Week 26: Haze CategoriesPhotography

Week 26: Haze

I’m still playing catch-up on this blog, which is a little depressing after 40 posts. I’m perhaps being a bit ambitious in the scope, trying to do the Project52, travel articles, model photography and manage a day job and a social life all at once, but what can I say? Such are my interests and I like writing about them. I’m about to make my life even harder, too, because Week 26 introduces yet another new project!

The Emerald Bang Rong Phuket, Thailand

Regular readers may have spotted a recent post which seemed rather out of place on here, in so far as it appeared to be a hotel review for a hotel which doesn’t exist. The Emerald Bang Rong Phuket kind of lived up to its name, in so far as something when “bang”, something went w”rong” and then this gem of a hotel just failed to open (in Phuket). To put it a little more clearly, it was a hotel project which seems to have run out of money before construction was even completed and now stands deserted in a rather remote part of the island.

As I said in the article about the place (linked above), I really liked this setting and I thought it would make a great place for a model shoot. The only downside was that no one in their ride mind would ever dream of going with a complete stranger to such a remote location, so I wanted to find a similar-looking location somewhere closer to civilisation. From such a humble intention, an entire photo project was born.

Graffiti in Phuket Country Lodge, Thailand

One innocuous question posed to my colleagues at work (most of whom have lived in Phuket for decades) kind of snowballed into the “Paradise Abandoned” project, documenting every abandoned hotel and building in the area, if not in the whole of Thailand. My Project52 shot from Week 9 came from the first building to be suggested by my friends while you might remember that I visited another place in Week 7, but the shot there wasn’t particularly appropriate for the theme of “Love”…well, not unless you count the fact that the site used to be next to a brothel.

So, up comes Week 26 and the subject of “Haze”. There are certainly plenty of options I could have shot, including heat haze and smoke haze, both of which are easy enough to find in Phuket. The island has often been afflicted by haze coming from forest fires in Indonesia, which makes inspiring travel photography a bit of a challenge. Sadly, this was not particularly forthcoming as we’re in the middle of the rainy season and, therefore, well out of the forest fire season.

Once again, I found life getting in the way of my photography and I ended up having to crowbar Project52 relevance into a shot which I took for a different purpose. I happened to be going up to the northern end of Phuket with my friend because we had been invited to review a hotel restaurant in Bangtao (for work, so it won’t be appearing here). As we were in the area, said friend suggested that we set off a little early and take a detour via an excellent abandoned hotel he’d just discovered: The Phuket Peninsula Resort & Spa in Nai Yang. While the photos taken there are primarily for Paradise Abandoned, the day happened to be a bit hazy and, as such, it was the best photo I took that week which kind of matched the Project52 theme.

Phuket Peninsula Spa & Resort

Phuket Peninsula Spa & Resort, Nai Yang, Phuket, Thailand – 26/06/16 @ 10:27:22.
Canon EOS 7D w/. Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 lens
Focal length: 60mm. Exposure: 1/1,250th @ f/10. ISO 320

I actually legitimately like this photo. I think it is quite striking, particularly after I elevated the clarity in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Shooting into the sun was a little awkward because it meant that I also had to boost the shadows and that can make things look kind of odd. In this case, I got pretty lucky and it created a nice effect. I quite like the [sadly unintended] effect whereby the hotel ruins look really stark and kind of colourful while the paradise of Nai Yang Beach beyond looks almost hazy.

And there’s the rub: “almost” hazy. Frankly, as a Project52 shot, this is pretty rubbish. The haze is barely noticeable and is a complete afterthought. This is one of the cases where what is supposed to be the central theme of the photograph is relegated to a mere feature, and a very minor one at that. This is one of the reasons why I have already decided that next year’s Project52 is going to be a Photo of the Week project, merely showcasing the shot I’m most proud of from that week. While less targeted and significantly less challenging, it will result in far fewer posts with the words “life got in the way” within the first few paragraphs.

More photos from this location will have to wait until I’ve caught up on the numerous other abandoned buildings I shot before getting to this one. It will also have to wait until I’ve actually got around to editing those shots! Despite it now being a full month later, I’ve had so many higher priority shoots since that I haven’t got around to working on these yet!

Project52 Schedule
Credit: Amy Dingler / MarvelousMommy.com
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Ben has been an expatriate since he was 21, a writer since he was about 10 and a photographer since he was 12. Degema Travel is the culmination of that experience.

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