Archive for November, 2010
Close to 7,000 polo photos over ten days, processed down to around 3,000. Burned to disks and loaded to a website, and by yesterday morning I was feeling pretty damn pleased with myself. All I had left to do was set up some galleries for the patrons.
Patrons in polo are pronounced as if you are French and they are the life blood of a small club. They form a team, purchase horses, and employ Argentinians who were born on a horse to play for them. The club I shoot for has three of them and it reasonable to assume that they each have more money than god. One of them is responsible for the manufacture of most of the world’s pencils, churning out 800 kilometres of pencils per day, or some such ridiculous amount. But, like the others, when you meet him you would be easily convinced that he worked in a small shop that sold a few pencils per year. So, pleasant people who might just want to buy a few photos. Rather than have them trawl through hundreds of shots of other people, I decided to set up a gallery for each of them showing just their photos. Easy job I thought, and as usual I was wrong.
After much fiddling I discovered that I had to work through all the photos of the season to date and then tag every one that featured a galloping patron. Took me bloody hours and it was tedious work. Fortunately it turned out windy yesterday so I gave myself time off to go windsurfing.
It was then that I discovered how unfit (and old) I am. Twenty minutes on the water was enough to have me collapsing into a chair, fighting for breath and wondering how much faster my heart would have to beat before it exploded. The good news was that I am still fast enough to overtake the kite surfers. They tend to be young and toned and think they are cool, and do not like being overtaken by a geriatric who is clearly close to heart failure.
Anyway, patron galleries finally completed this morning and emails send to everyone that I know telling them that the photos are finished. Elated, I went windsurfing again this afternoon and was joined briefly by she who must be obeyed who has not been on the water for more than a year. She is feeling a little knackered this evening.
To finish off the day we went to the movies to see Unstoppable which had better reviews than it deserved. Here’s the plot:
Potential head-on collision with train full of kids which you know will never happen because trains full of kids don’t die in movies. If it had been a train full of Nazis….
Potential head-on collision with another train featuring our heroes which you know will never happen because trains full of heroes don’t die in movies; unless it is near the end.
Heroes chase the runaway train and stop it.
Tomorrow we are heading off to see some sunflowers. May be a day trip, may stay overnight, just don’t know. That’s just the crazy, on-the-edge life that I lead.
When I lived in Kuala Lumpur I had a fine Aussie boss by the name of Keith. Being an Aussie, he liked a laugh, he liked a beer, and he liked looking at birds; except in his case these were real birds, with feathers and beaks etc. His boss (therefore my boss’s boss, a.k.a. God) was similarly inclined and they would disappear into the jungles of Malaysia and return wide-eyed with excitement having spotted a lesser-crested tit warbler.
A few years ago I met Keith again in Bangkok, about to embark on another bird-watching mission. For many, telling friends that they were going bird-watching in Thailand would be a thinly veiled reference to a carefully planned week of debauchery. But in Keith’s case, he really did intend sitting up to his arse in leeches in some distant swamp for hours on end in the vain hope of spotting a tiny grey bird. Would he photograph it, I enquired? Nope, he would just note his findings in a little notebook and return home happy. Completely bloody nuts.
But there are people who take some really fine photos of birds; and I didn’t see why I should not be one of them. My decision to add my name to the list of whizzo bird snappers was reinforced when I discovered that there is a reservoir at Bang Phra, only 45 minutes away, with a large and varied bird population; and many excellent bird photos from there can be found on the web.
She who must be obeyed ensured we were dressed in suitably camouflaged clothes. She even provided a green scarf to cover my sodding big grey lens. But our efforts were rather spoiled by a friend who joined us wearing a violent blue shirt covering a stomach the size of Singapore. It was like taking a blue-lamped lighthouse for a walk, the birds could see us from kilometres away.
The area we entered was designated a “no-hunting” area, which was reassuring. At least we were unlikely to be shot. But I think that all the birds were refugees from the hunting area, because none of them showed the slightest interest in hanging around to be photographed (or as they probably saw it, to be blown to bits). The place was certainly busy with birds, but at a distance. Once you arrived at a place where there had been flocks of birds; they had all buggered off to somewhere else. We did the “arriving at a place where the birds have already left” activity for a while; before settling down with our camouflage and travelling lighthouse and did the “waiting for the return of the birds to the place they just left” activity. Nothing happened.
A birds did fly in front of the sun, in order to distract the lighthouse in case he had a Gatling gun under his shirt (there was room). This made it impossible to get a reasonable photo:
Then there was an orange legged black billed bird thingie which looked so boring it really would have been better with a bullet through the head:
Thoroughly disheartened, we headed back to the car. And then… and then! Through the undergrowth I spotted a flash of colour. Braving snakes, large insects and maybe even tigers, I squirmed through a small hole in a patch of spiky thorns to gain access to the waterway beyond. Ignoring the blood oozing from my forearms, the mud soaking through my clothes and the ants nibbling at my genitals (actually, that was quite pleasant), I took a shot of this magnificent creature before it disappeared into the undergrowth; maybe lost from human sight for years.
