BigJoe has submitted two other articles, “An Amateurs Perspective of the Four Seasons in South Korea”, and “Krabi Thailand, South West Monsoon.” Now BigJoe is penning a daily diary of his current visit to Thailand in real time. He’ll send me his daily submissions and I’ll add them to this article where the last piece submitted will be listed first.  This is the second part in BigJoe’s Trip Report – Thailand.  BigJoe’s articles are always fun and informative so you will want to follow his travels and see how he experiences Thailand.

Trip Report – Thailand part one can be found at this link.  I encourage you to start at the beginning and enjoy the entire series.

 

January 14, 2012

Greetings of “Hello” accompanied by a friendly wave and sincere smile were among the many pleasantries of this outing.  As I walked the stretch of beach from where I shot the sunset the evening prior I developed my initial impression.  This strand filled with Thais but very few foreigners is beauty defined.  Bookended by small rocky islands the beach is long and flat with omnipresent views of jutting islands and limestone cliffs.  The sands are not cleared of shells and coral making it rough on the tender-footed farang but it is wide and ends in one of the most scenic locations in Krabi.  Today I have five images from here with the first three a series where a young Thai was happy to show his volleyball skills.

 

Greetings of “Hello” accompanied by a friendly wave and sincere smile were among the many pleasantries of this outing. As I walked the stretch of beach from where I shot the sunset the evening prior I developed my initial impression.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 9 at 1/100th sec 16mm (25.6mm equivalent) ISO 100

(Handheld)

 

 This strand filled with Thais but very few foreigners is beauty defined. Bookended by small rocky islands the beach is long and flat with omnipresent views of jutting islands and limestone cliffs. The sands are not cleared of shells and coral making it rough on the tender-footed farang but it is wide and ends in one of the most scenic locations in Krabi.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 9 at 1/100th sec 16mm (25.6mm equivalent) ISO 100

(Handheld)

 

 Today I have five images from here with the first three a series where a young Thai was happy to show his volleyball skills.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 9 at 1/100th sec 16mm (25.6mm equivalent) ISO 100

(Handheld)

At the far end of the beach are a series of small rocky islands and a harbor on the mouth of a large inlet.

 

At the far end of the beach are a series of small rock islands and a harbor on the mouth of a large inlet.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 9 at 1/40th sec 16mm (25.6mm equivalent) ISO 100

(Handheld) 

Boats come and go while fishermen line the bank making for the possibility of some interesting compositions.

 

Boats come and go while fishermen line the bank making for the possibility of some interesting composures.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 5 at 1/30th sec 16mm (25.6mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

As I walked the entire area I realized the unique terrain accompanied by changing tides and weather conditions make this area is a photographic gold mine.  Only two kilometers away tourists line the beaches of Ao Nang snapping away with their point and shoot cameras and cell phones.  In a single moment hundreds of eyes view display screens where the sun setts much the same as a hundred other displays.  How long will it be before this undeveloped stretch of beach becomes a liquid crystal lined shot of similarity?     


January 15th, 2012

 

Continuing from where I turned back the previous day I followed the beach into the harbor passing watercraft of every size, shape and state of seaworthiness. A few were under construction with more in for repair along side the abandoned craft or two being salvaged for parts . Boats continuously navigated the channel slowing to produce less wake as they passed others. These slow moving craft facilitated the capture of images at the slower shutter speeds I had dialed in.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 4 at 1/2000th sec 16mm (25.6mm equivalent) ISO 200

(From monopod)

Continuing from where I turned back the previous day I followed the beach into the harbor passing watercraft of every size, shape and state of seaworthiness.  A few under construction with more in for repair sitting along side abandoned craft being salvaged for parts.  Boats continuously navigated the channel slowing to produce less wake as they passed others adding to the composition when captured at just the right time.

 

The port on the western end of Nopparattara Beach was full to the brim with the long tail its primary species. Craft lined the harbor for as far as I could see while the descending sun set the surrounding cliffs ablaze. The weather has been without rain for two days but the thunderheads are constantly present threatening to open up with anything from a sprinkle to a downpour. I don’t mind their presence though as they add an ever-changing dimension to the landscape.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 9 at 1/100th sec 20mm (32mm equivalent) ISO 100

(From monopod)

The port on the western end of Nopparattara Beach was full to the brim with the long tail its primary species.  Craft lined the harbor for as far as I could see while the descending sun set the surrounding cliffs ablaze.  The weather has been without rain for two days but the thunderheads are constantly present threatening to open up with anything from a sprinkle to a downpour.  I don’t mind their presence though as they add an ever-changing dimension to the landscape.

