Soi Dogs? What About Cafe Cats?

Cat: The Definition of Nonchalance

A cat takes a bath on a sidewalk cafe table in  Pattaya, Thailand

So I was strolling down Pattaya Tai to catch the mini-van back to Bangkok this morning for a meeting when I spied this lovely creature perched atop a cafe table cleaning herself. It was such a non sequitur, that I stopped, continued on, thought to myself  “How am I not photographing that cat?” and went back and busted out the N8.

Now most stray cats are a bit skittish around humans, unless they have been fed frequently by them. Soi cats in particular. This one though did not give a tinker’s damn in the least little bit that I was standing only a few feet away with my phone pointed in its general direction. It continued to clean itself and then settled down for a nap.

A cat naps on a sidewalk cafe table in  Pattaya, Thailand

Judging by the collar and its overall healthy appearance — not to mention its feline nonchalance — that it is well looked after. But then notice its tail, or lack thereof. It may very well be an adopted soi cat; usually a busted up or otherwise missing tail is a sure sign of stray critters here in Thailand.

Are you a dog person? Then check out these soi dogs.

Photo a Day: Pigeon of Doom

Ye Olde Pigeon of Doome alight on a beach shack.

I believe it was Ansel Adams that said if you’ve got a roll of film, then there is a photograph to be had. I did go out with my camera briefly today, but didn’t find anything that floated my boat. Ended up looking through previous pics and found this photograph of a pigeon on top of a shack on the beach.

Began tinkering in Photoshop because the sky was washed out — I have GOT to get a polarizing filter — and ended up with the above. Slightly more interesting than the original photo, in my humble opinion.

Photo a Day: Babe in Arms

Babe in Arms Wants Those Pigeons!

a babe in arms on the beach at Pattaya, Thailand

Was cleaning up my hard drive and came across this photo that I meant to use as a Photo a Day entrant, and a perusal through previous posts reveals I had not. So here it is.

I was wandering along the beach front in Pattaya one afternoon, just snapping a few random pics, mostly of soi dogs. When I got to the end of the beach/Beach Road, I happened to spy this young lady and little dude/dudette; the little one was determined to get at the pigeons that frequent the place. Unfortunately the shots where the pigeons are in the frame the babe in arms is out of focus.

I have GOT to remember to change the auto-focus settings when shooting people dammit.

So rather than have an out of focus baby, I opted for a tight crop — one in which the pigeons weren’t in the frame anyway. Yeah, the little dude/dudette had been racing after the pigeons as I strolled up, and even after mom picked him up, he was still struggling to get at ’em.

Edit: Originally, the crop I chose was the one below, because I wanted to focus the image on the baby. But cropping out the mom seemed like a distraction; looking at the photo, once I had taken in the child, I couldn’t help but think what the mom’s face looked like. So edited it again, and kept Mom in the frame.

Much better. Mom has an interesting face; she’s obviously a bit distressed that her kid has been chasing after dirty ole’ pigeons.

a babe in arms on the beach at Pattaya, Thailand

Time Lapse Photos and Video in Photoshop CS6

Playing Around with Video Editing Capabilities in the Latest Version of Photoshop

Just wanted to play with 1) time lapse photo function in Camera Pro on my Nokia N8 and 2) Photoshop CS6’s native video editing capabilities. I’ve never futzed around with video much, either taking or editing. Now that I have not one but three cameras capable of video, and editing software and a machine that doesn’t take hours to render video, I might have to do more.

Bear in mind, this was just a series of photos taken with my phone while I sipped my doppio on a cloudy, not-quite-rainy afternoon. Nothing exciting, but I’ll let my little experiment stand in for the Photo a Day project.

Oh, this is on Beach Road in Pattaya, Thailand, taken from inside the Starbucks at the corner of Soi Yamato. This comprises 32 frames, or photos with each taken about 5 seconds apart. In real time that would be a little more than 2 and a half minutes.


An (Old) Boy and His Dog

A Quiet Day On the Beach for a Man and His Best Friend

An old boy and his dog on Beach Road, Pattaya, Thailand

Spied this gentleman on Beach Road in Pattaya today with his wee lil’ pooch in his lap, and took a surreptitious photo with my phone. It’s rather silly of me, but when I’m out and about with my DSLR around my neck and a pack with lenses and whatnot, I don’t feel particularly shy about asking interesting folks to take their picture.

But when I don’t have the gear with me, just my phone, it seems kinda strange. I suppose when I have all my photography kit with me, I guess I feel it’s clear I’m a photographer of some sort, and taking pictures of people is my bag. But just my phone … then I’m some kinda weirdo. I know I’m a bit weirded out when random people want to take my picture.

It does happen sometimes though, especially if you are a foreigner in a place where foreigners are infrequent — the locals like to get a shot with the foreigner. That doesn’t particularly bother me anymore, to be honest.

