Thailand 2014 (travel, food and photography)

Buddhas are plentiful, in all sizes and various colors.

Buddhas are plentiful, in all sizes and various colors.

So yes for those reading this post, I am still in Thailand. I have left the tropics of Ko Chang Island and have made my way up the village of Ban Khamin in Kalasin province. The village is located about 20 minutes or so from Kalasin City.

So how is it going? Mostly good, but with a few little minor glitches. Internet in the village is very hard to come by. I have finally found a way connect to the Galaxy 5 tablet I purchased here in Thailand. Taking several tries I found a way, but still the connection only works when the status read 3G H+. Don’t quite know what that means but it works. I fell yesterday and although the fall was as minor as the come with only a scrape to the forearm, I somehow managed to crack the screen on the tablet. So now about 1/8 of the top of the screen is not visible. Another stupid thing I did was forgot to pack my camera straps. Not a big deal because I am an avid user of wrist straps or use a tripod when shooting at home in the USA. But there are times when carrying two bodies, it would be nice to have my Black Rapid straps.

Great fresh food here is so plentiful as I have blogged about in the past. Chicken & fish are my two favorites, especially when cooked over a fire. I am actually eating fresh picked little Thai bananas at this moment, they’re my favorite snacks. At home I like to snack on pretzels from time to time, but pretzels here are nonexistent. In the village here my wife’s family eats more Lao style food than actual Thai food. Lao style is very different and not too much to my liking due to the pungent and strong tastes. With that said, I do like many of the soups, but the “weed” like veggies are a bit strange. I love the chicken here and as I stated in earlier post “I could eat it every day.” There is a road side BBQ place on the main road to Kalasin City that has the very best. They put garlic & lemon grass under the skin, warning is; you have to really like garlic. I interviewed the owner yesterday and shot some video and I’ll do a post at a later time just about his history and his food. I’ll even give the GPS location for anyone who may ever venture to Kalasin and want to try the best chicken there is. I also had wonderful steak that my nephew Mai made last night and that was a treat. I don’t eat too much red meat any more, but a little every now & then won’t hurt.

Photo editing is very basic as I don’t have a very fast or powerful laptop and because of that I have no access to Adobe Photoshop CC. All I have is Lightroom 5 as my RAW converter, which is top notch. But the Adobe Elements in place of Photoshop CC is a joke. I know a lot of people use Elements and like it, but for someone who is used to CC it doesn’t even begin to compare. I will wait till I return to process all of my HDR images as well as my nicer landscapes and face shots.

I have really been testing the capabilities of the Canon 6D’s ISO (ISO is sensitivity of light). For those who don’t know, years ago Canon stopped putting the “pop up” flash on higher end cameras. It is the one big difference between Canon & Nikon. The reviews for the 6D’s low light shooting were very good and it was one of the selling points for me as an “available light” shooter. Yes I did bring radio flash units with me and so far I have used flash only twice on about 10 shots. The ability to shoot high ISO in low light without flash is a real game changer for me. With that said; I try to stay as low as possible with ISO, mostly shooting daytime shots at 50 to 100 ISO. But being able to shoot in very low light at 5000 or even 6400 ISO is amazing. I also found a way to us the higher ISO range for awesome “street style” photography. I will do a post on just that technique at a later time as well.

So in closing I’ll mention a few funny things about Thailand that just make me laugh. Napkins are little pieces of white  or pink paper, so small one drop of water makes them disappear. Imagine toilet paper at just one ply… think about that for a minute and “yes” that is a napkin. Beer is always served with ice in it unless you request “no ice.” There is not a pretzel to be found in the whole country to go with your beer… nada, none, zip, zero nothing at all. Potato chips come in “Squid, Seaweed or Crab” flavor. But they also have some really nice potato chip flavors too, like Swiss cheese. And the thing that really is so funny is the fact that no matter where you are you can not fall down without hitting a 7-Eleven store.

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