Here is a video clip of my recent visit to the East Coast Extreme Skatepark in Singapore. It was great to get back on a full size bowl. Its been nearly 4 and a half years since I last skated vert properly because my knee was pretty much game over. However it is now 18 months since my Knee Meniscus transplant, I had a couple of goes here on my last visa run. However he meniscus transplant is doing good, have not got full flexion but have enough to skate and it is definitely good to get back on board again!
You can fly to Kuta lombok from Bali for $20 or take a ferry and moped with two people and two surfboards for $10. Luisa has a busy schedule but we managed a trip for a few days and Kuta Lombok is now starting to change since the opening of the International Airport located 30 minutes away near Praya. There is a shopping centre being built, villa projects, land for sale signs appearing in many places, lots of new restaurants and cheap homestays. However the roads have been and are in the process of being resurfaced and the locals are all still friendly and full of smiles. It is always good to go back and I have not been for 9 months so it was a visit well overdue. However compared to the Traffic and chaos in Bali Kuta Lombo kis still one of the most undeveloped and relaxed places I have ever been to. You do hear stories of muggings and crazy primitive behavior from some of the locals and it is something that I have personally experienced a few years ago. However if you smile they smile back, if you shout they call their friends for support. Aggressive behaviour does seemsa long way off from the relaxed pace of life there, but a warning to those that have never been there before.It is amuslim community the women are covered up so riding around on a moped in a bikini with an expensive camera around your neck might bring some issues to deal with your way. Most of the locals live off the land and have no money and are happy to live as farmers but for the younger ones that have started to watch television and materialistic values have been sinking in the rewards are high if a laptop, camera, or i phone can be taken from an unsuspecting tourist. So be warned. However these are the beaches and views you will see if you come here..
I rescued a puppy from our street that slept in a ditch every night. She was strong healthy loving fun and growing well. As you can see she was enjoying the thrills of learning to skate and surf. Then in a period of 3 days she stopped wagging her tail, looked depressed then died. I found out she had contracted the Parvo Virus and it kills puppies very quickly. It is basically contracted by sniffing other dogs poop that has had the virus. The virus stays alive for up to a year in all weather conditions and because so many stray dogs wander the streets of Bali the virus is everywhere. Unfortunately I didnt know this and I was planning on getting her vaccinated against rabies and other illnesses but she died before I had a chance. I can not believe how quickly it came and took her life, It was my first dog and am very upset. I buried her by our home and she will always be remembered for all the fun we had and every morning jumping on the bed wagging her tail…
This is a little stray ginger kitten I found wandering the streets near our home. Possible two days from dying from starvation. Unfortunately there are many stray cats and dogs wandering around Bali, however this little one was very fragile and needed immediate help so we took him into our home amongst the kitten mayhem that was going on. At first Our cat rejected him but every time the other kittens were feeding I would slip him in amongst the rest and Bensin the mummy finally relaxed and started to let him feed. It took about a week for this process but now the little ginger kitten is licked and loved the same way Bensin our cat loved her other kittens. In fact little Yoda follows Bensin our cat around all day long pleased to have found a mother. As for the kittens they all play and jump and play some more, no judgement, prejudice or animosity just lots of fun. The photos below show how he looked after we washed all the paint from his fur. He was searching for his food on a building site nearby and was covered in white paint. Malnourished and with congunctivitis these photos taken two weeks apart show how he has actually pulled through and is now healthy and happy that he has been adopted by our cat Bensin as a surrogate mother, It is clear to see that the milk has been helping her a lot.
In Singapore for a week my 6 months in Indonesia have passed and it necessary for me to renew my visa in the Indonesian Embassy here. Just so happens to be one of Asia’s newest and largest skateparks in the city. East Coast Extreme Skatepark.It is floodlight until 10pm and is an absolutely amazing facility to skate free of charge, spotlessly clean and has every type of skateboard obstacle imaginable. Here is still of me skating from a few video clips I shot last night..
My knee Meniscus transplant is doing great and feels really good I am super happy about the level of impact I am again able to experience without pain.