 

A newly constructed concrete pier juts into deeper water with larger vessels moored to it. Tickets can be purchased to the neighboring communities throughout the Krabi and Phuket islands. From here I shot images on top, underneath to the left, right and behind boats sturdy wharf. I wasn’t alone as others clambered about the jetty capturing images of the resting pod of long tails. I could spend weeks exploring this area with my camera and if I got bored a tour of the local islands might be in order.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 4 at 1/640th sec 25mm (40mm equivalent) ISO 200

(From monopod)

A newly constructed concrete pier juts into deeper water with larger vessels moored to it.  Here tickets can be purchased to the neighboring communities throughout the Krabi and Phuket islands.  I shot images on top, underneath, to the left, right and behind this sturdy wharf.  I wasn’t alone as others clambered about the jetty capturing images of the resting pod of long tails.  I could spend weeks exploring this area with my camera and if I got bored a tour of the local islands might be in order.

 

January 16th, 2012

 

Rising out of the surrounding tropical forests and jungles the limestone spires provide Krabi with its unique signature. Arriving by automobile, plane or ferry one cannot fail to notice these coarse rock faces that provide attention-grabbing contrast across the horizon. However, capturing their image up close can prove to be challenging due to their sheer size and the dense foliage surrounding them.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 9 at 1/400th sec 24mm (28.4mm equivalent) ISO 400

(Handheld)

Rising out of the surrounding tropical forests and jungles the limestone spires provide Krabi with its unique signature.  Arriving by automobile, plane or ferry one cannot fail to notice these coarse rock faces that provide attention-grabbing contrast across the horizon.  In my efforts I discovered capturing their image up close can prove to be challenging due to their sheer size and the dense foliage surrounding them.

  

t32

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 5 at 1/60th sec 16mm (25.6mm equivalent) ISO 200

(From monopod)

Armed with newly acquired knowledge on how to employ the camera’s histogram I headed to an old location midway between Ao Nang and Nopparattara Beaches.  The rocky outcrop is a location I’m familiar with, as I’ve used it as a focal point in an earlier article on Krabi during the Monsoon.  After climbing onto the protruding rocks I set my camera on the monopod and studied the scene.  Using the histogram I “exposed to the right”, a technique Steve teaches in his article on Histograms.  It’s a sure way to proper exposures every time. The article can be found here.

 

On this outing I shot several images but far less than I normally do. The old technique of bracketing the exposure over several shots in order to have more to choose from is on its way into my mental library. In the future I’ll dust it off for use if I’m unsure as to how I want to expose a shot. The first of today’s images was taken a few days ago at the base of the cliffs in the second image. The second and third were taken on this outing employing my newfound knowledge. The third may be a bit underexposed but shows what I found most appealing to my eye at the time of capture. All of today’s images were processed as I also learned post processing is a vital step in digital photography.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 3.2 at 1/50th sec 17mm (27.2mm equivalent) ISO 800

(From monopod)

On this outing I shot several images but far less than I normally do.  The old technique of bracketing the exposure over several shots in order to have more to choose from is on its way into my mental library.  In the future I’ll dust it off for use if I’m unsure as to how I want to expose a shot.  The first of today’s images was taken a few days ago at the base of the cliffs bordering Ao Nang beach.  The second and third were taken on this outing employing my newfound knowledge.  The third may be a bit underexposed but shows what I found most appealing to my eye at the time of capture.  

 

 January 17th, 2012

 

Gazing out over the water as its waves incessantly drew the imprints of the day into the sand I thought of how I could best describe the small tourist town of Ao Nang. Serenity came to mind as the ambiance of the eatery where I sat with its cool ocean breeze and soft sounds of the sea induced a tranquil mood.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 9 at 1/250th sec 24mm (38.4mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

Gazing out over the water as its waves incessantly drew the imprints of the day into the sand I thought of how I could best describe the small tourist town of Ao Nang.  Serenity came to mind as the ambiance of the eatery where I sat with its cool ocean breeze and soft sounds of the sea induced a tranquil mood.

 

Having already shared the beaches, and boat yards of the area I have yet to illustrate what lies beyond. In my daily excursions along the main thoroughfare I captured many images and will use several to help with this description. The road is busy throughout the day but never to the point of congestion with pedestrians in the majority. Using the walkway on the beach side of the road I avoided the small crowds and annoying suit touts and was able to comfortably shoot from a distance.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 9 at 1/160th sec 24mm (38.4mm equivalent) ISO 100

(Handheld)

Having already shared the beaches, and boat yards of the area I have yet to illustrate what lies beyond.  In my daily excursions along the main thoroughfare I captured many images and will use several to help with this description.  The road is busy throughout the day but never to the point of congestion with pedestrians walking the sidewalks in the majority.  Using the walkway on the beach side of the road I avoided the small crowds and annoying suit touts enabling me to comfortably shoot from a distance.

