Categories
HDR Photography Travel Photography

Golden Idols

This was taken at Wat Nong Yai in Thailand. The same place as Stupa Steps was taken. These two were tucked under a small awning providing shade near the stupa.

For the uninitiated the statue on the right is Buddha. The one on the left is Ch’i-t’zu who was a Chinese monk. It gets complex and if you want to read about it follow this link.

In Thai Buddhism you will see all sorts of stuff mixed in. It’s not at all like the Tibetan Buddhism that most people seem to know. In Thai Buddhism you will see Hindu gods, animist beliefs, and spiritualism all mixed in. You get used to it after a bit and it seems to work for the average Thai person. Personally I think it makes things interesting.

It’s fairly obvious that this is a HDR image. Just blended three images together and went with the outcome. I did bring down the tones a bit in this one as it was a bit too nuclear with the golds. Still, with these type of images the HDR works best when it’s bold and bright. Buddhist temples in Thailand are a treat for the senses with all the decoration and gold.

With the conversion to HDR finished I went to work in Photoshop. Mainly around doing local dodge and burn adjustments. You sometimes have to play with various areas to get features to work. Once I had that it was save and call it a day.

Enjoy.

couple-of-buddhas-ic

Categories
Architectural Photography HDR Photography Travel Photography

Stupa Steps

This is another from Thailand I never published. Unlike others, this one makes a glorious HDR so I’m going with it!

This image is from Wat Nong Yai which using my craptasitc Thai translates to Younger Big Temple. Nong means younger and yai means big. Thai being a tonal language I’m totally guessing since translation into English doesn’t always work cleanly unless you hear the words or can read Thai. My limited understanding means I miss tones a lot and I can’t read a word of Thai to save my life.

The story how I found this temple is interesting. I was at a local tourist trap that I’m not recommending. I could see a giant Buddha statue in the distance. So when I finished I headed that way. If you have been following long enough I have mentioned my awful sense of direction. So I was cutting down side streets looking for the temple entrance. On my second wrong turn I came into a vacant lot. I was immediately set on by a pack of dogs. Stray dogs in packs or solo are pretty common. Most are indifferent but you do get the occasional aggressive one.

Seeing how I didn’t want to get mauled to death I quickly gunned the bike and took off. The bad part was I was on a dirt path. This caused me to lose control of the bike and crash. Luckily the crash caused the dogs to panic as they weren’t sure what happened. I jumped to my feet, picked the bike up and hit the throttle to get the hell out of there. The minute the bike was moving the dogs were chasing me again until I hit the main road.

I was a bit shaken up but not horribly so. I continued my mission to find the temple. A temple being a community space would also be a nice place to check for damage on both me and the bike.

Found the correct turn and pulled into the temple. I had some scrapes on me and the bike from hitting the ground. Nothing serious. So got my gear and off for a wander on the grounds.

When I went to edit this I knew it was going to be HDR. Buildings and indoor stuff does well with HDR. So I ran the images through Aurora and just picked a preset. It looked good and I was happy. No need to start adding layers. Brought it into Photoshop and did some straightening (why I didn’t publish it before). Burned a bit here and there and called it done.

Enjoy.

stupa-steps

Categories
Architectural Photography Landscape Photography Travel Photography

Steps To The Buddha

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.

Enjoy!

Steps to the Buddha

Categories
HDR Photography Travel Photography

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.

Enjoy.

can-i-help-you

Categories
HDR Photography Travel Photography

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.

Enjoy.

guardians-at-the-gate

 

Categories
HDR Photography Landscape Photography Travel Photography

Path To Enlightenment

This was one of those random temples I visited. I previously published the Buddha in see on the right. As I started to go through all the images I shot I saw this image and thought it was cool as well. I like how the path leads to the temple itself. The building on the left is a bell tower that you can ring. It looked to be undergoing some repairs so I never got up close to shoot it.

The editing of this image was haphazard at best. I was doing it between phone calls and uploads of various documents needed to sell my condo and move into a new apartment. So any flaws, inconsistency are me being lazy and start/stopping the editing process over several hours.

Enjoy.

path-to-enlightenment

Categories
HDR Photography Travel Photography

Buddha In The Clouds

Another visit to a small local temple here in Thailand. This one is a quick ride up the road from the condo I rented. I would provide names but to be honest, I am horrible with directions and I don’t really pay attention. I just drive until I see obvious temple gates and then pull in.

Not all temples are the same. Each one has its own unique style to it. There are certain features that remain the same but as for the major statues and stuff it varies by temple. This one has this Buddha rising up. I really liked how the clouds were just behind when I took the image and I knew it would just work well with the gold of the Buddha.

Still growing more confident with Aurora for my HDR conversion. To be honest, it does a very good job on base conversion. I just continue to play with sliders to find the look I want and then bring it into Photoshop for the rest. I really wanted to make the Buddha stand out so I did a quick mask to bring out the details and left the rest of the image as is.

Enjoy.

buddha-in-the-clouds

Categories
HDR Photography Travel Photography

From The Dragon’s Mouth

This was at the cool little temple complex I found while traveling about here in Thailand. I have no idea what its supposed to represent but its not often you walk into a temple and see a small lake with a dragon statue in it.

To get this shot I had to wait for a young couple to finish making merit. The lady was releasing turtles into the water, setting them free hence, the making of merit because you are protecting life. Now the fact remains that someone will go back into the small lake and recapture the turtles for resale at a later date remains open to debate but this is Thailand after all.

If you haven’t figured it out, this is a HDR image. I have gotten better with using Aurora over the last few days and have tended to leave the stock conversion instead of filters then using various sliders to adjust the image to where I want it. Even started using layers within it to get various features I like. Still bring it into Photoshop and do a few things there. I like to run Macphun’s Intensify CK just to see if I can bring a little bit more out then mask it back into where I want it.

Enjoy.

from-the-dragons-mouth

Categories
Portraits Travel-Tourism

Buddha and the Spirit Tree

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.

Buddha and the Spirit Tree

Buddha and the Spirit Tree

 

 

Categories
Landscapes Travel-Tourism

Temple Reflections

I know I threatened more rural scenes but they are on my main editing computer and I’m still sick. Considering I have my laptop right in front of me which has all my travel photos that I haven’t moved to the main machine I just did the editing on it.  As Freddie Mercury said, “the show must go on” and so it did.  I went from depressing black an white to the rich vibrant colors of a temple (really a Wat in Thai) in the off chance it magically cures me of my Avian-Swine hybrid flu that I am sure I have (self diagnosed of course).  For those of you of the inquiring mind, shot on the ye olde Canon 330HS since the ye olde Olympus E-M5 batteries died because ye olde photographer forgot to grab the fresh one out of the charger.  Amazing what you can do with a point and shoot.  So enjoy the colors.

Temple Reflections