Love at 1/2000 of a second in the land of smiles.

This is probably one of my most favorite photos of my current trip to Thailand. Actually it could be one of my most favorite Thai photos of all time. Like all photos there’s a back story and this one is very heartwarming.

The backstory starts with me first telling you how wonderfully treated Americans are here in Thailand. Now of course when you’re in the tourist area everyone is treated nice because… you’re in a tourist area of course. However once I venture out into heartland of the country the smiles and the hospitality are amazing.

I spent the day traveling with family far away from the village, about a two-hour Journey. We were going to see a few different locations where I could fly my drone and capture some wonderful photography. For the first half of the journey I rode in the front seat of the pickup truck taking in all the sights along the way. But as we got ready to turn around and head back I decided to ride in the back of the pickup truck. Riding in the back of the pickup truck allows me to take in the sights but at the same time it allows me to capture a lot of nice candid photos as we’re traveling.

This sounds like fun and actually it is a lot of fun but as a photographer it’s not the easiest thing to do. As a photographer we just want to be able to steady our camera and get a nice shot. riding in the back of a pickup truck is not smooth by any means. The camera settings are very important most of all the shutter speed. You want to be able to capture a photo in an instant. So while riding in the back of the truck I usually keep my shutter speed set to a constant 1/2000 of a second. Even still the photos are not going to be perfect however you are going to capture that moment instantly.

So for this photo I’m riding in the back of the truck and the backstory is how attentive some people are at what is happening around them. Sure I’m the photographer and I’m constantly turning my head to see what’s going on around me. I’m riding down the road I don’t know exactly how fast we’re going and if you’re the passerby you’re not going to see me until the truck has gone by and you look in the back of the truck.

So as I’m whizzing by this roadside market area, this lady looks up and in a Split Second she sees me and she gets a huge smile on her face and gives me the okay sign. I only captured one frame before she was out of sight. But in that one frame I caught the heartwarming happiness and the huge smile of somebody who is happy to have their photo taken. Think about it, in just that Split Second she looks up and identifies a Caucasian guy sitting in the back of a truck with a camera. And that expression on her face truly is the feeling that I feel just about everywhere I travel in this wonderful country called Thailand. For many of my friends I know you will never feel the joy of coming to this land of Many Wonders and smiles. And for those of my friends who have already been here many of them often overlooked the true beauty of this country and the people within it. There’s so much that I could say about the feeling that I get when I travel through this country. Someday I know I will complete my Photography book about Thailand, I started the project several years ago and the biggest problem I have is deciding which photos to include in the book. However I do believe I have found the cover photo for the book. My only regret is that I would never be able to find this lady and thank her for her wonderful smile.

Many people come to Thailand and take photos of all the beautiful temples and other scenery. I have to say I like those photos to but, the most important photos to me are the faces of the people and their everyday life.

Note: I still yet have to go through my GPS log to identify the location where this was taken.

The New Years Finds The Return Of My Old Friend The “Rocket”. (High Power Rocketry is back.)

Blue Thunder my level 3 certification rocket. Made from an Ultimate Wildman kit. All Fiberglass 12' long, 6' diameter, 64 lbs.

Blue Thunder my level 3 certification rocket. Made from an Ultimate Wildman kit. All Fiberglass 12′ long, 6′ diameter, 64 lbs.

Dennis & I.

Dennis & I just before my level 3 certification flight. Thank you Dennis.

With a new year comes change and one of this year’s changes is actually something that is not so new to me at all. 2014 is the year that I have resolved to pick up where I left off with my hobby of High Rocketry. Back in the early summer of 2012 I had to put my rocketry on hold due to a few circumstances beyond my control. Budget for one plays a big role in anyone’s hobbies and personal fun time. I had to choose between rocketry and photography and photography won out. To get to a point where I wanted to be with photography I needed to spend a lot of time reading and learning as well as doing. Also factoring in to the equation was the fact that I no longer had my wonderful rocketry workshop. I lost my workshop space back in 2009 when I relocated. My rocketry workshop was my heaven. Divided into three separate areas I had a place for general rocket building, an area for working with composites such as carbon fiber & fiberglass and I had a third area for the mixing and making of EX (experimental) motors. Complete with exhaust fans, a sink, television and music. Not fancy, but very functional. So losing the workshop really took the fun out of rocketry. Money became very tight and some things had to go. My life has gone through many changes both the personal and the business side. I separated from a girlfriend of many years, relocated 3 times personally and relocated my catering business twice. However photography worked; being a hobby where I could actually turn into a business and at times bring in a few dollars. Photography will always be here to stay and I would choose it over rocketry any day. But rocketry still has a place in my heart and in my life. Rocketry can be like “crack” it can get out of control real quick if you let it. Any level 2 or 3 rocket guy knows exactly what I mean.

I started with rocketry back in 1975 at the YMCA in Canton Ohio. I had moved from the rural farming life of New Jersey to the inter-city life of Canton Ohio. I made the best of it, I had a daily newspaper delivery route and I was able to get out and experience the city on a daily basis. I took a model rocketry course at the local YMCA at age 11 and was hooked ever since. I found my way into High Power rocketry around 2004 and took it to a whole new level (literally). I certified through the levels one, two & three. I have to say the day I completed my level 3 certification flight was a very nice feeling of accomplishment. My girlfriend was very supportive and it was a very memorable day in my life.

So what’s ahead for 2014? I still do not have a workshop at all, so small work will be done in the house and painting and epoxy work will be done outside when the weather warms. I have two projects that are very near completion. One is a scratch built 4” diameter mid to high flyer and the other is a mid-flyer 5.5’ diameter. Plus I still have my Talon-4 and others from my old fleet. I plan on attending 4-5 launches during the season, between Maryland & New York; it should be a lot of fun. Fun to see people I haven’t seen in a few years as well as seeing the wonderful launch fields and getting away for the weekend.

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