Photo a Day: Rainy Day at the Beach

Or: Photo a Day Gets Some Help from a Gradient Map

This was actually taken a few weeks ago when I met some friends down in Sodom-on-Sea, also-known-as Pattaya. It’s a bad as you’ve been led to believe, which is why it is so much fun. Even when it rains.

Jeff Chappell's Photo a Day Goes to the Beach

I was tinkering with black and white settings in Photoshop, and then thought I’d tinker with gradient maps; found one I like in the photo tint ones. Excelsior.

Photo a Day: Back to Thai School Edition

Photo a Day Stuck in a Thai School Daze

If you’re North American or European — dunno about the southern hemisphere peeps — you may read this and think, “Wait … what? It’s not back to school time. In fact it’s almost summer vacation/summer holidays time? What gives?”

Well in those aforementioned parts of the world, you would be correct. But here in Thailand, as in other nearby Southeast Asian countries, it’s nearly back to school time, as summer break is winding down. Yes, it may not be technically summer just yet in the northern hemisphere, but the two hottest months in this part of the world are April and May. It’s officially hot season, and as such, public school kids are on what they call their summer break in the month of April.

Schools are closed, and it many families take holiday trips this time of year; it also happens to correspond with the Thai New Year, or Songkran.

So I walked into Tesco Lotus this evening to pick up a few things, and was greeted by row upon row of the standard public school Thai uniform: off-white short-sleeve shirt and blue dress shorts for boys or skirts for girls. Thai school kids generally wear a version of this or something similar all the way through high school; even most colleges require their students to dress in a similar fashion, although I believe the boys have to don ties as well (poor dudes).

School generally starts again the first full week in May (they get another month-long break in October, and there are a number of holidays throughout the year for which schools close.

How do know all this? I taught in a Thai public school for a semester, my first teaching job after getting my CELTA certification. It was … challenging, to say the least. Fortunately this past year in Viet Nam redeemed ESL teaching for me.

Anyway, this image struck me, so I busted out the Nokia N8 and snapped a picture; it’s a natural for the official (and SEO friendly) Jeff Chappell Photo a Day posting.  It’s nice to have a decent image sensor/camera on my phone for once. Of course I prettyfied it in Photoshop.

For whatever reason,  I think this image looses something in the small size. Not all images do, but I think this one does, so I made the original image size bigger than usual; clicken to embiggen, as always.

Jeff Chappell's Photo a Day: Back to Thai School edition

P.S. I was technically a little late with this, but I was just looking up the links and got sidetracked reading old blog posts. Besides, with the magic of WordPress, I can make it look like it was posted prior to the Photo a Day deadline of midnight, local time, heh.

Life and Death: a Photo a Day

Entropy Spares No One, Not Even Flowers in a Photo a Day

I actually took these on two separate occasions — obviously — a little while ago, but haven’t posted them elsewhere. And I didn’t see anything ineresting that piqued my photographer’s eye today. Of course Ansel Adams, et al, would say that’s my fault, as opposed to the world at large, and I would not argue.

But I’ve been wanting to post these somewhere. The same flower, a few weeks apart. I’ve been meaning to get a third shot, but I keep forgetting when I find myself back in this particular location. …

Anyway, once again, the trusty Nokia N8 serves for Jeff Chappell’s Photo a Day (or rather, in this case, photos)

Need cheering up? Here’s a (slightly) more happy, somewhat amusing (if I do say so myself) discussion of entropy.

a flower bursting with life ...

... and then a flower withering in death ...


Photo a Day, Bangkok ‘Hood Edition

A Slice of Rural Village in the Midst of Bangkok

My neighborhood isn’t quite the usual sort of neighborhood one fines foreigners residing in Bangkok. Indeed, it’s not even the sort of neighborhood one typically finds Thais living in Bangkok. My soi, or street is actually nothing more than a concrete walkway on pilings that meanders from the banks of Bankok’s Chao Phraya river to the main street in the area, Charan Sanit Wong (as rendered in Western script).