But then other day some Russian guy and his girlfriend came up to me on the street in Bangkok and asked me to take their picture, to which I obliged. Then he wanted me to get a photo of me with his girlfriend. “Er, Why?” I couldn’t help but wonder. I was a bit nonplussed, but obliged just the same.

Anyway, didn’t want to pester this old boy relaxing this afternoon, so snapped off a surreptitious shot from a comfortable distance. The subject actually calls for a tighter crop, but as you can see, even the N8 ends up producing a bit of grain when cropped that tightly/viewed at 100 percent (click the images to see ’em full size). A proper camera/lens would have been best, of course, but then it would have been more difficult to shoot incognito — and get a shot where the subject is acting natural, and not looking at the camera.

An old boy and his dog on Beach Road, Pattaya, Thailand

Of course being a photographer, I snapped off several shots; here’s another one:

An old boy and his dog on Beach Road, Pattaya, Thailand

Sala Keoku: Sewer Bass Feeding Frenzy

We’re (Not) Going to Need a Bigger Boat

And so my last image from my archive of Sala Keoku images taken in 2010 has nothing to do with enormous statuary inspired by Buddhist and/or Hindu mythology/cosmology.

Nope. Like all good tourist attractions, you can feed the fish in the ponds about the place, at Sala Keoku. Fish being carp — or, as my father liked to call them, sewer bass (Dad was a consummate fisherman, you know). Despite the ethical implications — adults always have to over think things (well, this one does, anyway) — the child in me (who is alive and well) can’t help but be amused by the resultant feeding frenzy.

So enjoy this image of said frenzy, and the ensuing closeups. The closeups are actually just tighter crops of the original image, incidentally. As always, click to make ’em big.

Sewer bass feeding frenzy at Sala Keoku, Nong Khai, Thailand

Sewer bass feeding frenzy at Sala Keoku, Nong Khai, Thailand

Sewer bass feeding frenzy at Sala Keoku, Nong Khai, Thailand

Even just looking at these photographs now, I can’t help but be amused. That’s probably worth a few demerit points on the ole’ Buddhist ledger.

Sala Keoku: the Need for a Polarizing Filter

Yep, the Sky Could Use Some Detail

Ah well, hindsight is 20/20. And it was pretty hazy that day; not sure a polarizing filter would have helped bring out much detail in the sky. I was half tempted to see if I could add a worthy cloud-filled blue sky in Photoshop, but I’m still kinda dopey with this cold and couldn’t be arsed today.

Only one more photo from Sala Keoku after this one.

On Buddhist Pond: Sala Keoku, outside Nong Khai, Thailand

And here’s a closeup of one of these statues by the pond:

On Buddhist Pond: Sala Keoku, outside Nong Khai, Thailand

Sala Keoku: an Asura

A Buddhist Demigod at Sala Keoku

It’s strange to me, given my Western layman’s understanding of Buddhism, that Buddhism has various gods and demigods — a veritable cosmology, much of which it shares with Hinduism, naturally. Even here, where Theravada Buddhism is practiced, one sees evidence of this in temples and people’s beliefs.

But then as noted here before — and I’m certainly not the first — Buddhism is mixed with older beliefs and traditions (as are most, if not all religious traditions).

Anyway, this is an Asura pictured below at Sala Keoku, a three-headed demigod. I’m still struggling with this cold, and the meds and lack of sleep are making me dopey, so I’ll refer you to Wikipedia’s entry on Asura specifically and Buddhist cosmology generally. Enjoy.

An Asura, a Buddhist demigod, as depicted at Sala Keoku, in Nong Khai, Thailand

Down and Out with a Head Cold

Cold in My Head is Kicking My Ass

Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I’m functioning, but not at full capacity. Hence the two day gap in ye olde Photo a Day project. Seem to be on the road to recovery though. So here’s yet more of Sala Keoku.

As always, clicken to embiggen the photographs.

Sala Keoku sculpture park, Nong Khai, Thailand

And a detailed/closeup shot.

Sala Keoku sculpture park, Nong Khai, Thailand

We Interrupt Sala Keoku for Soi Chaiyapoon

Or, as I Think of It, Chase Some Poon

I was looking at some other photographs I had taken from a trip to Thailand was I was still living in Viet Nam, and I came across from photos from a trip to Thailand right before I went back to Viet Nam in October of 2011.

When I lived in Thailand I had never made it to the infamous Pattaya. This trip I decided I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Thinking like Ford Prefect, I figured any place that had such a negative reputation would probably make for a fun visit. So I packed my towel and off I went.

Does it live up to it’s reputation? I think rather it’s reputation doesn’t live up to the reality.

Anyway, this is a shot from the balcony of my room on Soi Chaiyapoon. Naturally, given the um, adult nature of Pattaya, shall we say, observing the punters and the expats going about their tail chasing, I decided a more apt name would be Soi Chase Some Poon.

Since this is normally a PG rated blog, I’ll leave it up to you and Google, should you not get my clever, colorful and racy bon mot.

The aptly named Chaiyapoon, a colorful (in more ways than one) soi in Pattaya, Thailand.