Wednesday, 1 May 2019

18/03/2019 - 19/03/2019 - Bangkok - UK (via Bahrain)

I awoke early on my last day and sat at my desk one more time in order to get some work done. As my flight in the evening wasn't due to leave until about 9pm there was going to be no great need for me to rush off to the airport, however I didn't want to be just sat around clicking my heels all day either. Noey on reception had been kind enough to give me a later than usual check out time and said it was O.K for me to leave some luggage at the hostel for a few hours if I wanted to go out and collect it later. After a short period of work I began packing and organising my bags ready for the journey home, ditching some items that were longer key requirements and were just adding weight. Jettisoned  items were several tops that had seen their fair share of miles and a large, lightweight travel towel. My "Rough Guide to South East Asia" book I gifted to Noey, who dutifully placed it amongst the other books in the communal area of the hostel, hoping it would be of use to someone passing through in the future.  

At just after Mid Day I decided to take one more trip to the food court at Terminal 21. I don't mind admitting that one of my favourite things about Bangkok is the food and I am still unsure as to when or if  I will be able to return again to get some more. The food from Terminal 21 had become a mainstay of my diet over the previous few weeks and I was sad to be leaving it behind. Nothing I have found in the U.K quite matches the flavours that you can find across places in Asia or in Bangkok itself. Nothing seems as vibrant in colour or taste no matter how much authenticity they claim. That's not to pour scorn on the food in the U.K itself, but somehow, for some reason, something is getting lost in the transition from the East to the West.

I had originally planned to get to the Airport a few hours before departure, but brought my times forward when it dawned on me that it was mid week and travelling at that time would sit me bang in the middle of the rush hours. I returned to the hostel to collect my things, removing my portable charger from the plug where it had been charging up to give it maximum juice to cover the upcoming hours, organising and re-organising my bags ready for when I arrived at the airport. At just after 3pm I said my final farewell to my hostess, took the elevator to the ground floor and stepped back out into the blazing heat to begin the overly long journey back home.

I arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport just after 4, and in the departures hall folded the straps of my rucksack into position, ready to be zipped away into the bag ready for transit. It was here that the zip of the cover failed which meant that I had to find other means to stop the straps from flailing about. Firstly I wasn't sure if the airline would accept the bag in the condition that it was now in, and secondly if they did, I didn't want the straps to get themselves caught up anywhere which might result in the bag being lost or delayed en-route to London. I tied everything close to the bag the best that I  could using the strands or strap ends available and when the gates opened an hour later, made my way gingerly to the check in staff to enquire whether my lacing efforts were successful enough to allow the bag to travel on it's own.

Luckily the two slim, impeccably dressed ladies on the business side of the counter were satisfied with the results of my endeavours and over the condition of the bag was still o.k. For me however the day was now taking it's toll, and having hauled the bag up and down the arrivals hall for the last hour looking for the Gulf Air gate, I struggled a little to lift the bag onto the weighing belt for its confirmatory 19.4 kg reading. On the other side of the counter the taller of the ladies then lifted and carried the bag from the belt like it was full of nothing but air and feathers and placed it easily into the awaiting tray. "Wow" I said, flexing my arm up through 90 degrees at the elbow and pointing forward, "very strong". It wasn't meant to be patronising and luckily wasn't taken a such. Both the counter staff seemed to see it as a light hearted acknowledgement of both their natural strength and my obvious weakness, the manner it was intended, and refrained from kicking the hell out of my checked in luggage, at least until my back was turned and my focus was moved onto getting through to the duty free area, and getting a bite to eat before the now imminent flight out.

