While visiting a friend in Hua Hin recently we decided to head out to the lesser populated and toured areas to see if we could find an area of interest to photograph.  We settled on a small area immediately outside the city where squid is fished, processed, and sold.  As we entered the area scenes like this smacked us in the face.  What would normally be beautiful natural areas were instead neglected dump sites for garbage of all kinds.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/80th  70mm  ISO 125

While visiting a friend in Hua Hin recently we decided to head out to the lesser populated and toured areas to see if we could find an area of interest to photograph.  We settled on a small area immediately outside the city where squid is fished, processed, and sold.  As we entered the area scenes like this smacked us in the face.  What would normally be beautiful natural areas were instead neglected dump sites for garbage of all kinds.

 

 

Everywhere you looked you saw the rancid squalor of decomposing garbage and the stench was terrible.  Flies and other insects were buzzing around happy to partake in this kings buffet of soiled disposable diapers, medical waste, and unidentified but most likely toxic liquids in containers of all shapes and sizes.  Less than a half kilometer (verified by my GPS) from the front door of one of Hua Hin’s most upscale resorts.   I really hope they don’t allow their guests to swim in the ocean.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/60th  70mm  ISO 200

Everywhere you looked you saw the rancid squalor of decomposing garbage and the stench was terrible.  Flies and other insects were buzzing around happy to partake in this kings buffet of soiled disposable diapers, medical waste, and unidentified but most likely toxic liquids in containers of all shapes and sizes.  Less than a half kilometer (verified by my GPS) from the front door of one of Hua Hin’s most upscale resorts.   I really hope they don’t allow their guests to swim in the ocean.

 

 

This area is a type of natural inlet where the squid fishing boats are moored.  A canopy type structure runs the entire length.  It’s apparent the boat captains pay rent for their space.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/50th  24mm  ISO 100

This area is a type of natural inlet where the squid fishing boats are moored.  A canopy type structure runs the entire length.  It’s apparent the boat captains pay rent for their space.

 

 

Net mending is a full time job and can be seen almost everywhere.  Stacks of these nets await repair as elderly workers squat on small plastic stoops or directly on cold wet cement.  Anyone familiar with the fishing industry will recognize these types of nets as efficient, but not very “species specific”, or in other words there is a lot of collateral damage.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/60th  70mm  ISO 250

Net mending is a full time job and can be seen almost everywhere.  Stacks of these nets await repair as elderly workers squat on small plastic stoops or directly on cold wet cement.  Anyone familiar with the fishing industry will recognize these types of nets as efficient, but not very “species specific”, or in other words there is a lot of collateral damage.

 

 

More nets, more net mending, and a high-end condo looms in the background.  No one hear appears well off, their boats and motorsai’s being the only trappings of wealth visible.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/60th  60mm  ISO 160

More nets, more net mending, and a high-end condo looms in the background.  No one hear appears well off, their boats and motorsai’s being the only trappings of wealth visible.

 

 

This lady is preparing foods made from the local catch.  Have you ever wondered how long fresh squid can set out in the sun and still be considered fresh enough to eat?

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/60th  55mm  ISO 500

This lady is preparing foods made from the local catch.  Have you ever wondered how long fresh squid can set out in the sun and still be considered fresh enough to eat?

 

 

More nets, more net menders.  You’ll notice even working fishing vessels fly pennants and their national flags.  The Thai flag is displayed with pride all over this area.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/60th  70mm  ISO 400

More nets, more net menders.  You’ll notice even working fishing vessels fly pennants and their national flags.  The Thai flag is displayed with pride all over this area.

 

 

More flags, more nets, it’s like they could be the theme of the location.  You’re free to walk along the walkways, under the canopies, and take a look around, but cameras are frowned on and people quickly turn their heads to avoid being photographed.  This rarely happens in Thailand unless..

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/60th  70mm  ISO 125

More flags, more nets, it’s like they could be the theme of the location.  You’re free to walk along the walkways, under the canopies, and take a look around, but cameras are frowned on and people quickly turn their heads to avoid being photographed.  This rarely happens in Thailand unless..

 

 

This is a commercial ‘motorsai park’ where owners pay to have someone watch their bikes while out on the boats fishing.  While one boat is out at sea, another quickly takes it’s mooring and an entirely different family/crew is now occupying the same space, so safe storage of the motorsai’s is essential.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/40th  43mm  ISO 160

This is a commercial ‘motorsai park’ where owners pay to have someone watch their bikes while out on the boats fishing.  While one boat is out at sea, another quickly takes it’s mooring and an entirely different family/crew is now occupying the same space, so safe storage of the motorsai’s is essential.

 

 

This is a view with the sea in the background, with the inlet snaking inland to the docks.  This area is protected from rough seas and storms to a great extent, during times of really bad weather it will be crammed full of fishing vessels hoping to escape the worst of the storms.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/80th  70mm  ISO 100

This is a view with the sea in the background, with the inlet snaking inland to the docks.  This area is protected from rough seas and storms to a great extent, during times of really bad weather it will be crammed full of fishing vessels hoping to escape the worst of the storms.

 

 

Visitors and tourists are welcomed.  Mostly you’ll find only Thai visitors and tourists interested in scoring great deals on squid snacks of all types

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/40th  35mm  ISO 250

Visitors and tourists are welcomed.  Mostly you’ll find only Thai visitors and tourists interested in scoring great deals on squid snacks of all types.

