Friday, October 31, 2008

Old Photos From A New Perspective

With the rise of HDR photography, many plugins and programs have been created to produce this effect. Some merely pump up the contrast, sharpness, and colour saturation to get a more surrealistic feeling. They do however give a new feel to some old photos I dug up, as well as a few current ones. Tell me what you think.

The Emerald Buddha Temple, Bangkok

TugBoat, Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

Speed Demon, New Kingston


Monday, October 20, 2008

Last Night In Bangkok..

So the stay in Bangkok was a bit too long for me. The sites were great but a week would have been enough. Its a lovely place but there are too much you have to contend with all at once... the language barrier bieng the first.

So I say goodbye to Thailand with a few parting night shots. Most of the interesting places I could reach were close, unfortunately.

The Royal Palace. The Guards wouldn't let me in any further inside the main gate. I used a small aperture opening so the lights flared, and a slow shutter with the camera on tripod, for both photos.

There is no way you can go to an Aisian country like this and not ride a Tuk Tuk. They are taxis that are primarily bikes with covering. Its an adventure, I kid you not!! A hand held shot while we sped along.

King Rama VII Bridge

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ayuthaya, The Ancient Capital

We visited the ancient capital of Thailand, Ayuthaya. The tour guide first took us to the Bang Pa-In Palace, which is the royal summer palace. Over centuries it has gone thru building, rebuilding, renovations, desolations... the works. It was at last restored by the Rama IV. Today the Royal family uses the place as a reception hall for banquets and sometimes for important guests to stay. There are a few interesting buildings on the property, as seen below.

This is the Aisawan-Dhipaya-Asana Pavillion, built in 1876, also known as the divine seat of personal freedom. It houses a statue of King Rama V.

The Phra Thinang Varobhas Bimarn Residential Hall, built by King Chulalongkorn in 1876. By this time he was having international visitors, like the English, which influenced the style of this building.

Garden Art

The Lotus Flower again...

Ho Withun Thasana, The Sages look out. An observatory built by King Chulalongkorn in 1881 to view the country side

Views of Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun from the Sages Tower. Phra Thinang Wehart Chamrun was build by the Chinese in 1889 and Presented to the King of Thailand as his royal residence.

Our next stop was an old monestary called Wat Yai Chaimongkhon. It was built because the king of Ayuthaya at the time ordered his generals to be put to death as they could not keep up with him in battle. They fought against an army that tried to overtake the country, and he fought the head of that army on an elephant's back and killed him. However he had to retreat as his army was too far behind him. So he was furious when he returned to Ayuthaya. The head monk convinced him to build the monestary instead to celebrate victory despite the retreat, and spare the generals. lucky bastards. I would most definitely wipe them out.

We visited a few more places after lunch, old monasteries and temples, and the head of the Buddha in the tree. One The Wat Maha That temple was the most glorious in its hay-day, and Buddha's relics were enshrined there. The principal pagoda collapse though soon after and a later king restored it.

It seemed to be doomed from the start, as it was destroyed in the war with Burma when they marched on the Ayuthaya city in 1767. It was never restored.

I Finally Got Out

Friday I went to Nikon Thailand, and got my D200 rewrapped as the rubber on the grip was lifting. Then I visited a 5-storey mall called MBK. It was a ZOO! The shops were no bigger than 8' x 8' and the mall floors were really long so there were so many stores crammed on each floor, in about 4 rows with 2 aisles. It was like an upscale market! And they were selling EVERYTHING! Trust me, you name it, it was there, even bikes and cars and a real estate dealers. That was floors 1 - 3. Floors 4 & 5 were way better as they housed established companies like Canon, a contemporary furniture store, Sony, an Apple retailer... really nice offices.

The photo of the lady in the plaza is the Queen of Thailand. Photos are EVERYWHERE of the Kings & Queen, they are almost like a deity. The present King, Rama IX is also one of the richest men in the world and has been ruling Thailand for 62 years to date. He became King at 19 years old.

There are also lots of stuff to eat along any roadway, but I dont think I would venture there. The bottom photo shows a fellow cooking on the road side... go figure!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Exquisite Dining

Still not being able to venture to the city, because of the unrest in Bangkok, I had lunch today at the Zhang Restaurant located inside the hotel. The food was great but the highlight was my determination to eat with chopsticks. It was difficult... will take some practice but I stuck to it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Safety... and Fish.

Today I was seriously bored. There is political unrest outside (in the Bangkok provinces) as there was a coup of some sort. I wasn't allowed to leave the hotel as it perhaps would not be safe. I ended up taking photos of fish! Can you imagine... great photojournalistic opportunities outside, with some tear gas and perhaps rubber bullets versus... fish! Can you hear the music bed for the background of this picture? High paced dramatic music... versus a rinky dinky tune.. ugh. Anyway I set my tripod to the side of the aquarium with the flash, triggered it remotely while pressing my macro lens to the glass at the front.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bangkok (Not So) Dangerous!

Yesterday we went on our first tour of Bangkok. We visited the temples of the Emerald Buddha and the Reclining Buddha. Our Tour Guide was Sampop Chaisupar, but he told us to just call him 'Beer'. He spoke little english, but enough for us to understand what he was saying. The tour was pretty interesting and learnt stuff about Thai history, a lot of which I really don't remember right now, sadly. See my photo tour below.

Photos 5, 6 and 7 are of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. In photo 6 he is wearing his Rainy Weather garment. Yup, there is a Rainy Weather Dress, a Winter Dress, and a Summer dress for the Emerald Buddha which the King of Thailand (Rama IX) changes. No cameras were allowed inside the temple so I shot this thru the window, using my 200mm zoom lens. Photos 9 and 10 is the old Mansion of the earlier kings, Rama I - V.

"Photos 7 & 8. The Lotus flower. Official buddhist symbolism. Rise from the mud and still clean and pretty like the youth who come through the flood. That is the buddhist meaning (mixed with some new havenism)." -Mike

The Reclining Buddha took me by Surprise. It is HUGE! I used a 10mm wide angle lens to shoot ceiling to the toes. Its like 4 stories high or more. At the bottom I had to show you my trusty tour guide 'Beer'