Find us on Google+

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bangkok New Year's Eve Fairground Rides 2011 Minolta 35mm f1.4 G

Following the previous post about the photos I took on New Year's Eve of 2010 I realized that I also had photos I took on New Year's Eve of 2011.

Armed with a 30 year old Minolta 35mm f1.4 G lens attached to the Sony a900, I once again find myself in central Bangkok, and once again the atmosphere was just as vibrant and colorful as ever, maybe even more colorful than the previous year considering I spent the night walking around a fairground.

There was an empty plot of land right in the heart of Bangkok that has been cleared and was in the process of being develop into yet another department store. Before the construction work starts however, someone had the brilliant idea of plonking down a fairground for people to enjoy during the Christmas and New Year.

I got dizzy just photographing the thing...can't imagine what those people on are feeling

One thing that I didn't have with me this time is a tripod :(, which is a real shame with all the rides with spinning colored lights presenting some great opportunities for long exposure shots. I tired my best to do them handheld, but there are still some blurring in the images.

I never win anything at these fairground games

The New Year excitement seems to be lost on this particular guard

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sony RX100 Image Samples Part 2

The first post "Sony RX100 Image Samples" was becoming a bit slow to load, so I have created a second post to upload more photos from the camera here

falling leaves Sony RX100 iso 160 f6.3 100mm

falling leaves 2 Sony RX100 iso 125 f6.3 92mm

Centara hotel Bangkok Sony RX100 iso 125 f4.9 100mm

floating flowers Sony RX100 iso 160 f5 28mm

raining flowers 2 Sony RX100 iso 125 f5 43mm

riding solo Sony RX100 iso 125 f5 28mm

shooting fountain Sony RX100 iso 125 f4.9 100mm

25 degrees burger Sony RX100 iso 1250 f2.2 28mm

25 degrees onion ring Sony RX100 iso 800 f2.2 28mm

toy car front Sony RX100 iso 1600 f4.5 28mm

toy car side Sony RX100 iso 1600 f2.2 56mm

table football Sony RX100 iso 1600 f4.5 28mm

6 monkies Sony RX100 iso 125 f4 28mm

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bangkok New Year's Eve : Sony a55 Tamron 17-50mm f2.8

After the previous post that I talked about the picture I took of the Rama VI monument in the first hours of the New Year. Some people have asked about the photos that I mentioned I was taking before, on New Year's Eve of 2010.

So I have decided to put some of the photos in this post. Before continuing any further I must give you a quick warning,

people with allergies to heavily processed HDR photography should leave the post immediately, excess consumption can be fatal

Although I like HDR, I am usually not a fan of heavy handed HDR processing. In this particular case though I thought it represented what I was trying to capture more accurately than if I had processed the photos normally. I was trying to capture a very vibrant and colorful atmosphere of New Year's Eve in Bangkok. The city actually blocked off one of it's main road and created a walking street, with lights put up all along it. Shops and hotels on both sides also do their part in creating beautiful decorations. It really feels like everyone in Bangkok have converged on the center of the city, and are having one big party.

front courtyard of the Amarin department store in central Bangkok

I really like all the little details in the large print of the picture above, sadly they are not possible to see on the monitor.

a zoomed in portion of the above photo, so you could see some of the details I was talking about

For each photo I used three different exposures with the shutter speed ranging from about 1 to 15 seconds. I was really surprised and happy with how the moving parts of the photographs came out. I loved how the shots was clear enough to be able to clearly capture the form of the people in the scene, but blurry enough so that you can't really make out individual faces.

view from the Skywalk showing part of the walking street in Bangkok

I usually feel very self-conscious walking around with a DSLR attached to a large tripod, and am always too embarrassed to do it in busy public places. So I was hesitant at first, but luckily tonight there are loads of photographers around, most with bigger cameras and even bigger tripods :).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

King Rama VI Monument Lumphini Park Bangkok Thailand

It was about 01.30 am on the 1st of January 2011, less than two hours into the new year. I had just been walking around the center of Bangkok for the last three hours capturing the sights and sounds of people celebrating new year's eve. Now, at the end of the night, I find myself standing in front of King Rama VI's monument situated in Lumphini Park (a large park in the middle of Bangkok). This time of year they actually decorate the monument with lots of lights so I thought I would take one more shot before calling it a night. I was setting up for a straight on, landscape long exposure shot of the monument, just as I pressed the shutter for my first test shot, a motorcycle drove by right in front of the monument.