Note: Any resemblance between this duck and the duck that sits in a pond at the entrance to the park is entirely coincidental.
….and a film crew:
Once again the Indian film industry descends on Thailand; this time to film a documentary about action activities in a variety of locations. Today it was windsurfing at Amara’s, except it wasn’t because there was no wind. So instead they fiddled around with a segment where a bikini girl talks to Amara.
Then bikini girl walks to the beach. She had to do this three times because the cameraman with the intrusive arse was not happy.
Once at the beach, there followed a painfully long session where Amara was meant to be teaching bikini girl what to do, but instead was being continually interrupted by camera guy. This shot, for example, had to be stopped because some idiot was standing behind the camera man and being reflected in bikini girl’s glasses (that would be me).
After a while I wandered off, this filming lark being far less exciting than I had expected.
Returned a while later to discover that Craig had acquired a starring role and was regaling bikini girl with tales of his daring exploits.
Although, once he started lying about the size of his dick, he was removed from the set.
My haircut requirements are normally attended to by she who must be obeyed. Cutting sessions are tense (for me), as my untrained barber wields a pair of scissors with ill-placed confidence, and the treatment is frequently interrupted by confidence-sapping mutterings of “oh shit” or, even worse, inane giggling. Still, the end result is always tolerable, I also have my nose and ear hairs attended to; and I get a kiss at the end for being a tolerant
But for the past few months there have been no haircuts as I have been growing a new “style”. The name of the style was planned to be “windswept and interesting aging rock star”; a sort of Keith Richards look, with considerably less drugs. But the actual outcome has been “scruffy tramp with bald patch”; not what I was hoping for and certainly not worth the inconvenience that accompanies flowing locks. So it had to go.
My usual cropper decided this was too big a job for her to handle; but was keen to help ensure I received a quality haircut.
I will select a good stylist for you
How can you do that (maybe she has a secret directory of hair stylists)?
We will go to a salon and select the one that hasn’t got cuts on their fingers. The bad stylists keep cutting themselves with the scissors.
So we went to a salon and we eliminated all those with less than the normal number of fingers, bleeding stumps or extensive lacerations. After that, we had whittled down the number of stylists from five, to five.
After that it was easy, a young man with hair that looked like it had been sprayed with gel in a wind-tunnel agreed to take on the task. She who must be obeyed browsed a book of styles and selected a number of options based on the attractiveness of the movie star sporting the look. In the end we agreed upon a scorched earth policy with a few spikey bits on top; and very nice it looked too. And he attended to the (very limited) nose and ear hair situation. No kiss though.
Loy Krathong yesterday, an ancient festival where Thai people pay respect to the spirits of the waters by floating a small boat made of natural materials. By doing so the cast away their cares and start afresh.
Alternatively, it is an opportunity to get pissed and blow your hand off with a home-made firework.
She who must be obeyed was insistent we do the boat floating bit; so once I had dragged my sweaty body back from the polo (3,300 photos this weekend, just in case you were wondering), it was out on the street to purchase our krathong. Dismissing the polystyrene offerings as being ecologically unfriendly (dismissed a little too hastily I thought, they were substantially cheaper), she decided on two heart shaped Titanics made from coconut shells and corn husks.
Down the beach and the doomed offerings were launched.
We were not alone of course. The beach was busy with people happily adding to the pollution of the local waters. This jolly German couple were happy to be photographed:
Increasingly popular at Loy Krathong are the lanterns, which rise by the thousands over the sea; later to sink into the waters to snag windsurfing fins for days afterwards.
We then retired to a local bar where the staff had decided to make their krathongs out of cabbages. Low chance of them floating; but they could always serve as a snack instead.
When they had stopped fiddling with their cabbages, they served me several gin and tonics, a welcome respite after ten days involving nearly 7,000 photos taken, 3,500 processed and a photo sale website developed. Slept well and today I am having a day off; once I have finished writing this rubbish.
In between shooting polo, processing polo photographs and having the occasional shit; I am setting up a site to display and hopefully sell some of my polo masterpieces to those who sit on the horses. For this I need a banner/logo thingie; and today I borrowed a stick (mallet?) and a ball and stuck them next to the camera.
Played with the light a bit, and the end result is pretty much what I was hoping for. Taken with the GF1 of course.
Finally finished the processing from last weekend this morning, and off again this afternoon for the start of another tournament. Will spare you the horse photo onslaught, but I quite liked this. He hasn’t missed the ball, he is hitting it backwards. I can’t imagine how hard this is; because I can’t even imagine sitting on a horse, even one that has been heavily sedated.