl

Sydney with the Malay Eagle Owl

Brown Wood Owl

Brown Wood Owl

Brown Wood Owl

Brown Wood Owl

Spotted Owl

Spotted Owl

 The Parrots

The parrots in the parrot area were very colorful. Sydney enjoyed feeding the different birds.

Red Lory

Red Lory

Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet

Sydney hand feeding a Red Lory

Sydney hand feeding a Red Lory

Love Birds

Love Birds

 The Bird Show

KL Bird Park even offered a cheesy “Bird Show” with Macaus doing silly tricks. The kids loved it!

KL Bird Park Bird Show

KL Bird Park Bird Show

KL Bird Park Bird Show

KL Bird Park Bird Show

KL Bird Park Bird Show

KL Bird Park Bird Show

Eagle Feeding

We were lucky to see the feeding of the eagles. The park staff enter the caged home of the eagles and throw raw meat into the air while the eagles catch it. Next they toss dead mice onto the ground and the eagles swoop down and pick up their tasty lunch.

Eagle eating mouse

Eagle eating mouse

Eagle eating mouse

Eagle eating mouse

More Birds

There were so many species of birds that it was hard to photograph them all. But here are shots of some of my favorites!

Waiting for lunch

Waiting for lunch

Victoria Crowned Pigeon, aka the Evil Punk Rock Bird

Victoria Crowned Pigeon, aka the Evil Punk Rock Bird

Scarlet Ibis

Scarlet Ibis

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Emu

Emu

Macau Parrot

Macau Parrot

Mystery Bird (anyone?)

Mystery Bird (anyone?)

Mystery Bird (anyone?)

Mystery Bird (anyone?)

Great Hornbill

Great Hornbill

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Toucan

Toucan

I hope you enjoyed the photos essay of birds from the KL Bird Park. If you find yourself in Kuala Lumpur, this place is definitely worth a visit.

Photo Essay: Magical Hoi An at Night

While in Hoi An, Vietnam some friends of ours asked if we had seen the old town at night. Having experienced lots of rude people during the day we could only imagine how many more rude people would be out at night. But after meeting our friends for dinner one evening in town we saw what we had been missing. While the town is full of grumpy people during the day and is nothing too special, the town transforms at night into a very colorful and magical place.

We decided to try to capture some of this magic to share with you. I hope you enjoy the photos…

Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AIS (manual focus)
Post Processing: Adobe Lightroom

 Floating Lantern Sellers

Hoi An at Night JRF_2397 JRF_2392Japanese Covered Bridge

JRF_2385 Hoi An at Night Hoi An at Night Hoi An at NightLantern Shop

Hoi An at Night Hoi An at NightWaterfront

Hoi An at Night Hoi An at Night Hoi An at Night

Photo Essay: Angkor Wat in Color

Construction on Angkor Wat first began in the 12th Century AD and became the largest preindustrial city in the world measuring at least 1,000 square kilometers. Today, Angkor Wat is much more than just a bunch of old buildings. An entire community of people still live within the protected area. There are houses, schools, restaurants, and shops. Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is Cambodia’s largest attraction drawing in over a half million tourists per year.

Angkor Wat has been on my bucket list for many years now. It was great to finally get the chance to spend some time there and see this amazing place with my own eyes (and camera.) Below are selected photos from our recent visit there.

Click photos to enlarge and for easier viewing

Sunrise

With postcard photos all over Siem Reap showing a beautiful and colorful sky over ancient temples at sunrise, I knew we had to go. Equipped with tripod and plenty of camera gear we set out in the darkness at 5am  to watch the ultimate sunrise. After arriving we found we were not the only ones thinking the same thing and the crowds were thick. Unfortunately, the sun never appeared. The sky went from black to different shades of grey. Just before packing up the tripod, I swung around and took a photo of the crowds of people still waiting for something to happen. I thought the colorful crowd was way more impressive than the sunrise.

Crowds of people gathered for the sunrise at Angkor Wat

Crowds of people gathered for the sunrise at Angkor Wat

Children of Angkor Wat

My absolute favorite subject to photograph at Angkor Wat was the children. Most of them live within the protected area. While not attending the local school (if they can afford to attend), they try their hardest to sell you postcards and other trinkets. Most of the kids selling postcards had the same spiel, “Wanna buy postcards? Ten postcards one dollar. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.” It then started all over, often with 3+ kids surrounding you all chanting the same thing in unison. You couldn’t help but laugh and start counting with them. Many of the other kids there were just like normal kids. They would play games, ride bikes, and just hang out. For us it was a tourist attraction. For them, it was their home and playground.

I apologize for some of the blurry photos. I was using my favorite lens for most of these, which is manual focus. None of these kids would sit still, and manual focus is not the best with wiggly children.

