I was debating which version of the spelling “Ayutthaya” (this spelling is accepted in the Microsoft Word Dictionary and at www.dictionary.com and several major dictionaries, but it certainly isn’t the only version) when I remembered this sign and thought if the Thai’s think it’s makes a great entry sign into their new floating market in Ayutthaya, then it’s good enough for my opening image and title for this feature!

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/60th  70mm  ISO 100

 

I was debating which version of the spelling “Ayutthaya” (this spelling is accepted in the Microsoft Word Dictionary and at www.dictionary.com and several major dictionaries, but it certainly isn’t the only version) when I remembered this sign and thought if the Thai’s think it’s makes a great entry sign into their new floating market in Ayutthaya, then it’s good enough for my opening image and title for this feature!

Anyone who’s spent more than a few weeks inside the Kingdom has noticed any place, street name, building, city, province, anything at all.. can and most often is spelled at least several different ways.  I’ve always attributed this to the difference in nationality of the person doing the initial naming.  I wonder if there’s also some sort of sublime power struggle or pride going on over which spelling is used and when?

 

As you drive into the attraction there is a series of parking areas lining the perimeter and one of the first things you notice is most signs are in Thai only and it has the theme park attraction feeling of a Six-Flag’s attraction vs. an authentic traditional floating market.  This huge ‘log’ made of concrete is a bit amusing, I wonder how many seasons before the paint fades and flakes off leaving it looking less like a log?

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F11  1/125th  12mm  ISO 100

 

As you drive into the attraction there is a series of parking areas lining the perimeter and one of the first things you notice is most signs are in Thai only and it has the theme park attraction feeling of a Six-Flag’s attraction vs. an authentic traditional floating market.  This huge ‘log’ made of concrete is a bit amusing, I wonder how many seasons before the paint fades and flakes off leaving it looking less like a log?

 

These images are in no particular order.  The market is in no particular order.  Stick and I were there for close to two hours and it was rare to see a customer in a sampan.  At the Damneon Saduk Floating Market the market is set up so you can shop by boat, going from store to store, boat to boat, making your purchases and/or eating foods in a fun sort of way.  Here, it’s more of a “boat ride” sort of thing and very few seemed to be riding the sampans.  You ‘shop’ by walking along generously sized walkways.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/500th  17mm  ISO 100

 

These images are in no particular order.  The market is in no particular order.  Stick and I were there for close to two hours and it was rare to see a customer in a sampan.  At the Damneon Saduk Floating Market the market is set up so you can shop by boat, going from store to store, boat to boat, making your purchases and/or eating foods in a fun sort of way.  Here, it’s more of a “boat ride” sort of thing and very few seemed to be riding the sampans.  You ‘shop’ by walking along generously sized walkways.

A closer look reveals many of them are flooded and need to be pumped out each morning which is what this man is attending to in the image.  I like this particular image just for its feel and perspective.

 

Thai’s generally love to eat and this place caters to almost every taste.  Rows upon rows of prepared  foods line the walkways and restaurants are everywhere.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/200th  70mm  ISO 100

 

Thai’s generally love to eat and this place caters to almost every taste.  Rows upon rows of prepared  foods line the walkways and restaurants are everywhere.

 

The signs say it all, food, shopping, and shows.  It also confirms their choice of the spelling “Ayothaya.”    This is one of the few signs also in English.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/200th  78mm  ISO 100

 

The signs say it all, food, shopping, and shows.  It also confirms their choice of the spelling “Ayothaya.”    This is one of the few signs also in English.

 

Personally I love the feel of wood decks, seasoned planks, and who can resist a life preserver being available every 10 meters?  I should of checked to see if they were nailed down and meant to be used as decorations, of if they were genuinely concerned for public safety.  I would imagine this would impart a great feeling on a cool January day, but on this hot August morning the humidity was close to unbearable.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/60th  70mm  ISO 100

 

Personally I love the feel of wood decks, seasoned planks, and who can resist a life preserver being available every 10 meters?  I should of checked to see if they were nailed down and meant to be used as decorations, of if they were genuinely concerned for public safety.  I would imagine this would impart a great feeling on a cool January day, but on this hot August morning the humidity was close to unbearable.

 

This is last week’s soulless  feature photograph. It was the only vessel I noticed with tourists during my entire stay there.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/500th  17mm  ISO 100

 

This is last week’s soulless  feature photograph. It was the only vessel I noticed with tourists during my entire stay there.