Anyone who is considering a knee transplant or a meniscus from a dead donor bank. just to let you know. It has been one year now since my surgery and I am skateboarding concrete bowls every evening for 2-3hours and its getting stronger all the time.
A few pictures of me and my friend Johan Pontell who has just arrived back in Bali to escape the Swedish winter.
Have not updated my blog for a while as I have been skateboarding lots (the knee is painful but getting stronger everyday) , surfing and have been moving location around Bali so I have not had a very good internet connection for uploading photos. The next update will be big chunk and I am moving into a house for the next 6 months close to the Globe Skate bowl. So hopefully I will be more settled and skateboard more. My return flight back to the Uk was on September 20th however I could not face the prospect of returning at this stage so I decided to go skateboarding instead of flying back to the Uk, which means I am still here,,, for now.
However here are a few clips and a few photos of Gregor Rankin the person responsible for building the Globe Bowl in Bali..Gregor is in fact a Legendary skater from New Zealand, the top boy back in his day. He now lives as a family man skating and surfing in Bali.
However a point to note is; He also Invented one of the most complex tricks ever on vert that he named a “Harlem Fling” (not sure why, maybe it is a Scottish thing, I will ask him) As far as I am aware he has never been caught on film doing it that I am aware of. However after he started doing it, Mike McGill squated one out on the flat bottom in the famous skate film “the Search for Animal Chin.” Bucky Lasek has also been known to do one and maybe a few others that I do not know of since then. It is basically an egg plant 540 Flip. Go up the vert ramp backside fly out upside down in a flipping motion grabbing indy and then egg plant / fast plant off from your leading hand. The trick is so difficult it never became popular. I get to skate with Gregor at least 4 times a week now. He has great lines in the bowl and absolutely rock solid stable style.We have to refer to him as Leg-End as he is too humble to be labelled the Legend he is. While all the other pros of his era were fighting with losing their celebrity status in the 90′s Gregor held it down being normal and working like the rest of us. He is 48 now and rips. A real inspiration to me and what makes things even radder is he teaches his young daughter and his young Son to skate and they all skate as a family. Gregor has his life on lock down just like a Boss. I will probably make a short film about skateboarding in Bali over the next few months and hopefully we can get some more GR footage..
I have decided to spend a few nights at the Breezes Hotel in Seminyak again as it has a great gym, pool area and the food and service is 5 star.This time however, when I was presented with my towel’s folded as a hanging monkey and a turtle I asked the boys if they would show me how many creations they were able to come up with from a towel. So what you see below is the Noah’s Ark of the towel folding world..
Until I get some spare time for an update please watch this video of the activities I hope to step closer to as I get older and wiser in my own pursuit of flight and speed..Allexender Polli showreel is incredible
Here are some shots from the reef at Padang Padang that I took as we walked around to find a location to take some photos of Luisa doing her yoga poses with the wave in the background. At approximately an hour before sunset time the wave which is on the west coast of Bali is heavily backlit by the sunset giving these wonderful green caves. It is an absolute exposure nightmare for photography. The bright light completely overexposes the sea and puts the surfer in the dark however the raw files on the Canon 5Dmk2 allow for enough colour correction and exposure compensation to be able to lift all the detail in post processing. This is due to the full frame sensor. These were taken hand held with a 70-200mm lens and a 2x extender. Not the best setup for land shots of surfing as the extender softens all the edges. These are also pretty cropped too but still capture the awe of Padang Padang’s hefty barrel over shallow sharp reef.
A few more smiley faces, there is no shortage of ceremony in Bali and it seems that the community spirit keeps everyone feeling involved and happy regardless of their role and position in the community..
This is one of the most beautiful places to eat in Bali. Located in Seminyak overlooking the beach, the atmosphere is great and the food and drinks are wonderful. I was Invited by my good friend Alison to come and take some photos in exchange for some free food. whilst she was working doing a restaurant review. Absolutely wonderful.