"Oh for !#@$@!..."

Just before I could finish cursing I saw the sirens on the bike and realized that it was a policeman. Oups, now I was just hoping he didn't hear me as I continued the cursing inside my mind. As I went back to the camera to take another shot I realized my torment was not over. The policeman had parked his bike next to the monument, and is now walking towards the front of it.

"Oh what now?", I thought to myself.

He started taking off his boots (as you can see in the picture), and walked up to pay his respect.

"Oh man, we are going to be here all night"

I was standing there with a long face waiting for him to finish, when a friend who was with me said, "this is nice, why don't you take a picture of it?". It was like a light bulb went on, I suddenly realized that, oh yeah, this would make a really nice shot. The first thing this policeman did for the new year is to pay his respect to King Rama VI for good karma (all the credits for this photo should go to my friend).

Now I was in a frantic race against time to reset everything on my camera for the shot you see above. Pretty much every setting needed is the complete opposite as for the long exposure shot. Whereas before I was counting the seconds until he finished, now I was hoping he took his time.

1. Took the camera off the tripod...check

2. Increase the iso from 100 to 1600...check

3. Change the aperture from f11 to f5...check

4. Change the drive mode from mirror lock to normal single shot...check

Hoping I haven't forgotten anything I lined up the shot and pressed the shutter. Click...Nooooooo, I forgot the change the shutter speed and it was still at 12 seconds. Now I was stuck cursing myself as I waited for what seems like 12 minutes, hoping I would get another chance. Finally the exposure finished and I quickly changed the mode to aperture priority. Just in time I got off a couple of shots before the policeman got up and walked away before riding off on his bike.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Samui Island HDR Without Tripod

These photos are actually from a trip I took to Samui island a couple of years ago, I just never got around to processing it. No excuses really, just too lazy as usual :). For this trip I took along my newly acquired Sony a55 (just shows how long ago it was) coupled with the Tamron 17-50 f2.8. Since I was traveling with quite a large group, I had to balance my desire for taking photographs with being a good travel companion, so I couldn't really waste their time by stopping at each location to setup my tripod.

Samui Island View Sea Tree Cliff : it was so windy from the incoming storm I almost got blown off the cliff

I still wanted to do some HDR photography though, so that meant I had to take exposure bracketed shots handheld. Luckily the advantages of the new STL technology really helped in this regard. Having no jolt from the mirror flipping up and down during each shots meant that I could hold the camera pretty still, and being able to take them at 10fps helped minimize any camera movement between shots even further.

I can never decide how to process my images so I always end up with many different versions
As usual I am very indecisive when it comes to deciding how I want to process my images. I actually have many versions of the same shots, but I had to force myself to chose at most two versions for each, one color and another black and white.

maybe just one more step to the right...
I nearly got killed trying to get the composition I wanted for the picture above. I wanted both islands to be in the center between the two trees. So I was looking through the view finder as I was shifting sideways to the right. I was getting closer and closer to the angle I wanted, but just as I was about to take one more step I had a glance my horror I was standing right at the edge of a sheer 30 foot drop. Since I am no Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon martial arts master that can levitate in the air, I just decided to take the best shot I could and live to shoot another day.

this is not a car commercial...honest
Although it might look like this shot was setup it actually wasn't. I just got out of the car to walk around and enjoy the view at the top of this cliff, when I looked around the car was just parked in a typical "ad pose" and the light coming through the crowd was just perfect so I fired off a few shots. If I actually set this shot up I probably wouldn't have the tree sticking out from behind the car like that.