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Another Nongkhai Attraction

Just one more thing about Nongkhai before I do a Bangkok post. Another small attraction in this laid back, small town is the wall around Wat Si Chom Chuen (I think that’s the name of the temple, though I could be wrong.) Lining at least one section of the wall are murals (stucco) with scenes of traditional, daily Thai life. They’re quite interesting and well-done. Now, it’s possible that there may be more of these around the other walls, but I didn’t get a chance to explore them all. I’ll leave that for next time or for you to do.

Here’s the temple in question; it’s just across the street from the Danish Baker restaurant. You can see a few of the murals by the motorbike in the lower right corner.

Nongkhai temple

Nongkhai Temple

Here, then, are some of the murals. I didn’t get all of them, so, if you’re ever in Nongkhai, try to check them out.

Nongkhai mural

Nongkhai Mural

Nongkhai mural

Nongkhai Mural

Nongkhai mural

Nongkhai Mural

Nongkhai mural

Nongkhai Mural

Nongkhai mural

Nongkhai Mural

Nongkhai mural

Nongkhai Mural

So, that evening, Nai and I set out for Bangkok on the overnight train. There were some impressive clouds building up near the train station, but they eventually drifted into Laos. Here’s a shot I took and converted to an HDR photo, just playing around–probably with not that much success. It’s fun trying, though.

Storm coming

Storm Coming

I’ll soon do a final post of my most recent visit to Bangkok, including some beautiful (I hope) night shots of the skyline.

Out of the Cave

We’ve been experiencing some glorious spring-like weather lately, so I decided to step out of my cave a few days ago and head on down to the Expo 2012 site to see what kind of progress is being made in preparation for next summer’s big event. The day started out overcast, but ended in some nice sunshine, so the earlier photos I took that day are a bit drab.

First, here’s a look at what the site is supposed to look like when it’s finished. As always, click on the images to get a larger version, especially this one in order to be able to read the map legend.

So, let’s start walking down the hill toward the site, near Odong Island. The first photo looks down on the site from just below the bizarre “whale” church. You remember the whale church, don’t you? Here’s a shot of it I took last year, in case you forgot what it looks like.

Here’s a photo of the area showing where we’re at in relation to the site.

We’re way up in the left corner, near the white structure with the thumb-like appendage sticking up. So, what does the site look like from there?

You can see Odong Island in the background with all the construction cranes working on the site. I counted a total of 18 cranes in operation, so work is proceeding apace, although only a few buildings are going up right now. The new hotel is at the far right and the green construction area just to the hotel’s left must be the aquarium, according to the map. If you enlarged the map, were standing a ways above number 9. So, let’s walk down to the site and go out to the island, just for the heck of it. We’ll climb up Jasan Park later and get some better shots of the site.

A new extension onto the jetty, with lighthouse, has been constructed, but it’s still being worked on and not yet open to the public. Here’s a couple of shots of it.

The airplane propellers at the top of the poles are wind-driven generators that provide electricity for the lighting. Here’s a closer view of the lighthouse.

Okay, let’s walk back and climb the steps to Jasan Park. On the way, from the causeway, we can see the new hotel going up (number 19 on the map).

Halfway up the steps, we get a better view of the site.

Now at the top of Jasan, here’s another view. Compare it to one taken last year, which follows the first one below.

There are a few noticeable differences–the new road snaking its way farther toward the site, a new building in the foreground, and other spot-the-difference details.

Well, now, as long as we’re here, let’s hike over to the other side of the park and see if the new bridge has been completed. Here’s a map of the park, by the way.

The previous two photos were taken from the path above number 12 on the map, the statue of the legendary Korean Admiral Yi Sun-shin.

Let’s continue along the path . . . whoa, what the heck’s that?

Ahhh, it’s one of the several monuments to Korean and international military veterans of the Korean War. This particular one, seen in silhouette against the sun, is number 5 on the map.

Alright, here’s a somewhat clear shot of the new bridge from Dolsan Island to the mainland. Hurray, it’s finished and the engineers got the two extensions to meet up in the middle! :smile: It’s not open yet, since there’s no sign of a road going anywhere on this side.