Somehow I found myself spending the night with the Chilean Navy, The Chilean Embassy and some of the heads of Bali in one of Seminyak,s most prestigious restaurants Gado Gado. Their ship was docked for a few days in the nearby Benoa Harbour. It was a fun night out and I am had some great tasting food and drink with entertainment of Balinese dance and ceremony on the beach nearby. I had my camera equipment on me because I had been taking some photos during the day. In Bali the more open I am to new experiences the more seem to come my way
This photograph is dedicated to my my friend Handa, we were speaking about photography yesterday and I was explaining how with the correct understanding of light, reflection and perspective you can discover unlock and present the beauty of any given subject. This is a photograph of three Indonesian coins worth approximately 15 cents or 10 Uk pence. They literally have no monetary value except to pay to park a motorbike for an hour on the side of the road. However with the right combination of technique and appreciation for the detail and beauty that they do have, It is possible to present them in a way that looks as though they belong in a Jewellery catalog or the Royal Mint…
The light here is amazing, and I can not resist taking little snapshots of all the natural beauty that exists in the corners of the chaos known as Kuta Bali..Such contrast here, concrete buildings and tourism everywhere and the roads jam packed with traffic. However there are so many places where pockets of natural beauty arise like a phoenix from the dust of the building sites everywhere and this is what you can see when you look closely.
I have been skateboarding for two weeks now and my knee is healing and recovering well. My friends Tony, Fernando and Paul from the Uk are all trying to improve their bowl riding skills. Concrete scares most people but the rewards are there if you persevere. The difference in Bali between being a beginner surfer and skateboarder is skateboarders are happy to teach you and share the bowl. In the sea you have absolutely no chance of anyone sharing a wave with you here. Fernando is aiming to go as high as the tiles one day,.The little one is Gregor Rankine’s Little boy Robbie, walking in the the old boys footsteps…
This is Johnny I met him at the Globe Bowl 2 years ago and bumped into him again this week, He has lived here four approx 4 years. This is Johnny surfing Uluwatu on a big swell, photo courtesy Johnny. These are some photos of Johnny skating the bowl,..We are trying to get him to step up his game on a skateboard with the same confidence he has in the sea. But the truth is for a young man uninjured with such big shiny muscles, combined with his “charge it” attitude in the sea. Truth is he skates like a “pussy” bailing his airs and only just scratching the pool coping with his trucks in a little 5ft deep concrete bowl. Hopefully over the next few months we can get him to start skating more like his torso suggests!!!
For a personal treat to myself I spent some time staying in a wonderful hotel in Seminyak Bali. It is called the Breezes as it aptly picks up the gentle sea breeze from Seminyak beach at the end of the road. It is located in Jalan Camplung Tanduk in the more upmarket end of Bali called Seminyak. Although still very close to Kuta, Seminyak offers a level of luxury I can not usually afford. However for a short stay the hot water in the rooms, endless lengths of swimming pools combined with up to date gym facilities and great food made a well needed change from my soggy mattress at Mekar Jaya Bungalows. The dining here is great and the pool bar and submerged seating in the pool area are so very different from the style of living I experience in the UK. The hotel has beautiful detailing through out the buildings and the tropical gardens made it a very relaxing time for me. The staff at the Breezes as you can see are so genuinely friendly and helpful it is obvious to see that the management have a great idea of how to treat people and this definitely seems to radiate in the essence of my short stay here. I will most definitely be coming back again for another short stay before I leave Bali.
Photography lesson 1.
The light in Bali allows for such magnificent colours in my photography, I just couldn’t resist sharing a few shots with my friends back in the UK as I hear it has rained most of the summer. Many people said to me why are you going to Bali in the UK Summer? the answer is you are guaranteed one here and in the UK from my experience summer usually doesn’t happen.The irony here though is, that now in Bali at 26 degrees celsius air and sea it is actually winter here as I type this.
I do not like to take my camera to the beach the sand frightens me way more than ever getting smashed by an oversize wave. Sand seems to get everywhere and camera equipment is no exception. Well I was emailed a link to some portraits that a photographer Lee Turner from Bali Dream Weddings magazine took on his travels and it inspired me to take take my camera out with me on my bicycle to Kuta Beach yesterday.