 

 

Other types of seafood are available as well.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/40th  45mm  ISO 1250

Other types of seafood are available as well.

 

 

At this vendor you can get fresh fish on ice, clams, and a small variety of dry goods.  Mostly vendors of this type are supporting the boats and crews and not visitors.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/40th  48mm  ISO 160

At this vendor you can get fresh fish on ice, clams, and a small variety of dry goods.  Mostly vendors of this type are supporting the boats and crews and not visitors.

 

 

Like every other working industry in Thailand you’ll find young mothers and children working side by side with their husbands and fathers.  What you don’t see are schools, libraries, or any hope for the children to improve their lot in life.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/80th  70mm  ISO 250

Like every other working industry in Thailand you’ll find young mothers and children working side by side with their husbands and fathers.  What you don’t see are schools, libraries, or any hope for the children to improve their lot in life.

 

 

More nets, more boats, and another net mender.  A constant and necessary full time job.  You’ll notice the superstructures of the boats are built and maintained right along the lines of simple Thai homes

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/60th  70mm  ISO 160

More nets, more boats, and another net mender.  A constant and necessary full time job.  You’ll notice the superstructures of the boats are built and maintained right along the lines of simple Thai homes.

 

 

Squid cakes anyone?  Cooked right over an open burning barrel of unknown origin.  Tasty!

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/60th  59mm  ISO 500

Squid cakes anyone?  Cooked right over an open burning barrel of unknown origin.  Tasty!

 

 

Here these men are loading fresh squid into baskets and ensuring they’re a certain weight before carrying them to the rear of the structure.  The man in the white shirt ‘trickles’ squid into the basket until it reaches the exact desired weight.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/40th  32mm  ISO 250

Here these men are loading fresh squid into baskets and ensuring they’re a certain weight before carrying them to the rear of the structure.  The man in the white shirt ‘trickles’ squid into the basket until it reaches the exact desired weight.

 

 

This restaurant is located more near the entrance to squid row.  The lady entices with tasty seafood treats.  Her young granddaughter not more than 14 works alongside preparing for the days customers.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/60th  68mm  ISO 800

This restaurant is located more near the entrance to squid row.  The lady entices with tasty seafood treats.  Her young granddaughter not more than 14 works alongside preparing for the days customers.

 

 

Not more than 50 meters from the boats, along the shores of the inlet, you’ll find scores of drying racks where the squid is laid out on wire mesh racks and left in the sun to dry.  Something I couldn’t figure out was where are the birds?  Normally this amount of fresh squid would draw entire flocks of birds.  Where are they?  I looked around trying to discover the secret and failed.  If anyone knows this answer please email me.  I’m curious.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F14  1/160th  58mm  ISO 100

Not more than 50 meters from the boats, along the shores of the inlet, you’ll find scores of drying racks where the squid is laid out on wire mesh racks and left in the sun to dry.  Something I couldn’t figure out was where are the birds?  Normally this amount of fresh squid would draw entire flocks of birds.  Where are they?  I looked around trying to discover the secret and failed.  If anyone knows this answer please email me.  I’m curious.

 

 

These two men load racks from a cart attached to their motorsai on to raised platforms to start the sun drying process.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F8  1/320th  70mm  ISO 100

These two men load racks from a cart attached to their motorsai on to raised platforms to start the sun drying process.

 

 

Not far away fishing vessels not actively in the process of fishing, off-loading, or maintenance are moored in the open inlet.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F8  1/500th  70mm  ISO 100

Not far away fishing vessels not actively in the process of fishing, off-loading, or maintenance are moored in the open inlet.

 

 

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Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F8  1/640th  70mm  ISO 100

This is a close up of the squid on drying racks.  Something I noticed.  The autofocus on your camera will have a hard time with squid.  AF systems depend on sharp lines of contrast to focus correctly, and sharp lines and contrast are severely lacking in blob like squids.  You’ll need to manual focus to get clear sharp images.

 

 

As they dry they shrink.  When first laid out the squid are either touching or slightly overlapping.  As they dry lots of room appears to all sides.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F8  1/500th  43mm  ISO 100

As they dry they shrink.  When first laid out the squid are either touching or slightly overlapping.  As they dry lots of room appears to all sides.

 

 

Here the larger squid are hung from strings and flayed out with sticks to dry to a certain size and shape.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F9  1/200th  70mm  ISO 100

Here the larger squid are hung from strings and flayed out with sticks to dry to a certain size and shape.

 

 

This closer view shows are the wood sticks are used to keep the squid flayed precisely as desired.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F8  1/250th  68mm  ISO 250

This closer view shows are the wood sticks are used to keep the squid flayed precisely as desired.

 

 

There is a lot of activity, commerce, and life happening on squid row.  The area isn’t very large, yet it’s teeming with activity.  It’s always interesting to see how these things are done and it doesn’t take much more than a free afternoon and a desire to stray away from the luxuries of the local beaches and resorts and take a peek inside the lives of working Thai’s.  Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L  @F8  1/40th  70mm  ISO 100

Squid anyone?  This vendor sits sorting his squid but doesn’t miss an opportunity to make a sale.

There is a lot of activity, commerce, and life happening on squid row.  The area isn’t very large, yet it’s teeming with activity.  It’s always interesting to see how these things are done and it doesn’t take much more than a free afternoon and a desire to stray away from the luxuries of the local beaches and resorts and take a peek inside the lives of working Thai’s.  Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did.