Brunei Darussalam


If you’re a regular visitor here, you’ll have known the sort of breathtaking mornings I get to enjoy  from my kitchen balcony everyday. But no two mornings are the same and even though the big bright light rises in the same direction each day, the combination of cloud formation, objects in the sky which are usually identifiable ones at this time of the day such as migratory birds flying in unpredictable formation are what makes certain mornings more interesting. If you’ve never been to this area before (Latitude: N4.6132º Longitude: E114.3614º) and have formed an impression from looking at these pictures, I’ll have you know that I don’t wake up with a French window that overlooks a National Geographic horizon nor do I wake up to the smell of freshly ground double-shot Cappuccino either—but if you do, you’ve probably watched too many movies.

Would you believe if I told you I shot these with my 5DII and 70-200mm lens? Yup, there were this near and in fact hover over the roof tops repeatedly and on many occasions made abrupt swoops in the nearby forest. Why they do this I have no idea but they seem to do so in an orchestrated manner and it isn’t as though one of them has a whistle or that they actually indicate to the other egrets—really interesting to watch. I’ve also come to the conclusion that the 5DII’s AI SERVO has one amazing continuous tracking ability that rivals the accuracy of its EOS 1 series sibling.

What excited me this morning wasn’t the egrets flying over my house but rather something I’ve waited for a long while and hence the appropriateness of the title. The last time this happened, it was several months ago when I  saw it for the first time here. There is a particular species of bird that do not like the hornbills at all and in spite of their much smaller size, they are not afraid to get territorial and defend their air space.

As the hornbill took off looking for food, the fearless one decided to keep an eye …

… and did everything it could to get noticed but to no avail. The hornbill was looking for food and its determination remained unperturbed by what’s going on in the nearby TV antenna.

The little one kept its wings spread out the whole time in protest and disapproval (is this a double negative?) of the enemy.

↓ I don’t know if you would consider this a money shot but it’s hard to imagine the risks I took to get this. I’ve had to out stretch the body off the balcony (my mom who was watering her plants looked up and was really concerned when she reminded me that I wasn’t born with gymnastic abilities).

The female hornbill at the nest would be pleased with this catch. It’s never a good idea to catch a flight overseas and return home empty handed if you know what I mean. Here, a male hornbill seen with a wasabi-coloured Cicada (I could have said green coloured but I guess you get the hint, I’ve not had Japanese food for a while now).

The pursuit continued … until it was out of sight. It has been an interesting 30 minutes or so of my morning.


  1. Ahh those images are simply immaculate and also those piks were worth the danger, lol i am glad you didn’t fall. its a clear indication that what you do is pure passion for perfection,keep up the good work Jan, peace.


    1. I’ve found another location that has a clear line of sight to the popular TV antenna although I have to resort to shooting with the 100-400 instead of the better 70-200mm but better suited in the interest of safety. Thing is, I’m of the opinion that most safe pictures just do not have the same feel to it compared to those that were shot with some amount of risks attached to it.

      Same goes for people who spend half their lives in overly “safe” work environment and culture that they lose their original love for adventure and creativity!


    1. At the time I bought the 5DII, its excellent AI SERVO (continuous tracking abilities to the non-Canon SLR masses) hadn’t been widely demonstrated. It wasn’t until several weeks later that I discovered through a Filipino bird photographer nick named “Liquidstone” on Dpreview that he found AI SERVO to be extremely accurate in tracking contrasty and non-contrasty coloured birds-in-flight. Naturally, news of this excited me and it wasn’t until recently that I was able to put that to test and confirmed his findings

      I am still disappointed that I had the wrong camera-lens combo on hand when I took the “dog fight” shots. The accuracy and the significantly higher megapixel of the 5DII has made what was once a highly capable camera look reasonably inadequate now.


  2. Music and Lyrics sound perfect rite.. Emotionally when i read and see this kind of Art delivered by Jan shim… We could reached you without any question MARK? ( hehehe ) Great job.. as true Journalist, great story. Amazingly I am the one who fell into the 35mm Evolution world ( five D mark two ) and official become the owner of this Poison… so many thanks to you Jan for the helping hand to delivery me of this new born eyes… tiger eye hehe ( sigh :-)… through Interhouse, owing u twice kaizen now…. Bro Kantalensa no regret having this…poison…cheers…


  3. Truly Amazing! Great tracking! Very sharp! I’m still saving myself for 50D as a good walkaround. The 5D is indeed to die for…. well that’s another poison to think about!

    Next, any new macro ‘shot’ stories?


  4. This is simply amazing..right out the pages of Nt’l geographic. For some reason on my daily commute from bandar I noticed the landscape, skies and fauna pops out significantly around Lumut bypass. Or Yeah I envy that balcony of yours…..


  5. You demonstrate a mind of an artist that craves to capture images that continue to wow others. In addition, you’re a great author to your work. Your ability to expound on the images you captured in photography in such passionate composition deserves a bravo. Keep up the good work.


    1. Thanks so much Monica, I had to look up the meaning of ‘expound’ only to realize it refers my writing. Credit goes to the WordPress Team for the platform and opportunity to develop and continually polish my writing skill.

      I refer to the comment you left in PollDaddy:

      2009-03-19 04:40:52 ET
      Jan, I’d like for you to shed some light on offshore drilling. Life on offshore rig if that’s at all possible. My dad worked offshore as a male nurse for years. Just curious what does it look like in the eye of a photographer. – Monica Yong

      It’s a great idea but it’s an idea that requires more than photography and pen skills. Mere mention of “offshore” and “drilling” and you summon the attention and approval of Health, Safety and Environment folks. Also, one needs to possess a valid “offshore safety” certificate before anything remotely resembling an offshore shoot becomes a reality.


  6. I’ve been swamped with work lately and have not had a chance to respond. I’m wow by your support and references to the well respected National Geographic publication. Thank you.


    1. This must be heavenly. Over the years, the ambiance of my neighbourhood has deteriorated to noisy neighbours and incessantly barking dogs. In the old days, you could engage the services of certain individuals to have these problem animals taken care of but such practice seems to have disappeared to a more caring society that frowns on such inhumane acts. The irony is that they care not that their dogs are causing me and many others to lose sleep.


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