Gentle Reflections

This is a pool/pond I really don’t know what to call it in a Chinese Temple. It’s near a tourist trap temple complex of the image I posted yesterday. I really like going to the Chinese temple because its calm and quiet and no one is ever around.

I think I am going to take a break for the Thailand photos. I am sitting on a backlog of stuff I have shot and since I have moved and started to walk to work I have been shooing that. So I have lots of options and I need a bit a break from the HDR world and go back to some other style of shooting.

Everyone have a safe and happy New Year and I’ll see you on January 1.




Buddha and The Sala

I have no idea what the name of this temple complex is called. Most of us just call it Big Buddha which is located in Pratumnak Hill. This day I took my friend up there as he had never seen it even though he lives in Thailand. It’s just in his normal area and we were but a short bike ride away so it seemed like a pleasant way to pass the time before we parted ways for the day.

The Buddha is evident but the sala isn’t something you would know normally but its the building. I have shown a few in various shots but never really explained them. They are areas of worship where you can walk in and make offerings to a Buddha or hear a monk recite the Dharma and make an offering to the monk and receive a blessing. Depends on if a monk is present or not.

Thailand being well; Thailand you will notice the the right the small stand with lettering in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Thai and likely some English is the amulet vendor. You can buy some blessed amulets. I will tell you from personal experience from said vendor, that gold isn’t what you call the highest quality Thai gold. It has a tendency to turn green. You have been warned.

Editing was done while listening to Motorhead and the gravel voiced Lemmy who died on 12/26. He was Lemmy and he played rock n’ roll. Go listen to him.




Lost In The Moment

These images were shot over the entire duration of the 6 weeks I spent in Thailand. While I enjoy the landscape/travel stuff I still do street style photography when the mood is upon me. For curation purposed I wanted them to have a consistent theme about them where the person was clearly not paying attention and just lost in the moment. This made it difficult for me because I have similar images that will be used for other series as I work my way through all the frames I shot.

While I realize this is a departure from what I have been showing I still enjoyed shooting it.



Lost In The Moment

Lost In The Moment

Lost In The Moment

Lost In The Moment

Lost In The MomentLost In The Moment

Stretch of Beach

I know I promised a series on my triumphant (not really) return but I ran into a problem. I haven’t had to curate anything resembling a series in awhile so I got caught up on what-is-what. I have some very specific ideas on what I want to do with those images that I don’t want to pt something into a series that I feel should not be there. If you have never done image curation it can be nerve shattering when you really sit back and think about it and then you have to be ruthless with your own work to say something does or doesn’t work. While I am all for publishing images I like just because of that; sometimes it doesn’t make sense when the image has more technical flaws than I like it personally factor. Plus… I will be launching another site for that in the future!

As for this image, I was walking along the beach just shooting. No real goal in mind. Just me and my Sony RX100M3. Which, I should point out has become my “goto” camera. Sure it isn’t packing a massive sensor but the lens and form factor make it easy to carry and you can get some outstanding images out of it.

Back to the stretch of beach and the camera, I think I merged in 5 frames on Aurora HDR. They weren’t shot with HDR in mind; meaning I didn’t use exposure compensation. The images were just fired off handheld. I used continuous mode when I shoot stuff that isn’t destined for HDR because lets be honest, memory is cheap so why not take a bunch of shots to ensure you get 1 useable? If you are worried about disk space you can always delete the extra photos you didn’t use.

Once I had the images in Aurora I just selected the Ghost button and selected on frame to use at the “master” image then let the software handle the rest. You get a deeper and more vivid image doing this, better than Photoshop can deliver. I played with some sliders then brought it into Photoshop and started doing the masking and layers using various filters to get it to where I wanted it. Then a bit of dodging and burning and the usual round of sharpening and done! I know, sounds like a lot but really 15 minutes.




Due to my moving and having to setup my new apartment I am taking a hiatus until the 28th of December. If I manage to get everything setup and working I may post before. With the holidays mixed in I don’t see a huge demand for images right. On the plus side I can work through some of the non-landscape stuff I shot in Thailand and produce a series or two for next week.

Thanks for stopping by.