Well, I hope you enjoyed our little walk. I’ll continue to post more photos of the ongoing construction of the Expo 2012 site, so stayed tuned for more later.

One more shot, though, to show the potential of HDR photos, about which I posted here. You can get some pretty surreal effects from HDR photography, but the photo below shows a more normal use. It’s of the hotel taken from inside the pagoda, number 13 on the Jasan Park map. If I had exposed optimally for the interior details, the background highlights would have been “blown out (overexposed);” if I had exposed for the highlights, the interior details wouldn’t have been visible (underexposed). My camera’s dynamic range could not take in both the shadow details and the background sky details in the same shot, though my eyes could easily see both. HDR (high dynamic range) to the rescue.

A Few Photos

Here’s a couple I took earlier this summer, and did some HDR processing with them. The first one is the golf course across the highway with the watering system going full blast, shot with my telephoto zoom lens, which I don’t use all that often. Hmmm, don’t see anyone running for cover. With fall here and winter not too far behind, they probably won’t have the water on too much any more.

And here’s one of the few sunrises or sunsets that I’ve been able to capture here, for one reason or another. I’m gonna try to get down to the ocean early some morning and get some sunrise shots. This one is looking north from the balcony outside my dormitory apartment around sunset.

In case you didn’t see it, the Yanks stunned the Rangers in the first game of the AL Championship Series, coming back from 5 runs down to win 6-5. Agonizing to watch at first (with Texas up 5-0 early on), it got fun in the 8th inning when New York scored 5 runs. Next game–tomorrow. More of the same, I hope.

HDR Photos

The rainy season was supposed to have ended a while back, but it seems to have been extended into this week, one of my vacation weeks. We had a couple of inches of rain a few days ago, an inch and a half today, and anywhere from 2-4 inches forecast for tomorrow through Sunday noon. Sheesh.

There was a bit of a break yesterday, though, so I went to the Jongpo Ocean Park walkway to take some photos and process them using a technique known as high dynamic range (HDR). In short, HDR photography attempts to capture the full range of all the dark areas and all the very light areas that might not be normally possible in a standard digital photo. For example, a darkly shaded area on a sunny day might not be able to capture all the detail in the shadows and might overexpose the brightly lit areas. In HDR photography, several shots are taken, and some of them are intentionally underexposed, some are overexposed and one is taken at normal exposure. Special software lets you combine these different exposures into one, with the result being that detail can be seen in the shadows and the bright areas aren’t overexposed, or “blown out.” That’s the simple explanation.

Yesterday was one of those days where we had some bright sunshine and dark clouds present in the late afternoon hours, usually one of the best shooting times of the day. I took a bunch of HDR photos and processed them. Some of the results are below. Unfortunately, I didn’t use my tripod, so they’re not the crispest of shots. Still, they give some sense of the potential of this type of photography. One result of this style is that you can use the software to give some very surreal (some would say unreal) shots. I think artistic is a better word, one that is best applied to results from photographers that are more familiar with this style than me. Still, here are a few of my first attempts.

Here’s the original photo of the new bridge spanning Dolson Island with the mainland. (Hmmm, is it my imagination or are the two spans off a foot or two from hooking up exactly?)

Here’s the HDR shot.

I’ve got a lot more detail in the hill to the right and better coloring in the large cloud in the middle, as well as in other areas. (Click the photos, of course, for larger shots.)

Here’s another one of the two spans. In the original, the foreground boats lack much detail or color. Here, they’re much more vibrant.

Ok, now for the more “artsy” stuff. In this one, the apartment buildings on the hill were very dark in the normally exposed shot and the red Hamel Light was merely a colorless silhouette, due to the brilliance of the sky. Here, I’m able to draw out their details while simultaneously bringing out detail in the clouds.

This one’s even more surreal.

Finally, here’s a shot of the walkway itself, sort of a “study in blue.” For this shot and the above two, definitely click for the larger photos.

I’ll be posting more of these types of shots from time to time, as the situation merits. Leave me a comment to let me know what you think. More later.