Less than 5 weeks till Christmas!! It’s my favourite “season” of the year! Everyone’s so cheery and everything’s so Christmas-sy. In Singapore, Christmas decorations along Orchard Road are spectacular. And they go up around the start of November, all the way till mid-January usually. 2 years ago in 2013, it was our first Christmas together. I wanted to bring Mango to snap some photos with the display but it was not logistically possible. Fast forward to 2014, I had a plan! And so… I grabbed my best friend who was game enough to come along with her 2 shelties (Echo and Nugget) too!
**Warning: Picture heavy post!!
I spent a few days poring over maps of Orchard Road and checking the light up timings. Also, I went to check out all the open air carparks. Dogs are not allowed in shopping malls, but most shopping malls have their carparks indoors at the basement or on higher levels which meant taking the lifts within the shopping malls. Thus the search for open air carparks.
Planning such an outing was a little bit of a headache. Because the light ups are actually really popular, Orchard Road is always crowded with people trying to take photos. We chose to go really really late (around 12midnight) where the crowd would be thinner. The light up ended at 2am on Fridays and Saturdays last year (2014).
Also, choosing the walking route was a little challenging. We parked at the public carpark behind Wheelock Place, and walked our way towards Tanglin Mall. Tanglin Mall is usually quieter because it’s off the main Orchard Road shopping street. And I remembered that they always had pretty interesting Christmas displays.
True enough, we didn’t come across much human traffic. The displays made for a nice backdrop too. Even the potted plants were covered in fairy lights! It was actually my first time attempting to take photos of the dogs (or anything at all) at night, outdoors. I armed myself with the camera and the external flash and kind of prayed for the photos to not suck too much.
The cons of going to Orchard Road at night would be the fact that…….loud cars and motorbikes are everywhere. Do they come out of the woodwork at night?? Or is it because the traffic is lesser so those people with
fast loud cars/bikes try to show off their flashy rides?? Because this unsettled the dogs quite a bit.
Please watch your dogs at all times. Especially when near the road. We try our best to not off-leash them too. This is also why you should have another pair of hands to hold the leash/watch the dog while you snap away on the camera.
What we did was to have Person 1 get the dogs into position (with tons of treats!) while remaining on leash while the Person 2 with the camera try to position/frame the shot. Leash to be placed behind the dog or as out of sight as possible. Person 1 to drop the leashes and move out of shot while getting dogs to sit/stay and attract attention of dogs to the camera.
In any case where dog(s) start moving off, you have at least 1 person free to go after the dog(s). Not an ideal situation where the dog runs off, so it is important to train sit/stay in high distraction places. Maybe visit the same place a few times if possible around the same timing, just sitting around to watch the cars drive by and listen to the loud noises. Hahaha.
In total, we took about 2 hours walking from Wheelock Place to Tanglin Mall and back, then to Ion Orchard. We stopped many times for photos, and also to treat the dogs for being well-behaved and hydrating them.
Oh and we had to cross a few roads along the way, but because Orchard Road consisted of mostly underpasses, traffic light crossings were quite a distance away from the main road (to reduce heavy foot traffic). So we kind of walked round and round trying to find the pedestrian crossings.
We did catch the attention of passersby watching us with curiosity and amusement. Well, we expected that to happen anyway. HAHAHA.
Just a note of caution if you go when there’s a high volume of human traffic: Expect Photobombs.
Too bad the tree wasn’t exactly ready yet. It would have been really fun to take photos there (or inside).
By the end of the night, I was utterly tired. No joke carrying a DSLR with a flash attached for such a long period.
- Walking distance: ~3km
- Time taken: ~2hours
Would I do this again? YES! I wouldn’t mind going again this year, but maybe start practicing more outdoor night shots with flash…? I honestly have not done so since last year.
Been wanting to blog this for er…. a full year already! Time to plan for this year’s! I heard the official lights up ceremony was 2 days ago. Heh. Just in time!
Do you take festive photos of your dog(s)? How do you do it? Let me know if you have any tips and tricks to make things easier!