Shot off my balcony in Thailand.
I traded in my city view for something a bit more upscale in July. I deceided I’d had enough of Pattaya and moved further out and in exchange I got this for an evening view now.
During the day the Gulf of Thailand is visible and I live on the 12th floor of a 15 story building. The only downside was the local pigeon population was using my balcony as a love motel and were fornicating endlessly besides crapping everywhere on my balcony. That has now been resolved.
Last night I setup my A7II on my tripod and fired off this shot.
This honestly is one of the views I get when I leave my building and ride the half mile or so to Pattaya Beach.
I have taken for granted I live in a beach town and fairly close to the Gulf of Thailand. Its just not my normal path on my daily wanderings. Living in a beach town doesn’t mean you actually go to the beach. You just know its there and if you are inclined then you can go to it. If not then you ignore it and go about your daily life.
I was riding with my gear gear shoved into my backpack because I had some other work to do and planned on shooting something completely different. When I hit the road I saw the sun setting over the Gulf of Thailand and raced down to the beach. Got lucky and found a spot to park the bike and jumped off. I didn’t want to waste time with setting up my full kit so grabbed my Canon S100 in my pocket and just took a few snaps. It’s why I carry it now because it’s small enough to go everywhere and has a decent sensor to what is needed.
Editing was just a quick crop and then a curves adjustment. I did a bit of dodging and burning and then called it done.
If you are thinking you are at the right site or not trust me you are. Things just look a wee bit different for a couple of reasons which I will get into shortly. As for the image it was taken on the Gulf Of Thailand. Which played a part in all this.
This site was hosted on WordPress.Com and it was fine hosting. I paid $299 a year for it and to be honest the set it and forget it nature was great. The problem is I have hosting that I pay for myself that is also $299 a year that runs various other projects I do. So it didn’t make sense to keep paying WordPress for something I could do myself.
I did a backup of the site and I restored to my server without issue. One of the problems was the theme itself isn’t on the free version of WordPress so I had to pick a new theme. I found one that did the trick for me and I called it done. Well, not really. I went through a few before I settled on this one and did some quick changes and then called it done.
If you attempted to get to the site over the weekend and got HTTPS errors it’s because I didn’t have a TLS certificate installed. That was a quick $9 fix and off to the races I went. If you are still getting weird errors refresh your cache.
Why does Thailand come into this? Well, I’m moving there. That’s right. Not just a brief holiday. Like, full time resident of the Kingdom of Thailand. My plane leaves the 12th of July and I will land in Thailand the 13th.
This has been a long time coming and with lots of planning. For this reason, it’s why I also gave up WordPress.Com hosting. I walked away from a very good job to do my own thing. While I have income coming in – I don’t have stupid amounts of income where $299 is just a blip on the radar or a good night out. In fact, it’s basically my monthly rent for the place I got in Thailand.
Coming in the near future will be another site where it won’t be solely photography focused. Look for that eventually. It’s in the design phase now. It will be my world through the eyes of an expat and traveler roaming South East Asia. Will be video and more. I’m sure there will be growing pains as I learn how to edit video. But it will be something to keep me occupied.
Eventually this site will redirect to that site. One day you will come here and be like WTF this isn’t the site I wanted. Don’t worry, it’s just me doing some DNS magic on the background. I was an IT guy for 25 years or so it’s not like I would be winging it.
I won’t write how I edited this photo. I just figured it was appropriate considering the nature of the post. Enjoy the Gulf of Thailand. I know I will be seeing it a whole lot more in my very near future.
Thanks for reading!
Double extra bonus points if you recognize the lyric and the song the title came from. I’ll give you a hint. This isn’t San Francisco which is what the original song was about.
This is one of those images that drove me nuts. I really don’t like the orange pontoon things. They are designed safe swimming areas where boats and jet skis aren’t allowed (in theory). I just really didn’t like them in my image and I tried like hell to remove them. I spent a good 90 minutes clone stamping, healing brush and content aware fixes and it just looked like ass. Finally I settled on just trying to lower the contrast as much as possible without messing with the water color.
If you are wondering why I didn’t crop it was because I could not get a clean cut-point in the image. So It had to stay. If you find yourself being drawn towards them just hold your hand up over that part of the screen. It will be fine.
This was a straightforward edit for the most part. I did my usual Lightroom and then put my curves adjustment in for light and contrast adjustments. Did a lot of dodging in the image. I wasn’t happy with the way the buildings weren’t popping. I then loaded up Intensify CK and selected the Cityscape present. Then masked that in at a very low opacity and was very happy with that portion of the image.
Still feeling inspired to go through and look at the images I never published. This one is from Thailand. I was on the beach shooting out onto the Gulf of Thailand. While technically not silhouettes the title fits.