Children at Angkor Wat teaching Sydney how to play a local game

Children at Angkor Wat teaching Sydney how to play a local game

Local child at Angkor Wat

Local child at Angkor Wat

Girl in yellow pajamas on bicycle

Girl in yellow pajamas on bicycle

Girl relaxing on tree

Girl relaxing on tree

Children selling fruit

Children selling fruit

Child vender trying to sell trinkets at sunrise

Child vender trying to sell trinkets at sunrise

Local girl at sunrise

Local girl at sunrise

Little girl trying to sell me stuff

Little girl trying to sell me stuff

Another girl trying to sell me stuff

Another girl trying to sell me stuff

"Wanna buy postcards? 10 postcards one dollar. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6..."

“Wanna buy postcards? 10 postcards one dollar. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…”

The Structures

With the harsh tropical lighting I did not like most of the temples and structures in color and shot them mainly in black and white. But I can’t have a photo essay on Angkor Wat without some of the structures in color. So, here are some that don’t look too bad. Once again, if you haven’t already done so, check out my Black and White photos of Angkor Wat.

Crowds at a temple

Crowds at a temple

Statue of Shva

Statue of Shiva

Temple grounds

Temple grounds

Overgrown trees

Overgrown trees

Stones in wall at "Tomb Raider" temple

Stones in wall at “Tomb Raider” temple

Bas-relief inside temple

Bas-relief inside temple

Monkeys

There are numerous long tailed macaque monkeys that live at Angkor Wat. These were the first ones we had seen and they were busy looking for breakfast in the tree. We spent a good hour watching them, but not wanting to go through rabies shots, we kept our distance. Over the next few days we saw monkeys eating garbage in the parking lots, stealing a can of Pringles from a shop, and even chasing a lady. Best to admire from a distance!

A long tailed baby macaque monkey

A long tailed baby macaque monkey

A long tailed macaque monkey

A long tailed macaque monkey

Kbal Spean

On the far end of the Angkor Wat complex is an area known as Kbal Spean. We had to pay $25 for our tuk tuk to take us the 35 kilometers out there, hike 6 kilometers (round trip) through the hot and humid jungle to get there, but what we found was completely worth it. The ancient people that lived at Angkor Wat centuries ago carved sacred symbols into the stream bed to bless the water that would help their crops grow downstream. Getting away from the crowds, the sound of falling water, and the 1000′s of butterflies everywhere made this a very special place for us.

Sacred symbols carved into the stream bed

Sacred symbols carved into the stream bed

Pineapple plant

Pineapple plant

Sacred carvings

Sacred carvings

Catching butterflies at waterfall near Kbal Spean

Catching butterflies at waterfall near Kbal Spean

Waterfall at Kbal Spean

Waterfall at Kbal Spean

Top of waterfall at Kbal Spean

Top of waterfall at Kbal Spean

Sunset

Having no luck at the sunrise, we tried for a sunset. Unfortunately, we came on a day where the sun disappeared behind clouds shortly after arriving. We waited and waited with 100′s of other people. Just before giving up, the sun popped out for a couple of minutes allowing me to get these two shots.

Sunset at Angkor Wat

Sunset at Angkor Wat

Sunset at Angkor Wat

Sunset at Angkor Wat

Photos of Nha Trang Vietnam

For Lien. Your homeland is beautiful…

When we first arrived in Nha Trang, Vietnam we were not sure what to make of it. It seems to be a favorite vacation spot for Russians and the streets and beaches are packed with them. But after our initial shock of seeing lobster-red-sunburned Russians in nut-hugging Speedos everywhere, we decided we liked it. It reminded us a lot of Waikiki in Hawaii and we felt we could use some sun and sand and enjoy our time there. Everywhere we turned there was something new to explore. From the ancient temple tower of Po Nagar to the ultra-modern and touristy amusement park at Vinpearl, we always had something to keep us busy. In-between seeing the sights, we enjoyed lounging on the beach and playing in the warm South China Sea. I hope you enjoy the photos…

Click images to enlarge and for easier viewing

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Photo Essay: Angkor Wat in Black and White

Some photos look good in color. Others in black and white. On our recent trip to Angkor Wat I found that Angkor Wat cannot be shot in only black and white or color. It needs to be shot in both to fully capture it. So, here is Angkor Wat in black and white and I will publish my color photos soon. I hope you enjoy…

Click photos to enlarge and for easier viewing

Angkor Wat BW-2 Angkor Wat BW-3 Angkor Wat BW-4 Angkor Wat BW-5 Angkor Wat BW-6 Angkor Wat BW-7 Angkor Wat BW-8 Angkor Wat BW-9 Angkor Wat BW-10 Angkor Wat BW-11 Angkor Wat BW-12 Angkor Wat BW-13 Angkor Wat BW-14 Angkor Wat BW-15 Angkor Wat BW-16 Angkor Wat BW-17 Angkor Wat BW