Return Of The Chedis
Four of the remarkable 42-metre tall chedis in the gardens of Wat Pho Temple. This tripod-mounted image, taken with a 17mm lens at f/22 and ISO 100 for 15 seconds shows the drama, majesty and solitude of the gardens by night. I had the chedis all to myself from about 8pm to 9:30pm. After almost two hours of shooting without seeing another soul, I started to wonder if I had been locked into the temple grounds by accident!
The Miniature Garden
One of the videos from my “Moving Miniatures” blog which will launch early next year.
Feung Nakorn is one of the oldest roads in the city — a narrow, quiet (by Bangkok standards) street just a stone’s throw from Wat Pho and the River of Kings … an easy stroll to Chinatown … and a lovely afternoon’s hike to the the Temple of Dawn.
A tripod-mounted video shot with a 90mm tilt-shift lens, employing full tilt and shift.
The Black Buddhas Of Wat Suthat
I am working on a series of images on the black Buddhas which line the inner wall of the Wat Suthat temple in Bangkok. Each Buddha is different, possessing its own personality and charisma. I decide to photograph them as I would people — reflecting their individual nuances of character. I do this at night when the temple grounds are un-peopled and I can set up my tripod to shoot each statue without distraction.
It is true that there is a dark, sinister appeal to the black Buddhas of Wat Suthat. Several of them resemble freshly unwrapped mummies in ancient Egypt, while others have the smooth feline wisdom of Siamese cats.
90mm tilt-shift lens employing full tilt, shift and also rotation : f/2.8, 8 secs at ISO 100.
Sitting in dour, fog-shrouded Shanghai it’s hard to believe that I started the year in Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.
Otherwise known as Bangkok.
Often, after an afternoon of shooting stock on the hot streets, I would spent a few hours in the vast, peaceful gardens of Wat Pho. During the day, tourists flock in their thousands to queue and catch a fleeting glimpse of the Reclining Buddha and more than one thousand other Buddha images. What they don’t realize is that — unlike other temples — Wat Pho remains open until 9pm (and one can stay even later than that if one wishes). I would have the whole place to myself … wandering wide-eyed through a magical, calming, people-less sanctuary of soaring chedi and prangs.
This is a tripod-mounted 90mm tilt-shift image at f2.8, 1/30 sec, ISO 100. Taken at about 9pm. And no, I did not use flash.
The People’s Temple
Wat Suthat does not carry the drama or legend of the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), but for many residents in Bangkok, Wat Suthat is the temple of choice for celebrating major Buddhist festivals.
The main hall or wihan pictured here is home to a beautiful 13th Century bronze Buddha. The ashes of King Rama VIII, brother of the current king, are contained in the base of the 8-metre tall statue.
This image, taken at about 8pm shortly after a rainstorm, is actually a mini panorama comprised of two horizontal 17mm shots. The first for the sky and top of the hall; the second for the base of of the hall and grounds.
f/10, 13 seconds, ISO 100. I stitch the two images in Photoshop, reduce noise and add the border.
One Crowded Shrine : Part III
In 2006, the Erawan Shrine made world headlines when a mentally unstable man, wielding a hammer, destroyed the statue of Brahma. News reports erroneously stated that the man was attacked by an angry mob of worshippers. In reality, he was beaten to death by two street cleaners who were subsequently charged with his murder.
This image of the new new statue (which was unveiled about two months after the original one was destroyed) is taken from the Skytrain walkway at about 9pm.
90mm tilt shift, Manual, f/10, 1 sec, ISO 400. Border added as a Photoshop plugin.
One Crowded Shrine : Part II
Taken from the Skytrain walkway, this photograph captures the Erawan Shrine in all its glory : a tapestry of life on the streets of downtown Bangkok … where religion mingles with car fumes … motorbike horns with hawker cries … the golden lights of the shrine with the glare of advertising hoards … tourist with tout … dancing girl with worshipper …
Magic, addictive, unforgettable.
A single 17mm tilt-shift image, tripod mounted. ISO200, f/10 at 1.6 seconds. Not an easy capture, I exposed for the light of the shrine. Post processing was simple: noise reduction and a black frame.
One Crowded Shrine
This and the next few posts feature images taken at the Erawan Shrine at at the in the Pathum Wan district of Bangkok. The images are taken between 7pm and 10pm at night.
I want to capture the clamour, lights, smells … the intensity of colours, the assault on the senses that is downtown Bangkok. In this first image for example, one can see the shrine on the right, the Skytrain (Bangkok’s Metro) above and — off to the left — Thai dancers. The dancers are not for “tourist consumption”: they are hired by worshippers for seeing their prayers answered.
Two horizontal shots, taken with a 17mm tilt-shift lens: one for the upper half, one for the lower section of the image. ISO 250 at f/10 at 1/3 sec. I stitched the images together in Photoshop, applied some local noise reduction, added a border … five minutes’ work.