Loi Krathong festival and parade in Chiang Mai Thailand

In the past, we called Loi Krathong as Chong Pa Rieng- floating lantern of royal ceremony. It is a Brahman festival to worship Gods Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. When Thai people adopted Buddhism, they adapted this ceremony to honor the Buddhas cremated bone the original Buddha at the second heaven ruler. They floated lantern to worship the foot-print of the Buddha on Nammathanati River beach in India.
In modern day the Loi Krathong parade festival feels like the Thai equivalent to the Brazilian carnival, gorgeous women with amazingly detailed traditional dresses sit on wood carved thrones waving and smiling to the crowds. Gods and Goddesses perform Thai ancient stories. Girl dances follow the Gods vehicles, each one with its own music and speaker who explains the story to the surrounding people.
This is the spectacle of the year and well appreciated from the local communities that participate with great joy.





































































































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Songkran 2012 – Thai New Year 15 April

I’m happy to take part for the first time in Songkran the worlds biggest water fight. Everyone gets splashed and all become naughty. None excluded from the joy of walking around the city to throw water filled buckets and shoot each other with water guns. This is the way the Thai culture and its people celebrate the coming New Year.

Click on pics for more

 

North India travel, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh

About six years ago decided to make a journey to North India. As a studio photographer for many years I had forgotten how it is to shoot for my own pleasure and I tried to make this trip a reminder of pleasure photography. So the decision was made to carry only one small amateur camera, specifically the Olympus C8080WZ(wide zoom) and work with its limitation since its truth that equipment does not make the picture, the eye of the observer does that combined with good timing. Limitations of the camera were too many at the beginning for a professional photographer, like very limited manual adjustments and not publishing quality resolutions but quickly I adopted the way to shoot and it was fine. I enjoyed the low weight and the discreet appearance of that camera body.

I hadn’t been shooting not even on my vacations any more back home but the minute I got out the Delhi airport I start clicking the release button. Arrival time was around 5 AM and I felt I was in a ready made pictorial photographic set. Everything around me seemed interesting to capture, I couldn’t believe in my appetite for new pictures. The low fluorescent sickened light attracting swarms of mosquitoes, the sunrise twilight vampires, were having a feast on our exhausted exposed body parts. It might sound wired but it was an adventurous laughable welcoming to this country of endless impressions.

I didn’t want to spend more time in the big city, I had an one hour flight the next day to Ladakh, the northern part on India that resembles the Tibetan plateau, landscape wise and people wise.

Grain peeling in himachal pradesh

 

Thousand of local buddhists attend the meditation lesson by the 14th Dalai Lama

Photographer’s advice for headshots and portraits

Portrait photography has many combined skills which a photographer should build in time.

I love taking headshots/portraits in natural daylight and in my opinion this is the best form of light one can use to lit a face.

When you learn to “play” with the outdoor lighting conditions you would feel the same.

All further advice is to get a proper portrait/headshot but there are always exceptions that depend on what you want to get as a result.

The worst thing you can do to a portrait is to use direct sunlight on it, it kills skin quality and usually the eyes suffer not to mention the harsh shadows. Don’t do it unless you know what you’re doing.

The best lighting condition for a face are those hours at sunrise just before and after it. Sunset hours of course included and they can be equally great. If you need to take a portrait/headshot in the hours between sunrise/sunset you have to find the place conditions that proximate the sunrise/sunset hour conditions. That said try finding deep shadows and place your subject there, keep in mind that you are working with reflected light, that means that what ever your subjects face has in front, it will reflect upon it. So you would be working with the light that just reflected on the surrounding surfaces and now is lighting your portrait/headshot. What are these surfaces are of most importance to your work. The material glossy or mat, the color, the relative angle. You don’t really want a red wall reflecting red light to your subject.

Bad weather ? This is one of the best time for a portrait/headshot shooting. Well, extremes not included. freezing temperatures and strong winds won’t help but cloudy weather even dark low rainy conditions are your best ally, light reflections resembling the perfect studio soft box equipment, there are virtually no shadows and faces look gorgeous.

Get used to pay attention to all of these as outside factors, as this is your studio equipment. And its so reasonably priced…

Make sure and be meticulous about the background of your portrait/headshot, this is of most importance as well. The image of the back will either bring out the face or swallow it. This is why it is not unreasonable to pay around 2000$ for a lens. Using an open aperture lens as the canon 85 f1.2 it will promote the focus point and separate it from the background. That doesn’t mean you have to work at f1.2 not at all, I prefer to work between f3.2 and f5.6, but the excellent build in bokeh(perfectly soft blur for out of focus points) will help a lot. The slightest turn of the head or the position of the camera will reveal a different background face combination, thus result feeling of your photo. This is to your advantage and disadvantage as well, you just need to pay great attention at the time of shooting.

Clothing plays a strong role and its always according to the result you want to get out of your portraiture but in every case your model/subject should feel comfortable wearing it.

Your model/subject is giving you his face/time and the best you can do is to cherish it. Be positive at all times never mention that he/she has a stressed or silly face or anything negative about his/her face, it will always result to unwanted feelings on your subjects part and you don’t want that. What you are looking for is to make that face relax and stay natural, we all have the tendency to change our facial features when posing for a photo, its easier. The hard part is to stay natural and relaxed in time looking at the camera. At least this is what I’m looking for, in my portraits.

Have fun 🙂

Rainy daylight portrait Renee Galanou

Daylight portrait Natalie Tapper

Daylight portrait Natalie Tapper

Fashion in Lao

In a previous visit to Vientiane capital of Laos I met with the well known Laotian fashion designer Viengkham.

Our first collaboration was to photograph her own designs at the Miss Lao beauty contest November 2011.

Her unique clothes attract a lot of attention at the show and on youtube as well

Check out the video I prepared and the galleries with even more pics

Thidalath Vongsiri winner of Miss Lao 2011 beauty contest

Thidalath Vongsiri winner of Miss Lao 2011 beauty contest

Lets see

First attempt to start and keep a blog about my photography.
I’m originally from Athens, Greece so you should expect everyday commentary out of the artistic realm.