Bali is all about Kuta Beach for so many people here. It faces perfectly west and has a sunset of sorts nearly every evening at 6am. It is full of characters from all the corners of the world. So I took my 50mm lens down the beach the first portrait on the way was when I stopped and spoke to the blind beggar who is always sat on the side of the road. He was actually really happy when I asked if I could take his photo and then repositioned himself and sat straight for the shot. Everybody accelerates past him every day, being blind would possibly be the worst thing for me as a photographer. Today stopping for that moment with him realigned my attitudes to what I should be thankful for. Yes sure I gave him some money but wouldn’t you rather give someone back their eyesight. Well I guess that is where we differ from Jesus, who can do that bit.
The other shots are from the people I see daily at the beach, the surf instructors, the woman selling bracelets, the men selling Coca Cola and Bintang beer. The big smiles are from the man selling his paintings on his shoulder. The young girls come down to do promotional work for Sky garden Nightclub. They like to pose with the heads tilted sideways and a fish pout. Standard issue photo pose here amongst young local girls. The couple laughing and smiling are great, this woman has made me food and coffee daily whenever I am in Bali for a few years total now. Her husband has a crooked eyed and he is teaching me to play a local instrument called gamelan, like a bamboo xylophone. In return I am helping him with some physical exercises to get his belly down.
The Woman with the fruit bowl on her head is one of the most beautiful people you could randomly meet on the beach. A collection of hats given to her by travellers on their holidays are her trademark. Her smile radiates a natural beauty and kindness unrivalled by many. Today with my camera she mentioned she often sees the students take a photo jumping and didn’t know how to get one herself. So I said “jump” and she said “how high?” and take a look at that smile! Then not to forget Nyoman with the cigarette he has worked at Mekar Jaya hotel as long as far longer than the 4 year span over which I have stayed there. Then there are the women from Sumatra who work at Smiles Warung Jl Patimura. Kina in the Yellow and her mother and sisters feed me most evenings. So what you see below is what you would see too if you spent a few hours in Kuta. People want you to give them money here but when you pay someone attention what you really end up paying for is a smile… and that is priceless.
These are my friends in Bali, Ali is from Australia and spent time all over running a resort living in Fiji and then living in the UK in Brighton, she is a writer and works and lives in Bali, Alison writes for food and villa magazines and can organize free meals in the most amazing places, thanks again Alison. Rune with the shaved head and his girlfriend Erin, Rune is a skater and surfer from Norway, he works in Norway and travels to Bali regularly. He surfs hard and rips a concrete bowl apart at mach speeds. His girlfriend Erin surfs well and is now learning to skate, she is originally from the jungle in Jawa and has stories that will make your hair stand on end and give you goosebumps listening,..Erin speaks English far better than the average Indonesian and is educated in so many ways that only the life she has lived could teach a person.
Fernando is the handsome man with big smile and the model looks, he is from Brazil and is living the steps towards of his imagination in Bali, now surfing every day, he has been here since I last visited and has now agreed to work towards the wingsuit flying dream with me. Tony with the dreds is a skateboarder and very talented involved in film sound engineering from Majorca now surfing and staying in Bali between projects..Tony is one of the funniest people on the planet absolutely hilarious, he presently has a small surf infection (think pimple) on one of his legs and he is taking antibiotics for it. However he would like far more sympathy than we are able to give him looking at how small it is, but he assures us it is very painful.
Anyway during the banter over the course of the evening, the topics of relationships, love and meeting women in Bali was discussed and this little gem of wisdom arose from amongst the boys and I will never forget it,..” “On a night out partying and drinking the women that you meet and are not interested at 10pm, become the ones that you will be chasing at midnight and then paying for at 2am” Well In Bali there has never been a truer word said…The girls walk around wearing t shirts stating “no money no honey” Anyway we all know better, (at least for now) Anyway If I had a ship this would be my crew…
Skateboarding Sanur Bowl Bali, Julien Bergougnoux, Rune Lagaide. This is Julien, he has lived in Bali 14 years. Originally from France he now skates and surfs each day in the warmth of a tropical climate. Julien rips this bowl hard. He knows it better than anyone as he built it in his back yard under the palm trees. Julian is 37 and is a real inspiration, Surfers are pretty selfish people on the whole and surfing in a crowd you will understand what I mean, Skateboarders who surf are different, Julien is generous and kind enough to let anyone skate or ride his bowl..Julien with some frontside transfers and Rune with some frontside nosebones in the deep end.