To be fair the choice of "Seafood and Vegetables" before flying could be seen as risky at best, foolhardy at worst, but with a hand in the bowels of both good fortune and bad, what arrived in front of me bore little resemblance to what I was expecting to see or taste. Instead or succulent, fresh fish there was the occasional hint of something that perhaps, once, caught sight of water, encased in a thick blanket of overly greasy batter. Instead of a medley of fully flavoured vegetables, what arrived was a possibly a distant cousin to a British potato chip, hard and undercooked and coated again in yet more batter. On the plus side there was little or no fish present that was likely to make me ill over the coming hours, but on the other the distant cousin and sickly batter was probably what caused me to feel uncomfortable and off colour for the first flight from Bangkok to Bahrain. This was the worst food that I have ever experienced away from British shores, but perhaps, just perhaps it was their way of readying me and my innards for what to expect when I touched down again back on the other side.

The wait at Bahrain felt longer than the 90 minutes it actually was, probably because it is for an international airport at least, rather lacking in things to see or do. After arriving from the first flight I went through the obligatory mid journey stop over baggage scan before taking the escalator up a floor walking past the Duty Free shop and the McDonalds where I had eaten 6 weeks previous, and plonked my "slightly slimmer than before" arse down at Costa. In that one sentence I have probably described half of the places that were present in the departure hall, and all of those that are of any note.

Before boarding the next flight out we again had to go through another baggage check process. Wallet, phones, injections, watch, medical bracelet, laptop and belt out into trays, bag and self through separate scanners before redressing myself and repacking my bag. Sometimes it feels the other way around. Next time I might not wear a belt when travelling internationally. Perhaps given that it was 02:20 by the time we boarded the next plane, it might have been more fitting if I had been wearing a dressing gown and pair of slippers anyway. If I had possessed the foresight to dress as such  and been carrying my now discarded towel as a prop, I may have even been mistaken for to a modern day Arthur Dent.

The flight to London took over 7 hours and with the chair in front of me not in use, I was able to stretch out my legs under said chair until my feet had appeared from out the front of it. In what has become unheard of for me, I managed to get snippets of sleep during this time. 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there might not sound much, but that's only because it's not. With a few hours to go before we were due to land I was as uncomfortable as I recall ever being on a flight and now completely convinced that this was going to be my last trip, if not forever, than certainly for quite some time.

But here's the rub.

As much as I bemoan the lack of comfort and increase of physical toll that the more recent trips have seemingly taken on me, the fact still remains that I have seen and experienced things that many people wont, either through their own choice or through a lack of opportunity. It's important I think to remember that, and luckily there are still moments that present themselves, reminding me and reinforcing that sentiment.

It was in this moment, with the morning beautifully lurching over the horizon as we flew over Germany and Belgium that my I found tears were beginning to trickle. I thought of the people gone who would never see these things, or those with whom I could not experience it with. Travelling on your own certainly has its perks. You can move to the beat of your own drum, travel when you feel you are able to do so, and likewise slow down and rest when you feel that is something you need also. But by the same measure you are unable to recall many shared, personal moments in time, because as there is no one else there to share them with, those shared, personal moments just simply don't happen.

And that, in a nutshell is the danger of tiredness, and how it affects me. 

Luckily though, as we flew over the English Channel towards London, the cloud underneath began to obscure the country below until it was no longer visible. The change from the picturesque, bright morning sunshine from over 30,000 Ft to ground level blanket grey and rain were enough to dispel any and all sleep deprived over romanticised notions that may have been lingering. The smackdown and rumble of the Heathrow tarmac came with not only the relief to have landed at last, but the reality that now it was back to life underneath grey, wet skies. It couldn't be further away from the climate of Bangkok that I had been working and living in.

Coming through arrivals was a relatively quick and painless experience, with the exception of the over complicated and non functioning passport readers. This meant that almost everybody who tried to use the machines was rejected and then had to go and be processed manually by a person and turned what is an efficient, one step manual process in many other countries where they still trust people to do a job,  into an inefficient two step one thanks to the fallibility and reliance on technology in situations where perhaps it isn't really needed.

The last meal that I had eaten in Bangkok had tried to prepared me a little for my first meal back home, attempting to soften the blow between the previous Thai culinary experiences that had been both visually appealing and full of taste, and any expections that I had for the food that I would now be returning too. 

