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Author Topic: Thailand Locations??  (Read 31097 times)
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2006, 09:22:04 AM »
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Hi Ray,

I just LOVED your description of the photography conditions at Angkor Wat. Firstly, I agree with you - it is one of the planet's greatest photography locations, and secondly - yes, one has to keep reminding onself that other people have photography rights also and there are hoardes of them and they can't resist being photographed square in front of the best shots one could hope to make. There are two solutions to this problem: (1) go there off-season and off-peak hours (which I was fortunate to have been able to do) or (2) just have enormous amounts of patience. One has exactly the same problem - actually multiplied - in China, where DOMESTIC tourism has taken off with a vengeance - and you know - I respect that - those folks were so couped-up and deprived for so many decades - they now have the freedom and the means to see their own country and they are doing it in spades. Good for them, and a true test of perseverance on the rest of us!

And yes, trekking around those sites with gear is an excellent way to get in shape -and lose weight (not that I have much lose). It's the motivation.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2006, 10:12:34 AM »
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There are two solutions to this problem: (1) go there off-season and off-peak hours (which I was fortunate to have been able to do) or ....[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=90697\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Mark,
I thought I was going off-season when I arrived in mid September. There was still quite a bit of rain around. The Tonle Sap was at its height. The Siem Reap streets got quickly flooded on the days it rained, but tourism seemed at least as high as it was the previous year in December, so what it's like right now I shudder to think.

This is a place where tourist numbers or on the rise. It's probably the most 'booming' place in Cambodia with new hotels springing up all over the town.

When I visited in April this year, a shower of rain flooded 'Pub Street' (the tourist centre with restaurants such as 'Angkor What?' and 'Funky Buddha') to such an extent that local kids rushed out with mock polystyrene boats, paddling up and down the street, having great fun.. 5 months later, the drainage has been fixed and the street seems immune to flooding.

If anyone is is seriously interested in photographing the Angkor Wat area, I recommend you get in there fast before it becomes impossible to take a shot without a horde of tourists in the foreground.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2006, 10:31:08 AM »
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Ray,

The advice I got from the Manager of the hotel I stayed in was that September is actually the best month of the year for photography there, because it is supposed to be when the rainy season is just trailing off (NORMALLY - but nothing is normal these days), so the vegetation is at its greenest. So if enough people know this, it would not be the off-season any longer! Anyhow, from my experience, given the sheer size and varied economic profiles of the populations in East Asia, I think the concept of *off-season* is probably a misnomer. For our purposes it will be on-season year-round.

Yes, I know it is the fastest growing tourist area in the country. My purpose in being there was actually to help evaluate economic options for improving power supply, because with all the tourist infrastructure being developed and related population influx there was an urgent need for increased electricity supply - as well as all other infrastructure. When you think of it, this kind of explosive commercial growth puts tremendous stress on the environment and on all the ancillary services such as water, roads and power needed to support it.

Well, all the more power to them if they can carry it off successfully.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2006, 11:04:14 AM »
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My purpose in being there was actually to help evaluate economic options for improving power supply, because with all the tourist infrastructure being developed and related population influx there was an urgent need for increased electricity supply - as well as all other infrastructure. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=90703\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Mark,
Is that so? I gathered that an electricity link with Thailand was under construction at the time I was in Siem Reap, and due for completion in a few months. In fact, when I left Siem Reap, throwing away my cheap airline ticket with Air Asia from Pnom Phen to Bangkok, preferring to travel by road to the Thai border, I noticed the power line poles, under construction, along the highway.

Did I say highway?   . That trip was also an amazing photographic opportunity. Parts of the road were under such extreme flooding that cars and taxis were queueing up to be towed by tractor through 4 ft or more of water. The water flowed into the floor of my taxi causing my feet to get soaked. I was left with the feeling that the cost of my taxi fare was far less than the cost of the damage to the taxi as a result of this flooding, but oddly enough, the taxi driver quite enjoyed the experience, as I did. I guess it wasn't his taxi.  
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2006, 12:42:36 PM »
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Ray,

Yes - that's the project - at the early preparatory stage my job was to help assess the generic merits of a link with Thailand versus local alternatives. They are doing the right thing.

If you have a chance to post some pictures or point to a website that would be a real treat.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Ray
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« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2006, 04:42:13 AM »
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If you have a chance to post some pictures or point to a website that would be a real treat.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=90728\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, I've got thousands of images to process and the monitor I'm on at the moment hasn't been calibrated for 6 or 9 months (it's not mine   ) but it's good enough to knock up a few snapshots to give you an idea of the road conditions and state of progress of the construction of those power lines. I suspect they are more than a bit behind schedule.

I think this could accurately be described as the worst road I've had the excitement of travelling along   .