The Billabong Pro team are in Bali at the moment and Reubyn Ash being one of them was there alongside his brother Joss and their mum and dad. I know them pretty well and they were playing on the waves at Canggu, same moves as last year and still surfing to a super high standard, However there was two other Brazillian pros who’s names I forgot and the team manager, they were all surfing in their element and destroying the small but powerful waves that Canggu has rolling in..However for 20 people sat in the sea these two Brazilian pros took almost every single wave between them. Without sharing so much as a ripple with the other surfers sat out there.
Reubyn above is presently trying to land an alleyoop backflip 540 double grab on this trip and get it on film. He made the mistake of claiming it and naming it the “Reubyo” online last year without actually landing it standing and riding away cleanly. This annoyed a lot of people in the surf community so now Reubyn is trying to get a clean one on film.. I guess if it was porn this would be Reubyn’s money shot and good luck to him he deserves it.
Surfing and Skateboard Culture; The differences I see here.
The big difference that I can see clearly between surfing and skateboarding culture is most people do not actually ride away from 80% of their ariels. Ruebyn is one of the rare characters who usually does. When you punt a big air on a skateboard and bail just for the camera this is called a “bullshit air” and is done as a joke. In surfing this is the norm, yes sure the waves are moving and surfing is difficult but surfers are not like skateboarders or moto x riders or bmxers for that matter. They like to huck and chuck, landing in a pile in the white water, this is seen as progression of their sport and It takes a skilled surfer to do it so I guess it is. I surf and I can not do what they do. However these bullshit airs do make for good photos and unfortunately are what are used in the Surfing magazines and media to the unknowing public., sure occasionally someone rides one away.. However only one of the pictures above that I took of this whole session of air attempts was ridden away, slowly in the mush. This is the difference between skateboarding, surfing, Bmx and Freestyle motocross; Truth is on a Bmx, motorbike or skateboard you can not bullshit an air in a concrete bowl, or upside down backflipping on a motor bike over a 75ft jump and get away with it. Not even for the photo..This is the difference between other extreme sports and surfing. Surfers are a different breed to skaters and bike riders. They like to session with each other and share their terrain. In surfing it seems to be the fashion that so many selfish aggressive, idiots are hogging every wave in the sea not letting anyone else even get a look in if they are not to the same ability level. It seems in Bali more than most places that many surfers will try and get away with whatever they can even if it is all bullshit..You do not find these people in big heavy waves though. It seems they get scared when the waves become aggressive. Surfing is not the soul sport I always imagined to be with spiritual people in tune with the ocean. It is more often than not, a battle of big egos and limited waves being fought over day in and day out. Maybe its differnt elsewhere but believe me their is no shortage of it in Bali..
Bali is a destination of such diversity and contrast. These are man made offerings to the gods and the peaceful ceremony was taking place in a brightly decorated holy temple where the men wore traditional white costume and the women beautiful Balines lace. All this whilst the cockfighting and gambling was taking place next door..This is Bali; Light and dark in the same place. Just like the rules of photography, the brightest lights cast the darkest shadows beside them.
