Bang Chang is a bit of a well kept secret about 20km further down the road from Pattaya.  It’s a slow town with a good sized expat community, its own expat bar area, and some really decent restaurants and golf courses. Every now and then I get down there to visit friends and you’ve seen my coverage of this area before.

This time I wanted to visit with a friend and planned on staying two days and hitting some of my favorite places in the area and discovering some new ones.  I wasn’t even there six hours before I learned I’d have to cut my trip short by a day and I’d have barely 5-6 hours the next morning to grab some photographs.

As a result I couldn’t really come up a real ‘Feature Destination’, but I did come up with some subjects to chat about a bit and get your reading on future coverage.

 

Let’s start with a finished image of my favorite lighthouse.  It’s really a show front for a long defunct housing project but I like it just the same.  Heck, I’d like one in my backyard. J Set against a sea wall with the ocean on one side and trees on the other, you can easily imagine the bright light warning ships during inclement weather.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 @F11 1/400th 15mm ISO 100

Let’s start with a finished image of my favorite lighthouse.  It’s really a show front for a long defunct housing project but I like it just the same.  Heck, I’d like one in my backyard. J Set against a sea wall with the ocean on one side and trees on the other, you can easily imagine the bright light warning ships during inclement weather.

 

 

This was the original capture. Does it look different before I process it? I showed this ‘before’ image to get your feedback on future tutorials. Do you want to learn to use the skew function to straighten the fence and make the lighthouse set straight up/down? CS5’s Content Aware feature to replace backgrounds and make power lines go away? Localized Editing to selectively expose certain parts of the scene? Let me know what you’d like covered in the future and I’ll work up some tutorials.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 @F11 1/400th 15mm ISO 100

This was the original capture.  Does it look different before I process it?  I showed this ‘before’ image to get your feedback on future tutorials. Do you want to learn to use the skew function to straighten the fence and make the lighthouse set straight up/down?  CS5’s Content Aware feature to replace backgrounds and make power lines go away?  Localized Editing to selectively expose certain parts of the scene?  Let me know what you’d like covered in the future and I’ll work up some tutorials.

 

 

Before the lighthouse we were down at the military docks checking out a cargo ship which carried supplies for the Cobra Gold military exercise. These small container ships are capable of loading and offloading much faster than the bigger container ships and they can push about 10 more knots while at sea. This makes them useful for supplying short notice or small military actions and building projects.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 @F11 1/250th 15mm ISO 100

Before the lighthouse we were down at the military docks checking out a cargo ship which carried supplies for the Cobra Gold military exercise. These small container ships are capable of loading and offloading much faster than the bigger container ships and they can push about 10 more knots while at sea.  This makes them useful for supplying short notice or small military actions and building projects.

Here I used an ultra-wide 15mm to show the lines of the ship, from the stern to bow.

 

 

As we swing around to the front of the same ship it looks a bit different. The superstructure looms with the cranes behind, and the long mooring lines add interest. At 12mm we were able to see a good portion of the background and the entire ship. But could we make a more interesting photograph?

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 @F11 1/160th 12mm ISO 100

As we swing around to the front of the same ship it looks a bit different.  The superstructure looms with the cranes behind, and the long mooring lines add interest.  At 12mm we were able to see a good portion of the background and the entire ship. But could we make a more interesting photograph?

 

 

Cutting about half the distance to the ship we now have a more powerful composition. We can see the ship more clearly than before, the lines still add interest, and with the 12mm lens it appears we’re far from the ship. In reality we’re less than 20 feet from the ship which isn’t much considering the ship is several stories high.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 @F11 1/160th 12mm ISO 100

Cutting about half the distance to the ship we now have a more powerful composition. We can see the ship more clearly than before, the lines still add interest, and with the 12mm lens it appears we’re far from the ship. In reality we’re less than 20 feet from the ship which isn’t much considering the ship is several stories high.

 

 

Now I’ve again cut the distance in half, went to 24mm for the least perspective distortion possible, and the ship looms in front of the camera. You feel like you can reach out and grab the mooring line and see the pilot in the window. The cranes take on more presence and are clearly detailed. Small details like the white waterline markers are visible on the hull. The ship becomes much more interesting while the background disappears.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 @F11 1/160th 24mm ISO 100

Now I’ve again cut the distance in half, went to 24mm for the least perspective distortion possible, and the ship looms in front of the camera.  You feel like you can reach out and grab the mooring line and see the pilot in the window.  The cranes take on more presence and are clearly detailed.  Small details like the white waterline markers are visible on the hull. The ship becomes much more interesting while the background disappears.

