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.