Cockfighting is a tradition in Bali, owners spend a lot of time and money breeding aggressive fighting cocks. It takes place in a covered yet dusty arena surrounded by men in traditional costume with a cold glaze in their stare. I too attended in a surrong and headdress as I watched up close as razor sharp knife blades were tied and bound securely to the prize cocks ankles with string. The two owners then squat face to face holding the cocks by the neck pulling there feathers really hard as they thrust their beaks and faces into each other. When they have aggravated and agitated the cocks enough, it is then that the betting starts. Eager punters flash their cash at the people taking the bets and giving the odds. Once the betting has finished the two cocks are literally thrown together as they frantically flap and kick until one of them manages to strike a deadly blow to a chest or head area with the blade. The fight lasts about 5 minutes until one of the cocks finally collapses in a heap of blood drenched feathers on the dust. Winnings and losings are calculated as the dead cock is prepared for dinner that day. Then it all starts again as another cock is taken from a hanging bag or basket at the side of the dusty arena…Animal rights activists from the UK would have a field day here and would be pleased to know that occasionally a cock will sometimes jump a little higher than expected and will send the knife blade into the owners neck and as a result the injuries are fatal as the owner becomes first to meet his maker. Karma or not people like cockfighting here and the tradition is a firm one,..If I had known how truly dangerous this tradition is maybe I would not have gotten so close with my camera and fish eye lens.. Just maybe
I am staying Back in Mekar Jaya bungalows, to be fair the staff are great the gardens are amazing and the breakfast is always welcome. However on a realistic note the price is increasing each time I return and the rooms are getting grubby, the mattresses close to un-sleepable in whilst sober with bed bugs and back ache. But coming from the Uk the gardens are still worth the trade off, The staff are super friendly, it is also very secure and at 9 US dollars a night including breakfast its still not gonna break the bank.
Many of the local people here are great, The name for their language and culture is Traditional Sasak. I get on well with many of the families and have known some of them over 3 years now. They are often in a hurry to feed me, wash my clothes, entertain me and make me coffee,..They earn their money in a variety of humble ways working in communities. Some families are smashing rocks with hammers all day looking for nuggets of gold, The lucky ones are made for life. Others make and bake clay bricks in the open air. Piling them up into a slow burning pile as they feed burning branches at the bottom. The men a hand casting concrete structures. There are farmers and fisherman. Mostly they live in bamboo huts and I am always welcome..I can offer little except my sense of humour and attempts at speaking their language.It appears though that sharing my photos of them from the past times I have visited keeps them amused. However recently as a result of my laptop they have all been introduced to wingsuit flying now!! I am very fortunate to experience such a contrast in my world from day to day..I learn a lot here
Yesterday sun was shining weather was sweet so I decided to sit on the rocks at Mawi and take some surf photos. An Australian Surfer on his travels named Dylan ?? and his friends stood out in front of the lens. Dyaln surfs in a different league to the rest of the crowd in the sea. Wearing a blue t shirt he pulled under and exited more right hand barrels at Mawi than I have ever witnessed any other surfer do in the few years of me visiting the place.
Typical Dry season conditions, off shore winds, smallish swell with a 16 second period created a consistent yet great little A frame peak that rolled in all through the mid to high and back to mid tide. Dylan charged every 3rd wave in each set and his friend Nick in the Yellow t shirt was making up surf time from working in the Australian mines by dropping in on every other surfer and somehow getting away with it…Happy daze and hotties in bikinis on the beach. The road is still worthy of a mx bike and the buffaloes still roll on by. Life is good on a day like today except when the surf charter boats turn up, with the crowds that can suddenly appear in the blink of an eye.
The Englishman Scott that resides at the surf camp in Grupuk village Lombok has invested into his dream by building a bowl at the surf camp…Fair play to anyone bringing skateboarding to such a beautiful yet remote and undeveloped place…Check out this little gem
I am now back in Kuta Lombok and have been meeting up with old friends and some of the locals. Everybody has been great and been looking after me and cooking me meals. I have started paying a few people to do some more work on my land and in between when the stars have been out I have been practicing some photography techniques that involve long exposures and remote flash triggering..These are the results from last night,
Passed by the Globe bowl in Bali, Tuban last night and two local skaters that I met on my last visit to Bali were skating. Now they are skating the Bowl at full speed and tearing up new lines all around the place..Wiratama Tude in the red shirt was blasting some big stylish melon fly outs from the tight bowl corners to flat and Tony Santika in the black was consistently stretching out his Benihanas Bruce Lee style for the camera lens..I managed to have an hour or so cruising the bowls feeling how my knee was feeling compared to last time..Definitely had less pain than before and more speed through the corners which is good. The rain has taken the polish of the cement so any falls now take your skin off which I am now experiencing..
