30 Sep 2013

Dispersed memories of a soothing weekend

 There are those who need time to do things.
Freelancer, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
And there are others that advance diligently.
The search, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Some look for shelter and company.
Warmth, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
While others prefer to follow their own path.
On 2 legs, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Certain things enjoy a lasting life.
The soul of a nation, GH3 + Olympus M Zuiko 45mm
Yet others are replaced mercilessly fast.
Awaiting, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Still some like to be discreet, and see with just one eye.
Peeking out, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm 
When others walk around openly.
The line, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
And without hiding.
Curiosity and attention, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
But all, without exception, were once little buds asking for affection.
The attention grabber, GH3 + Olympus M Zuiko 45mm

29 Sep 2013

Digital skies: watercolors in Isan

When people think of Thailand, what usually comes to mind is the inclined roof of a golden temple, the expansive curve of a white beach, the majesty of an Asian elephant, the skyline of a chaotic metropolis or the smile of a beautiful woman. No question you will find them all, North or South; actually, it will be quite difficult for you to avoid any of them as you travel around the country. However, for me, and as iconic as those landmarks might be, there is another image that takes center stage and automatically appears in my imagination whenever I ask myself what is the strongest, most vivid idea I have formed of this beautiful country over these 3 years, and the answer is clear. 

Serenity, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Stillness, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm 
Pride, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
October in Isan: endless rice fields brimming with life, softly caressed by the breeze; lush greens expanding to the horizon, free of tethers; profoundly blue skies with shreds of stray, white clouds dancing their way throughout. Maybe melancholy plays a big part here (but obviously it does!) as the first time I visited Isan it was in October, 2 years ago, and ever since then the images of its landscapes have stayed with me, firmly rooted in my mind.

The scar, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Intrusion, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Witnesses, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
I have returned a few times since my first visit, but at different times of the year, when the rice fields are dry or barely grown, and it was not until this weekend that I have had the chance to go back at this same time of the year again. I was really excited to let my eyes sink into the beauty of the views, once again.

Silent grit, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Stirred grit, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm 
Rumor, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The water path & the dragonfly, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
There is nothing much I can add in written form here, words prove unnecessary when the colors and emotions are so transparent and expressive on their own. I will just let them speak for themselves.

Horizons, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Bogged down cloud, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Observer, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Romance between a barn & a pond, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Embrace, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Farewell, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
As much as I love the scapes and colors of these lands, there is more to Isan than purely ground and sky, and the third element to form the essential triangle is, of course, people. People from Isan is humble and hard-working, friendly and welcoming; I knew that before, and this weekend I had the chance to reconfirm that impression: the ochre ground is to the people as the crib to the baby: a place you cannot (or don't want) to escape from, yet the place where you feel most at home. For all of them, my most sincere gratitude.

Family motion, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Assistance, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Ahead, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Reassurance, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm 
The lookout in the watchtower I, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm 
The lookout in the watchtower II, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm

22 Sep 2013

500px Worldwide Meetup Day @ Bangkok

When last January I bought my camera and committed myself to photography at a more serious level, apart from creating my blog, I also joined a photography webpage that seemed about right for what I was looking for: 500px. Ever since then, I have been using 500px as a sort of portfolio where I upload only the best shot or shots (if lucky) of each of my blog entries. But a few weeks ago I casually read a post in the web and, to my surprise, it was a call to organize a community photo walk in different cities across the globe on the same day. I wasted no time and contacted them, and so today, after a few e-mails, the creation of a Facebook group and some online chat, the day has arrived to go out and meet a few people to walk around the city taking pictures together.

The barrier, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
The meeting point was BACC (Bangkok's Art & Culture Centre) and the time, 15:30. However, the traffic was quite congested on my way there so, afraid of being late, I decided to get off the bus a few stops before my destination and continue walking (as contradictory as this might seem, walking is in Bangkok sometimes faster than going by bus/car/taxi). Luckily, this short, unexpected walk gave me the opportunity to grab a few shots that I had otherwise totally missed, so it worked as a brief warm up for what was to come shortly afterwards.

Work uniforms, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Urban frame, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
We slowly grew to a number of about 10 and, after the customary introductions, off we went. But we didn't have to walk far to start our photo session, as right in front of BACC a generous group of Muslim girls were gathering with flags and posters to call for peace in the South of Thailand, where they had come from (an area that unfortunately has been suffering from some religious and political violence the last years). Almost accidentally, we found ourselves in the middle of the small demonstration, and so our photo walk got started a few minutes earlier than expected.

Holding hands, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
The umbrellas, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Warning fingers, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Convictions, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
After taking some pictures of them, we slowly headed towards the place we had agreed beforehand: Khlong Saen Saeb, a place I'm very familiar with as some of my first photowalks at thebeginning of the year were there, but this canal runs for a few kilometres and today we were going to explore an area I had never walked before. Familiar waters, but different grounds!

Mass Rapid Water Transport, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Diagonals, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Khlong Saen Saeb is a place full of life, color, movement, and people. The narrow alleyways that escort the canal or hide from it between the small huts are punctuated by countless homes that, more often than not, show their doors wide open, unashamed of living with one foot inside and another one outside, welcoming neighbors and embracing a sense of community. On our march through the neighborhood, we met many people along the way, and all of them showed us bright, friendly smiles and eyes full of healthy curiosity.

Seniority, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm 
Welcome home, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Light spots I, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Light spots II, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
But people is not all that inhabits these quarters, for we could see cats in almost every house, well attended, clean and tidy, sleeping comfortably outdoors or watching cautiously at the strangers passing in front of their dominions from the security of a window.

Siesta, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Who's out there?, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm 
You are not allowed to ignore me, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Walking along these lanes grants plenty of chances to see things, big and small, full of charm and uniqueness; in a word, we could say that this place is of a high level of photographibility, and observant eyes will find many things that will ask for a closer look, and of course will deserve a picture or more.

Chasing or escaping?, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Blades, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Letters or numbers?, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
As much as we were enjoying our walk, some people had other duties to perform during the evening, and we had reached a dead end in the canal, so we decided to call it a day and we promised to organize another photowalk as this one sooner rather than later. After swapping numbers and goodbyes, we parted ways, and each one of us followed our own path. I decided I would walk back on the other bank of the canal to the nearest pier to catch a boat to go back home, and during this short walk I could grab the last captures of a very interesting, yet short day. See you all soon again!

Urban landscape, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Always open, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Grave-shaped puddle, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm