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Donnerstag, 14. März 2013

Landscapes and famer in Sukhothai

Paul came with the bus from Bangkok and had originally booked the Bhumibol Dam Tour on Wednesday. He was impressed by my landscape photographs and wanted to do a tour here in Sukhothai first. He particularly was interested to see the locals live.
In addition, he had just bought new ND filters in England and wanted to try them out. Since you don't need filters to compensate the contrast in digital landscape photography any more, they're mainly used to extend the exposure time. Floating water or fast moving clouds are best suited. It is impossible to pull everything off in one day.

I picked him up from his resort at 6:15 a.m. because we wanted to shoot in front of the Khao Luang Mountain Range in the very first light.

It was a cloudless morning and the panorama landscape provided fantastic light from the side. A fresh breeze had clean up the air and gave us a clear view.
It's wonderful to be in the landscape in the morning.

Generally this kind of light will only last for a single subject. Still, we didn't want to leave out this tree which was right "around the corner" and so we hurried to the car.

The sun rose fast and produced a glaring light. When we were on the road, a farmer drove his herd of cattle to the next pasture. While I talked to the farmer and lead him out of the shadows, Paul got the shots he wanted so badly. Sometimes such an assistant would come in handy for myself.

The neighbour came with her motorcycle and joined us. She had a small rubber tree plantation and explained the whole production process to us. She sells the rubber to a middleman, who then passes them to the big factories. She gets 20 Baht for one Kilo of raw rubber.

After we left and got invited to drink Lao Kao (moonshine) in the evening, we met a mother with her son in front of their house. She was sceptical at first, since her husband was working on the field, but with some explaining words everyone gives in. Paul made some portraits of them and we continued on.

Lets find some floating water. At this time of the year the beautiful Sai Lung ( rainbow) waterfall only has water in the upper area. That would be an all day climbing tour, which we didn't have time for.
Another little river lead to a second tiny waterfall. It is only accessable in the dry season. That was our destination. This area is still part of the Ramkhamhaeng National Park.
The start of the trail to the waterfall is located at a small lake which was a nice subject to photograph.

The river course was lined with rock formations which were just inviting us to photograph, but the main point was to try the filters. We arrived at the waterfall where a group of kids were having fun. They jumped from the rocks into the water and competed for the best cannonball. I also took my filter along and so we started shooting long exposure.
Some editing on the computer gave it the impression of reality.

On our way from the waterfall we saw varous families that made vases in plaster molds, which then were burned. It was an elderly couple with their grand children. It was a longer photo session with the striking and friendly husband. Paul took photos and the questions seemed to have no end.

It was time to prepare for the evening landscape session. We drove to the other side of the mountain group. A burned sugar cane farm revealed a tree and the mountains.

When the sun was almost down we scattered fires in the forest to our side. On the wide field it posed no danger to us. With the long lens we  made our last dramatic shots...

It was a tiring day. Usually my tours consisted of about 6 hours but it was a lot of fun and photography. Paul wanted to go to Chiang Mai the day after tomorrow. The improvement of his post-processing skills was more important than the Bhumibol Dam Tour. So on the next day we sat on the computer. Asking Paul for his honest opinion about the tour, he ensure me that it was first class. Without the specific knowledge of the area and my language skills he never would have gotten those shots, he said. With new earned Photoshop skills and a few extra tricks his work will definitely gain more expression.

A few days later Paul send me one of the portraits he made on the tour:

© photographer  Paul Grace 2013

I got a call from Anthony v. Loh from Bangkok. On the weekend he wanted to go to the Bhumibol Dam with 3 of his colleagues. We agreed on the 6./7. April. I talked to Rob on the phone a few minutes later... The tour was full.

But first, on Monday, I will be on my way in to the jungle to the biggest waterfall in Thailand at the Burmese border...