 

 

Taken in “snapshots” this is a very scenic place.  Each building appearing authentic in its own right with the appropriate sampans, baskets, walkways, all in place.  As a snapshot it works, but turn a few degrees in either direction and the look changes.  There is no congruity of authenticity, no feeling of old.  It’s like you’re looking at a full size model, but not the real thing.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/640th  24mm  ISO 100

 

Taken in “snapshots” this is a very scenic place.  Each building appearing authentic in its own right with the appropriate sampans, baskets, walkways, all in place.  As a snapshot it works, but turn a few degrees in either direction and the look changes.  There is no congruity of authenticity, no feeling of old.  It’s like you’re looking at a full size model, but not the real thing.

 

Another nice ‘snapshot’, a lone sampan glides under a bridge, a fountain shoots water skywards, and beautiful landscaping sets the mood.  Really, this would have been a very easy place to make first class travel brochures.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/500th  24mm  ISO 100

 

Another nice ‘snapshot’, a lone sampan glides under a bridge, a fountain shoots water skywards, and beautiful landscaping sets the mood.  Really, this would have been a very easy place to make first class travel brochures.

 

Another beautiful scene, as if it were carefully drawn out on paper, a scale model made, and each piece of the model carefully built in place.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/400th  70mm  ISO 100

 

Another beautiful scene, as if it were carefully drawn out on paper, a scale model made, and each piece of the model carefully built in place.

 

Everywhere you look there is ample seating for dining, coffee, or drinks.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/60th  70mm  ISO 160

 

Everywhere you look there is ample seating for dining, coffee, or drinks.

 

Entire walkways are dedicated to dining.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/60th  70mm  ISO 1000

 

Entire walkways are dedicated to dining.

 

Zoom in a bit and the parking lots become visible, the plastic figures loom in the lake, and the equally spaced trees and shrubs lend to the feeling of artificiality.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/640th  70mm  ISO 100

 

Zoom in a bit and the parking lots become visible, the plastic figures loom in the lake, and the equally spaced trees and shrubs lend to the feeling of artificiality.

 

 

It was at about this point in our walkabout that I started to wonder if Stick was having the same feelings about the place I was.  Not wanting to voice a premature opinion to skew our take on the place, we’d remained largely silent to this point and just concentrated on photography.  However, once we started comparing notes we found we were using the same pad and pencil.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/125th  105mm  ISO 1000

 

It was at about this point in our walkabout that I started to wonder if Stick was having the same feelings about the place I was.  Not wanting to voice a premature opinion to skew our take on the place, we’d remained largely silent to this point and just concentrated on photography.  However, once we started comparing notes we found we were using the same pad and pencil.

 

Not really a noteworthy image, but a typical view of the many places to eat.  I sometimes wonder if my overall perspective on a location would change if I actually enjoyed Thai food?  It’s true, I don’t care for most Thai food at all.  I find the seasoning masks the real taste of the fresh produce and meats.  Wait.. what am I talking about.. fresh produce and meats?  Don’t be silly..

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/80th  70mm  ISO 1250

 

Not really a noteworthy image, but a typical view of the many places to eat.  I sometimes wonder if my overall perspective on a location would change if I actually enjoyed Thai food?  It’s true, I don’t care for most Thai food at all.  I find the seasoning masks the real taste of the fresh produce and meats.  Wait.. what am I talking about.. fresh produce and meats?  Don’t be silly..

 

Another ‘snapshot’ extracted from the context of the whole.  I was here for several purposes, an outing with a friend was first and foremost, checking out a new attraction second, and third I wanted to make some decent images.  When you’re in such an environment you can choose to search out ‘slices’ or ‘snapshots’ of your surroundings and represent the ‘slice’ individually.  This is done all the time in hotel and travel brochures.  Especially in Thailand and SEA, you’ve probably experienced the feeling that the actual hotel or attraction looks and feels nothing like the brochure or web slice?

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/250th  70mm  ISO 100

 

Another ‘snapshot’ extracted from the context of the whole.  I was here for several purposes, an outing with a friend was first and foremost, checking out a new attraction second, and third I wanted to make some decent images.  When you’re in such an environment you can choose to search out ‘slices’ or ‘snapshots’ of your surroundings and represent the ‘slice’ individually.  This is done all the time in hotel and travel brochures.  Especially in Thailand and SEA, you’ve probably experienced the feeling that the actual hotel or attraction looks and feels nothing like the brochure or web slice?