My building, Marina House, is modern enough, but as you can see, the rest of the houses in this slice of rural village consists of all manner of abodes, from fancy, white-washed houses to dilapidated shacks built from whatever miscellaneous materials their denizens can scavenge. All of these are built suspended over the swamp that rises and falls with the level of the river –Bang Plat isn’t that far upriver from the delta where the river empties into the sea.

Walking through my neighborhood, one would never know that one is only a few miles from the central business district of downtown Bankok, one of Asia’s largest megalopolises. Indeed at night one hears the buzzing and droning of insects and droning, and the amusingly ridiculous mating cry of the tokay gecko.

I haven’t managed to capture one photographically yet — at least not without unacceptable blurring — but there are a pair of big-ass monitor lizards as well lurking about as well; the male is a big old dude who is every bit of three feet long and then some. Sometimes he hangs out by one of the little shops where food is prepared, waiting for scraps to be tossed over the railing.

Anyway, here’s a view of my ‘hood as it appears from the hallway outside the door to my apartment, which is at the back of the building. The front is literally on the river; you walk outside of the front door of the building onto a deck, beyond this is water.

Jeff Chappell's Photo a Day: the Bang Plat, Bangkok edition

If you recall the coconuts from yesterday’s Photo a Day entry, you can see the tree they fell from, there on the left.

Coconuts in the Sun: a Photo a Day

Let Me Go on, Like a Coconut in the Sun

coconuts in the sun: Jeff Chappell's Photo a Day

I spied these coconuts on a neighbor’s porch the other day, and thought to myself, there’s a photograph. I’m not sure if they are drying or just inadvertently left lying around, or what; she wasn’t around to ask and I doubt if my Thai or her English is up to the task, in any event.

I was leaving my pad today, in the early afternoon hazy sunlight and busted out the Nokia N8 to snap this photograph. You see a lot of this sort of thing in my neighborhood in Bang Plat, a community within Bangkok right on the river — it’s a slice of rural Thai community smack in the heart of the urban megalopolis. No doubt it will be featured much in the future in a Photo a Day.

As for this image, other than a little cropping and minor tweaking in Photoshop, as always, here are the coconuts. And that’s our Photo a Day photo today.

Oh, apologies to the Violent Femmes.

Give it enough light, and the N8’s image sensor whups that ass. Here’s a detail from the original photograph, with no size compression. As always, click the images to embiggen.

coconuts in the sun: Jeff Chappell's Photo a Day

Inaugural Photo A Day Entry

Sparing Myself 1,000 Words a Day with a Photo a Day

(To)Infinity (and Beyond) in Black and White: Jeff Chappell's Photo a DayOne of my goals for the New Year — I’m talking the Thai year, here, since that’s where I currently live — is to update my blogs more frequently. Particularly since I have some freelance writing work that will keep the bills paid (I hope) for the immediate time being.

I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a photo-a-day type of project for some time., having been influenced by all of the similar projects out there. The problem is, I tend to be a bit anal retentive a perfectionist, and when it comes to photography, I always want to make art, as pretentious as that sounds.

Of course I have to remind myself, art doesn’t mean laboring for hours over composition, technique and Photoshop. Many moving examples of the photo-a-day concept involve people who aren’t photographers, either by vocation or hobby, using simple point-and-shoot cameras.


Now with my Thai language studies underway for several months now and going well — although I flubbed my second set of tests — and some actual paying work underway, time to get back to image making.

Thus begins Jeff Chappell’s very own Photo A Day. I want to try and post photos for the next 365 days, photos that I take each day and posted that day. I’m not going to box myself into a corner and say that I will do that every day, but I will hold myself to the rule that I can’t post a photo I’ve ever posted before on the Teh Internets. That includes Facebook (which I no longer use), Flickr or anyplace else.

So let us begin. Here is a photo which will call (To)Infinity (and Beyond) in Black and White.

No dithering about making art. I was waiting for the Sky Train here in Bangkok yesterday afternoon and, with this project in mind, busted out the trusty Nokia N8 while standing on the platform. Post processing done in Photoshop, naturally — namely the black and white conversion and a diffuse glow filter.

Of course you should click on it to embiggen the image, if you wish.