Adventures in Thailand: In the Jungle

What do you think of when you hear the word, “jungle”?

I think of a couple of different things. I think about The Jungle Book, with tigers and bears and Mowgli. I think about Tarzan and apes and wildcats. I think about density, heat, unknowns, and stars beyond the canopy.

After visiting Ao Luek Tai in Krabi, I think about huts, cats, mountains, mosquito netting, and adventure.

We stayed at this amazing AirBnB in Krabi, and I cannot recommend this place enough. Our host picked us up from the docks and drove us the 45 minutes to the place, which is a compound of huts. You sleep on the top level, and the bottom level just kinda has a changing room. Toilets are in a separate hut, and showers and sinks in another. And it’s in the jungle, which was super cool in its own way.

Minus the GIANT blue and pink centipede. Nope nope nope.

They had cats and kittens legit everywhere, and I love kitties, so that was awesome. One of the kittens went after the centipede, but then freaked out when it realized how big it was, and then ran away. Smart kitten.

The main spectacular thing was the view I woke up to the mornings I was there:

One afternoon, we went kayaking through a mangrove forest, and it was AWESOME. I wanted to take so many pictures, my cousin got on my case about not helping with the rowing, and we got stuck in the roots a couple of times because of it… Sorry Ashley, I love you!

The nature was stunning, and I could have spent more time in the area, making pictures and enjoying the peace and quiet. We also explored a cave, which is apparently famous in the area for some prehistoric cave drawings. It was super neat-o.

We also spent some time at a construction site– sounds not-fun, but stay with me. Our host has a friend who is building a new Buddhist temple, and they let us explore. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I mean, it’s not very everyday you visit an under-construction-holy-site. We oftentimes don’t even think of holy places as things that had to be built, even though they obviously had to have been, and there is this tension when walking around the space. I loved every second of it, but my favorite was the Buddhas wrapped up in cloth, waiting to be prayed to.

On our last morning, we visited a jungle pool… a natural, fresh-water pool in the jungle. No other way to describe it besides tell it like it is. There was a natural rock slide, and the water was refreshing and cool. It was a minor thing, but it was a lot of fun regardless. It kinda felt like I was in The Jungle Book, kinda felt like some terrifying snake would come slithering out of someplace and eat me, but y’know. Fun regardless.

If you’re going to southern Thailand and hitting up Ko Phi Phi and Phuket and the area, I recommend making time to go hang-out in the jungle. Just be sure to avoid the centipedes.

Safe Travels and Happy Shooting!

Adventures in Thailand: Chiang Mai

If you ever go to Thailand and you want to see temples, go to Chiang Mai.

This city in northern Thailand is just an hour plane-ride from Bangkok, and is home to over 43 temples. They also have HUGE night-time weekend markets, which are full of life and fun.

My cousin and I spent 4 days in Chiang Mai, though one of those days was spent playing with elephants. The first day we were there, we checked in to our hostel and immediately got lost searching for temples to explore. Like, seriously lost, so lost that we just kinda gave up and walked in any old direction– and we found lots of cool temples in the process!

On one of our temple-exploring adventures, we got caught in a torrential downpour. A young monk invited us inside and we watched television with him– Kawpkoon-ka!

The temple we were aiming for was Wat Chedi Luang, which is a giant complex with the old temple in the center, which is ruins. It was really beautiful, and while we were there we heard chanting coming from inside one of the newer complexes– there was a ceremony happening, and we were able to sit and watch for a bit. I wish I knew more about Buddhism to tell you what it was we were watching, but I can describe it to the best of my ability and maybe some of my Buddhist followers can teach me a thing or five:

There were about five monks, all sitting and holding onto a white string, which was quite long. There was a statue, a Buddha, that someone had brought in perhaps to be blessed? After the ceremony they loaded it onto the back of a truck and sprinkled water on it, so maybe.

It was super dope to see.