 

A variety of shops lined the road where merchants sell goods from eyeglasses to street food. You can book a tour in a coffee shop, have a drink on the sidewalk or even get a tattoo in an ice cream parlor, as the businesses are many and multifaceted. Here the food of the street vendor has added the spice of the south specializing in Thai Muslim dishes, possibly be the best in Thailand.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/320th sec 70mm (112mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

A variety of shops lined the road where merchants sell goods from eyeglasses to street food.  You can book a tour in a coffee shop, have a drink on the sidewalk or even get a tattoo in an ice cream parlor, as the businesses are many and multifaceted.  Here the food of the street vendor has added the spice of the south specializing in Thai Muslim dishes. These dishes are possibly some of the best Thailand has to offer.

 

For those who want to brave motoring the small roads of the province motorbikes, bicycles, cars and jeeps are available. Private entrepreneurs line the streets with their cars, trucks and SUVs advertised as taxi services. Caution is advised if you wish to drive yourself around as Thai traffic laws are interpreted and enforced in many ways by the local authorities.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 10 at 1/125th sec 70mm (112mm equivalent) ISO 100

(Handheld)

For those who want to brave motoring the small roads of the province; motorbikes, bicycles, cars and jeeps are available.  Private entrepreneurs line the streets with their cars, trucks and SUVs advertised as taxi services.  Caution is advised if you wish to drive yourself around as Thai traffic laws are interpreted and enforced in many ways by the local authorities.

 

Samlors are abundant and provide speedy transport over a short distance. The normal fare averaged between 40 and 80 baht depending on the distance. I encountered only one driver who was insistent upon recommending venues he could take me to rather than where I wanted to go . Countering with a polite “no” and steadfast instruction to take me to my destination solved the issue.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 9 at 1/125th sec 70mm (112mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

Samlor are abundant and provide speedy transport over a short distance.  The normal fare averaged between 40 and 80 baht depending on the distance.  I encountered only one driver who was insistent upon recommending venues he could take me to rather than where I wanted to go.  Countering with a polite “no” and steadfast instruction to take me to my destination solved the issue.

 

The red “tuk tuk” or “song teows” of Phuket seem to have made their way to the peaceful town of Ao Nang. It’s unclear to me if the unruly reputation of these little red wagons has followed them. I, however, didn’t see many in use as most were parked with the driver asleep in a nearby taxi stand.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/500th sec 35mm (56mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

The red “tuk tuk” or “song teows” of Phuket seem to have made their way to the peaceful town of Ao Nang.  It is unclear to me if the unruly reputation of these little red wagons has followed them.  I, however, didn’t see many in use as most were parked with the driver asleep in a nearby taxi stand.

As my sixth and final day of exploring Ao Nang faded into twilight the endangered tranquility of this seaside retreat came to mind.  While singles and pleasure seekers flood the other beaches lined in neon, Krabi has been the place to bring the children and family.  Ao Nang is growing and its success is bringing change, change that is evident in the scattered signs of development.  On one of my walks I counted no less than 28 tailor shops along the two-kilometer stretch between the hotel and Starbucks.  Is Ao Nang heading down the same path as Phuket or Pattaya?  Is this place really different with its tame nightlife venues targeting couples opposed to the rowdy crowds the cities of blatant debauchery attract?  Will the endangered tranquility here survive or will more imposing feet place mocking prints in the sand that scoff the soothing efforts of its waves?


January 18th, 2012

 

With Thai colors flailing tight in the wind the ferry gained momentum. Standing aft of the cabin on the main deck I watched the billowing white clouds grow as the towering cliffs of Krabi shrank I comparison. Having booked passage at the hotel from Ao Nang to Phuket every detail was covered and all I had to do was be at the right place at the right time. A large open-air truck loaded with a few other passengers picked me up at the lobby transferring us to the same pier I had photographed a few days earlier. On arrival we were shown the gangway leading to deck hands who assisted in stowing our luggage allowing us to roam freely about the vessel. With two decks both having enclosed air-conditioned cabins the ferry had ample room to lie about and relax.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 11 at 1/400th sec 16mm (25.6mm equivalent) ISO 100

(Handheld)

With Thai colors flying tight in the wind the ferry gained momentum.  Standing aft of the cabin on the main deck I watched the billowing white clouds grow as the towering cliffs of Krabi shrank in comparison.  Having booked passage at my hotel every detail of the trip from Ao Nang to Phuket was covered and all I had to do was be at the right place at the right time.  A large open-air truck loaded with a few other passengers picked me up at the lobby transferring us to the pier I had photographed a few days earlier.  On arrival we were shown the gangway leading to deck hands who assisted in stowing our luggage, allowing us to roam freely about the vessel.  With two decks, both having enclosed air-conditioned cabins the ferry had ample room to lie about and relax.

