With those who know me I’ve made no secret that the Chiang Rai area is my favorite part of Thailand.  The town itself is clean and fairly modern, the people nice, and the countryside and surrounding areas are absolutely beautiful.  There is no where in Thailand I’d rather spend a few weeks away from Bangkok.

With those who know me I’ve made no secret that the Chiang Rai area is my favorite part of Thailand.  The town itself is clean and fairly modern, the people nice, and the countryside and surrounding areas are absolutely beautiful.  There is no where in Thailand I’d rather spend a few weeks away from Bangkok.

This image is significant purely for it’s composition if not its subject.  The small irrigation ditch starts in the foreground and visually meanders  to the top 2/3 of the frame where a small rice farmers resting shack stands alone against a vibrantly green rice fields.  The background of mountains is just about perfect and the smoke rising from the cooking fire (to the right of the frame) is a nice addition.  The sky with its heavy rain swollen clouds is about as good as it gets.

My friend and I were on our way to Wat Rong Khun.  We left from Chiang Mai about 10am and figured we’d arrive mid-afternoon.  Leaving the main highway I chose to take some of the smaller roads that wind through the farming community.  My friend had fallen asleep and as I drove I couldn’t help but notice the directional light and beautiful sky.  As I drove I looked for the additional elements that would make an interesting composition.  When I found them I stopped, spent about five minutes capturing the scene, and then was back on the road again all without waking my friend.

The important thing to remember from this is that this landscape isn’t what the naked eye saw when driving down the road.  The captured image, especially processed, is often very different from what your eyes see.  The amount of contrast that separates the foreground, mid-ground, and background, the way the light strikes objects (remember, your eyes have a much wider capability to see dynamic ranges far beyond that of the camera, so the resulting image is but a subset of what your eyes see, a subset you control with the exposure settings), and of course the cropping as you remove that which makes focusing on the scene difficult.  Experience allows the photographer to see all of these things the naked eye doesn’t see.  The more experience, the more you see.

 

The shack itself lent itself well to some interesting shots.  I especially liked this one with the two roofs framing the fields and mountains.  Again the sky is perfect as the clouds take your eye and leads it to the far reaches of the frame.

The shack itself lent itself well to some interesting shots.  I especially liked this one with the two roofs framing the fields and mountains.  Again the sky is perfect as the clouds take your eye and leads it to the far reaches of the frame.

Landscapes are all about what you see, and what you can envision from what you see.  People who travel with me often ask “what are you looking at?”  Most have no idea.  I’m looking at the light, elements for a composition, points of interest.  I’m looking for a photo op..