Just Another Night In Thailand

One of the biggest questions I get about Thailand is what is it like. Behold a normal night in Thailand. The massage shop trying to attract customers. You can see someone getting a neck massage in the background. The various food carts that cater mostly to Thai’s but the brave tourists or expat will eat off them as well. The cart in the middle is som tam or green papaya salad. You can see its a push cart, the one attached to the motorbike is likely a fried pancake (crepes) cart. Yes, there is a full blown working stove on that cart. Nothing says safety like propane next to a 12 volt car battery!

As for how I feel about this image, its not perfect by any means. While shot at a relatively low ISO once I started to post process it things got a bit grainy but it added to it versus detracting. Lots of filters and so on to get it where I liked it.

This is the final image until the 28th of December for me. I am moving from my condo which sold to a new place and I really don’t want to rush editing while I try and get my new apartment situated. So I am taking a break and getting setup in my new place and will return on the 28th.



Can I Help You?

If you go to enough temples in Thailand you realize that the dogs, cats, chickens, roosters, and various other forms of animal life are a common sight. They aren’t pets, they just live there because the monks take care of them by feeding them. I don’t recommend picking one up and scratching them or really engaging with them. There are some unhealthy animals there and vaccinations aren’t high on the monks to do list. Rule of thumb is look but don’t touch.

This cat was sitting as you see him/her when I wandered up with the tripod. The dogs for some reason didn’t like the tripod and usually backed away. Cats, being well cats; just ignored me or would wind their way between my legs. At one point I had setup a tripod over a sleeping cat who never budged and slept through it all. As you can see this cat was actively watching me and I think daring me to come close to its resting spot which it clearly had staked out over the other cats.



Guardians At The Gate

Why are there two elephants guarding the entrance to this temple complex? Well, my quick search turned up the fact that Buddha’s mother was unable to have a child until she dreamed of a white elephant entering her. So I can see why it’s important to Buddhism. You also need to understand that Buddhism comes from India where the elephant is revered because of Ganesh. Thai Buddhism draws heavily on Hinduism. It’s not uncommon to see lots of Hindu elements in Thailand and within Thai temples.

I wish I paid attention to the temple names I went to. This is the one I wound up at after I crashed my bike being chased by a pack of dogs. It was very chill and I enjoyed just having the place to myself. If you are ever in Thailand skip the tourist temples and hit the local spots. They are equally and splendid and without the usual tourists showing up or an “admission fee”. If you like there are donation boxes all over temple grounds, feel free to drop what you wish in the box.




Selfie At Sunset

This was shot on the beach obviously. One of the interesting things about the beach is you rarely see a Thai out there in the day unless under the umbrellas. It’s a social thing with dark skin. For an outsider looking in the dark skin issue is a bit weird but when you go shopping you will see nothing but whitening creams even if its everyday lotion that does zero for whitening skin. So when I was shooting at sunset the number of Thais far outnumbered the tourists on the beach. They came down in pairs or groups and most where there to watch the sunset and enjoy a bit of the water.

This is the first image using the new sky process I was discussing. It basically uses gaussian blur layer then masking it back into the image. It smooths out the sky nicely I think and was pleased with the results overall. Still a bit more playing before I call it perfect but much easier than making 17 different layers and masking them in.



Buddha And Monk

I found this little alter in a small temple off the Naval Overlook in Pratumnak. While every tourist was busy with the overlook they ignored this cool little temple complex so I had the place to myself. Well, by to myself I meant those Thais that were hanging around the temple but there were no other tourists around me which was really nice. They missed the coolest attraction.

If you ask me who the monk is in this I don’t know but he’s popular in Thailand. My guess is he was one of the more popular Supreme Patriarch’s in Thailand. While I don’t know all the in’s and out’s of Thai Buddhism the Supreme Patriarch is like the Pope for Thai Buddhists. Least thats my guess. If someone else knows otherwise let me know.

I’ll skip how I got the image to where it is. Yes, it’s HDR but subtle. I just wanted the alter area to pop and it did so nicely. I have gotten better about how I handle HDR so I can make it seem less HDR if that makes sense.