 

 

Yes, we can get even closer! And by moving the camera to the left we’re now showing more of the cranes, gangway, and work along the side of the ship, and the superstructure looks even more imposing and detailed.  These are the decisions you make when you look through the viewfinder and decide on your composition.  You ask yourself questions such as what are the more important features you which to be most prominent, which details are the most interesting, and do you want the ship to be 100% of the composition or do you want to bring the background into play.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 @F11 1/160th 24mm ISO 100

Yes, we can get even closer! And by moving the camera to the left we’re now showing more of the cranes, gangway, and work along the side of the ship, and the superstructure looks even more imposing and detailed.  These are the decisions you make when you look through the viewfinder and decide on your composition.  You ask yourself questions such as what are the more important features you which to be most prominent, which details are the most interesting, and do you want the ship to be 100% of the composition or do you want to bring the background into play.

With such a great subject you might not be able (or want) to decide on a single composition.  Why limit yourself?  Make several captures and decide later which one you consider the strongest.  Just be sure to notice all the different compositional elements and make the captures you do get as meaningful as possible.

 

 

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Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 @F11 1/250th 24mm ISO 100

At the other end of the pier I noticed this utility derrick being towed by a big tug and pushed by two smaller tugs.  Full of color on a clear azure sea, how can you resist? It’s just another relatively vessel, but it’s colorful and interesting to those who have never seen one.  With an island in the background be sure to include a foreground.  Remember the rules for a successful landscape?  Try hard to include a foreground, mid-ground, and background.  Here we have all three.  I had to remind myself to back up and catch part of the dock to use as a foreground.

 

 

Another view were I used the M16 toting Thai security guard watching the derricks movement as a foreground. You can also see more of the island. It might look like you have only one shot, but you almost always have several.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 @F11 1/250th 24mm ISO 100

Another view were I used the M16 toting Thai security guard watching the derricks movement as a foreground.  You can also see more of the island.  It might look like you have only one shot, but you almost always have several.

 

 

This is my favorite from the three. The huge tug towing the derrick is visible as are the two pushing tugs, the dock, the guard, all the elements are present.  I’ll be making a 30 inch wide print of this image and the detail will be incredible.

Canon 5d Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 @F11 1/320th 21mm ISO 100

This is my favorite from the three. The huge tug towing the derrick is visible as are the two pushing tugs, the dock, the guard, all the elements are present.  I’ll be making a 30 inch wide print of this image and the detail will be incredible.

 

 

Another sad subject.  Below the lighthouse project is a beach literally covered in garbage.  Mostly plastic bags like you get at 7-11 or the grocery store.  A beautiful serene beach with natural foliage right up to the sand.  What could have been a picturesque dream becomes an affront to our environment.  I processed this image to show the garbage.  Without the garbage I would have processed it completely different.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM @F11 1/640th 200mm ISO 100

Another sad subject.  Below the lighthouse project is a beach literally covered in garbage.  Mostly plastic bags like you get at 7-11 or the grocery store.  A beautiful serene beach with natural foliage right up to the sand.  What could have been a picturesque dream becomes an affront to our environment.  I processed this image to show the garbage.  Without the garbage I would have processed it completely different.

Your first inclination is to blame the garbage on the local Thai’s. This is where studying your scene comes in handy. Notice three local Thai’s working on cleaning up the beach? I’ll bet it’s a full time job.

 

 

This close up of the surf-line shows where the trash really comes from.  Off-shore, from vessels dumping their garbage before docking to avoid garbage collection fees while in port.  Why is this allowed?  The local residents I’m sure have been complaining to the authorities for a long time, yet their complaints fall on deaf ears.  Is this because the ports generate tons of income while the locals who control the beach generate very little?

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM @F11 1/250th 115mm ISO 100

This close up of the surf-line shows where the trash really comes from.  Off-shore, from vessels dumping their garbage before docking to avoid garbage collection fees while in port.  Why is this allowed?  The local residents I’m sure have been complaining to the authorities for a long time, yet their complaints fall on deaf ears.  Is this because the ports generate tons of income while the locals who control the beach generate very little?

The Thai authorities should be ashamed. This beach extend at least 10km’s that I could see and is full of garbage and if they’re dumping their garbage you can bet they’re dumping their sewage and the sea is toxic. The sea life, fish, coral, seaweed, everything which normally lives in this bay is having toxic sewage dumped on it. I’d hate to think what else.

I had a great time in Bang Chang and hope to visit again soon, this time with more than a few hours to spend. I hope to get further down the road to the refineries in Rayong, a few military airfields, several public beaches, and maybe even cover the nightlife areas. If you get a chance visit Bang Chang, you might be surprised what this little known town has to offer.