This is an old one that I was really saving to publish to Instagram. I have been out shooting most of the day so I’m a wee bit too tired to edit. Plus when this goes live it’s a holiday here in America so took advantage of it by photographing most of the long weekend.
The stairs with the naga guarding the them leading to the Buddha is at Wat Phra Yai. It was the first Buddhist temple I ever went to. Waitress at the guesthouse I was staying at took me and my friend up there. We had no idea where we were going. We rode in the back of a song tow (pickup with bench seats in the bed). We both thought we were miles from nowhere when we arrive. We walked around the temple and my friend and I were mystified when our guide was making offerings to the various other statues at the wat (temple).
Having been to Thailand more times than I can count I know a lot more than I did that time. Now I usually take a ride up to the temple which is all of about 10 minutes away with traffic. It’s usually crowded with tourists because it has a great view of the Gulf of Thailand. It’s not that great of a temple all things considered but I still hold a spot for it because it was the first one for me.
Editing I wanted to bump up the naga that guard the stairs to Buddha. So I did my usual edits and brought it into Intensify CK and played around. Masked in those bits and called it done. Might have overcooked it looking at it now but being tired after shooting and hiking I’m going with what I got.
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.
I haven’t done a monochrome image in a while and when I took this one I knew it was going to be monochrome. It just felt right.
I was shooting some place else when I saw this Buddha. Not really knowing where it was led to an adventure of getting attacked by dogs and crashing a motorbike but happy to report other than some scrapes on the bike and me it ended happily as I found the temple complex.
I like wandering the local temples more so than the tourist ones. You have the place to yourself. You see the occasional monk, or other people doing stuff about the complex and there is always the endless supply of cats, dogs, chickens, and roosters roaming around. Well the chickens and roosters roam, the cats and dogs are usually asleep.
It seems my mother may be doubting my gentleman of leisure lifestyle I have adopted here in Thailand and is strongly suggesting images from the Kingdom so I felt obligated to oblige her.
To be perfectly honest, while this is a functioning temple here in Thailand its also a bit of a tourist trap. Still, I always like to come and shoot it at least once. Over the years as my photography skills have increased so have my images. What was once shot on a crappy point and shot just had 36.4 megapixels of thrown at it and shot on a tripod.
If you look close you will see the dog lounging in the brutal heat. It’s a common sight at temples as they have lots of stray cats, dogs, roosters, chickens and various people of dubious nature hanging around them.
Nothing says serenity like the lady selling sparrows in cages that you can release for merit (after you hand over 200 Baht) and which promptly fly back to her. The professional beggars. The guys taking your picture in an attempt to sell you a commemorative plate with your image on it marking your visit. The tourist bus disgorging a load of Russian or Chinese tourists.
Now, this is the tourist trap temple not the usual one you find out in the villages which are quiet and peaceful. They are on my list of shots but for now, we go with Big Buddha.
I had Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus stuck in my head while I was doing these images. It’s one of the most covered songs ever. Even Johnny Cash covered it on one of American Recording albums.
For those of you that are practicing Buddhist’s I recognize that one of these is not Buddha. For those of you that are unfamiliar with Buddhism here is a hint, Buddha was not a fat, happy guy. I just liked the image.
This week will be a Disney week as I finally got off my ass and edited all the images. So it will be an around the world trip by the end. These images represent nothing that is country specific but were shot in “China”. The rest will be very country specific and very obvious. You will also get to see Florida’s weather in all its glory as the light shifted on me throughout the day.
So I was on the National Harbor for a photo excursion. I took the water taxi over and only had a two hour window to shoot and I was nearing the time to get back to catch the boat back to where I parked my car. It was a hot day and as is my tradition when I am out for shooting I stop and enjoy a beer at some point. I happened to wander into Grace’s Mandarin for my beer and to get out of the heat. It was empty and so I cooled off for a bit and chatted with the bartender then said my goodbyes and was heading to the exit. As I was walking out I saw the giant Buddha and reached into my pocket and pulled out my Sony RX100M3. I asked the security guy if it was ok if I took the picture and he said sure as the room was empty. Fired off a couple shots and went to retrieve my tripod with my Sony A7R attached to it. The door man asked me if it was a A7 and I said yes, the R version. He was keenly interested in it so I let him take a peak and play with it a bit. He asked me how much I paid and his jaw hit the floor. I really did get it for a song. Said good bye and was off to catch a boat.
For the image itself I really wanted to capture the lush atmosphere of the Buddha and the cool light coming in. So did the usual curves adjustments and dodging and burning. Then bumped the saturation of the yellows and reds. Very happy with the image and how it came out.
When I finally got around to shooting with the Sony RX100M3 I went to the Arthur M. Sackler and Freer Gallery of Art in Washington DC. I have shot there before but I did it all manual focus stuff and wasn’t pleased with the images. One of the interesting things about shooting in a museum like this is the light changes from blinding to non-existent so ISO ranges are all over the place. It was a good test of what the RX100M3 can do.
I did this series based just on the faces of the statues. Most are buddhas or bodhisattvas from various regions within Asia. The final image is an image of the Buddha himself, Siddhartha Gautama.
These are all composite images. Still working on getting the kinks out of my new editing system which means getting my Photoshop back to where it was on my old machine. So there are some editing “issues” as I finally realize I missed a setting on my previous images.
I miss Thailand a lot. It’s not a secret and with the weather being horrific around here I miss it even more. There is a wat (temple) near me that serves the local Thai community so after a camera show where I picked up a 55mm 1.2 lens I headed out to Wat Yarnna Rangsee and shot these. It was Noon so the light was horrible and the camera was still in jpeg mode which I realized AFTER this shoot but I liked the images.
I am feeling better from my Avian-Swine Flu Hybrid (still self diagnosed) so I figured I owed it to Buddha to process some more images. Two different cameras, one the Olympus OMD-EM5 and the other the Canon 330HS. I leave it up others to figure out which is which but without looking at the file names.