 

One of the most annoying trends in Thai society, is the isolation which inadvertently takes place as people interact with their cell phones while almost looking straight through you.  This man looked through me like I was the invisible man, his attention focused only on his phone call.  Can you tell by his eyes?  Btw, I 100% a ban on all phone usage while driving.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/80th  70mm  ISO 640

 

One of the most annoying trends in Thai society, is the isolation which inadvertently takes place as people interact with their cell phones while almost looking straight through you.  This man looked through me like I was the invisible man, his attention focused only on his phone call.  Can you tell by his eyes?  Btw, I 100% a ban on all phone usage while driving.

 

In a dark alcove a merchant tends to his sampan, half full of flowers and the plastic fat lady (I’m almost certain this is a fat red headed white lady which I find amusing to say the least), and half full of the drink he sells.  Flowers adorn every available centimeter of his sampan.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/80th  70mm  ISO 250

 

In a dark alcove a merchant tends to his sampan, half full of flowers and the plastic fat lady (I’m almost certain this is a fat red headed white lady which I find amusing to say the least), and half full of the drink he sells.  Flowers adorn every available centimeter of his sampan.

 

I was watching this lady as she put the prices on some items and how her face would change with each item, me thinks registering her emotion to each piece of merchandise.  This particular expression was amusing, obviously she was a bit perturbed by what she was seeing.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/100th  120mm  ISO 100

 

I was watching this lady as she put the prices on some items and how her face would change with each item, me thinks registering her emotion to each piece of merchandise.  This particular expression was amusing, obviously she was a bit perturbed by what she was seeing.

 

Massage, aroma therapy, reflexology, and the standard fare of the massage parlor was a huge theme at the Ayothaya Floating Market.  I noticed the prices for the places with air conditioning were roughly twice the price as the open air establishments.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/125th  140mm  ISO 100

 

Massage, aroma therapy, reflexology, and the standard fare of the massage parlor was a huge theme at the Ayothaya Floating Market.  I noticed the prices for the places with air conditioning were roughly twice the price as the open air establishments.

 

This young lady was completing her coursework while tending to the families shop.  You could tell it was a family shop because the older mother was in the background and you couldn’t mistake the resemblance.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/60th  78mm  ISO 640

 

This young lady was completing her coursework while tending to the families shop.  You could tell it was a family shop because the older mother was in the background and you couldn’t mistake the resemblance. 

 

I had to dodge and burn quite a bit throughout this series.  I hear you asking, “I’ve heard the term dodge&burn before, but what exactly does it mean?”  Dodging&burning refers to manipulating the exposure of select parts of an image.  Dodging decreases the exposure (makes it darker), while burning increases the exposure (makes it lighter).  Done properly dodging and burning can really enhance an image.  It’s also technically a very easy skill to learn in Photoshop or Lightroom, but artistically a most difficult skill to master.  People often ask why my images have a more “3D” look, or after shooting together at the same location why their images don’t look anywhere near the same.  It’s in the post-processing and often due to a large degree to dodging and burning.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/160th  70mm  ISO 250

 

I had to dodge and burn quite a bit throughout this series.  I hear you asking, “I’ve heard the term dodge&burn before, but what exactly does it mean?”  Dodging&burning refers to manipulating the exposure of select parts of an image.  Dodging decreases the exposure (makes it darker), while burning increases the exposure (makes it lighter).  Done properly dodging and burning can really enhance an image.  It’s also technically a very easy skill to learn in Photoshop or Lightroom, but artistically a most difficult skill to master.  People often ask why my images have a more “3D” look, or after shooting together at the same location why their images don’t look anywhere near the same.  It’s in the post-processing and often due to a large degree to dodging and burning.

 

Here a family stops at a shop to examine something which interests them.  It struck me as unusual the small boy would also be interested

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/60th  145mm  ISO 160

 

Here a family stops at a shop to examine something which interests them.  It struck me as unusual the small boy would also be interested.

 

This young child reminded me of all the times my parents would drill into me “chew with your mouth closed”, often finding the most unpleasant ways to remind me.  Chewing with your mouth open, loud belches, and other western manners aren’t part of the average Thai’s upbringing, though you’ll find the adherence to western manners a good indicator of a young person’s social standing and upbringing.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/60th  120mm  ISO 320

 

This young child reminded me of all the times my parents would drill into me “chew with your mouth closed”, often finding the most unpleasant ways to remind me.  Chewing with your mouth open, loud belches, and other western manners aren’t part of the average Thai’s upbringing, though you’ll find the adherence to western manners a good indicator of a young person’s social standing and upbringing.

 

This mans was patiently preparing food for his kiosk.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/125th  120mm  ISO 320

 

This mans was patiently preparing food for his kiosk.