But even with low expectations I still wasn't quite ready for food with a complete lack of either.

That flight away again might not be at such a distant point in time after all


Wednesday, 27 March 2019

15/03/2019 - 17/03/2019 - Wrapping up the project

I spent the last few days of my time in Bangkok running around trying to get some final shots to wrap everything up, as well as watching a few more lb's drop off my weight on the scales. It had taken over a month for me to finally get a boost of energy in the conditions I was in, and now it was here I only had a few days left to make the most of it.

I didn't want to just run around taking pictures for the hell of it though. I had a few ideas for trying to translate the sensation of the city into visual form and wanted to revisit a couple of places to try and get more images of people and night markets but I was happy overall with the images I had. I wanted to make the most of my last few days in Bangkok on a personal level. I went to restaurants I hadn't visited yet, walked more places to see things away from the subway and MRT and took up jogging around the local park during the cooler bits of the last 3 days.

The park was close enough to the Hostel to be able to crawl back if needed, as even the cooler parts of the days were now still creeping over the 30 degree mark. The circumference around the lake in the middle was a measured 2k and I split my time between jogging, walking and drinking water. 3 or 4 laps around here at any time of the day was enough for any session, seeing the same faces multiple times and coming up with something witty each time on passing is tough work at the best of times for anyone gifted with wit. For someone like me without such a talent it was just impossible, but luckily the park itself was stunning. In itself it was pretty enough and interesting enough that it was hopefully able to distract attention from my lack of comedy prowess. No international crises's caused this time.

The night markets as ever were busy and I found that it only took a short period of time in quite intense surroundings before I was ready to leave them behind, bathed in sweat frome the heat of the environment and the heat in the food. Luckily each trip I took to any of these places had proved fruitful with multiple short visits building a good body of work between them. The 35mm lens I had purchased before I went to Vietnam had been worth the money that I had paid and had yielded some interesting results, responding well to what I had been asking of it. I had got intentionally blurry shots, motion shots, sharp shops and everything between. I had been going out with the intention of just getting a few more images before returning, but ended up with enough to spend a few more hours editing down after each trip out. As the saying goes though, you make hay whilst the sunshine's, and it turns out there was a hell of a lot of hay.

My job as I had seen in was to give a representation of Bangkok away from the idea that is often presented or thought of by those who have never been. There are seedier sides to Bangkok obviously, and as limited as these places are, at times it can be hard to ignore the areas which lie on main streets. when you are walking from point "A" to point "D".  One occassion a few days before I returned had me rethinking my entire project. I had chosen not to highlight this particular aspect of Bangkok as it's something I don't like and don't want to promote in anyway. When walking through one area lined with bars, well known food chains and expensive shops I was approached by one lady who looked at me said something to me I didn't hear initially. On removing my earphones I asked her to repeat what she said and she just repeated "I come with you?". This wasn't your "Pretty Woman" idea of a prostitute. There was no glamour. This was a plain, normal everyday looking, perhaps middle aged lady asking to come with me, but it's hard to describe the look in her eyes. Part desperation, part lost. As I told her sorry, as pleasantly as I could, I walked away wondering what else it is I could do? I left her to her own fate past a smiling thai chap who was sat against the railing watching the seconds events unfold. I thought about whether after all I had done, my project was being true and I still think about this. Above this though I still think about what I could have done differently and I still don't know.

I'm not sure I ever will.

There's still a lot to like about Bangkok and Thailand. But this moment changed everything for me and I don't know how to present this, or whether it needs to be presented at all. But I fely I was pretty much done now.

Friday, 15 March 2019

9/03/2019 - 14/03/2019 - Summary of the week

The cold I brought back from Vietnam has been a pain. The odd sniffle and sneeze aside (which is more a distraction that a hindrance) it is it's ability to absolutely sap the energy from you in even moderate heat which is frustrating as hell, even if it is also slightly admirable.