[attachment=1381:attachment]    [attachment=1382:attachment]    [attachment=1383:attachment]  

[attachment=1384:attachment]   [attachment=1385:attachment]   [attachment=1386:attachment]

[attachment=1387:attachment]
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2006, 12:12:29 PM »
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Ouch.  
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2006, 01:20:52 PM »
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Thanks for posting those Ray. What a huge disaster.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2006, 02:33:37 PM »
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Mark,
I got the impression this sort of thing happens every year. Some people say the reason this road from Seam Reap to the Thai border has not yet been upgraded has to do with issues of economic trade between Siem Reap and Cambodia's capital, Pnom Phenh. A good road link to Thailand would result in a massive amount of trade coming through to Siem Reap, which is already prospering because of the huge influx of tourists. The fear is that Pnom Phenh would tend to get left behind in economic development.

The road between Siem Reap and Pnom Phen is apparently quite good, although I haven't travelled along it, preferring to get from Pnom Phenh to Siem Reap by speed boat along the Tonle Sap.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2006, 02:37:34 PM by Ray » Logged
Chris_T
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« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2006, 08:04:14 AM »
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Angkor Wat in this thread is described as "the most impressive sight in all my travels throughout the world" and "one of the planet's greatest photography locations".

Have you been to the Great Walls, the Pyramids, or Machu Picchu, etc.? Similar to Angkor Wat, these locations also offer photo ops of bygone civilizations and architectures. While each location offers something special, does Angkor Wat offer something extra?

Not doubting your claims, just wondering how Angkor Wat stands out above the rest in your opinions.
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Ray
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« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2006, 09:56:25 AM »
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Not doubting your claims, just wondering how Angkor Wat stands out above the rest in your opinions.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=90956\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Angkor Wat is just one major temple, perhaps the most impressive, surrounded by a moat 1km on each side. There are in fact hundreds of temples within an area of several hundred square kilometres of jungle, some more accessible than others and some in a greater or lesser state of disarray.

What seems to distinguish the ruins around Angkor Wat from other impressive ruins, such as the Egyptian pyramids and the Great Wall of China, is the sheer amount of decorative sculpture, carvings and bas reliefs on almost every square inch of rock.

The fact that all this is set in a damp jungle environment where massive tree roots can be seen clinging to, and gradually breaking up the even more massive stone structures, creates a sense of dynamism and mystery which I find very alluring.

From the photographic point of view, there's an enormous variety of texture, light and shade, shape and form, which varies from season to season and time of day. It's the sort of place one really needs to spend a year or two. The combination of variable weather and large numbers of tourists makes if frequently difficult to get the shot one has in mind, at a particular spot. For example, the sun's just right, the subject has interesting shadows, but a group of tourists are busy photographing each other. One waits patiently for them to move on. They eventually do, but the sun then moves behing a cloud. So one waits a bit longer for the sun to come back out, and just as it does, another group of tourists arrives on the scene to repeat the same charade of photographing each other.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2006, 09:58:37 AM by Ray » Logged
Gabe
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« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2006, 10:18:05 AM »
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You'll have a fantastic time no matter where you go, Mike, and I can't really add much to the thread that hasn't already been covered -- some great advice in here!

I was in Thailand and Cambodia for two months about 3 years ago and think about going back basically every day. Especially to Cambodia, it's such an incredible place.

Here are just a few shots from that trip. I haven't really managed to get any of the others scanned  and cleaned up yet  

Quite a few were taken in Bangkok, actually. I spent about three weeks there total, since it was just too fascinating.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2006, 10:50:40 AM »
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When we were in the Angkor Wat region a few years back (something like 2003), we found the best way to avoid crowds for photography purposes was to do it during the standard noonish-to-twoish break when the tours go back to town for lunch.  There were about one-tenth the visitors during other hours, and few if any group tours.  Whether this is still true, I don't know.

Lisa
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2006, 11:12:16 AM »
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They eventually do, but the sun then moves behing a cloud. So one waits a bit longer for the sun to come back out, and just as it does, another group of tourists arrives on the scene to repeat the same charade of photographing each other.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=90974\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There should be a law.............
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2006, 11:19:32 AM »
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When we were in the Angkor Wat region a few years back (something like 2003), we found the best way to avoid crowds for photography purposes was to do it during the standard noonish-to-twoish break when the tours go back to town for lunch.  There were about one-tenth the visitors during other hours, and few if any group tours.  Whether this is still true, I don't know.

Lisa
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=90981\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Lisa, I also heard that. It's probably still true to a degree, but as the place gets more crowded, those quiet periods also get more crowded. In any case, the sun is not necessarily ideal at that time of day, especially for bas reliefs, and some interesting spots may not be illuminated at all during those hours.

I was surprised to find that most of the sun worshippers who congregate on the banks of the lake at 5.30am to shoot Angkor Wat at dawn, seem to be anxious to return to their hotels for breakfast after the sun has risen. The seems an ideal time to climb those steep steps to the top of the temple and photograph the early morning sun on the carvings.