 

I couldn’t figure out if this man had just enjoyed a nice cup of coffee, or if he was serving the coffee.  Many of the storefronts were empty without a customer in sight.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS  @F5.6  1/125th  148mm  ISO 1600

 

I couldn’t figure out if this man had just enjoyed a nice cup of coffee, or if he was serving the coffee.  Many of the storefronts were empty without a customer in sight.

 

Stopping to rest on a staircase I immediately went into observation mode and noticed this was a fascinating place to enjoy lunch, watch the sampans disembark, and enjoy a cool breeze.  Unfortunately the scene took considerable dodging and burning to pull it off.  The original shows only dark shadows under the ceiling, and blown out highlights outside.  Careful and patient post-processing reveals a decent image.  This was possible because I shot at ISO 100, if at ISO 1600 for instance I wouldn’t have had nearly as much headroom to effect my changes.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/80th  24mm  ISO 100

 

Stopping to rest on a staircase I immediately went into observation mode and noticed this was a fascinating place to enjoy lunch, watch the sampans disembark, and enjoy a cool breeze.  Unfortunately the scene took considerable dodging and burning to pull it off.  The original shows only dark shadows under the ceiling, and blown out highlights outside.  Careful and patient post-processing reveals a decent image.  This was possible because I shot at ISO 100, if at ISO 1600 for instance I wouldn’t have had nearly as much headroom to effect my changes.

 

I was thankful for the darkened skies on this day.  I always smile when a fellow photographer frets over the lack of sunshine as I greatly prefer the softer more controlled light as it filters through the clouds.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/400th  22mm  ISO 100

 

I was thankful for the darkened skies on this day.  I always smile when a fellow photographer frets over the lack of sunshine as I greatly prefer the softer more controlled light as it filters through the clouds.

 

 

A typical open air massage place.  It looks very relaxing doesn’t it?  If there was a way to capture the nearly 70-80% humidity levels you might find the scene less than relaxing.  More like sticky and wet.  Again, a fair amount of dodging and burning went into the post processing of this image.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/250th  24mm  ISO 100

 

A typical open air massage place.  It looks very relaxing doesn’t it?  If there was a way to capture the nearly 70-80% humidity levels you might find the scene less than relaxing.  More like sticky and wet.  Again, a fair amount of dodging and burning went into the post processing of this image.

 

Very typical, walkways and cross bridges and decks interconnect the entire place.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/400th  22mm  ISO 100

 

 

Very typical, walkways and cross bridges and decks interconnect the entire place.

 

Wherever you find an attraction you’ll find young Thai school girls having a great time posing for their camera phones before forwarding the image to friends elsewhere.  Watching them I was thinking how technology has greatly changed the social landscape.  If they were using a new smart phone they could have not only forwarded their friends the image, but updated their Hi-5 and facebook at the same time.  Btw -  Notice how the girls seem to loom right to the front of the image?   This is what a wide 24mm will do, it puts you IN the scene front and center.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/320th  24mm  ISO 100

 

Wherever you find an attraction you’ll find young Thai school girls having a great time posing for their camera phones before forwarding the image to friends elsewhere.  Watching them I was thinking how technology has greatly changed the social landscape.  If they were using a new smart phone they could have not only forwarded their friends the image, but updated their Hi-5 and facebook at the same time.  Btw -  Notice how the girls seem to loom right to the front of the image?   This is what a wide 24mm will do, it puts you IN the scene front and center.

 

A greater view of the most open area I could find.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/1000th  12mm  ISO 100

 

A greater view of the most open area I could find.

 

Everywhere you looked you’d see workmen finishing up stores and walkways, front loaders digging, electricians running power cables, and the finishing touches being put on this project.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F11  1/60th  24mm  ISO 100

 

Everywhere you looked you’d see workmen finishing up stores and walkways, front loaders digging, electricians running power cables, and the finishing touches being put on this project.

 

A long view of a klong that runs along the perimeter.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F11  1/320th  15mm  ISO 100

 

 

A long view of a klong that runs along the perimeter.

 

 

Elephant rides are part of the attraction and frankly it saddens me to see this.  A look at the “elephant park” confirmed my fears.  There really isn’t the space nor facilities for the elephants to be properly rested and maintained.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F11  1/125th  24mm  ISO 100

 

Elephant rides are part of the attraction and frankly it saddens me to see this.  A look at the “elephant park” confirmed my fears.  There really isn’t the space nor facilities for the elephants to be properly rested and maintained.

Overall I enjoyed the few hours I spent at the new Ayothaya Floating Market.  I doubt it’s a place I will return to for personal pleasure, but perhaps I will for specific workshops as it offers many good opportunities to learn and test skills.