On Lora’s Birthday Bethany And I

Lora is my sister.  Bethany is my niece.  On Lora’s birthday Bethany and I built sand castles at Palawan Beach, Sentosa.  After that joyful afternoon, it took me two days to recover from my muscle strain.  Oh little Bethany.  How you have worn me out.  But that was worth it.  Because  she seems to be friendlier towards me after I have spent some quality and quantity time playing with her.  Her mom was munching under the shade most of the time.  My wife Cynthia too was munching and has elected to supervise the end-to-end process instead.  Her daddy’s job was to fetch sea water.  As for me, I was the designated photographer and the co-sand castle builder.

So the plan was to meet at 10am.  The night before we went to sleep, Cynthia asked if we needed to set the alarm clock.  I casually and confidently waved her thought away and said, “How is it possible not to wake up by nine?”  At 9.50am, Cynthia woke me up from my beauty sleep and we both screamed at the clock.

A few days ago, my sister has this sudden urge wanting to build sand castles by the beach.  Jolly well.  I love the sand and the beach.  It was a warm day.  The afternoon sun was rather punishing.  Fortunately there are shades everywhere in this resort island of Singapore.  I often think that Bethany – like my sister – is a more indoor sort of person who prefers air-conditioning to tomar el sol.  I was quite surprised that Bethany could be pretty active in the outdoor.  Her determination to build sand castles was admirable.  Except, no matter how hard we tried to show her, she used dry sand instead of wet sand.  That did not work out.  Halfway, she gave up and played with sea water instead.

I cannot fathom why she deliberately avoided the wet sand.  Maybe she prefers the lighter color to the darker one.  I do not know.  I tried to teach her to add water to the dry sand inside the cup.  But she tended to pour in too much sea water so much so that the sand turned mud got stuck inside the cup.  What should I do?  Instinctively, squatting next to her, I took the larger bucket and started to fill it up with wet sand.  Bethany followed what I did and fill it up with her personal preference: dry sand.  I mixed our sand as we worked our way and fill the bucket to its rim.  Before I flipped the bucket, I would ask Bethany where she wanted it to be placed.  She would pinpoint a precise spot and we would do the count together, looking into each other’s eyes and said …

1 – 2 – 3 … Wow!

OK.  I have to admit.  It was fun.  It went on and on and had I not stopped, the Great Wall of Sentosa would extend all the way from the tree that shaded us to the shore, which must have been fifty to a hundred meters away.

Normally I bring my 24-70mm f/2.4 lens for a general purpose photography session like this one.  That day, I brought my 70-200mm f/2.4 telephoto zoom lens instead.  I love my zoom lens.  It produces a nice bokeh.  And it collects less background distraction.  No distortion to the faces at 90mm and above.  The only drawback is that it is heavy and it requires quite a distance between my subjects and I.  In an open space like Palawan Beach, the latter is a non-issue.  It has only become an issue when Bethany got friendlier with me and started to get nearer to the camera.  That was when I had to jump backward in order to take a photograph.  All in all, no regret in bringing along my zoom lens.  My intend was to be able to take pictures of Bethany without getting too close and become intimidating.  Objective achieved.

In the past, I host my photographs within my website.  But time has changed.  I am more involved with Google+ these days.  So I am giving it a try and have uploaded the photographs there instead.  I am not sure how this will affect the non-Google+ users.  I hope it doesn’t.  Do let me know your feedback in the comments below.  I would love to hear.

  • Click here to view the photo album (29 photographs)

I am delighted to have found a new way to bond with my niece.  Sand and sun at Sentosa is very doable.  Next time, I may wish to bring my chilled picnic box and stock it up with ice cold Apple Cider.  That would be an ideal way to spend a Sunday.

11 responses to “On Lora’s Birthday Bethany And I”

  1. I love Sentosa Island and I am happy that you and your family have a wonderful time in there. It is always interesting to find new ways to engage with the little ones!

      • A y HAHAHAHA.. We all have the same smiles.

        Before we are recruited to be part of the family, there was an audition to smile. Whoever smiles the most frequent, and most similar to the rest of the family, gets the place.

  2. It’s bokeh bro… not brokeh 😛

    I see myself building sand castles with Aiden a few years from now. I have been building sand castles for my entire life.

  3. Thanks Big Brother for the day! It’s fun. 🙂

    But hey, I was also building the sand castles with Bethany when you were busy with photo-taking!!! 😛

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