 

After sailing from the pier we passed through the mouth of the harbor into open water and following the coast to the western tip of Railay Beach. Here the ferry took on additional passengers transferred out from the secluded beaches by long tails. With all aboard the Ao Nang Princess set sail across the Straights of Malacca to Phuket harbor. With the winds to keep me cool I caught some rays on the deck throughout the two hour journey. The scenery remained unchanged until the cliffs of Krabi vanished behind Ko Yao Yai, an island midway through the trip. Photographic opportunities were minimal with sea and distant horizon topped by a few wisps of clouds the norm. When we arrived at the Phuket port we were shown to waiting vans that transported us to our hotels. I would recommend this relaxing means of travel to any who aren’t prone to sea sickness as it made a nice transition in my vacation travels from Krabi to Phuket.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 10 at 1/320th sec 16mm (25.6mm equivalent) ISO 100

(Handheld)

After sailing from the pier we passed through the mouth of the harbor into open water and following the coast to the western tip of Railay Beach.  Here the ferry took on additional passengers transferred out from the secluded beaches by long tails.  With all aboard the Ao Nang Princess set sail across the Straights of Malacca to Phuket harbor.  Steady winds kept me cool as I caught some rays on the deck throughout the two hour journey.  The scenery remained unchanged until the cliffs of Krabi vanished behind Ko Yao Yai, an island midway through the trip.  Photographic opportunities were minimal with sea and distant horizon topped by a few wisps of clouds the norm.  When we arrived at the Phuket port we were shown to waiting vans that transported us to our hotels.  I would recommend this relaxing means of travel to any who aren’t prone to sea sickness as it made a nice transition in my vacation travels from Krabi to Phuket.

 

January 19th, 2012

The pounding in my head had subsided and the ringing in my ears was almost unnoticeable as I made my way to the Jungceylon Shopping Mall in Patong, Beach Phuket.  I had arrived the evening prior and linked up with a buddy just in from Korea.  Not ones to break rituals that have been practiced for ages by our military brethren we had made our way to the most mischievous part of Patong Beach.

Bangla Road, also known as walking street because it is closed to vehicle traffic at night, is a neon spectacle of bars of every shape, type and variety.  Open air bars, rock and roll bars, country bars, Irish pubs, New Zealand bars, Australian bars, Russian bars, go-go bars, kathoey bars, hookah bars and almost any other type of bar, club, lounge, pub, disco or watering hole can be found here. 

Our thunder run had started after dinner lasting into the early hours ending with a crawl back to the hotel stopping at a street vendor for a bite to eat along the way.  We had done our brothers proud hitting many venues fast and hard leaving a trail of empties in our wake.  The thing about being on vacation is you can do this without worry of what you will be doing the next day.  Of course after waking mid-afternoon I did little more than nothing with the trip to the shopping center being my first and biggest adventure of the day.

Back in my room I sat down to respond to emails when the knock on the doors came.  I opened it to find a smile.  Not just any smile, a mischievous smile, a mischievous smile that says, “You won’t be spending your evening on that laptop, and you might want to drink water, grab some ear plugs and take a Tylenol”.  This is going to be a long week.  I hadn’t taken my camera out of the bag since arriving in Phuket so there are no images to back this tale.  From now on I will make the effort to carry a point and shoot along to capture the events as they unfold.

 

January 20th, 2012

 

Leaning on the rail of another ferry we watched Phuket Town grow smaller. The thunder run had ended earlier than the first as we had decided to wake early and head out to Koh Phi Phi.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/1250th sec 22mm (35.2mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

Leaning on the rail of another ferry we watched Phuket Town grow smaller.  The thunder run had ended earlier than the first night as we decided to wake early and head out to Koh Phi Phi.