(But I shouldn't be mentioning this   . Next time I visit the place, those early morning quiet periods will probably be lost also.)
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2006, 12:28:31 PM »
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Lisa, I also heard that. It's probably still true to a degree, but as the place gets more crowded, those quiet periods also get more crowded. In any case, the sun is not necessarily ideal at that time of day, especially for bas reliefs, and some interesting spots may not be illuminated at all during those hours.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=90984\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It seems to me that there's a pattern for most visitors.  They seem to start with Angkor and Bayon - the first temples one encounters when entering the area - and then move north.  

A good strategy might be to move quickly to the more northern sites and work your way back south as the day proceeds.  The hot, middle of the day, lunch break time is a good time for interior shots.  

Some of the temples such as Bayon with its massive carved faces call for morning light as they generally are located on the eastern sides of the temple.  Angkor faces west and late afternoon shots might be best once the tourists have worn themselves out for the day.

--

Additionally, I ran across a site which offers to 'fix' your photos of popular places in order to get rid of the tourists.  Basically the technique is to take multiple exposures (best off a tripod) so that you have frames in which can be combined to create a tourist-free image.  Layer up your frames and erase the tourists.  

It won't work if there are constant streams of tour groups, but it will take care of the annoying few souls who wander into your frame.  (I plan on trying it out starting in a couple of weeks as I head back to SEA.)

--

In this discussion of impressive historical sites, don't leave out Bagan (Patan) in Myanmar (Burma - for you Brits who can't let go of Empire).

Two thousand temples and two thousand piles of bricks that used to be temples.  Massive temples such as Gawdawpalin Pahto and Thatbyinnyu Pahto.  Incredible light during the 'golden hour' due to the atmospheric dust.

And a taste of life as it used to be.  Men who have yet to adopt western 'pants', people traveling by ox cart and farming with animals.  A rare chance to see back into the past.
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mike517x
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« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2006, 03:35:08 PM »
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You'll have a fantastic time no matter where you go, Mike, and I can't really add much to the thread that hasn't already been covered -- some great advice in here!

I was in Thailand and Cambodia for two months about 3 years ago and think about going back basically every day. Especially to Cambodia, it's such an incredible place.

Here are just a few shots from that trip. I haven't really managed to get any of the others scanned  and cleaned up yet  

Quite a few were taken in Bangkok, actually. I spent about three weeks there total, since it was just too fascinating.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=90977\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


   Gabe,
I agree ,this is one of the best photography sites on the web.....
Yes,it was unfortunate.....I was one unhappy "falang"..Luckily though ,my better half,did manage to get some of the shots I deleted,or similar ones.
Some shots of Sukhothai were lost,but ,now ,I have a good excuse to re-visit Thailand.
Mike
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Ray
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« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2006, 08:19:38 PM »
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A good strategy might be to move quickly to the more northern sites and work your way back south as the day proceeds.  The hot, middle of the day, lunch break time is a good time for interior shots. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=90993\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Another secret revealed!! I suppose when I try to visit Preah Khan at 8am on my next visit, the place will be be swarming with photographers   .

Still, I've already got my shots.

[attachment=1393:attachment]


Oops! Someone standing in the way again   .
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2006, 10:38:40 PM »
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Oops! Someone standing in the way again  .
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=91070\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Another one of those blankety-blank tourists, no doubt. I think she's holding a fingernail cam.  
« Last Edit: December 17, 2006, 10:39:44 PM by EricM » Logged

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Ray
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« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2006, 05:56:49 AM »
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Another one of those blankety-blank tourists, no doubt. I think she's holding a fingernail cam.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=91087\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


The truth is, I hired the dancer to accompany me  to Preah Khan in the early morning when I believed there would be few tourists around. Unfortunatelyh, the sun did not co-operate and the lighting was flat, but what could I do!!

For those not familiar with Khmer culture, almost all the temples are adorned with bas reliefs of celestial nymphs called Apsaras. Prince Sihanouk's mother tried to revive this ancient tradition of dancing, so today in certain reastaurants in Siem Reap, the tradition is continued and one can see it and photograph it for the price of a buffet dinner.

Unfortunately, the backdrop on stage is a bit tacky. A modern Apsara against the original, ancient backdrop would be preferrable, I thought.

But what to do with those masses of tourists? I did exactly as Bob has now suggested. Went to the outer temples early in the morning.

Actually, the reaction of other tourists is rather amusing when they came across me photographing a contemporary Apsara(s). Most of them wanted to be photographed standing next to the dancer. They weren't at all interested in photographing the dancer in front of a spectacular piece of ancient architecture.

It seems to me, that for the most part, the average tourist is most intereasted in placing himself/herself in front of, or beside, any thing (or person) interesting and exotic.

Can we draw some deductions and inferences with regard to, perhaps, the mundane, suburban existence of the average tourist who perhaps craves for any association at all with the unusual and exotic? Or am I being too analytical?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2006, 06:16:04 AM by Ray » Logged
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