View From Central Festival

I had to stop at Central Festival Mall here in Pattaya looking for a decent camera store. Turns out I could have just skipped that entire process because all the stores didn’t have what I wanted.

I have been spoiled by Amazon and easy access to camera gear. Sadly in Thailand there is no Amazon so you have to know a local place to source or import it in from the US and pray it arrives sometime before you die. On that note, I did fine decent camera shops who will source from China and at a reasonable rate. So in the end it worked out.

With my rant out of the way while I was at Central Festival I was feeling peckish so I found a place to eat. During this I saw there was an observation deck. While I had my Nikon D810 with me, that would have required effort to pull it out of the bag. So instead I just pulled out my Canon S100 and took the shot.

To be fair, I may have enhanced the photo a wee bit. I can’t push the pixels nearly as hard on the smaller sensors because it will start to pixelate and get noise. So I just bumped the sky and add some additional color. Little bit of sharpening here and there via masks and all good.

Enjoy.

View From Central Festival

Beach’n

Took a ride out to Jomtien Beach just to sit by the Gulf of Thailand and enjoy a cold beer on a hot day. I’m technically retired so I’m allowed these indulgences.

Living in Thailand is a bit surreal at times. I’m in a major tourist area so I don’t get the real, Thai experience as this place caters to tourist. My neighborhood is mostly Thai with a few expat enclaves but for the most part it is Thai oriented. This means I deal with Thais most of the time. This mean Thai style restaurants, shops, and services. Having been here enough I know what to expect but it can still be a bit daunting if I have to ask for something and my Thai vocabulary isn’t there. Lots of gesturing going on. While the Land of Smiles is a bit of a myth; a smile and taking things in good humor goes a long way when there is a language barrier. Generally you can get what you want and need provided you go in with that attitude.

Shot this image on my Canon S100 because I can chuck it into my shorts pocket and be good to go. I’ll be honest and say I shoot it in P mode and let the camera handle everything. For a point-and-shoot it works better. I will override the settings if required but so far the images have been good.

Editing I did my usual then brought it into Intensify and hit a preset. I then masked in the original version of the beach to bring that down a bit just so I could get the clouds and water as the main focus.

Enjoy.

Beach'n

View From Home

This honestly is one of the views I get when I leave my building and ride the half mile or so to Pattaya Beach.

I have taken for granted I live in a beach town and fairly close to the Gulf of Thailand. Its just not my normal path on my daily wanderings. Living in a beach town doesn’t mean  you actually go to the beach. You just know its there and if you are inclined then you can go to it. If not then you ignore it and go about your daily life.

I was riding with my gear gear shoved into my backpack because I had some other work to do and planned on shooting something completely different. When I hit the road I saw the sun setting over the Gulf of Thailand and raced down to the beach. Got lucky and found a spot to park the bike and jumped off. I didn’t want to waste time with setting up my full kit so grabbed my Canon S100 in my pocket and just took a few snaps. It’s why I carry it now because it’s small enough to go everywhere and has a decent sensor to what is needed.

Editing was just a quick crop and then a curves adjustment. I did a bit of dodging and burning and then called it done.

Enjoy.

View From Home

Architectural Travels – Part 2

I indicated in part 1 of this series that I was going to go through and clear out all my architectural photos I have taken over my travels. I return with part 2 which I am calling reflections.

These images were taken in Panama City, Panama and Chicago. There are no Thailand shots simply because where I am in Thailand doesn’t do large glass buildings. They are in Bangkok if you are interested but I’m not biggest fan of the city.

These images were shot on 3 different cameras. The cameras were a Nikon D810, Canon S100, Sony A7R, and Sony RX100III. There are subtle differences between the cameras but I tried to keep the images with the same style when editing for consistency purposes.

Enjoy.

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Boats At Bali Hai

It’s Thanksgiving here in America. It’s normally a period of time that I am on travel using the holiday to get out and go do something. Last year I was in Thailand and this year I am not so why not revisit Thailand.

I took these images all on my Canon S100 as I had it with me. Just took a wander around Bali Hai Pier with camera in hand and just took a bunch of snapshots. I wasn’t in photographer mode. I was just out enjoying the day and getting out and doing something.

The editing is extremely basic. While I had raw files, the S100’s files can’t be pushed that hard so mostly just contrast adjustments and some local dodge and burn.

Enjoy.

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The Distant Lighthouse

It seems that with me moving my photo library to it’s new drive I found more images to edit. In fact, I shockingly did a series for later this week. Plus it’s now cold and I miss Thailand where all these images are from.

I shot this from the Bali Hai pier using my Canon S100. I have shot the lighthouse before but much closer not from this angle. I was just standing there and I thought it looked cool with the empty boat slips leading towards the lighthouse in the distance.

When I went to edit this the image was mostly blue. The light was shot because of the storm clouds and it just didn’t look good in color. I manually did the conversion to monochrome and then adjusted sliders. I discovered that it looked better in high key so I used a tone curve adjustment. I added some contrast but the rest was done through dodging and burning. I really had to do a lot of work on the lighthouse to get it to stand out. The only masking I did was in the sky to get the grain out from the small sensor on the S100.

Enjoy.

Bali Hai Lighthouse

Sheltered Bay

This is another from Thailand that I took while out near Bali Hai Pier. I always like to get out there at least once a trip so I took a ride that way and stopped and used my Canon S100 to snap a bunch of images.

The Canon S100 has surprised me to some extent. I bought it as a throwaway camera off Ebay for $100 US. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket and if it got lost or stolen no big deal. While the sensor is small and there is inherent noise issues it’s still a great camera for snaps. Sure my phones are capable of getting just as good if not better of an image I just like a camera better. Again, if it’s lost or stolen big deal. Where as my phones are significantly more expensive.

One of the tricks I have learned with shooting with a point and shoot camera is leave it in Program Mode. I’m sure some of you are dying at that suggestion. I didn’t just figure this out on a whim. Ming Thein who is a master photographer made the point about small cameras. The developers wrote the software to work optimally with the lens and sensor. It makes better sense to use what they programmed instead of trying to do it yourself. You can control light through metering so let the camera do the rest of the work. I have started to do this with my Sony RX100M3 as well and been pleasantly surprised by the results.

For this image I pushed it as far as I could go. Normally with the smaller sensors I don’t mask in a bunch of layers. This time I gave it a go.

I started with the usual curves adjustments and then dodging and burning for local contrast. I also had to spend some time removing tyres out of the beach. Since I admitted to it most of you can figure out where they were. Generous use of the healing brush and stamp tool were required.

Once local adjustments were completed I used Aurora 2017 for the first time. It supposedly handles single image HDR better than the previous version. Once I found a filter I liked I just brought it back into Photoshop and masked in the water and rocks. I then lowered the opacity and masked in the sky knowing I was going to introduce noise into the image. Then I loaded up Color Efex and added a hue/saturation layer along with Polarization and Pro Contrast. Next was noise so Noiseless Pro and just hit Balanced Preset and then masked that into the sky.

In all, not bad for a 6 year old camera that I bought for $100. I am not sure I could do this with a camera that only shoots jpeg but with a RAW file you can do a whole lot with it.

Enjoy.

Bali Hai Pier