Phi Phi Island is a well-known tourist stop located in the Straights of Malacca between Phuket and Krabi.  We were headed there with the thunder run in tow.  Both of us had been to the island before and remember it in different stages.  I had visited within a year of the tsunami that devastated the coast of Phuket and washed the low-lying center of Phi Phi clean.  The island had been clear of all but a few buildings with reconstruction efforts just under way.  "J" had visited more recently and remembers it in a recovered state.  When we arrived this time I didn’t recognize the place at all and he only remembered bits and pieces of it.  I recall being able to see from one beach across to the other but now the center is saturated with hotels, shops and varying venues.

 

We checked into the first hotel we could find, grabbed a bite to eat and started exploring the island. With my camera in hand I headed to the northern beach and looked for a vantage to shoot from. The sun was setting behind the western mountain so I headed to the east end and shot back across the water. Later that evening the bars lining the beach had shows and shot fireworks into the air to attract customers. This was to be the site of the nights thunder run.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/125th sec 17mm (27.2mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

We checked into the first hotel we could find, grabbed a bite to eat and started exploring the island.  With my camera in hand I headed to the northern beach and looked for a vantage to shoot from.  The sun was setting behind the western mountain so I headed to the eastern end and shot back across the water.  Later that evening the bars lining the beach had shows and shot fireworks into the air to attract customers.  This was to be the site of the nights thunder run.

 

I also shot across the bay to the north using the light of the setting sun with some success. On the walk back to the room Phi Phi was getting busier as divers returned from exploring the oceans bottom. The crowds were mostly foreigners with the only Thais being the workers at the many establishments. Later that night sitting at an open-air bar I came to realize that I wasn’t really in Thailand. I was physically in Thailand but this place had become foreign to even Thais. They owned and operated many of the venues but I doubt many actually lived on the island. Perhaps their fear of ghosts along with the sheer number of people killed by the tsunami kept them away but this was not Thailand. Phi Phi is a beautiful island with much to see and do but to visit and claim you have been to Thailand would be a farce. If I decide to return, it will be with Thai friends in hopes of returning a bit of Thailand to Phi Phi.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/60th sec 17mm (27.2mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

I also shot across the bay to the north using the light of the setting sun with some success.  On the walk back to the room Phi Phi was beginning to bustle as scuba divers returned from exploring the oceans bottom.  The crowds were mostly foreigners with the only Thais being the workers at the many establishments.  Later that night sitting at an open-air bar I came to realize that I wasn’t really in Thailand.  I was physically in Thailand but this place had become foreign to even Thais.  They owned and operated many of the venues but I doubt many actually lived on the island.  Perhaps their fear of ghosts along with the sheer number of people killed by the tsunami kept them away but this was not Thailand.  Phi Phi is a beautiful island with much to see and do but to visit and claim you have been to Thailand would be a farce.  If I decide to return, it will be with Thai friends in hopes of returning a bit of Thailand to Phi Phi.

 

January 21st, 2012

 

So, this is not Thailand? Thais line the small lanes selling Thai goods. Aromas exclusive to Thai street vendors hang in the air enticing inexperienced travelers to take on a lungful only to receive the potent rancor of yesterdays refuse. A solitary tailor shop is tucked in amongst the many stalls with its eager man out offering handshakes to all passing by. To me the sights, sounds, smells and taste of the food are Thai, so why not the feel? The answer would differ among most asked, with some answering that it does feel like Thailand. The absence of the chorus of “Hello welcome!” raining down from neon vestibules may leave some feeling out of place. Others may miss the tonal chatter amid the hum of the city. Some while not actually missing the insect or squid vendors may discover this as a missing piece of authenticity. I did enjoy my time on Phi Phi and will return. My answer to the question is simple. I miss that one element which is Thailand’s heart and soul and defines its character. I missed its people.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/250th sec 57mm (35.2mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

So, this is not Thailand?  Thais line the small lanes selling Thai goods.  Aromas exclusive to Thai street vendors hang in the air enticing inexperienced travelers to take on a lungful only to receive the potent rancor of yesterdays refuse.  A solitary tailor shop is tucked in amongst the many stalls with its eager man out offering handshakes to all passing by.  To me the sights, sounds, smells and taste of the food are Thai, so why not the feel?  The answer would differ among most asked, with some answering that it does feel like Thailand.  The absence of the chorus of “Hello welcome!” raining down from neon vestibules may leave some feeling out of place.  Others may miss the tonal chatter amid the hum of the city.  Some while not actually missing the insect or squid vendors may discover it as a missing piece of authenticity.  I did enjoy my time on Phi Phi and will return.  My answer to the question is simple.  I missed that one element which is Thailand’s heart and soul and defines its character. I missed its people.