In between these bouts of lethargy however I have still been putting in a shift. I am walking more places, investigating side streets and alleyways looking for photographic opportunities. Some days I tell myself that I wont take photographs that day and try to leave thc camera back at the hostel, but this never works. Most days I take a day pack with me as it's an easy way to carry what I need without my pockets rammed to the brim forcing me into a John Wayne walk. With a bag I still have my wallet, phones and insulin pen fitting into my pockets comfortably, but I can more comfortable accommodate things like an extra insulin pen, some dextrose tables and a blood testing meter for the day. Sunglasses, hat and perhaps a light shirt in case I find myself in a place with overly efficient air conditioning are also now easily accommodated, and I might as well throw a camera in there too, plus an additional lens or 2. Would be easier with a second  camera body in there also and some spare batteries and a portable charging set up just in case. Travelling light isn't easy or even possible it seems but on the plus side if anyone tries to run off with that bag they aren't going to be getting anywhere fast.

One of the things I have tried to do the last few days is get images that I like rather than just those I thing are correct or fitting, although sometimes these things do marry up. There have been times recently when images I have taken must have had a big element of luck to them, but at the same time you do wonder whether there is an element of just being almost embarrassingly well tuned in or hyper aware. There is the colour matching situations where a certain colour or colours will match with others in the frame and too often to be purely chance, but at the same time I can't claim to be actively aware 100% of the time that that is what I am picking up on. But I think when you get into the right frame of mind there's a chance that it becomes second nature. On previous travel trips I have often remarked that for the first month, photographically I get very little of note. After that however something seems to click. I think here, there are occasions where things have just fallen into place and clicked when i have. This might be a landscape visible through the window of passing car, a gate on a van passing front of your subject at a particular time, or an eye looking though a minute space that has passed between the camera and the subject, however unlikely this might seem.

This of course could be for multiple reasons. It could be because I have found myself enjoying everything more again in recent days, but that enjoyment could just as well be derived from the fact that stuff just seems to be working. After reviewing some of the images I had taken in the 3 previous weeks I could see what had worked and what hadn't, and whilst it's still not clear how I'm going to get  everything working for maximum effect, I think it is clear that a lot of work has gone into getting a lot of workable images which I should be able to sculpt into a strong body of work overall. Everyday I edit the images from the days before, shortlisting the best and then working on those first in Lightroom and the Photoshop to get them to a certain standard. This process takes anywhere between 2-3 hours depending on the number of images I've shot over a period. On many days I overshoot, take too many images and give myself a larger workload than perhaps others would. But the cost implication on this run is time alone. I am not paying for film or the number of clicks that I have used in a day and the number of images is perhaps a reflection of my fear of not having a enough images to flesh out my final project significantly.  With Bangkok being over 6000 miles away from home, there will be no chance for re shooting after I leave here.

But I'm 80% confident of what I have shot and that's 80% in the bag already which might yet be enough.  It is a deceptively large bag after all.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

06/03/2019 - Short break in Vietnam before into the Bangkok home straight

I had spent a week in Vietnam just trying to clear down everything mentally. Before I had left Thailand I had felt the images I was getting were stuck in a bit of a rut, like nothing new was happening. I felt like I was just treading old ground, hitting the same shots over again and I reasoned and hoped that a break away might help end this repeating cycle that I was seemingly stuck in.  I needed to go away so that I could come back fresher, with new ideas, vigour and fresh energy. It was a good idea, but  instead I came back into a stepped up 37 degree heat with a cold virus in tow.

