Category Archives: Bangkok

No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away

It is the latest album from one of my favourite bands, Mew. It is also somewhat fitting as I love to tell stories on this blog but I just don’t have a story today. Instead I have just a few images from my past weeks of work. Possibly not a bad trade, this is a photography blog after all.

What have I been up to? Well, I am saving all the images and stories for my new upcoming website. I am adding image files in the hundreds to my new site and typing in metadata till my fingers bleed. I am also processing all shots from the past 6 months of travel, including previously developed images from Thailand and Laos as I was unhappy with the stuff I developed on the road. Working 7-10 hours every day in Lightroom and Photoshop is a nice way to hone one’s post-processing skill. I have been toying with many new techniques and managed everything from awesome to plain weird results. Here’s a few images from Thailand and Laos, re-developed and different from my normal wide open spaces:

Thailand - Cosy Streetlife - copy - blog 

Laos Studying - web copy - blog

The street scenes in Thailand has awful colours from wildly different light sources at night. But once converted to duotone I felt the atmosphere come alive again. It is a great experience to eat at the street kitchens in the suburbs. Second image is from Laos, where I now have developed a lot more of the hmong children portraits. I re-discovered these images having not looked at them for long and am now loving them. Soft light blending of layers and high pass filtering with a healthy does of luminosity layers are Photoshop techniques that really shine on these sort of images I find.

That is all we have in the story book today. Much much more to come….launch approaching!

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Bangkok Blade Runner

“I’ve…seen things you people wouldn’t believe”. Classic line, classic movie. And when you stand on the balcony of your friend’s flat on the 21nd floor and look out over Bangkok I instantly think about Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – better known as Blade Runner.  All that is missing is Vangelis brilliant soundtrack and some rain.

“If only you could see what I have seen with your eyes!”. Well you can or at least you can see what my camera saw! This is a 9 image stitch at roughly 35mm, shot on my 17-40mm L lens. Stitched perfectly on PTgui and the detail in the original is amazing. I still need to work a bit on the sky before printing, it is so hazy here that the city lights up the haze and create banding. Adding noise actually helps defeat banding when printing. Oh, and in this blog version I could not resist adding in a few flying Blade Runner “spinners” via some crude Photoshop work!

Bangkok Blade Runner Spinners - blog

Bangkok defies description. Houses more people than all of Denmark. And when you walk the street it seems they are all on the same sidewalk as you. It is awful. And awfully fascinating for a day or two as everything reminds me of Blade Runner. Much too big for me though. Much too big for it’s own good, traffic can be impossible. So loud. So noisy. Then again, I endure cities, I love them not. I love nature. Cities are an evil necessity. Mother Nature will get revenge someday I hope!

“The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long”

“All these moments. Lost. In time. Like Tears. In the rain!”

Ramkanphaeng Boat and Ticketeers

By far the easiest and funniest way to get around Bangkok from the Ramkanphaeng area is using the canal boats. Full throttle pedal to the medal they get you up and down the canal in no time! The boats run at great speed and as they pass each other up and down the canal remember to pull the cord to raise the blue striped plastic cover on the side of the boat – or you may find yourself soaked by a big wave. To keep the speed up the boats stop for just 3-4 seconds and hardly even stand still at every stop. You have to be quick and agile to jump on and off quickly and hopefully avoid a swim in the canal! The canal boats also offer an interesting very different view of Bangkok and the suburbs.

Ramkanphaeng canal boat

The boats are staffed by these incredibly skilled ‘Ticketeers’ (my word for lack of a better one). Wearing helmets they run and jump around the boat in perfect balance, collecting money, handing out tickets and helping people on and off in the 3-4 seconds where the boat lies reasonably still at the stops. They are a great fun to watch, I am a big Ticketeer fan!

Ramkanphaeng boat ticketeer

Ending with another street scene from where I lived. Notice the power lines, how they ever get these to work is mind boggling!

Ramkanphaeng street and power lines

When they actually have to repair these it is incredibly they ever find the right power line. Also; watch for hanging live wires – could give you a bit more energy than you would like!

Randomness

  • I am now based in Chiang Mai, have my flat and an outstanding 10th floor view from my balcony overlooking Chiang Mai and all the way to the hills where the sun rises every morning and the weather is perfect.
  • This means I am sorta taking it slowly, finding my feet, will be a bit before I get to landscapes (this is probably hardest on myself as I have little patience!) so for now it is just my average travel photography I post. Last 4 months = hectic. So my balcony is presently my favourite place in the world I must admit.

Bangkok.local

Once upon a time is how many adventures begins. This one starts now (or well it started Tuesday after many preparations). Day Zero. Time is reset as I leave Danish airspace destination Nomadic life, first stop Bangkok.

The flights are turbulent. First one to Amsterdam is physically turbulent as we pass through a major rain storm. Second one from ‘Dam to Bangkok is emotionally turbulent. This is huge. Hours earlier I said goodbye to my two best friends. Now raw electricity shoots through my veins. Goose bumps. Heart races. Into the Wild, the wild unknown. Leave it all behind. New life. Reset time.

Bangkok – alien in Ramkanphaeng

Immigration and luggage is a breeze and I find my good friend Kai – he worked with us on the Malaysia and Borneo expedition in June. We get a taxi to his suburb Ramkanphaeng. Part of the fun and challenge of travel is knowing nothing. This is at the extreme end of that scale! Ramkanphaeng is a large uni suburb, mostly students or people who work at the uni. Kai speaks very good English but no one else does and everything is written in Thai. For 3 days I do not meet any other tourists. Not a single whitefella actually. I cannot read and only Kai understands me. I eat at the street kitchens where I point to food and handover money not understanding the price (does not matter anyway is lunch is something like 30 bath = 1 US dollar). This is actual true Bangkok life, no touristy Khao San Road from hell and it is incredible fascinating to experience this. More Ramkanphaeng stories to come, here are a few snapshots from the streets and markets.

Main road of Ramkanphaeng, add some rain and this is Blade Runner! Very busy street, even more so at night.

Ramkanphaeng Road

Fresh food markets, a symphony of colours and smells:

Ramkanphaeng Fresh Food Market

A typical street kitchen on the small road where I stayed. This is away from the main road and a charming neighbourhood of real life. 

Ramkanphaeng street kitchen

My Hood – kitchens and shots on the street where I stayed.

Ramkanphaeng street scene

Randomness

  • As I am ordering lunch from a street kitchen using my special pointing technique a guy asks me in English “oh you know and like Thai food”. “Yes”, I say surprised, “Love it”. Turns out he is from the Philippines and when I reveal I am Danish he promptly speaks to me in Danish. He used to have a Danish girlfriend. Small world at times or weird coincidences surely!
  • I did spend a few hours in the city centre and saw Khao San Road which is hell on Earth. A disgusting terrible tourist trap backpackers from hell street of nothing but pubs, restaurants and shops pushing crap to tourists. Interesting to see, a completely different world to Ramkanphaeng.
  • Naturally as time is being reset some weird glitches occurs in the ‘Matrix’. In ‘Dam airport a young Brit two meters from me is arrested by the Police and he then promptly proceeds to regurgitate the drugs he is smuggling. On the plane to Bangkok I actually sit next to a couple from Finland named the Harkonens! (read Frank Herbert’s Dune).