Dustin Humphries aka D Hump a very famous Surf Photo grapher from the States is involved in a Project on the Canggu area of Bali on the Intersection to Echo Beach. Basically I was passing by to take some photos of random surf action and I heard the sound of skateboard wheels on concrete. This always stops me in my tracks. Well there was a pretty good Jakartan skateboarder on the ramp called Reno Pratama. Apparently they had flown him down for a skateboard and fashion photo shoot. Well after they had finished shooting and I had finished having a little go on the ramp to test out my knee progress the sun and sky were turning a great shade of pink, so I asked if I could shoot some photos of the ramp for my travel blog. I had a 5dmk2 a 15mm fisheye lens and two 580ex speedlights and Cactus v5 radio triggers to hand. Combined with Reno Pratamas poppy stalefish on a 4ft high mini ramp these are the shots we managed to get. This is a link to their website and blog http://deustemple.com/blog/ They have built a restaurant a photo studio and I think but not sure is a customised motorcycle workshop call Ex Machina Motorcycles. Dustin AKA D Hump had some photos published in a big colourful coffee table book I think was called Sipping Jetstreams (But I am not 100%) and it was his images that made me want to come to Indonesia and take photos, so today was a good day..
Reno Pratama Boom!! Stalefish Interceptor Deus Ramp
Reno Pratama Boom!! Stalefish Interceptor Deus Ramp
When you end up staying in places that look like this, free of charge, you have to count your blessings and know the Master of the Universe loves you,.. Thanks to my good friends Alison B, Clari T life is getting better all the time…
I had to fly from Phuket International airport to Bali, so I spent about 36 hours in Patong and wandered around the beaches and bars in the evening with my camera. It is a very bright and colourful place that has a lot of girls and lady boys dancing on stages and poles in all manner of places and costumes. Although entertaining it really feels like a soulless place and has a darkness and coldness behind the fairground exterior. 36 hrs here is about 30 hrs too many if you end wandering around slightly drunk with a bagful of expensive camera equipment. However I did meet a few cool people and a person Called Gunnar Bratt who owned a bar and his assistant cashier let me use their bar as a place to shoot photos from. Gunnar even wandered into the crowd for me with a flash on a remote radio trigger so I could try and capture really what it feels like here. Its a hard place for photography as the light is low and the ladyboys get really aggressive when they see you pointing a camera at them. One of the main reasons for my blog is it is a way for me to share with people the photos I have taken of them and its also a place for me to share with you all who follow my blog or stumble across it. This is the path I am presently on and I am working out my perspectives on many moral areas and preconceived ideas I have to begin with. The whole lady boy thing in Thailand is bizarre, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of boys at puberty deciding they want breast augmentation, bum implants and oestrogen tablets. They grow into these amazing looking women stunning in their appearance and what they wear, yet they still ooze testosterone in all their behaviour. Thailand is a bizarre place and promiscuous ladyboys are even more of phenomenon to get your head around. Its a rare sight in the uk and I am aware of my prejudices when I am here and its suprising how they change when you are moving around different cultures and meeting different people. But one thing is for sure in Patong Thailand, the dark side of human behavior is on parade here all wrapped up in a tight lycra miniskirt and high heels..And I know for sure that I prefer the real thing.
Klong Nin Koh lanta this evening, few little waves coming in and a couple of surfers in the water,..thought i would try and get a photo from inside a wave. Actually managed to but it was a grotty sand filled brown one about 1ft high. However the G1x is not suited at all to action photography as it has about a 1 second delay on the shutter lag, making timing next to impossible..However I managed to keep the horizons level and I am sure when the conditions improve one can get some good shots with it in the surf even though it is designed as a diving housing where most thing happen slowly.
My Brother Nathan has been overseeing a development of a plot of land up on a hill over looking Koh Pi Pi Island (where the film The Beach was filmed with Leonardo Di Caprio) and ask me take some photos of the sunset for him. This was what it looked like this evening..Including my not so little, lil bro..