The flight back on Wednesday was early, leaving Da Nang international at 9:35 and arriving back at Don Mueang international in Bangkok an hour and a bit later, although I wouldn't arrive back at the hotel until 2pm which is the default check in time. Any ideas that I had about going out and looking for photo opportunities were quickly put to bed. I had struggled to stay awake on the 30 minuteminu ride from the airport to Victory Monument. On the BTS and MRT lines I had struggled to lift my bag high enough to clear the gates, instead having to ask the guards on duty if they could open the wider barrier at the edge of these obstacles to allow me to pass through unhindered.  I was caked in sweat, partly through my new found illness of course and compounded by the heat that had elevated noticeable during my time away. As soon as I found myself in an air conditioned room my body and mind urged me to lie down and resr for a moment. That moment pretty much ate up the rest of the day.

On Thursday I decided I had to get going and packed up enough camera equipment to carry me through the day. I intended to go to Silom, a place I have stayed in the past and easily accessible from my current location using the MRT subway line and have some breakfast before moving onto to the Khao San Road area to scope it out in the day. Khao San is a place that comes alive at night, but I wanted to do a test run when it was quieter, so get a feel for the layout and try and identify the areas worth returning to. Before that however there was Silom.

I wanted to get some use out of the 135mm lens that I had been carrying, the Carl Zeiss Jena. This is an old manual lens and I have said before that it can be a little bit testing to use sometimes, the 135mm and lack of Autofocus meaning that it can be difficult to hit the mark a lot of the time. The pay off however is that if that mark is hit, it is my opinion that this lens can give results that few others are able to match. In Vietnam I had been looking at the work of Saul Leiter and had been inspired by some of the work that I had found of his. He had his own style and it was his personal work that came to light later in his life which was kind of my penny drop moment. I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself to get the shots that I though that other people would like as well as pleasing myself. Shots that I could build a either a single body or multiple bodies of work from in order to get the best mark I possibly could from my final degree module. Maybe I needed to go back to what I do naturally. Wait, watch, identify, react, shoot and perhaps even more important than anything else, do something I don't feel I have been doing with my photography for a little while, enjoy. I spent an hour in the sweltering heat of Silom, in and around the Sala Daeng BTS. By the end of this period I was feeling physically drained, the Zeiss however had proved itself yet again to probably be one of the best lenses I have ever, ever (and one more for luck), ever used.

I contemplated not carrying on to Khao San Road at this point. Even though it remains one of the most popular tourist spots in Bangkok there is no direct line on either the BTS or MRT. In order to get there from my location I would need to get the BTS to the river and then catch one of the ferry boats up to the area of the Grand Palace. From here I would then have to walk the rest of the way in a place that I wasn't all that familiar with. At the front of my mind however is that ticking clock, the countdown is on and ever encroaching so I pushed on.

The river boat trip takes about 20 minutes and even even under the beating sun, the space and air of the river provides a degree or two drop over the confines of the city. after that however it was back to the drain. My legs were heavy as hell, my energy levels were flat and it seemed that if I could find any little imperfection on the walkways to trip or stumble over I would do so and there are very few perfect surfaces in Bangkok. I found areas where there was little shelter to hide under and walked routes I had been before, getting flashbacks in certain places from events I had witnessed in the past. The familiar areas were still similar enough for me to recall bits in parts, but enough changed had happened that I never found myself completely sure of where I was. But after 5 years this change could just as much be down to my once reliable memory being less reliable also.

Khao San Road itself was wide, with enough people musing up and down to make the trip worthwhile. I walked up, and then down as the afternoon drew to a close and the vendors began setting their stalls, politely declining the advances of the many smartly turned out tailors that want sell you a fitted suit, looking up and around to familiarise myself with my surroundings for a future visit before returning to the river to begin my way back to the hotel before the light had dissipated completely. Again though the lens proved its worth. It's old manual functionality getting the most out of my part working a7ii. Who needs to worry about the inability to control the aperture with the rear dial on the camera when you have a mechanical wheel on the lens that will do this just as well.

