Monday, December 6, 2010

City of Lights

It goes without saying, for Thais, that December is usually a month of celebration.  Not only it is a X-mas and holiday season, but it's also our King's birthday.  The city of Bangkok is always lit up during the month of December to celebrate the King's birthday, and later X-mas and New Year.  

As a Bangkok resident, I had never been out on the streets on our King's birthday, but there's a first time for everything.  This first time, however, is a little tricky.  Ask any taxis or Tuk-Tuk and they decline heading to the old part of Bangkok this evening, simply because the traffic is so bad with tons of people heading to the same location.  So a motorcycle taxi is the only choice.  

I decide to bring my 24 'Lux because I have not used it much, and the Noctilux because of the low light environment.  Strangely, I find it very difficult to shoot with 24 'Lux maybe because the crowd are always in the way, or maybe it's just too wide for the surrounding with so many people.  Somehow I feel that the 35'Lux would have been a perfect one-lens choice for the night.  The focus throw of the Noctilux does make it a little tricky to shoot quickly, and low light doesn't help.  

Fortunately, I also have another equipment with me, the Olympus EP-L1 with the latest Panasonic 14/2.5 (28mm equivalent).  The EP-L1 doesn't disappoint even with f2.5 (I wish it's 2.0) and is able to capture some good shots in a relatively dark environment.  I walk a lot and probably spend too much time looking around, taking in the experience (as it's my first), rather than shooting.  Anyway, I hope you like the photos.

Anantasamakhom Palace - Leica M9 + 24 Summilux

I spot a small area where visitors light the candles, wishing our King prosperity on his birthday.  Then I see a handicapped woman reaching down to set her candles on the street. 

Lighting the Candles - Leica M9 + 24 Summilux

Lighting the Candles II - Leica M9 + 24 Summilux

Flower Woman - Leica M9 + 24 Summilux

Balloon Woman - Leica M9 + 50 Noctilux

Electric Bows - Olympus EP-L1 + Panasonic 14/2.5

Lights @ Makhawan Bridge - Olympus EP-L1 + Panasonic 14/2.5

Night Singer - Olympus EP-L1 + Panasonic 14/2.5

Ride with Me - Olympus EP-L1 + Panasonic 14/2.5

Constitution Monument - Olympus EP-L1 + Panasonic 14/2.5



PS:  I should also add that processing these photos was a bit tricky as the street lights cast a strong yellow/orange hue to all the photos.  I decided to customize the white balance to balance the mood (i.e. yellowness) and the natural color reproductions (a small degree).