Photos Canon5d Mk2, 16-35mm Lens…Lightning 70-200mm f2.8 lens on a tripod with bulb exposures from 30 seconds to 250 seconds for the lightning shots.. Also two photos with fill flash of the same sunset taken on a Canon g1x
Bangkok to Krabi airport Air Asia £50 then a 3hr drive to Koh Lanta across two ferries to see my brother and sister in Khlong Nin.. First two days amazing sunsets, Raining Hot and Humid, Wet season starting again. Which appears to bring dramatic skies and rainbows all in the same half hour. All of these photos were taken on a canon g1x pocket camera as my 5d mk2 was not to hand, wish it had been..
These are some random photos from my experience in Bangkok walking around with my camera, spending time going out at night with some people I know from meeting before and new some new acquaintances.. Bangkok is an great place to cruise around its game on 24/7 . Whilst it still has its fair share of graffiti writing and tagging it is nothing like good ol’ Bristol..
I have been staying in Soy 11 Sukhemvit Road in a Hostel called Suk11. I thoroughly recommend it as a first stop for a trip into the centre of Bangkok. You can pre book online it is approx £12 to £20 a night depending on one or 2 people in a room. This is cheap for Bangkok. The rooms have Air Conditioning, (however they drip a bit do not leave your lap top on the bed under one!) and hot water en suite. Its location is right next to the Nana Sky Train station and for this is 3 stops from all the big camera shopping centres and 1 stop from 24/7 nightlife.
A quick story I bumped into 3 women on three separate occasions that I have spoken to on previous visits. They still work in the same shops or area as before. They remembered me and they all said hello Jason how are you? followed by you look fat now! I couldnt believe it I had only gained 4 pounds in the last 18 months as a result of being inactive from a knee injury and on crutches for 3 months. It appears Thai people are even more concsious about their weight than people in the UK. My brother who has lived here 16 years said that a persons weight is always then first thing they will comment on. Except they notice a few pounds in the Uk people leave it to 10s of pounds before they would comment. As I have said before between 50 of them there isnt enough fat to fry a bacon sandwich.. So very different in values and culture here compared to the Uk. In the Uk people get soo offended when you mention that they have gained weight, Its a big taboo. Anyway I was one of them and now feeling somewhat offended I will just swallow it and stop the cakes and chocolate. Oh well its a reminder how the Uk stodges many of us out with heavy food. I actually love Bangkok s range of street food and cuisine, there is fresh fruit on sale everywhere and a street meal is always healthy and delicious and never costs more than a pound.
Some camera info, My Canon 7D versus 5D Mk2
Camera tech stuff, Well I have had good use of both camera bodies and now I can honestly say that the 8 frames per second and 60fps hd capabilities were then reasons I purchased the 7D but the image quality is not there for me coming from a full frame 1DS mk2 full frame dslr. So in MBK shopping centre today I decided after a lot of thought to part exchange and upgrade my Canon 7D back to a Canon 5Dmk2 as I have been missing having a full frame sensor at hand. I do not shoot many sequential but my My 7d has killed off my Fish eye and 16-35mm wide angle lenses. Also with my 50mm and 70-200mm the 1.6 crop factor has been irritating me. So now all my lenses are as they should be. I will never buy a cropped sensor on a dslr again I have decided I would rather crop my photos myself. Whilst I was here I also purchased a water housing for my canon G1X to see what water shots and HD video we can get whilst in Indo. I learnt a big lesson after my Aquatech water housing leaked in Indo a few years ago and as a result I will not be taking expensive cameras in the sea again unless someone else is paying me to use theirs!!
Well here are some shots from my 5Dmk2 and a few from my Canon gX1 see if you can tell what came from where…
1am in the morning behind Koh San Road is a small plaza where I have seen people skate before. As I was on my way back from a day out to the floating market and elephant show with a bag full of camera lenses and some flashes I asked a local skater Komrit Kijanuluk if he wanted to ollie a few obstacles in the street for me,..these are the photos we got, Komrit has pop and style..Bangkok style
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