The ferry boat ride just after 6pm coincided with the sun setting over the city, and this provided the perfect backdrop one last opportunity that presented itself. As the boat gently rocked against the choppy river waters, we past some of the sights of the city baked in the evening glow, but my eyes weren't being drawn that way. For me it was how the light was catching the young monk who was watching the riverside pass him by, the orange of his robes occasionally highlighted through the lens, occasionally muted by flare and optics. Religion  is a big part of Thai life but I had only seen a few monks up until this point, and few of these made good images. Here however, this changed.

The next day (Friday) I found myself feeling completely wiped out. I had over done it the day before obviously so the was no real option other that accept this and retire myself for the day, only breaking cover from the hotel a couple of times to get food before returning to the to room to do photo editing and the like. The effort on the Thursday had been worth it though and had been productive in a few ways, but it was mainly that it had produced a good number of usable images in a relatively condensed period of time, and I had started to enjoy myself again.

very short vietnam clip

Thursday, 28 February 2019

24/02/2019 Shutter Island. Something is missing

I had been getting some good results with the lenses that I had been using, but I still feel like I was missing out by not having the kit lens (28-79))with me on this occasion. This was a lens that had served me well previously when in this part of the world and this time I felt it would have nicely filled the gap between the 24mm lens and the 50mm I am carrying. The kit lens (despite its criticisms) I personally found to be sharp as anything at the 28-35 range which is where I utilised it, but it's Achilles heel was low light. It had a variable aperture of 3.5 - 5.6 which meant it was definitely better suited to daytime situations where it did really well.

I had looked into getting a replacement whilst in Bangkok but there wasn't much that was jumping out at me and grabbing my attention. Brand new the Sony 28-70 was still around the £450 mark and second hand versions were proving to be elusive. Previously listings had shown used lenses to be going for around the 160 mark which I would be happy enough to pay if I could find one.  Frustratingly this is also around the price that Sony charge on top of the body to include it brand news as part of the kit. I'm sure that if they sold it for slightly more as a stand alone unit rather than over double the cost, then maybe more people would pick one up and realise that it's actually got more merit to it. But with a tin hat on, you could probably find an argument to say that maybe Sony just want people to buy the more expensive lenses out there anyway.

Looking at alternative options there were a number of cheaper solutions, The cheap cheap way would involve buying a 28 or 35mm manual lens for around 4000 baht, but truth be told if I was going to get hold of anything I would rather it be autofocus. The 50mm that I have I love to bits, but in a fast moving environment such as Bangkok, it can be frustrating when you miss something that the autofocus might have caught. Speed obviously isn't everything, but the nice thing about having an autofocus lens is that you can always switch it to manual. The reverse scenario just isn't so.

A slightly more expensive solution was the Samyang 35mm 2.8. I had looked at these when I was considering replacements for my kit when it broke, but ultimately plumped for the 24mm as time at that moment was of the essence and I needed to pick up something quickly before getting some protest photography in London. I knew from the reviews that I had read at the time that this was a lens that optically wise at least was held in high regard, but missed out on some features that a more expensive lens might benefit from. Namely these are weather sealing and perhaps a tougher shell. The advantages to this cheaper construct though are a lesser price and lighter weight, and both these things are beneficial. The Samyang weighs less than 80 grams and is, it has to be noted very, very compact.

The Samyang has a retail price in Bangkok of 11900 baht (£284.16), making it ever so slightly more than the £279 price point back in the U.K and this the price across the board. Which ever camera shop you go in here prices do not tend to fluctuate greatly, 11900 baht in one is 11900 baht in another and 8390 in another. This was new. I had checked this shop only a couple of days before and this was a fresh drop in price as indicated by the hand scribbled figure under the previous price that had been struck through. A quick conversion of this price brought it in at £200.34, this was around the price you could expect to pay for a second hand copy back at home. It was now at a price that I thought was worth paying and after a quick check with the waiting assistant who allowed me to look over the lens itself and take some sample shots, I brought the lens. I presume that this was the ex-display model as the one on view is what was packaged up for me to take away, but it had been kept inside a glass case away from fingers and the store itself was deep inside one of the malls, so it was unlikely that it had been exposed to any elements during its short life. I hope that this can just get me a little bit closer that the 24mm would allow in some of the tighter spaces that I have been photographing in and maybe capture some of the images that I have been missing out on with the manual 50.