 

Up early after carousing the beaches of Phi Phi into the wee hours we gathered our things and made our way to the pier. Here the ferry loads twice a day, in the morning at 0900 and afternoon at 1400. With the exception of the crew there were fewer than twenty Thais on board making up less than 10% of the total passengers. Finding a seat in the shade where I could hang my feet over the gunwales I pulled out my camera and readied to take some shots. On the pier Thai flags fluttered as they do over the rest of the Kingdom. Indeed this is Thailand.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/400th sec 24mm (27.2mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

Up early after carousing the beaches of Phi Phi into the wee hours we gathered our things and made our way to the pier.  Here the ferry loads twice a day, in the morning at 0900 and afternoon at 1400.  With the exception of the crew there were fewer than twenty Thais on board making up less than 10% of the total passengers.  Finding a seat in the shade where I could hang my feet over the gunwales I pulled out my camera and readied to take some shots.  On the pier Thai flags fluttered as they do over the rest of the Kingdom. Indeed this is Thailand.

 

Returning to Phuket we continued our run but the thunder rolled softly on this night. Before the end of the evening I snapped a few shots of Soi Bangla, which was as packed as ever. Families and the more traditional Thailand tourist were all about making their way through the hawkers advertising shows and more.

Sony Cybershot DS-W300; f 2.8 at 1/20th sec 8mm ISO 400

(Handheld)

Returning to Phuket we continued our run but the thunder rolled softly on this night.  Before the end of the evening I snapped a few shots of Soi Bangla, which was as packed as ever.  Families and the more traditional Thailand tourist were all about making their way through the hawkers advertising shows and more.

 

The many open-air bars had crowded at the entrances with western men and women keenly watching the road. Deeper in the bars were empty save the staff. It seems the sightseers, wanting a view of Bangla’s seediness, assume it transpires on the middle of the street. Both of these shots are of Bangla teaming with activity. Phuket like Thailand other inner sanctums are better viewed by those hardy enough to make the journey and build their own perceptions.

Sony Cybershot DS-W300; f 2.8 at 1/20th sec 8mm ISO 400

(Handheld)

The many open-air bars were crowded at the entrances with western men and women keenly watching the road.  Deeper in the bars were empty save the staff.  It seems the sightseers, wanting a view of Bangla’s seediness, assume it transpires in the middle of the street.  Both of these shots are of Bangla teaming with activity. Phuket and Thailand's other inner sanctums are better viewed by those hardy enough to make the journey and develop their own perceptions.

 

January 22nd, 2012

 

The jagged peaks vertical lined walls reflected the setting suns light. Arranged in an indiscernible pattern regulated by the thoroughfares below the spires jutted skyward. S ome, forming a backdrop for others while the upper reaches of the tallest gave definition to Bangkok’s skyline.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/13th sec 16mm (25.6mm equivalent) ISO 400

(Handheld)

The jagged peaks vertical lined walls reflected the setting suns light.  Arranged in an indiscernible pattern regulated by the thoroughfares below the spires jutted skyward.  Some, forming a backdrop for others while the upper reaches of the tallest gave definition to Bangkok’s skyline.

Sitting in my room on the 31st floor watching the city light up I reflected back to my first visit.  From a room of a similar height I had taken snapshots of the skyline.  I later used one of the shots as a wallpaper on my laptop.  Since then whenever in a tall building of a city I would snap a few shots of the skyline to add to my collection.  During my return from Phuket there were few photo opportunities and I still had nothing for the days submission.  Readying to go to dinner and hit the town with“J” I decided to grab a quick snapshot of Bangkok’s skyline for today’s submission.

 

January 23rd, 2012

 

Her image watched over them, as they pressed into every existing nook in hope of catching a glimpse while curtseying or bowing to Her Majesty, their Queen. Red colored dresses and shirts walked the streets, not as a political statement but to revel in the celebration of the New Year. Dragons respectfully waited her majesties arrival before launching into their ritualistic dance to celebrate the coming of their year. The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrated in late January or early February brings with it a festival in Bangkok’s China Town. This year Her Majesty Queen Sirikit inaugurated the festival illuminating the famous Thai smile on the faces of those in attendance.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 11 at 1/160th sec 35mm (56mm equivalent) ISO 400

(Handheld)

Her image watched over them, as they pressed into every existing nook in hope of catching a glimpse while curtseying or bowing to Her Majesty, their Queen.  Red colored dresses and shirts walked the streets, not as a political statement but to revel in the celebration of the New Year.  Dragons respectfully waited her majesties arrival before launching into their ritualistic dance to celebrate the coming of their year.  The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrated in late January or early February brings with it a festival in Bangkok’s China Town.  This year Her Majesty Queen Sirikit inaugurated the festival illuminating the famous Thai smiles on the faces of those in attendance.

