Robin in Bangkok, part II


Continued from Part 1

Since it was my first time in Bangkok, I decided to spend a full day at the Ayutthaya historical park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. I knew that the temples and general landscape have been photographed countless times before, so I challenged myself to shoot these tourist attractions in my own style and avoid making a a clone of the many images already out there.

The first thing I told myself was to not shoot everything. When at a new location, it is easy to get carried away and become trigger happy. While fascination is great, blindly shooting doesn’t make sense. The simple question I asked myself repeatedly was – “if I take this shot, will I find another similar one online?” Of course it is difficult to ensure that no one else has shot the same thing but it is sufficient to avoid the immediately obvious frames, and apply some uniqueness in my composition. I also found myself walking a lot more to scout for different perspectives. The main thing was to work a little harder and don’t let convenience win.

While I was researching locations, I avoided looking at images as I didn’t want to subconsciously copy their ideas and style. I went to those locations with a clear mind and I decided my photographic approach on the spot. Not having any pre-visualized images in my head allowed me to be spontaneous and original. Instead of saying “I want to take shots like these” I trusted myself and my own vision. It was important for me to be able to do this.

I dislike having tourists in my frames. I intentionally exclude them in my composition, but I also acknowledge that it is impossible to be fully rid of them so I work to carefully frame them into my images. Another item I tried to avoid was signs or labels. For example, if I were to show the bottom of the Sleeping Buddha statue, I would have to include a sign and an information board which would ruin the shot completely. Other red flags include rubbish cans, or excessively modern and out of place elements. A clean and tight composition is crucial.

Not every scene needs to be shot with a wide angle lens. I did not try and fit everything into my frames. I found myself using the Olympus 25mm and 45mm F1.8 lens more than the ultra wide angle 7-14mm F2.8 PRO. Using longer focal lengths allows for perspective compression and a variety of different framing alternatives.

Bangkok was such a beautiful place and I absolutely love the temples (I have lost count of how many I visited). I also took some time to put the camera away and immerse myself in the breathtaking views and local culture. Lets not spend our holidays stuck behind the viewfinder and miss out on the experience of being there. Chasing image perfection should not take priority over the real experiences.

I cannot wait to visit Bangkok again!

The Olympus PEN E-PL9 is available from B&H

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Images and content copyright Robin Wong 2019 onwards. All rights reserved

Comments

  1. Brian Nicol says:

    Hi Robin, I love your posts and particularly enjoy the monk image. I have been meaning to express appreciation for your posts on your personal site but find it too difficult to post – I guess I am not a sophisticated internet user.

    Your recent post on the Olympus latest camera release and M43 was spot on. I recently downsized from full frame Leica and Sony A7R systems due to car accident injuries to a M43 system and “upsized” to a Hasselblad X1D small system. I have high standards and the M43 system delivers more than adequately for most photographers, I chose M43 over APS-C as the glass size is not significantly smaller than full frame. I chose the Panasonic G9 as I felt is better suited my needs than the Oly but is was a tough choice. I love that the premium glass is a fraction of the size of full frame. The Oly 75/1.8 is a tiny jewel and a joy to use and the equal of any high performance full frame lens and has an amazing rendering. I have the Pana Leica 200/2.8 and have not used a long telephoto with such incredible sharpness across the frame and I can carry it all day. I read a recent fashion photographer going on about the latest Sigma 105/1.4 lens and its amazing rendition but his arm hurt after 20 minutes of usage – the photo blog community will be raving about it but who wants to carry and use it. My M43 camera takes images that nobody would know came from M43. My only desire for M43 is an improvement in bits. I would like at least 12 bits so the pixels are more flexible but I have the X1D option for those times. I have the Oly 7-14 pro ( for real estate and ultra wide), 12-100/4 ( carry everywhere and great image quality), 40-150 2.8 pro (amazing zoom), Oly 45/1.2 (amazing), Oly 75/1.8 (amazing), Pana Leica 200/2.8 ( incredible, 1.4x incredible). I used to have Pana Leica 151.7 which was great but replaced by Leica Q-P (amazing) and Pana Leica 12/1.4 ( amazing 3D rendition) but redundant to Hasselblad Xcd 30mm. I also had the Oly 17/1.2 which has a magical rendering but sold to fund the Hasselblad 30mm and it was redundant to the Hasselblad great 45mm but not magical but I am using Hasselblad for my primes in the full frame range of 24mm to 105mm. I also sold the Oly 25/1.2 as it was a great lens but not magical in rendering like the Oly 17/1.2 and the Oly 45/1.2.

    All I can say is that for most pros and enthusiasts, the M43 system covers the majority of needs (reasonable entry price to premium optics, compact cameras to bodies suitable for effectively holding the bigger zooms and primes). Few need more megapixals than 18 to 24. I would like to see a bigger bit depth but I have invested in glass and am confident that will come soon. The joy in photography is enjoying capturing images without the tools getting in the way and tiring your in the process. M43 delivers the goods for most.

    I think you are an excellent voice in the wilderness of photography focussed on irrelevant specs instead of needs. Even though you are Olympus focussed, I think you are the best ambassador for M43. Thanks, Brian

  2. Fine shot selection!

  3. Unique perspectives! I especially like the wide-angle with the monk in orange framed in the passageway. Beautiful composition.

  4. Thank you for sharing this images.
    Bernhard

  5. Gill Brown says:

    i love the monk walking under the arches….some superb photos Robin

  6. superbe et dépaysant.

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