May 28, 2018 – Tending the Garden

Today the morning was perfect for photography. At 5AM we had a light rain, and at 7AM it was still quite overcast, which is a great light – early and soft.
My first shot of the day was of some bananas in the front area of my home. They caught my attention because the bunch was growing in a circular pattern. There are many types of banana trees that grow in Thailand. The bananas I saw were not my favorite for eating , but that’s ok, the trees are used for many things here on the farm. I set my Leica at f11 and focused in the middle of the bunch and shot, letting the shutter speed fall to 1/45 at ISO 800. Almost no post was needed, I brought the highlights down a touch and increased the shadows and added a touch of vibrance in Lightroom.
After it stopped raining completely I jumped on my bicycle and rode to the north in the general direction of the Khao Yai Mountains. This was my first ride in a while. I had given up morning walks a couple of months ago due to the feral dogs that will attack people walking on the road. I have seen them attack people on motorbikes, but that is rare, so I thought I would try riding my bike and see what would happen. I was able to ride through the dogs without incident.
Since we are in the foothills the road has a few inclines to navigate, obviously followed by downhill stretches. A couple of miles up the road I noticed a roadside shop was open and decided to stop and have a water break and see what would develop. The small shop looked interesting enough but needed some activity. Photography requires patience. I know something will happen here this morning, but I have no idea when, so I wait. After a while a man on a motorbike stopped and I could tell he was getting petrol in a jug. I could see the fuel was for his weed trimmer. So now with the activity here it is just a matter of timing. As he prepares to leave he is about to place the jug of fuel in his basket on the motorbike, an I decided that was as good as this scene was going to get, and made an image as he reached towards the basket. I made the shot at ISO 200, f2.8, 1/350 sec. In post I dropped the highlights a bit and increased the vibrance. Pretty straight forward shot.

The last image of the morning is my favorite. As I was waiting for the shot of the little market to develop, I smiled and said hello to a Thai man tending his flower garden. After I made the motorbike shot my attention returned to the man and his garden. By this time he had gotten used to me standing there and was paying me no attention. Which BTW, is one of my techniques. It’s important to me for my subjects to be natural and relaxed whenever possible — so, I just hang out, and wait. When the subject is paying me no attention, I shoot. However as with this man, I only get one shot, after that my cover is blown, and that is when the subject looks at the camera and smiles, or whatever, and any chance of a natural looking photo is gone. I would have preferred to get the man’s red shoes in this image, but I was too close and after the first shot he was all smiles looking good for the camera. So … you get what ya can, and move on. The shot was made with my Leica M240, a 50mm lens, ISO 200 f2.8 1/350 sec. Virtually no post processing – just a touch of vibrance. I’m loving the Leica M and this lens!!





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