 

Parading with Thai flags, dragons and the occasional “Angry Bird” balloon, children and adults came out to join in the festivities. Photographers of all types roamed the streets snapping away at the vibrant colors.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/80th sec 25mm (40mm equivalent) ISO 400

(Handheld)

Parading with Thai flags, dragons and the occasional “Angry Bird” balloon, children and adults came out to join in the festivities.  Photographers of all types roamed the streets snapping away at the vibrant colors.

 

With the high profile visit by Her Majesty, Bangkok’s finest were out sporting their finest uniforms with medals and accoutrements on show. The boys in brown where not the alone as their sisters provided a special escort at one of the Queens stops.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/160th sec 52mm (83.2mm equivalent) ISO 400

(Handheld)

With the high profile visit by Her Majesty, Bangkok’s finest were out sporting their finest uniforms with medals and accoutrements on show.  The boys in brown where not alone as their sisters provided a special escort at one of the Queens stops.

It was an enjoyable and entertaining day void of scams and hassles common in the city.  As I walked and took pictures I encountered many happy Thais eager to have their photo taken.  One in particular, held his son dressed in red with a red hat, smiled and waited for me to take a few shots.  I collected his email and later sent him the images.  It was my pleasure to do this and also to allow him to decide whom to share the images with.  For me, I had found the people I had missed.  I was back in Thailand.

 

January 24th, 2012

  

It’s skin, tattooed with advertisements, cloaked eyes peering out at the ever-changing landscape. The rolling of its wheels barely detectable over the constant chaotic melody rising from below as it sped from its intermediate platform. Never do I remember it being empty though I do recall difficulty squeezing in from time to time. From Mo Chit to On Nut, recently extended to Bearing, the Sukhumvit Line has always been there for me. Siam to Nana to Asok and beyond it offers a simple and inexpensive a way to circumvent Bangkok’s traffic. On this visit I also made used of the Silom Line, the MRT Subway, and the river taxis which all connect nicely. With the cities canal boats becoming fewer and fewer the Skytrain will for me be remembered as the modern channel through Bangkok.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 4 at 1/640th sec 25mm (40mm equivalent) ISO 400

(Handheld)

It’s skin, tattooed with advertisements, hid eyes peering out at the ever-changing landscape.  The rolling of its wheels barely detectable over the constant chaotic melody rising from below as it sped from its intermediate platform.  Never do I remember a carriage being empty though I do recall difficulty squeezing in from time to time.  From Mo Chit to On Nut, recently extended to Bearing, the Sukhumvit Line has always been there for me.  Siam to Nana to Asok and beyond it offers a simple and inexpensive a way to circumvent Bangkok’s traffic.  On this visit I had also made use of the Silom Line, the MRT Subway, and the river taxis which all connect nicely.  With the cities canal boats becoming fewer and fewer the Skytrain will for me be remembered as the modern channel through Bangkok.

 

Perched outside a Starbucks, hot macchiato in hand, Bangkok’s day passed by. Vendors on the street worked to feed the masses while I mulled over how to spend my last two days in Thailand. The thunder would continue to roll as “J” readied to make the last night a memorable one. I thought of the places I had visited and how I had portrayed them in my daily accounts. I have yet to strike the first key on the final submission and that was on my mind as well. Foremost on my mind was the fact that my visit was winding down and I would soon be leaving the land of smiles. Packing the camera in the bag I closed it for the last time and headed back to the room. I had all the images I needed for this trip and would write the final two submissions in Korea. For the time being I would be busy as I still had “One Night in Bangkok” and… you know how the song goes.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 2.8 at 1/250th sec 70mm (112mm equivalent) ISO 400

(Handheld)

Perched outside a Starbucks, hot macchiato in hand, Bangkok’s day passed by.  Vendors on the street worked to feed the masses while I mulled over how to spend my last two days in Thailand.  The thunder would continue to roll as “J” readied to make the last night a memorable one.  I thought of the places I had visited and how I had portrayed them in my daily accounts.  I have yet to strike the first key on the final submission and that was on my mind as well.  Foremost on my mind was the fact that my visit was winding down and I would soon be leaving the land of smiles.  Packing the camera in the bag I closed it for the last time and headed back to the room.  I had all the images I needed for this trip and would write the final two submissions in Korea.  For the time being I would be busy as I still had “One Night in Bangkok” and… you know how the song goes.

