Once landed in Bangkok (after a heavily delayed flight) I had to travel to a small town in the depths of Thailand Roi et. A town that I was familiar with and becoming more so each visit. My initial plan was to capture certain landmarks (I had a couple in mind) in the day time/night time at the exact same composition to create a contrast of moods, atmosphere and time shift for the viewer to experience with in the photo when the images are displayed side by side, displaying a clear visual change.
Like anywhere in Thailand, the roads are extremely busy. A lot of the areas tend to never sleep, especially near the centre, however when night time came in roi-et the busyness eventually would start to slightly fade at best. I started off my plans by wanting to capture a local junction that which in day time was packed full of passing cars and bikes with no signals of guidance but only the drivers intuition.
The first photos I took of the junction were at night time. At the time I did not possess a tripod due to not being able to fit it in my luggage and it didn’t occur to me that I would need one until heading out to take the shots. I had to push my camera to its limits, an ISO of 3000 and still it was struggling to keep up with the darkness. I was left with a grainy exposure which I think in some cases adding texture to an image can give a photo depth, but in this case I wasn’t happy, I found the images to be uninteresting due to being too dark and completely lifeless (maybe they would be improved when placed next to the daylight version). I knew the images were too dark, even to be recovered to a suitable standard through editing.
(Un-edited images, Nikon D3000)
I continued into the town on the same night to an area that was even more quiet than the outskirts, a similar visual out come for the photographs was made, they were just too dark and I couldn’t drop my shutter speed anymore with out camera shake. I was definitely in need of a tripod but my time was limited here before my next travel.
It was a complete ghost town, silent, the only signs of life was the occasional bike, car or this dog chained up outside the owners shop. I had never seen such a quiet side of thailand before which is why I wanted to capture and display the contrasts between the two atmospheres so much.
The very moment I took the photo, I remember the quietness. Busy observing the dark surroundings of the town, to my surprise, when I turned around and looked down, this dog was just there, staring at me peacefully with in the darkness. It filled me with a sense of innocence amongst a place where it was easy to feel very hostile. The dog looked so happy to see me, but at the same time it made me feel slightly sad that he was chained up to the gate. Inside, I couldn’t see any owner but their presence was felt as the lights were still running. Whilst editing this image I placed more light around the dog, contributing to the dogs innocent, playful impact it had against dark environment.
I wanted to successfully be able to retract to the exact same spot in which the first of two photos have been taken. I did this by photographing the point where I had been standing to take the photograph as a reference point…
I also continued the night time shots on a main long stretch of road, I was able catch a few seconds of free time to stand in the middle of the road, Although I am not sure how easy it would of been to do that in the day time.
I was more pleased with how these turned out due the the area being more lit up.
An enhanced one with less over baring warmth…
With all the day time to night time shoots I had taken, I was confident that when the images are side by side they will have a lot more depth to them, however, I did not return to this these roads or the quiet town in day time to finish the process for three reasons, due to the time restrains from my departure to bangkok, my overall dissatisfaction of how the night time shots turned out for the junction and that by the time I had to return, was more satisfied with the other shots I had taken for the work in progress portfolio so far..
(Single attempt at returned town shot)
The night time images in which I did return to complete…
I was lucky in the timing of which I was in Roi Et taking photos as Thailand was going through a very traditional and emotional stage, being that their king had just passed away, many decorations were being moved around into place and then quickly undone.
An example of this was the send off ceremony for their 9th king ‘Bhumibol Adulyadej’ in several towns and cities across Thailand, one of them being Roi Et. It enabled me to capture some impactful visual changes in my day/night time images that will be displayed in their final forms via my work in progress portfolio hand in.
Night time ceremony and park (un-edited)
Again lighting conditions were difficult but I did have a lot more light to work with this time around, I patiently waited at the back centre of the ceremony upon a platform to engage with the switch of lighting that was made from artificial to candle lit.
Taking photographic notes of point of shooting was a procedure I had to continue through out, it could sometimes get confusing to keep up with each landmark and remember the exact spot and composition but logging my actions definitely helped.
Day time park (un-edited)
Whilst the photos look like they may lack depth by themselves alone, placing next to their polar opposite is what completes them, giving them their purpose…
Edited Example (Final)
The real challenge in this process was pin pointing the exact locations, having to constantly check through the previous images taken on the lcd display, analyse the composition and take the second sets of images through visual memory when looking through the view finder.
I analysed the composition by referencing the 4 corners of the image and highlighting certain features the images possessed in my memory from the second my vision left the lcd display to the viewfinder and would try to remember the position of these features.
I would do my best to on the spot judge the distance from the featured objects to the outer edges of the frames, it was near impossible to get the exact same frame as the first time around, so editing was used to alter the positions of the images and crop for the best possible fit. After a while of attempting this by eye and the use of digital rulers on photoshop, I realised a useful tactic to line up the two images is by using a double exposure, layering the images over one another and lowing the opacity to move carefully the images into place.
I completed the day/night method on not only the ceremony but various other locations with in the time frame…
Basket Ball Court/Day
Basket Ball Court/Night
Outcome example (Final)…
Parking lots – Bikes/Cars (Day)
Parking lots – Bikes/Cars (Night)
Overall this was a very challenging experience in pre and post production. I had to pay close attention to the small visual details to do my best to replicate the first image taken. The night time shoots were definitely the hardest as it became difficult to pinpoint the featured objects I would use to line up with the LCD. If I were to do this again I could use an external display of some sort or print out the initial image to view from my free hand so that I could have a more quicker accessible way to glance back and forth to the initial image and the view finder to take the follow up shot as opposed to stopping the shot and looking back down to the LCD. This helped me to become more focused on the small details of whats in included in the window of a photograph, to build patience in repetition of attempts to get the shot as close to the initial shot as possible (testing my memory) before correcting though photoshop and my scouting/visualisation skills to find areas of interest that I think will create a substantial amount of visual impact through change when against its polar opposite. I am happy with the result, I feel when the two images are together it adds value to each image to make one whole image with a purpose, a purpose to display the contrast of ying and yang – night and day not only visually to give the viewer a sense of being able to view an amount of time passed missing the gap in-between, in other words essentually a form of time travel, but is also a representation of my personality, my inner battles between light and dark. Two elements of an environment delivering two elements of a reaction to the viewer blended into one.