Weekly Photo Outing

This weeks Photo Outing will be guest written by Rob over at www.1ds.com.  Rob has contributed to this weekly several times (remember the amazing tiger and Great Wall shots?) and his work is always appreciated and admired.  Thank you Rob!  This week Rob brings us a real treat, photos and insight into a Thai wedding which he apparently did a great job of covering.

A Wedding

Well time goes by, and young ones grow up. This is evidenced in a large family of girls / ladies, when they start getting married off and living their own lives. This time it was Sao's younger sister "Em"'s turn at the threshold (mental note here, not sure what one would call it in Buddhist terms..... Please email me and let me know)

As usual, it's wake up before the roosters for a Thai wedding. In fact, some of them stayed awake all night. Em was out early to get her makeup and hair done. The event kicked off downstairs at 7am sharp (in Thai terms) and therefore plenty of preparation time was needed.

The family had arrived early to prepare the feast and to set up for the guests, speeches and other formalities.

I've been asked to take the photos along with Sao. This is an ominous responsibility, as you only get one go at it.

The Roosters started to crow and Em popped out for the first time. It was almost hard to recognise her in that attire. The light was soft and we were upstairs and I was stalking her for some shots.

For the first, pre-wedding lot, I wanted to get some of that juicy light coming in through the doors and windows.

Bride  Bride in B&W

One of my techniques was to use B&W in my post processing. I like the understated look of the B&W, makes it quite elegant. Others thought it needed more contrast and processing. Almost everyone thought that the colour one was better.

The monks arrived "en force" into the areas set up for them. As in all of these events, we had some facilitators that guide the participants through the process. Like a western wedding, there are the basics and there are the bits that they make up as they go along. This day was no different and I saw a few things that were not normal to me.

Chanting monks

The monks proceeded, with the aid of the facilitator, to chant and go through the myriad of processes needed to correctly bless the loving couple. After an hour you can see that sitting on their knees (the Bride and Groom) is getting uncomfortable, man I know this feeling! In the photo above you can see the string connecting all of the Monks as one, it also connected to the Buddha setup in the corner, and over to the Bride and Groom. If I am not mistaken, the people sitting in and around the room also got into the string deal. Apparently it makes you all as one for the blessings, or something like that. Don't try and ask anyone, there will seventeen different answers.

Blessing Blessing

The facilitator took the blessed chalk dust (I cannot describe it in a better way.... there is a Thai word for it, probably "Chalk dust") which was mixed with the holy water (Blessed water that has candles melted into it... don't ask!!) to make a paste. This is then planted in formal dots and shapes on the Bride and Grooms foreheads.

Feeding ritual

Next we had a feeding ritual. This was new to me. They had to feed each other. I remember feeding the Monks (well, giving them food), but this was new.

I used an overhead technique to make it more interesting.

The Facilitator always seems to be an older chap who's been there done that.

Father of the bride

I took this picture with some fill flash. It was challenging due to the background lighting. I like the way he's halo'd by the light.

Paying respect

Em and Ek (Egg) show respect to the Monks through the process.

Melancholic bride

Em takes a breath through the proceedings. It's a tiring day!! And a long one! I preferred Black and white here for some reason.

Happy groom

I thought the Groom could look happier. Again I liked B&W here for the mood, and it represented the action better somehow.... (Blinking action)

So here's a quick look at Em & Ek's Wedding day in Surat Thani. 2008!!

Enjoy!