• CategoriesExpat Life · Photography

    The #Hellvan Chronicles

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    For those who don’t know, one of the cheapest forms of long-distance transport around Thailand is the minivan. You can get from Pattaya to Bangkok – a distance of 147km – in supreme discomfort for a mere 150 baht (about £3 or US$4.30) and, what’s more, you can do it surprisingly quickly if you catch the right bus. Why? Because the minivans were famous for being driven by absolute lunatics. That’s why I christened them “Hellvans”.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 11: Texture

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    This is the first time where I have the opportunity to combine a Project52 write-up with a model shoot write-up! As it happened, several of the shots I took during the shoot coincided with the theme of the week – Texture – so all I had to do was pick the one I thought said it best. Some would call that laziness and a cop-out. I call it “efficient”.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 9: Black & White

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    Most of my favourite black and white shots featured highly-textured surfaces, whether it be wood grain or a wrinkly face. Naturally, therefore, my first choice when it came to picking somewhere to shoot for the Project52 was an abandoned building.

  • CategoriesOp-Ed

    Please Stop Going ‘Missing’!

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    Around the end of February, there was a social media frenzy here in Thailand and back in the UK. My Facebook newsfeed was flooded with pictures of a 21-year-old backpacker from Swanage in the UK, along with desperate pleading from her family to spread the picture further and further in the hope of locating the person depicted.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 8: Outtake

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    This was a bit of a contrast to what had been going on for a lot of the rest of the shoot, where the black angel had been glaring at the white one with daggers in her eyes, looking vengeful and hateful of the latter’s happiness. I can’t exactly recall how this led to the picture below. I remember us laughing about the apparent conflict between the two polar-natured personifications and me getting off a quick snapshot when Becca pretended to throttle Jasica. I was essentially shooting from the hip, but that is a practice I have a surprising about of experience with. It was more chance than anything else that it actually worked, but I suppose that is the very definition of an outtake.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 7: Love

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    We got there just in time and I was able to snap my Project52 picture of a young Thai couple who were clearly very much in love, but who were abiding by the Thai traditions of keeping overt displays of passion to a minimum. It is rather a more modern Thai tradition to take endless selfies, and they were certainly doing plenty of that.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 6: Unbalanced

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    How can this be unbalanced? The creature clearly has perfect poise and control over its attitude. Well, the answer is that the picture is not properly white balanced. This is the constant problem with diving photography. I should take something white down with me to use as a reference for each shot, but that is just another thing to carry in what is already quite a complicated and overweighted rig. It is easier just to hope that there is something white in the shot I can use to set the balance, or else I can just try to do it manually by eye.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 5: Morning

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    Being able to see that much of the solar system at one time was impressive. It gave a feeling of space and perspective – like I could feel how the whole thing works. Of course, it was about 5am at the time, so that could have been my imagination. Anyway, as the sun crept up over the horizon, I got my finest shots, including this one.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 4: Shadows

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    I consider that this qualifies as a ‘shadow’ in two senses. Firstly, it is all in the deep shadow of a valley as the sun is setting. Secondly, the building itself is a shadow of what it should have been; a failed attempt at grandeur. Its a flimsy interpretation, but it is as good as it gets for now.

  • CategoriesPhotography

    Week 3: Out of Focus

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    Just about the most creative thing I did with this shot was to try my first attempt at basic HDR techniques. I created two copies of the shot; one with the terribly exciting (but in-focus) rock properly exposed and the other with the blurry boat properly exposed. I overlaid the two images in Photoshop and then smart selected the rock on the second shot and deleted it, so that the first shot showed through underneath. Voila! – Instant HDR. About as impressive as the rock, really.