End of a hot day in Bangkok and the search is on to find a cool breeze and perhaps a cold drink! My search took me to one of Bangkok's many rooftop bars, this one atop the Marriott Hotel and overlooking bustling Sukhumvit Road.
My "Chiang Mai" arrived complete with ice cube floating next to a whisky soaked dried apricot on its bamboo skewer. At the price and the liquor content, it pays to sip slowly. I figured that if you finish it before the ice cube completely melts, you've rushed it.
Waiting for the best light
The most pleasing view I found was just after sunset with some colour still in the sky and the lights of the city coming on. Earlier and the light can be harsh with high contrast but without pleasing colour. Later and the picture is entirely about the city lights with the sky darkening into night.
Composition and diagonal lines
Compositionally the idea was to use the strong diagonal line of Sukhumvit Road with its elevated railway. The diagonal links up with the red glowing horizon at the top and the intersecting street (or Soi as the Thais call it) at the bottom to form a Z shape through the image. Could I have positioned the lines better in the frame? Well perhaps, but there's a limit to what can be done in that regard standing by a safety rail a vertigo inducing 48 floors above street level.
No Tripod - Selective motion blur?
Given the bar was reasonably crowded with people seated at tables all around and other people pausing to take their own photos (typically selfies!) the use of a tripod was out of the question. As polite and friendly as the locals are, I think setting up a tripod would have tested them!
Which leads to the next point on camera technique. I wanted the buildings in the image to be sharp but wanted some motion blur in the vehicles and their lights. I experimented with different shutter speeds and found that by holding the camera firmly against a fixed surface, and using the self timer, I could get to 1/5 second and still retain the detail necessary. With this shutter speed, I found I was shooting at ISO2500 and whilst modern cameras do well at such settings, I decided to take a series (5 in total) of images and use the stack mode composite technique I've written about previously. With the 5x ISO2500 images combined the end result is similar to what might be expected with a single ISO500 capture, at least so far as signal to noise ratio is concerned. In this instance, with plenty of dark tones where digital noise becomes most noticeable, it was good insurance.
Dusk over Sukhumvit Road.
Going forward, some decisions might need to be made as to what the website and blog look like, or for that matter whether it's worth persisting with it at all. Over the past year I have varied (wildly) both my blogging schedule and also my social media involvement with a few points becoming more obvious to me. Whilst I far prefer to concentrate on the website/blog where I can control the content on my own terms, it's obvious that there is very little genuine traffic. Website analytics are next to useless and do little other than record spamming attempts. Perhaps the whole exercise is just self indulgent.
On the other hand, social media provides at least some level of audience engagement but requires interacting with unethical corporations driven by pure greed. Am I prepared to dance with the devil just for the sake of a handful of "likes"?
It's a dilemma which I have not resolved. ~KD.