Chiang Mai isn’t a huge city like Bangkok, and it is surrounded by super old walls on all 4 sides. It’s such an awesome, historical place, and my cousin and I got lost numerous times–and every time we did, we found something amazing. One evening, when we got so lost we hailed a tuk tuk to take us back to our hostel (gosh, we’re terrible,) we saw a festival going on and asked the driver to please drop us off there instead. It was a cultural festival, representing different dances, music, and performances from the different northern provinces of Thailand. Best accidental discovery ever!

There were also a LOT of pigeons hanging out by the stage.

I mentioned earlier that Chiang Mai had some delightful night markets– we went to the Saturday Night Market, and spent hours getting lost wandering around, looking at the wares. There was a combination of typical tourist trinkets, food, and some original handmade gifts. One of my favorite stalls was selling very unique and very gaudy sunglasses– think lots of rhinestones, flowers, cat ears, etc!

There was a lot to do in Chiang Mai, and I could probably write a book all about it, but I’ll leave you with this: GO TO CHIANG MAI YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT I PROMISE. Even if you don’t have a plan, go, because I can 1000% assure you that you will find something absolutely incredible.

Safe Travels and Happy Shooting!

 

Photo Diary Update

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated my photo diary. For those unfamiliar, I carry around a small point-and-shoot film camera called a Fuji Natura Classica which is the best camera I have ever owned ever. I love this little thing and how sensitive it is to light and how close to reality it can capture.

I believe these images go all the way back to May or even April, but I kinda lost the roll and got it developed only recently.

My “photo diary” is titled that way because sometimes, I just wanna take pictures of things I like. My brain gets exhausted from thinking about photos from all sorts of theoretical and critical perspectives, sometimes it’s a good thing to turn off and be like “oooo purty like snap snap.”

Go take some pictures because you wanna! Happy Shooting!

Film from a Time Ago

A time ago, in some months far away, I had two lomo films that I shot and needed to get developed. Thing is, I was moving to Chicago, where a lomography store is, so I just kinda held onto the rolls for a monthish and got them developed once I moved. So, really, everything is from the fourth of July.

 

I finally shot my roll of Lomography’s 110 Red Scale, which I’ve held on to for I think two years now? I’ve just had it for a really long time and FINALLY shot it. The colors came out interesting. I’m curious as to why the one photograph of the Battle Creek Air Show came out in purples and yellowish-whites, but I love it and would have loved it in other photos.

I also hot with my Diana for the first time, with Lomochrome XR Purple 120 Film. I was doing multiple exposures without realizing it, because on the Diana you have to remember to wind and to stop, because there isn’t a like, automatic stop like there is on normal film cameras. You really have to pay attention. I’m not a huge fan of that technical part, but I still enjoyed shooting with it.

I love hot air balloons. Is it next summer yet so I can see more?

Getting more use out of 110 pocket film is a goal of mine, mostly because I have had one of my 110 photos win a prize and another is currently on exhibit in Massachusetts. So, I’m just kinda like, “Why not shoot more?”

You should try it sometime.

Happy Shooting!

Our Trip to the Zoo Was, Uh…

For months, I have been itching to go to the zoo to take photographs. When I saw Impossible Project’s [Animal] Skins Edition film, I knew I wanted to go to the zoo, probably with animal masks. It all snowballed from there. In like, a catastrophic avalanche of awesome.

It was incredible.

I had seven wonderful people with me on this shoot, and each and every one of them looked absolutely ridiculous. We got plenty of stares. Just simply magical.

I was a bit nervous, thinking about the possibility of us getting in trouble for any reason, (not allowed to wear masks in the zoo? maybe?) because I had been prepared for this for forever and I didn’t want anything to get in the way. Imagine, having this idea in your head for months, gathering the things you need, and then BAM! Just kidding, no photos for you.

