Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Travel with X100S in Bangkok 2014

Due to work related reason, I have a chance to travel to Bangkok for a 3 days visit. This is my fourth times in Bangkok already. However, many thinks now is a bad time to travel, since Thailand have declared martial law and coup. However I did not feel it that way. As we landed at the airport, we are welcomed by the friendly immigration officer and nonetheless my colleagues at Bangkok.
Previously I'm carrying my D90 with Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 zoom lens. Both of this weight about 1.5kg. As much as I'm enjoy being there, but not carrying my DSLR. Yes, it takes good photos, but the weight you need to carry along is really killing the fun of travel.
I hang the camera to my hip and keep the hood on. 
This time, I'm with my new toy - the X100S. I have taken out the half case and the neck strap. Instead, I'm using a quick strap (similar to black rapid strap) for less look like a tourist. It is also easier to navigate around through the crowded street. Below is some of the shot I took during this trip. I will elaborate more as I go through the photos. The photos is not in chronological order.

Every morning, you will see monks carrying their alms bowl walk around the market to collect food donation. On the right is a motorcycle taxi driver, while waiting for customer, staring at the monk with emotion. The photo is not really sharp because I was walking while taking the shot without stopping down but it end up better than I expected.
As I just walk out from the hotel in the morning looking for breakfast on the street. A trolley lady slowly walk across the street. "I gotta take this" flash through my mind but it is too far away from me. With X100S you can't zoom! Anyway I just frame the shot and crop later as this was my only chance. The flare from the sun above have make the scene more dramatic and I have convert it into a classic black and white. It's just an ok shot that would have been better if I have a zoom. - something to think about if you are planning to get one!

The night I arrive at the airport, I was pickup by my colleagues in Bangkok on the way for late dinner. The camera was hang on me all the time although I'm in the car. As the traffic come to a stop I look beside, a taxi driver seems to pick up his walkie talkie to report on the traffic condition. I quickly take up my camera and got this. It is very dark on the street and the only light source is the street lamp. I keep as still as possible and I can imagine the frustration of the driver by judging on his expression.

The city wakes up earlier than Malaysia. Their sunrise happen around 6am Bangkok time. By the time I fresh up and get down from hotel, the street already pack with traffic for students to get to school, peoples get to work and the honks frequently reminds you that you are walking in a city that have more than 20 million peoples. 

When I pass by this stall in the market, I quickly grab my camera from my hip and point to the stall owner. The focus doesn't keep up. Instead it focus on the customer's dress and I grab the shot anyway. I post it anyway to remind me not to shoot wide open all the time.

As I waiting on the side to let oncoming pedestrian to pass by, I saw this monk was waiting infront of the "rambutan" stall for offering. The owner is busy entertaining the customer while the monk patiently wait while holding the alms bowl.

Another shot in a moving car I manage to capture an old van stick on a broken Thailand flag to show their patriotism. Shooting in a moving car with my X100S is a challenge. The camera struggle to focus and yet the window period for the moment is so short. There is so little margin for error.

Bangkok bus is full with passengers going back from work. Their face look dull and tired. I patiently wait until a "Tok Tok" passby the bus that is waiting for the lights to turn green.

That's Baiyoke - Thailand tallest building. I have been their once. It cost around RM30-45 (cant recall). There is a rotating platform on top of the building and few restaurants too. 

I am always amaze by how this little camera can manage to capture such mix lighting place with an accurate white balance. I always leave my settings on auto white balance. It never disappoint me. The way it handle flare (although I have attach another Hoya UV filter on it) is also great. I get the hawker wiping off her sweat while trying to pour the flour into the mould. It is hard work to make a living.

While I'm waiting my friend to bargain for a RM4 slipper, I am standing beside the corridor and saw this uncle sitting there patiently waiting for customer. I dint take the shot immediately. I wait until they planning to leave and walk pass the stall to create some movement in the shot. I was not expecting this. The smile is so natural and he is staring directly at my camera while the ladies feel awkward for not buying anything from him.

For the 3 days stay in the hotel. I met him everyday. I called him the petai guy. He is always on the move with the petai and lime that he sells. He is a serious guy. You can judge by his look to the camera. "Petai" in Thai is called "Se-tor". It taste bitter but good for your health.

Street side fresh coffee is common in Bangkok. You can get a fresh brewed ice coffee for as low as RM3. While waiting for the coffee, I saw an old lady sitting at the side of corridor, selling some biscuit and cakes. Poor lady. I was expecting someone to buy from her but its not happening. I myself did not do it. This is one of the thing I regret for not doing when I was there. The pedestrian pass by as she was thin air.

Pretty thai-girl is everywhere. I spotted her while waiting for the coffee as well. What a coffee. She was busy texting with her phone while walking. I pre-focus on the barrier and wait for her to pass.

This is the view from my room looking down the street. 7-11 is everywhere is Bangkok. As the sun setting, the street lights and sign began to light up.

Another shot using the panorama feature in this camera. Nothing fancy but this held more details than my previous attempt at cameron highland. It stitch up the buildings pretty well. You have to pan with constant speed and the shutter is constantly snapping after you press the shutter button.

This is the only place I visit in Bangkok as a tourist. It's called Asiatique - an old warehouse that has been renovate. It has this eye-catching ferris wheel as a landmark. I take this shot handheld wide open. It still preserve many details although the frame is filled with highlights. The auto-iso judge the exposure very accurately most of the time.

Taking photos of peoples at night street is always a challenge, but not this one. At ISO 3200 (my max auto iso), the highlight and shadow of the scene is well preserved. What you see is what you get!

We came to this shop, selling pork porridge, for 35 baht. The shop name is written in Chinese. I not sure if they can speak but definitely they are Chinese - Thai Chinese. An old man with crutch seems to be a regular customer for this shop. I took the shot of him together with the menu to give a sense of location.

After finish the porridge, I stand outside the shop watching her preparing the porridge. I quickly grab a shot when she look away.

If you interested to see more images I took in Bangkok with X100S(total 50 photos), you can click on my google+ album here. While I'm writing this post back at home, I never stop wondering when I will go back there again, for sure.

You might also want to view my initial review of X100S when I first got it here or during my trip to Penang. Don't miss the additional function guide on X100S here.

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