 

January 25th, 2012

 

The weight of my Kata 3N1 Pro-35PL backpack loaded with camera, lenses, Mac book and other treasures grew heavier as I marched up Soi 63 to the new Bourbon Street Restaurant.  Following directions posted in a recent column by a man they call “Stick” I easily found the restaurants new location.  With my flight later that evening I had checked out of the hotel, left my other bag with the bellhop and headed out to chase down a few errands.  The next morning I would land in Seoul ending another memorable trip to the Kingdom.  Discovering new skills while relaxing and having fun were my goals on this outing, which I had easily achieved.  I had played hard right up through the last night and didn’t regret a single minute of the trip.

 

Thailand, with it’s varied regions has much to offer to anyone interested enough to stop and have a look.  I believe many who visit the kingdom only see the outer layer but only when you peal the layers back do you get to see and experience the true Thailand.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 70-200mm f2.8 L USM; f 7.1 at 1/800th sec 200mm (320mm equivalent) ISO 200

(On a monopod)

Thailand, with it’s varied regions has much to offer to anyone interested enough to stop and have a look.  I believe many who visit the kingdom see only the outer layer but fail to see that when you peal the layers back you discover and experience the true Thailand.

 

In many ways a traveler can explore the country.  In Bangkok where the rivers and canals provide transportation and irrigation to the local citizens they also offer an interesting perspective to an outsider.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/125th sec 70mm (112mm equivalent) ISO 800

(On a monopod)

There are many ways a traveler can explore the country.  In Bangkok where the rivers and canals provide transportation and irrigation to the local citizens they also offer an interesting perspective to an outsider.

 

In the south the beaches, boats and signature cliffs of Krabi will always be a favorite destination of mine, be it in person or through the many images captured there.  I see Krabi as a natural garden of landscapes where new images forever emerge from the untilled terrain of yesterdays captures.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 5.6 at 1/1000th sec 52mm (83.2mm equivalent) ISO 200

(On a monopod)

In the south the beaches, boats and signature cliffs of Krabi will always be a favorite destination of mine, be it in person or through the many images captured there.  I see Krabi as a natural garden of landscapes where new images forever emerge from the untilled terrain of yesterdays captures.

 

Only with future visits to Koh Phi Phi’s not quite Thai atmosphere and Phuket’s changing nightlife can the fate of these destinations be defined.  For now partiers will revel while entrepreneurs reap their harvest.  May the seeds of their success not taint the very soil they insatiably cultivate.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 8 at 1/160th sec 63mm (100.8mm equivalent) ISO 200

(Handheld)

Only with future visits to Koh Phi Phi’s not quite Thai atmosphere and Phuket’s changing nightlife can the fate of these destinations be defined.  For now partiers will revel while entrepreneurs reap their harvest.  May the seeds of their success not taint the very soil they insatiably cultivate.

 

Returning to Bangkok’s streets with its grand temples, constant activity and never ending list of things to do capped off a great vacation.  The Thai people were as brilliant as their smiles and as warm as their hearts.  The good, the bad and the ugly all make Thailand what it is and without them it would just be another beach full of sunbathing buffoons.  Thank you Thailand for being you.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 24-70mm f2.8 L USM; f 11 at 1/640th sec 24mm (38.4mm equivalent) ISO 400

(Handheld)

Returning to Bangkok’s streets with its grand temples, constant activity and never ending list of things to do capped off a great vacation.  The Thai people were as brilliant as their smiles and as warm as their hearts.  The good, the bad and the ugly all make Thailand what it is and without them it would just be another beach full of sunbathing buffoons.  Thank you Thailand for being you.

 

I will end with an image of the setting sun, as it was sure to have set in similar fashion as I departed.  I’ve been lucky to share my travels and look forward to returning and to do it again.  My heartfelt appreciations go out to Steve for the opportunity, advice and lessons. Until next time, to everyone I say, “kaw hai sanuk” (have fun) with all that you do.

Canon EOS Rebel Ti2; EF 16-35mm f2.8 L USM; f 9 at 1/60th sec 19mm (30.4mm equivalent) ISO 100

(On a monopod)

I will end with an image of the setting sun, as it was sure to have set in similar fashion as I departed.  I’ve been lucky to share my travels and look forward to returning to do it again.  My heartfelt appreciations go out to Steve for the opportunity, advice and lessons. Until next time, to everyone I say, “kaw hai sanuk” (have fun) with all that you do.

Big Joe, out.