This image was shot for HDR using my Sony A7R and an adapted 24-200 Tokina lens. Since I have had time to let the images sit I can tell you the lens had more than a few issues with it. It tended to do some weird chromatic aberrations. It also wasn’t the sharpen lens in the world either. Not saying my $1000 Sony FE 24-240 is either but it’s a lot sharper than the Tokina. When you are lazy and don’t like changing lenses you take the trade off and usually with landscape stuff you aren’t out for sharpness. The human mind is wonderful for filling in details so you can get away with it.
When I went to edit I didn’t even bother with the HDR. The entire series I shot was dark. Not sure if it was me or the camera but the images coming out are just too dark. In fact, I used the +2 exposure to make this image. I just brought the exposure down to get the image to where I wanted it. Then into Photoshop for heavy lifting. I spent a ton of time cleaning dust bunnies off the image. Part of this was my own laziness on not cleaning my lens and part of this was shooting on a beach. So if you see a dust bunny it was my fault.
Once in Photoshop I put the crop in. I wanted a panoramic feel. I then put in a curve to add contrast. Then only a wee bit of dodging to lighting stuff up in specific areas. The image felt cooler than I wanted so into Color Efex and just added a quick filter. Got the light to where I wanted it and called it done.
This is from Thailand I shot a few years ago. No idea why I didn’t publish it. Likely because I had no idea how edit it.
I shot this in the Bali Hai area when I first went there on a motorbike. It was the first time I had gotten the nerve up to ride a bike there. All previous trips I relied on public transportation. With this trip I was with my friend who was an experienced rider. We ended up going all over the place. In fact, my first ride was some ridiculous ride into the middle of Rayong with nothing around for miles. The reason we went? Just because we could. While I don’t recommend riding to the middle of nowhere you first trip out on a bike. I do recommend getting a bike. The sense of freedom you get is well worth it.
This was shot on an Olympus EM5 with the Panasonic 20mm. I carried this under the bike seat and it served me well for wandering around type shots. When I went to edit this I kept it basic. Pushing micro 4/3 files can lead to weird artifacts. So basic adjustments then into Photoshop for a quick curves adjustment then some local dodging/burning.
I seem to have a thing for nautical photos when I’m not editing architectural photos. This one was taken in Thailand with a Ricoh GR.
Go to any tourist beach in Thailand and you will see a few things. People selling you stuff you don’t want or need. People trying to convince you to rent a jet ski. People convincing you to take a speedboat to whatever island happens to be near. I highly recommend not doing any of these things.
When you consider the sheer number of times I have been to Thailand there are things I know. Most of these thing have been learned either first hand or by first hand accounts. Stuff you don’t want or need is massively inflated and its junk. Jet ski scams are so common they post warnings on most countries foreign services offices. Boating safety is a joke at best. It’s weekly you read about some boating accident over there. You can look at the picture and see the lady standing up and the hull packed with people. Good luck on enough life jackets.
With all that said I still liked the image.
Editing wise it’s pretty straight forward. The one issue with Thailand is the bright light and the sky and the water can often turn into one color. I wanted to make sure there was clear separation. I used gradients to make sure the color tones were correct for each of them. I did some dodging and burning to bring out the details of the people in the boat. I also kicked up the area along the shore to make it bit brighter to give the perspective of standing there. Bit of sharpening and done.
This is a sunset in the Gulf of Thailand. I shot it in Jomtein, Thailand while I was down there doing some other photography stuff that day. I parked my bike in the lot which is why I got lucky when I saw the sunset and grabbed a few frames.
I published a similar photo to this in 2015. I waited for the guy who was standing in the center of the frame to move out. I was in my anti-humans in my photos phase. I was going through my archives for a series and saw it and figured why not edit it again. Knowing a wee bit more about editing then I did now. And I gotta say the human looks better in the scene.
Editing wise I didn’t do to much. I deliberately left it low key to silhouette the ground stuff to keep the focus on the sky. Once I had the light right I brought it into Intensify CK and bumped the sky. Quick mask to get the sky in at one opacity and the ground at another to keep it similar. I then loaded up Color Efex and played with the hue/saturation to make it much warmer. I also tweaked it with Pro Contrast too. Finally Noiseless Pro to remove the noise from the sky and masked that bit in. After nearly 8 hours of solid editing today I was very happy to call this done.
Why not wrap the week up with a sunset from Thailand? This was taken along the beach on the Gulf of Thailand. You can see Koh Larn (koh means island in Thai) in the distance and a little bit of Pratumnak on the left.
The beach I was on had all these weird rocks. I have no idea what they were but they looked good in the water with the sun setting. I have published previous images that were similar but I really liked this one. It seemed the HDR just made it pop nicely.
Editing was done in Aurora 2017 and doing the conversion myself. I just add layers until I am happy with the final product then taking it into Photoshop for some final work. One of the things I have to do is defringe all the images. While Aurora can do it Photoshop does a much better job in the Camera Raw Filter. Once that was done it was spot removal and then some dodging and burning and done.