Captured in rural Ang Thong during a recently photography workshop

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L @F11 1/12th 45mm  ISO 100


Occasionally I like to head out for a day of sight seeing and photography and not spend the entire day driving.  Ang Thong is about an hours drive from downtown Bangkok and offers the same rural landscapes and attractions as any farming area in the deep south or far north.  Ang Thong might even offer more.


A worker toils in a rice field in Ang Thong Thailand

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/5000th  ISO 200


Preparing rice fields for the springs planting is hard work under a very hot son.  When I was making these captures I was thinking the wet mud must feel refreshing and that perhaps the wet mired fields produced some sort of cooling effect for the busy worker.


These rice field workers in Ang Thong put in long hard days.

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/5000th  ISO 200


From 200-300 meters distant I peered through my telephoto as if they were binoculars and the details were brought closer.  The texture of the mud was revealed as were the workers watchful eyes wondering what interest a foreigner might find in their work. 


Typical Thai farm truck.  The rice seedlings fill the bags and will soon beccome part of this rural Ang Thong landscape

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/8000th  ISO 200


A small fortune in seed representing the value of the next harvest was carried in this truck and carefully distributed to each worker who in turn would distribute their valuable cargo evenly and carefully throughout the field.


We're still close enough to the sea to attract many sea birds.  Captured with a 300mm F2.8L IS

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/2500th  ISO 200


In nearby fields the birds were keeping watch and doing their best to steal what seeds they could salvage from the thick mud.


Knee deep in thick mud this Thai field worker pauses for a breather

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F4 1/5000th  ISO 200


The workers watched the birds knowing there was little they could do to deny them from their share.


Even in the very rural areas of Ang Thong you'll find temples supporting the residents

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F5.6 1/500th  ISO 50


Even in the most rural of areas you'll find temples dotting the landscape.  As I drove past this temple I couldn't help but notice the contrast in size and quality in comparison to the average farmers home.


Fields are stil burned which adds greatly to the polllution levels

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F6.3 1/640th  ISO 100


In the rural areas everyone has a job.  Here, an elderly man takes a smoke break from his field burning never failing to keep an eye on the burning crop lines.


Most don't think about capturing interesting landscapes with a 300mm but it can certainly be done.  We cover these techniques in our workshops

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F5 1/800th  ISO 100


Have you ever noticed that almost universally, everywhere farmers till the earth and grow food, the fields are lined with trees? Thailand is no exception.  Not being a farmer I have no idea if the trees are planted to provide a windbreak, shade the fields, or perhaps just make a nice place for the workers to eat their lunch.


This field in Ang Thong stretches towards the nearby hills

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F6.3 1/1600th  ISO 100


I'll always encourage split-toning for a high contrast black and white effect, especially when you feel you've seen enough bright green fields to last a lifetime.  Careful toning lets you see a field such as this in layers, layers of light separating one section from the next creating an ever ending glimpse of one field into the next.


Color is everywhere if you look for it.  Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS @F6.3 1/320th  ISO 100


Passing through a tree line I stopped the car and snapped this capture as my guests looked at me like I was crazy.  All they saw was yet another stand of trees.  I saw the flowers and orange leaves and more importantly the sun backlighting the scene making the leaves almost translucent.

Did you notice I captured 9/10 of these "landscapes" with a 300mm fixed lens?  Wide angles are certainly useful and one of my favorite tools, but don't hem yourself into thinking you always need a really wide lens to capture effective landscapes.  Some of the most wonderful landscapes I've ever viewed were shot with a telephoto at 300mm or more!

I talked a bit about Ang Thong in my last column and I'll talk more about it in a future column.  A certain student of mine is an excellent listener and a fast learner and he took some outstanding images I plan on sharing in this weeks blog.  These images will be a real treat, look for them.