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Taking Pictures during Songkran - Tips and Suggestions
Last Post 10 May 2012 12:14 AM by Candidographer. 0 Replies.
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10 May 2012 12:14 AM  


I made this thread so photographers can share their tips and suggestions when shooting during Songkran in Pattaya.
Since it is a water festival it is very important to be prepared for the wettest conditions.
Some people ( both farangs and Thai people ) will go out of their way to hit the guy with a camera with water, others seem to have some respect for the guy with the camera and will ignore you. But for sure expect your camera gear to get wet unless you take precautions.

Here are some of my tips:

Camera: I use a DSLR because that is what I am used to shooting with. I use a 70-200 mm lens with image stabilizer, for the days leading up to the 19th, I used a lens doubler, to be able to get some distance from being too close to the water wars, but now after studying my pictures, I lost a lot of the quality from my prime lens. On the 19th I did'nt use a lens doubler because it is more crowded and the subjects are much closer.

I use a duel battery grip with 2 batteries so I don't run out of power and a Sandisk Extreme Pro 128 GB card so I can shoot all day with out worrying about running out of memory. It is also a fast card that can write at 100 MB/s so I can hold down the shutter button if needed and won't have to wait for the card write.

Wet Gear: My choice of wet gear is the Aquatech Sports Shield Pro Series, unlike other plastic type shields, it will keep your gear dry but not make your hands sweat that much which could cause your gear to get wet over time. The sports shield is also affordable and not so heavy compared to a underwater scuba housing. I shoot around 4 hours a day during the days leading up to the 19, and on the 19th I will shoot 8 hours from late morning until the sun goes down non stop. The main problem is the sports shield makes it harder to operate some of the controls and a lot of the action happens fast, it makes shooting in manual mode harder. So for the more part during Songkran, I shoot in Auto mode and concentrate on getting the composition right.

Sun/Water protection: A hat and sunglasses are a must to protect your head and eyes from the sun, but most important to protect your eyes from people trying to hit you in the eye with water and power. I noticed some people using ear plugs to keep water out of their ear, but I did'nt use them. But every night I washed my ears out with a half water and vinegar solution as a proactive way to protect from a ear infection cause from dirty water. Use a waterproof sunscreen because when you are wet you really don't notice the strong Thai sun until you are already burned.

Clothing: Since I will be wet for most of the day I use high performance clothing made for running. Nike shorts, T-shirts and socks.

Shoes: I use shoes that are made to get wet and will dry fast over night. I use the Solomon RX prime W.

My experience:

Most of the time leading up to the 19th I spent my time around Soi 7 / 8 and on Soi 6. Since Soi 7 and 8 is mostly made up of beer bars, shooting pictures seemed to be easier, on Soi 6, since most of the girls are working, for the most part they did'nt seem to want to have their pictures taken. But still a lot of photography opportunities on Soi 6. On the 19th I shot mostly on Beach Road.

In my personal observation, you don't see the geogeous superstar gogo girls out during Songkran. It is possible the most beautiful gogo girls go home to their province during the holiday. They made enough money during other times of the year and can afford not to be in Pattaya. The ones that do stay in Pattaya, don't go out during the day because they don't want to get wet or dark from the sun. Or it could be sleeping in from their barfine the night before. Some of the girls still working in Pattaya may be involved in the water fights in front of their bar and are enjoying the party with their friends. Some of the farangs are with their wives are girlfriends so you may see a few lookers. On the 19th in Pattaya it is a mix of everyone. I would say it is a good representation of the local Thai population. So the pictures show exactly that.

I am interested to read other photographers tips on shooting during Songkran and interested to know where the best locations are to shoot the most beautiful subjects.

Please feel free to comment on my pictures, if you see a subject you like it is possible I have more, others where just one shot. It is also possible I can remember where I the photo was taken, in front of which bar if you are trying to find one of the subjects in my photographs. Please share the pictures on other sites.

I will be adding more pictures if anyone is interested. I shot a few thousand pictures over a few days.

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