2 Jun 2014

Following the railtracks, II

Makkasan Airport Link to Ploen Chit (3 km)

Two weeks after my initial walk, which you can see here, I was ready to continue exactly where I had finished last time, so I took the Airport Link train to Makkasan and started my walk right underneath the mammoth overhead concrete station. Today's journey would be slightly shorter than the first one, roughly 3 km in length, but it promised to be interesting as I was going to stray from the main line at one point to explore an abandoned, secondary rail line that had been abandoned long ago.

Crossing stairs, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Framed tree, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Short grandfather with tall grandson, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
It was a mercilessly sunny day, and since it had rained a bit in the morning, the colors were rich and deep all around me, so it was only natural to take advantage of this lushness and beauty, thus I shot mostly in color, as I felt it represented much better the vibrancy and atmosphere of the day and of the walk. The first kilometer was a continuation of the landscapes from my previous trip, so at first I just walked across similar terrain, passing by a few constructions sites, always lead by the railtracks, both on the ground (the old land lines) and above my head (the faster and more modern elevated train).

Gestation I, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Gestation II, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Antagonists, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
But even though color dominated most of the things that surrounded me, I still found a few occasions were monochrome worked well and, since I'm determined to get better visualizing and finding monochrome scenes, I consciously searched and looked for them, and I just found a few the moment I left the main rail line, which continues further downtown, and I turned left, instead (exactly when you reach the old Makkasan Station), penetrating in what used to be another rail line but that has been long abandoned. The tracks remain, but they act now as the main avenue in this neighborhood of small houses and humble people.

Vacant spaces, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Projections, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
But, despite the abundance of color in today's post, perhaps the single biggest difference between my first trip along the railtracks and today's is a different one: while two weeks ago I encountered the whole area brimming with people, today I walked mostly empty tracks. Today it was earlier and it was hotter than the last time, so probably the people remained in their shaded shelters, waiting for the sun to sink before hitting the street (we should say the track, to tell the truth); therefore I just walked ahead, enjoying the unusual serenity of a quiet area right in Bangkok's city center.

Tradition vs. modernisation, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
On roofs and antennas, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
Confluences, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
And, faster than I expected, I reached Sukhumvit road, that was my end goal, which made me realize something that it's probably very obvious but that had remained hidden to me until today: it's surprising how fast a photowalk goes when there is no people involved in it; in other words, people takes the longer time for me to photograph, since there is a whole process around it, whereas environmental photography doesn't require that "communication" and, therefore, goes much faster. Interesting fact. I took a few last pictures, trying to catch at least some glimpses of life (or still life) before calling it a day.

Still house, GM1 + Lumix G Vario 12-32mm
Dandy cat amidst the rubbish, GH3 + Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm
One of the things of photography that surprises me and attracts me the most is how two very similar environments can lead to two completely diverse and opposite images. My first trip along Bangkok's railtracks ended up with a collection of monochrome images full of people, whereas today, just a couple of kilometres away, we have bright colors and an empty, dehumanized city. That's the power of this beautiful medium, I guess!