SO STORY TIME

Me and my clique were standing in line to get our tickets, and there was a table of Zoo-Worker-People nearby, like some beneficiary group or whatnot. And they were staring us down. We were a little nervous, but when they smiled at us, we calmed down. But, just as we were walking up to get our tickets–

“Wait,” an official sounding voice said.

That was it. It was game over. Goodbye, hopes and dreams.

It was one of the ladies from the table. She walked over to us and said, “I just want to say, we really love your outfits. Your enthusiasm is great.”

I was expecting a “but, you can’t follow your hearts desire and shoot a really fun photo series in our land where the peacocks roam, because the gorillas will judge you and we can’t have that.” My heart sank, waiting for her to ruin my life.

Instead, she continued, “We love it so much, we’re going to give you free tickets to the zoo today, and a free lunch!”

Moral: Dressing up your friends as ridiculous as possible definitely has its merits.

Our lunch was in the event tent thing, I assume for beneficiaries, and we got plenty of dirty looks, but we also had people coming up to talk to us, asking what we were doing, telling us they loved our outfits, and got their picture with us. It was awesome. Some kids also wanted their picture with my posse, but they were so shy and they were standing like 5 feet away from the group. I can’t even with the cuteness.

Every now and then, it’s important to play. Doing a photo shoot just for fun without any deep conceptual meaning was refreshing, and just what I needed before heading off to graduate school in the fall.

Happy Shooting!

 

It Was the Fourth of July (Lomochrome Turquoise XR)

I had a wonderful holiday weekend, taking photos and being with some of my favorite people. I went to the Battle Creek Air Show, and snapped away using my Minolta X700 and some Lomochrome Turquoise XR film. Check out these way cool results!

Gorgeous. I am so in love with this film, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for something new! I snapped a couple double exposures, and I also took my Hoya RGB Multivision filter out and used it in a couple of shots (the rainbow trippy ones.)

The nice thing about this weekend was how I was challenging myself to take the photos I wanted to take– pictures of people. I am extremely shy when it comes to photographing strangers, even candidly, but this weekend I made it my goal to take the photos I wanted to take. So, I got some wonderful candids, like the the one of the father and daughter playing a carnival game. Love it.

My next goal is asking people up front if I can take their photo. Yikes.

ALSO, IF YOU NOTICED, I FINALLY GOT SOME PHOTOS OF HOT AIR BALLOONS TAKING OFF. NOT OF THEM GLOWING ON THE GROUND, OR ALREADY IN FLIGHT. AFTER TWO SUMMERS OF TRYING, I FINALLY GOT TO SEE THEM TAKE OFF.

Seriously– I’ve been trying for two summers. You can read about those adventures here and here.

I also shot some 110 film and some 120 film, but I have to send those off for development. Maybe you’ll see them in like a month. Or five. Who knows with me!

Happy Shooting!

Specks from an Antique Camera

I’ve had my Voigtlander V6 for almost a year now, and I’ve just gotten my fourth roll of film from it developed. I’ve been pleased with every roll I’ve shot on this pretty old thing. When I went to pick up my photos from the lab, I was told “You might want to look at these, they have black specks–”

“Oh, I know!”

“Oh. Okay…”

That’s why I love this camera so much. It’s an antique, and it gives that look to my photos. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

But enough of that. I took it out for Memorial Day weekend, which was filled with all sorts of adventures.

Near Mitchell’s house in the middle of nowhere, there is the decrepit house. It gives him the heebie jeebies, but I think it’s awesome. The others are from my adventures at the country fair, Wayne State University, and my grandfather’s Memorial Day picnic.

That dollhouse photograph is easily one of my most favorite photographs ever. It’s at my grandpa’s house, and when I was little I played with it every time I was over there. For hours. The tiny dolls that went with it went through drama that would make today’s soap operas pale in comparison. I guess you could say I’ve always been creative? Or deranged.

So, there’s that. Do you have an old camera that you love to shoot with?

Happy Shooting!