Gesamtzahl der Seitenaufrufe

Sonntag, 23. November 2014

The "great lake" in Tung Saliam

Since the hill top idea will provide some time to become a serious option for my tours I was remembering the beautiful landscapes in Tung Saliam. An area about 60 km out of Sukhothai City but still in the province of Sukhothai. I had passed it several times on my way back from the north but never found the time to explore this region and mark some spots.

There are bizarre mountains, caves and a bigger lake with another 2 small water reservoires some 20 km away from the lake. In fact a little bit too much for a single day to find out. I focused on the lake and went cross country on my way to find some nice spots for photography. At about noon time I reached the garage of my friend Damm located at the edge of Tung Saliam town. Very closed to his place is a temple at the top of a hill and he thought it would be nice to show me. We went on his four wheel truck and I believe good old Jimmy (my 35y old Datsun truck) would have a bit of a problem to master this steep dirt road. The whole top was crowded with trees and there was not a single chance to get a good photograph up there. Nevertheless it is a nice view.

Next destination was a cave. This time we jumped on my truck. Some steps on a rotten concrete staircase and we where ready to enter the cave. A small hall welcomes us and several small hallways where leading in to the cave. It was completely dark and the floor covered with thick moss. The LED torch was down in the truck, very clever. I had a little inflammation in my knee and did not feel keen for this adventure this time. I would not take the risk to lead some guests in here anyway.

So the lake it is. And it really is a highlight. It looks easy to find on the map. But if you do not know the tracks through the fields there is not much of a chance to find it. I wanted to go on a boat to do some test shots and check out the island. Damm was calling a fisherman on the phone and while we where waiting for him to arrive I was wading into the water to do some first photographs.

We found the three of us in a shaky little canoe. The lake is beautiful, the panorama perfect and many trees stick out of the water. A paradise for photography. Since I had the intention to check the area I did not focus to get the best shots but was observing where they would be. The boat went quick and it was already late again. So it happen I did only see half of the lake area.

When we arrived at Damm´s mother´s place dinner was already prepared. I definitely have to come back another time to fulfill the mission. The fisherman told me he can organize a bigger boat but I have to see it. I also do know too resorts nearby but I have to see the rooms and talk to the reception. And I do need some more spots to shot for the second day. I do want to see the other cave and the two little reservoir. There is another even bigger lake about 30 km in the other direction which must be beautiful too. Well I will be back very soon.

Back home I got the idea of building a raft from empty 200 l tanks. I could leave it at Damm´s place and it would be nice to go out there by myself or with guests sometimes...

Donnerstag, 20. November 2014

Road shots

The Ramkhamhaeng Natinal Park in Sukhothai is an area of 341 square kilometers and became declared as the 18th National Park in Thailand in October 27 1980. That´s where I do most of my photography and of course my photographic tours. Over the years I have discovered the most beautiful corners of this countryside and of course I have my favorite spots. The landscape not only changes rapidly over the year but also from day to day. Where today a rice field provides a great foreground is no subject at all the next morning as the rice is gone. These changes are happen to be very quick. Some times from one day to the other. Dry season or rainy times does make a huge difference as well.  So having guests coming in for a tour means to go out and check the favorite spots for its use. In the dry season it becomes very hard to find idyllic landscapes at all. You can not trust on some romantic hazy atmosphere and it requires specific subjects to create something great. Basically what you do is getting more in to the details. Concentrating on a single tree to photograph can be a challenge of its own. To work it out in black & white can be even more sophisticated. But sure I am on my way many times just for the fun of it too. Providing a photographic tour is not like walking through a zoo. I do not want to take my guests to the same location over and over again even though the customer changes. To keep a tour personal means to me to offer something new all the time as well. That´s why I do not stop thinking of something different to do  and do not stop searching for new locations. Amazingly I still come across new locations after all these years and I go out almost every second day.

It happen to became a habit of mine to do these road shots on the side. Composing a great landscape requires not only brilliant light but means to find a great composition a well. Therefore I often need to walk in to the field while trying to find the best constellation. Sometimes I am kind of late because the light already is perfect or the sky just looks great but I did not match up with a great composition. That´s where the road shot comes in. To try to make the best out of a situation always has been my slogan...

Samstag, 15. November 2014

Sukhothai Hills

At the bottom of the Ramkhamhaeng Mountain Range are a lot of hills not tall enough to be called mountain. Not only that I was curios to explore these hills, I also thought it might be a good idea to make it a new content to my photographic tours or embedding it into one as a special event. You need to know there are no regular trails up these hills. One rather need to find a passable track through the jungle. What you do is to observe the terrain and figure a rocky spot at the top. As photography is the goal you do not want to have a lot of tree tops in front of your lens, right? It helps a lot to talk to the locals to figure the best trail. So it happen I found myself on the way up at a nice clear sunny afternoon. It actually was easy to walk but still straight up all the time. Half way I had a sneak view through the trees.

As you can see it is not to high up but already a nice view. The target was a rocky cliff. The vegetation became more bulked and I soon arrived at my destination.

In the distance I could see an upper peak at the next hill who promised an even higher and more open view towards the Mountains. But this would be a walk for another day. It was just about time to go back down because the sun went down quickly.

Another day another hill. This time I had chosen an area more close to the mountains. The road already is on a higher level there. I recognized a rocky platform at the top with almost no vegetation. The perfect spot for photography.
I parked the car on the side of the road where I found a little trail leading in to the forest. It was ending very soon. This time it became more steep and the walk more difficult because of the rubble ground. I met 2 farmer woman on her way back down with buckets full of mushrooms. I told them what I am up to and ask for the best direction to go. They said I am on the right trek but it still is a long way. The walk became a climb and I had to rest several times. It was kind of late as I did not want to go down this way in the dark. So I paused not to much and regret my decision to carry only a small 300 ml bottle of water. Through the trees I could see the platform several times. It did not look far but every time I looked the distance seems not to shrink. When I reached the rock at the top I was totally soaked. It took me an hour but the magnificent view was worth every step.

video snapshot

The clock was 5.00 pm and I gave myself half an hour for photography and to relax. 6.30 pm the sun is down and one hour to go down should be enough I thought. Up there I did study the hill formation to figure a more easy way back.Walking down the ridge should be longer but more comfortable. Back in the woods the jungle dictated my way. I slightly ripped my finger on some thorns and was ending up in the dark climbing down large rocks following a riverbed. This should be a safe way to find back to the bottom. And it was. I finally came out of the forest only 50 meters from where I had parked my car. I guess I underestimated this little adventure and my time schedule was simply wrong. My knees where shaking and I felt exhausted. The next little store was not to far to go and a fresh cool beer brought back my animal spirits. I believe I had own it. This is definitely not proper for a tour. Otherwise anyone who ask for it is welcome. Well there many other little peaks to explore. Many more easy to enter like the first one. But this will take some time...