Call wild
By Rituraj Borkakoty
Friday, June 29, 2012

A night safari at the Al Ain zoo brought out primal instincts and mighty roars — and some great photo-ops

It’s a nice change when, on a whimsical break, you get to leave the hustle and bustle of a big city, and soak in small-town trappings. Like the lush greenery. The laidback pace. And the absence of chaos.

In Al Ain, nicknamed 
the Garden City of the 
UAE, you tend to fall in love with the simplest pleasures of life.

Life here moves at the pace of a vintage car and you love the fact that you actually get the time to stop in your tracks to admire the rocky mountains looming ahead in the not-so-distant horizon.

This time, however, I was not in Al Ain to make my way all the way up to the high point of Jebel Hafeet on the outskirts. So, I didn’t have the time to enjoy the view of Al Ain from the hilltop — but I did get a chance to spend an enchanted evening at the zoo, courtesy Canon, Middle East, who were out to prove that, with a camera in hand, we — an assorted gathering of journos — could click photos in the fading light (or in low light) like pros.

It was evening when we reached the much-vaunted Al Ain zoo, and we hopped into a toy train to enjoy a rambling ride, getting to chug while an impressive line-up of animals — there are about 4,000 of them — strutted about.

I have never been much of a zoo person, and have resolutely disregarded friends’ past attempts to make me accompany them to a trudge down to animal kingdom. But this time, I have to admit I was probably missing something pretty spectacular.

There was a point, while I was in the throes of the toy-train joyride (and clicking away furiously, of course), when I felt I was out in the African wild, making eye contact with some of the most magnificent creatures in the world.

The cheetahs, in particular, fascinated me: lithe and supple, they made me think it is probably them who inspire supermodels to do the catwalk.

When the towering giraffes lowered their heads to chew on the carrots I offered (a bit nervously!), I indulged in some ego-trip in fantasyland, feeling I was in some other world where an epic, tall hero was bowing in deference to my wish.

Then, came the moment we were all waiting for with bated breath: the time to say hello to the King. Seeing the majestic white lion ambling about on the other side of a glass-panelled facade almost gave me goose bumps, and just as I was about to train the camera lens on to him, Mr King decided to play hide and seek. He slowly moved behind a giant rock, completely disappearing… And we were like, well, that’s it guys, good things don’t last.

But then, he managed to surprise us by presenting us with the perfect photo-op: Lion King emerged from the shadows, and climbed up on the rock. He stood there, in solitary splendour, stared down at us mere mortals, and started on a low-pitched growl. Soon, the growl gave way to a mighty roar. And the dark night resonated with the white lion’s call.

Click Away

The latest range of Canon DSC (Digital Still Cameras) cameras is equipped to produce high quality photos in low-light settings. These new models include the Ixus range and PowerShot series: both have strong high-definition capabilities in low-light or night time settings using Canon’s HS technology. Users can then share images instantly using the integrated Wi-Fi connectivity.



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