Archive for June, 2007

More from the Phi Ta Khon festival.

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

As well as being a great excuse for a piss up, the festival had a load of unfathomable religious symbolisms.
The ghosts carried swords with a penis on one end, no-one seemed to have any idea why! They would regularly attack unsuspecting strangers (me included) and grind the penises into their crotch. Very strange! We were invited to a piss up with a nice group of ghosts on the Sunday night, and it was quite amusing to watch and share in pretend gun-fights with these sword-penises and then play air guitar on the sword-penises. All very phallic and Freudian.

Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival

Lovely Ladies of Phi Ta Khon

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Kate just posted on her blog (http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Thailand/Loei/Dan-Sai/blog-174091.html) that I had some photos of showgirls from the festival, so here are the photos!

Phi Ta Khon Ladies
Phi Ta Khon Ladies
The showgirls were charmingly without grace, but made up for it with huge amounts of enthusiasm and smiles. A large part of the choreography consisted of pelvic thrusts accompanied by high-pitched squeals… hilarious!

Phi Ta Khon Ladies
Phi Ta Khon Ladies
Phi Ta Khon Ladies
Phi Ta Khon Ladies
Phi Ta Khon Ladies
Phi Ta Khon Ladies

Phi Ta Khon Festival - HDR

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

The festival was superb, I can’t remember the last time I had such a good time!
Everyone was so warm, friendly and cheerful and spirits were running very high.
The general idea of the festival is to get dressed up as ghosts, and then get extremely drunk. Nice drunk though!
The Fuji S3 generates some great HDR photos from it’s RAW files, what I shame I can only get around 70 RAW files on one 2GB memory card!

Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival
Phi Ta Khon Festival

Perhaps I’m getting carried away with the effect, but I like it and it’s fun. I’m sure I’ll calm down and produce nice respectable realistic photos again soon so I don’t offend people’s sensibilities.

Some tips about HDR I’m picking up…
it’s handy to keep the original photo on the bottom layer in Photoshop so you can tone down the HDR effect. Obviously I haven’t done that here! But I can see a place for this being done in a subtle way on many future photos.
As my camera (Fuji S3) has a wider dynamic range than other cameras, it’s possible to turn a JPEG capture into HDR. I NeatImage the photo first if it needs it, convert it into 16-bit and save it as a TIFF which can then be opened in Photomatix Pro for the HDR treatment. Nice!

Suckers at Glastonbury

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Actually I think I’ll really miss Glastonbury this year, although I do think the music this year is absolutely terrible. Glastonbury Festival is never really about the music for me, but it’s nice as a photographer to shoot some great acts. Not this year, I can’t say I’ll really be missing any of the performances. Almost every band has done the UK festival scene to death, it’s a triumph of NME bands which is really not my scene. I was considering flying back, but I’m sure I made the right choice now.
I’ve been hard at work in front of the computer working on my mystery project, it’s a terrible time to feel motivated to sit in front of the computer all day when I’m in exotic lands! Glastonbury this weekend did send me into a panic though, so I decided at short notice to head off to a festival on the Thailand/ Laos border called Phi Ta Khon which looks really photogenic and has been described as ‘Halloween on steroids’. As Kate has a job interview in Indonesia in a month’s time so our travelling might be cut short, we’ll then be continuing on through Laos, and then on to some of the beaches of the islands in the south of Thailand. A nice change of pace! Then back to work in Indonesia.
Anyway, I’ve had a bit of time to do some sight-seeing in Chiang Mai…

Doi Suthep
Doi Suthep
Doi Suthep
Doi Suthep