Thailand Beaches: Photo Journey 8

Our trip around the world has definitely been a journey, in fact it has been multiple journeys. There has been the physical journey and the spiritual journey. But beginning with my photography class in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I also embarked on a photo journey.

When we started our trip, I had minimal interest in photography. For me, it was about trying to capture a memory so that when I looked at the image, I would be reminded of what I saw or did on our travels. Then, I took a free course at the Apple store in SoHo and learned about Aperture, Apple’s photo editing software. Suddenly, my pictures could be transformed into significantly more vibrant images, as well as allowing me to crop images after the fact. But I knew there was more to be done.

When we were planning our trip – for those whole six weeks – Humpty showed me a website, Here was a guy, Daniel Nahabedian, who quit his corporate job and moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand and became a professional photographer. And best of all, he was offering reasonably priced photography courses. So I signed up.

After two days of walking Chiang Mai and realizing how little I knew about photography, my obsession began to grow. I spent some money on lots of software moving me beyond the basics of Aperture into Photoshop and many plug-ins. I went back and re-edited previous pictures. I finally started to think more about the pictures I was taking – it was not just about capturing a basic image but about telling a story. I also realized that I have a long way to go. Hopefully, as this blog progresses, the quality of the photography will improve.

After Chiang Mai, Humpty and I spent some time exploring beaches in southern Thailand, primarily in Koh Samui and Koh Lanta. Here are some of the pictures I took – I did get a little carried away with the photo editing software in a few of them so be forewarned.

This was a picture from our room in Koh Samui, from the Hansar Samui hotel. Amazing views, amazing weather – remember, this was late October.

My attempt at macro photography. Notice the bug on the right? No? Good, my first image to be cropped out using PhotoShop (I still have a lot to learn about that software)!

I bought a neutral density filter just so I could take these type of waterfall photos – slowing the shutter speed down, getting an angle with the tripod, and praying the kids would not jump in front of my image. Man, this was hard work!

I caught this image while this gentleman was catching a smoke on the ferry to Koh Lanta. By the way, it took us two ferries and about two hours to get from Krabi airport to Koh Lanta but it was worth it.

My Tom Yum Martini, complete with little devil horns and an eerie moon, with tiki torches thrown in for good measure. Spicy, tasty, and one of many I had that night.


Since I had not figured out how to adjust the ISO on my camera, late night photography at this point meant slow shutter speeds. Might as well make the most of it, no? I have since figured out how to change the ISO settings, FYI.

After taking this photo, which came out better than I had hoped, I played around a bit with graduated filter effects in Nik Software Color Efex 4, hence the different color for water and sky. In the original, they were similar in color – blue. Incredibly, after spending about twelve days on the Thai beaches, blue started getting boring to photograph. I know.

Not too much editing on these boats – I have quite a few pictures of boats and it got difficult deciding which ones to use. But I like the mess in the lower right corner so this image got the nod.

This is the first of two pictures with similar composition. This was done with slow shutter speed, as you can tell from the blurred boat in the background. I was trying to get that still, milky water effect.

This is the second with same composition. This has faster shutter speed and thus darker colors. I am torn on which I like better so I figured I would post both. Apparently, water looks just as milky as before.

Caught a picture of Humpty, staring down at her blurred image in the ocean. I think it is appropriate given that Humpty is still trying to figure herself out.

I kept trying to find a way to incorporate this candle/bottle into a picture of the ocean. This one worked in the sense that the light peaking through the clouds appear to be coming from the candle/bottle. It also worked because it allowed me to drink my Black Russian and sit in a lounge chair. As you might guess, subsequent pictures were not as straight.

Nothing special here – just a nice sunset photo

Got a little aggressive with some of the editing software, with this image becoming a little too “sharp/defined.” But love the two clouds so wanted to make them stand out.


There will be more black and white photos as time goes on but this was one of my first ones that I really liked from this series and using the Nik Software SilverEfex Pro 2.

We stayed at Absolute Sanctuary, a yoga studio in Koh Samui. On one ambitious morning, I woke up before the crack of dawn to take some morning photos. The reflections from the still pool were a bonus.


This was the second picture of the series. The glowing light on the dome was a big bonus. When the sun came up, the light went off and I decided that was my cue to go back to bed. When I did wake up, I spent the rest of the day editing pictures. My how my life has changed!

With the humidity in the air, compared to the air conditioned room we had, the lens of the camera immediately fogged up. At first I was annoyed but then I tried to “capture the moment,” and it worked with this image. Definitely some aggressive use of editing software but I think this image warrants it.

We were staying in Koh Lanta for our last three nights. Each night, at the ocean front bar, next to the ocean front hut we were staying at, the bartender would do a fire show. Slow shutter speed, bright lights, some fun with PhotoShop, and here is what you get.

Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So thank you for “reading” this 19,000+ word post!


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