First impressions is that it seems like it's something that I will enjoy using and will be able to get good results from. I probably can't really ask for, or want anything more than that.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

22/02/2019 - Lumphini Park

As with the case in a lot of places, you sometimes need to revisit more than once to get images that do it justice. To see and record what wasn't visible or present on the previous visit.

I have been many times to Lumphini Park, one of the larger parks in Bangkok which sits just outside of Silom and is bracketed by 3 busy roads. despite this it is still a place of calm, and in places can be a visual treat.

I got here i the late afternoon an hour before sun down to give myself a little time wandering and looking for lizards. In the heat they can be quite illusive but as the intensity drops I suspected that they may become more active, and so it proved to be.

As the both the light and the temperature dropped down a level or two, the park once again came to life with joggers, cyclists and all other manner of people from young to old seeking activity either on land or water. But despite all this, the star of the show is often just the park itself, the nature, the green scenery against it's stunning city backdrop. Something which I am more and more convinced is appreciated by almost everyone that visits or uses the area.

Monitor lizards perhaps less so, but I'd be lying it I were to say that i don't find them fascinating, even if I am wary of getting too close, These animals of a seemingly bygone age can be found in good numbers in Bangkok, and they are particularly visible here in Lumphini. Thankfully, unlike their big brother the Komono Dragon, Monitors are a bit smaller and seemingly not particularly dangerous. They still look cool though.

A bit later as the sun dropped further you could here the bass heavy sound of music emanating from elsewhere in the park and by following this audible trail to it's source I was faced by the spectacle of a mass aerobic session taking place. It was seemingly open to everyone I would guess that there was in excess of 200 taking part along the wide path from left to right. There's only so much you can say about this, to witness it in action is much more awesome. Lumphini Park is something special and so are the people who use it. They have an energy that is infectious as I found to my detriment 3 years ago (I ran 3 miles when I wasn't really in the condition to do so). I will return here again I'm sure as every time it is a pleasure to be there. Next time however I will only do 1.5 miles...


22/02/2019 - Asiatique revisited

The images from the night before hadn't been as bad as I first thought.  Lightroom had been taken it on itself to over sharpen my images on import and the result was images that were disappointing at best, unusable at worst. However after realising that this was the case, I was able to reprocess the  the images that I had taken previously, and bring everything back under control. It's easy to miss the obvious sometimes, especially when you are tired.

I was convinced there was more still to get at this location however so I decided to return. This time I would forgo the 90mm and the 24mm and instead go with the 50mm Voigtlander 1.5 which has always proved itself at low light, and for the first time this trip I dusted off the old Carl Zeiss Jena 135. This latter lens has also managed to get me some images of incredible quality in the past, but with low light not it's forte, it would have to remain to be seen exactly how it fared. 

As with the night before, it wasn't until the sun began to dip that the waterfront came to life and even then, initially, it wasn't providing me with the type of imagery I was after.  It doesn't take long for the sun to drop in Bangkok so the time to get these kind of shots is pretty limited, but even so I still came away with enough to make the trip again worthwhile. before the sun had gone completely I had jumped back on the ferry and was on my way back up the river to make my way back to the hostel  My energy levels were dipping severely over the days and I was spending as much, if not more time at the computer editing and writing as I was exploring and photographing. I love Bangkok but for some reason it does tend to drain me a little bit more than I would like and I'm not sure if it's just the heat, the pace or the air quality. Whatever the reason I began to think that perhaps it was coming to a time where I would be better served taking a week out somewhere and getting re-organised. 

It's worth noting here that both lenses performed well in the conditions, and I may comeback to Asiatique one more time to see if I can capture some more of the place away from the waterfront area.