After achieving my 1st full marathon with a good timing of 4hr, 38m last December, I told my family, friends and running buddies that, that was my last marathon too as I do not wish to go through the same kind of gruesome training again. I took up long distance running 2 years ago for the purpose of keeping fit and healthy. It was fun and I enjoyed casual running of about 6 to 10 km with my army friends, KP & William, regularly. It was only later that we decided to challenge ourselves and take on the marathon dreams. We believe that if others can do it, so can we! Now that I have achieved it, there isn’t any motivation for me to try again especially when it is unlikely that I would be able to improve my timing. I am more comfortable to run the half marathon. I want to run for enjoyment not suffering.
Vincent, my brother-in-law, told me during mother’s day that he also did his 1st marathon last year. He was proud that he completed it in less than 6 hrs. He sounded very motivated and he said that he would train much harder to improve his timing this year. He encouraged me to sign up with him.
KP Tan who did very well last year is certain that he will run the full marathon this year. He is confident and determined to improve his already very good timing of 4hr, 19m. He was disappointed when William & I told him last Saturday that we had decided to sign up for half marathon instead. He called me this morning hopping that we would change our mind.
Pang, another army friend of mine and running buddy, will be doing his 6th or 7th marathon this year also urged us to reconsider.
Under my dear friends’ pressure, I have decided to do it one more time! I signed up this morning for a registration fee of $45. For those who sign up after 4 Jun, it will be much costly at $75/$85. Pang & KP already signed up. William is still undecided.
Libellago Stigmatizans (or Orange-faced Gem) is classified as “probably extinct” in Singapore. Two males species were spotted in a stream at Panti Forest where the water was quite muddy.
They were flying non-stop and engaged in territorial fights. Occasionally, one would perch near the water surface but the next moment, you would see the 2nd one attacking it and they started fighting in mid-air again. Under such situation, shooting them with a tripod proved to be near impossible. So, I released my camera from the tripod, set to full flash mode and my target was to get both males fighting in the air in a single frame.
As the stream water was at ¾ knee level high, I could not squat down as it would wet my backside. Standing would not be able to get close enough to the damsels, so I had to blend down quite a little like an old man. It was tiring shooting in this position as I had to move where the damsels moved. I had to take a break every 5 minutes or so. This went on for the next half an hour and despite my hard work I failed to get the shots I wanted. I could only manage some flight shots of an individual male as a consolation.
Initially, I tried using manual focus but my hands were not fast enough. Autofocus works better for me in this condition.
Panti forest is in Johor and about 20 km from Kota Tinggi and about 60km from Singapore. It is a secondary forest and many Singaporean birders like to spend a day there for bird watching and photography. Other than birds, you could also find many macro subjects, particularly butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.
(Macro shooters at a stream in Panti forest)
(A small hut near the visitor centre)