Day 126 : Gardens by the Bay Preview

As our Garden City prepares for its next biggest bloom, I had a chance to tour the new bud before it fully opens and I think it is going to be a major landmark that will have people falling in love with Singapore all over again.

This new destination for adoration is Gardens by the Bay, a sprawling waterfront attraction set to bring out the inner butterfly, or bee, in anyone who visits. This post documents my privilege of being one of 25 photographers and bloggers invited for a special preview and sunrise shoot before the Gardens officially welcome visitors from 29 June 2012 onwards.

5:15 am. I haven’t woken up so early in a long time. Then again, I didn’t really sleep the night before so I guess it can’t be considered waking? The rain was such a damper.

Getting a special invite like this is very exciting, but it has its perils. I had to get up at 4:30 am to prepare for the shoot. As much as I love the photo opportunities dawn presents, my bed usually trumps over all will power to rise at the wretched hours that sunrise shoots demands.

Adding to that, I was working till about 1 am the previous night and a cool storm washed over Singapore starting at 2:30 am, all strong magnets to keep me in bed. But I’m glad I made the shoot and here’re photos to share with you. For the shoot, there’s a sort of embargo for us to not post photos as we are supposed to submit shots for an exhibition so the organisers preferred that we didn’t let our cats out of the bags too soon.

However, I don’t think I got any good shots so I won’t be submiting my mediocre photos to dilute the high standards that the pro photogs will be maintaining. So here are the shots to share with you a sneak peek of what’s coming up at the south of Marina Bay…

Arrived at GBTB at 6 am. The place was still under construction so it took a bit of wayfinding. Thankfully, Juliana was kind enough to pick me up on her way to GBTB. Else, I would’ve gotten lost and ended up in JB!

Supertrees all powered up!

Foyer area that links the two conservatories at GBTB – Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.

Inside the Flower Dome at pre-dawn. Felt kinda surreal to have the place all to myself.

The air-conditioned Flower Dome houses temperate and mediterranean plant species.

Sunrise was a no-show due to the rainy weather. Such a disappointment after waking up so early and all the trouble of getting here. Sigh.

Flower Dome looks like the mouth of a gigantic clam emerging from the ground. Since the sky was mild, I decided to convert some shots to black and white.

View of Flower Dome by the shoreline. This is a great spot to appreciate the architecture of the dome up-close.

Fish-eye of the Flower Dome. To the left is the sea.

GBTB offers quite a few trails to discover different sights, smells and breathtaking moments.

I can’t get enough of the Supertrees. They resemble some alien lifeform.

If the sky was blue with bright sunshine, I think this photo of all the Supertrees will be super duper!

Attempting to be artsy… heh heh.

The Supertrees tower over GBTB at heights between 25 and 50 meters. Their trunks act as a vertical canvas for gardening.

Tree climbing takes on new meaning with the Supertrees. A spiral stairway leads to the mid-point where the Skyway is. For those who prefer not to sweat, there’s a life available.

The Skyway is a suspended corridor that weaves around the Supertrees.

Crown of the Supertrees Instagramed.

His equipment is so long! One of the reasons I prefer not to shoot with pro photogs or serious enthusiasts is because I get an inferiority complex looking at the size and quantity of their equipments. That often kills my mood to shoot.

Thanks to Juliana for capturing me in action shooting with three cams – DSLR, Instagram (phone) and Casio Exilim ZR200. If only I have three heads and six limbs!

Thanks to them, we have our beautiful Gardens. The construction workers at GBTB were so friendly.

View of Marina Bay Sands amongst Cattail grass blades. GBTB brings nature that much closer.

Other than exotic flora and beautiful landscaping, another thing to spot at GBTB are the sculptures. They range from naturalistic stone formations to masoned fauna to abstract wood carvings.

Carving of a smiling Buddha under a Bodhi Tree at the Chinese themed garden within GBTB. Other themed gardens include Indian, Malay, Fragrance, Fruits, etc.

From the outside, we now go inside. The air-conditioning at the Flower Dome provided a welcomed respite from the heat. The plants here very hoh miah (good life)!

Dunno what tree is this but it looks like a dwarf Frangipani Tree… so comical!

This plant is called Devil’s Blush.

It sure doesn’t look shy at all. I think Devil’s Lipstick more appropriate.

Called Birthday Candles, this shrub is native to Australia.

Make a wish and blow out the candle.

Purple Haze.


The next creature inspiration for some apocalyptic alien movie.

Who says Mother Nature doesn’t like some S&M?

Blushing Bride.

The following four photos are taken with the Casio Exilim ZR200 compact camera (Super Macro Mode). I’m amazed by the photo quality of this point-and-shoot camera!

Heart of the Giant Rose Mallow (I think) Hibiscus. The blooms are massive!

Pistil and stamens of another monster Hibiscus of the ruba (ruby, red) variety.

Despite the bland weather and muted daylight, the architecture at Gardens by the Bay, both manmade and by Mother Nature, made us all very trigger happy. I would say that Gardens by the Bay is about 70% completed during this visit so when it gets finished in two months’ time, I am sure it will become the next hotspot for photography and lotsa nature lovin’ in the city!

Related Post : Flower Dome and World Orchid Show


10 Comments (+add yours?)

    May 07, 2012 @ 12:29:33

    I have to agree with you on the professional photographers part. I feel inadequate too around them. haha. But it is also great learning from them. Sorry we didn’t get much chance to catch up that day. It was just way too early in the morning!


    • Darren Ng
      May 07, 2012 @ 12:46:49

      yeah… it’s a great learning experience but usually after those sessions, i just end up wanting to by more equipments! i was so not awake that morning. haha. the skyway was a little stomach churning for me too. catch ya at the next event 🙂


  2. Ferne Yap
    May 09, 2012 @ 08:11:06

    Great photos Darren! Had fun hosting you and look forward to seeing you again soon at the Gardens! Btw, would love if you can share some of your photos with us. Will drop you an email about this separately 🙂


  3. arianne1981
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 12:26:53

    wow! can’t wait to see that for myself


  4. Craig
    Jan 01, 2013 @ 00:48:15

    Hi Darren, I also just got the Casio ZR-200. The files are so big when I upload to my pc, any suggestions on the best megpixals to shoot with out losing quality or sharpness. I am at a loss at how to do this. Your shots are awsome, but your file size are way smaller than mine,and yet the quality is superb. Any info would help me a lot. Thanks,


    • Darren Ng
      Jan 10, 2013 @ 00:41:21

      hi craig… i set my camera to shoot at no more than 5MB per photo. When you load your photos onto blogsites or online websites, they will automatically resize them and the file sizes become smaller. i use Photoshop to shrink my photo size before posting on this blog.

      hope this info helps.



      • Craig
        Jan 13, 2013 @ 21:17:59

        Thank you so much for the info. What size do you use in Photoshop. I have an old version of MGI Photosuite that has a resize feature. What is good size to change from 5MB or higher. It has an aspec ratio feature. i.e. 1600×1200 etc. Thanks again Darren.


      • Darren Ng
        Jan 14, 2013 @ 01:57:00

        hi craig… 1600X1200 is a 4:3 aspect ratio. for that ratio, i resize my photos to 640px X 480px (72dpi) for posting on this blog. average file size is 200 – 500KB depending on how colourful the photo is. u can try this size – 640px X 480px at 72dpi to downsize your photos too. i believe photosuite allows u to make these changes.

        this size is good enough for posting on Facebook and other photo sites too. hope this info is useful to u 🙂


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