In summer 2018, as my short visit to Bangkok (Thailand) began, I found my sight-seeing plans severely curtailed owing to study obligations and ongoing design assignments I had to carry 😦 My movement got confined to some coffee shops and malls around Wireless and Rama I roads, except on the last day when some sight-seeing could be managed. The limited free time was mostly spent walking and taking pictures intermittently. And yet, the experience was rich and interesting; am pleased to share a visual account of the trip.

The first afternoon in the city was fruitfully spent at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) to see the Bangkok Street Photography Festival 2018. It was an apt introduction to Thailand and a lovely experience including browsing through books, art and handicraft stores.

Interior shot showing three floors or levels of art galleries with people looking at photographs

Galleries at BACC exhibiting the Street Photo Fest

On subsequent days, enjoyed several walks on the well-designed and clean skywalks on Rama I road connecting nearby malls and buildings to pavements and BTS Skytrain stations.

People walking in a long, elevated corridor with shopping malls and transport buses below visible on the left hand side

At the Ratchaprasong skywalk

From the skywalks, one tends to notice the many skyscrapers with glass facades on both sides, some of the views border on abstraction as one or more buildings render on the reflective surface of another; at some places their merging geometry is fascinating. Here are some examples:

Tall buildings in different colours, some a bit blurred owing to reflections on glass

Skyscraper abstract 01

Fine art photograph of Bangkok showing reflection of a building with a pavilion roof on the glazed glass of another building, and a pole with wires in the front

Skyscraper abstract 04

Tight shot of geometric buildings with many glazed windows, and the bottom of a cellular tower in the foreground

Skyscraper abstract 03

Tight shot of a tall building with windows on many floors and facade of a rounded building in the foreground

Skyscraper abstract 02

Tight shot of a glazed building with funky, colourful graphics on one floor and reflection of another ornamental building on the three floors above

Skyscraper abstract 05

The scale and number of malls and shopping options around Rama I road is mind-boggling, to say the least. To fathom the variety of products available here and the food options to try would be a Herculean task.. The following image perhaps depicts my surreal impression of the malls πŸ™‚

Abstract photograph of escalators spanning several floors of a shopping mall and reflections on their shiny surfaces

People on escalators at a shopping mall on Rama I road

People walking with umbrellas at night in front of lit-up food stalls with reflections and rain patterns visible on the ground below

During a brief spell of rain outside a shopping mall

Like in most Indian cities, profusion of electricity wires on poles could be commonly seen in Bangkok. Am fond of such sights for they remind me of art installations; at places they were fantastic!

Many round bunches of wires hanging from two poles, in front of a tall building

An installation at a street corner

While walking in the city, one is often enveloped by potent smells emanating from the abundant street food stalls. Some of the sensory experiences can be overwhelming specially for those who are vegetarian or vegan..

Many portions of grilled meat on wooden sticks displayed on plates

At a street food stall serving Satay

An inescapable part of the Bangkok experience is road traffic. While traffic jams abound in this mega city, at most places I found the traffic far more organised than in Indian cities. And the fact that hardly anyone honks (unlike in India) despite all the pressure is something to be appreciated, IMHO.

Top view of hundreds of cars lined up in five lanes, waiting for the green signal, adjacent to a nicely lit-up mall facade

Evening traffic near MBK Mall

While preparing for the trip, had read that one of the lively aspects of Bangkok traffic is the many brightly coloured cars one gets to see, most of them cabs. And that is so true!

Tight crop of one yellow (facing left) and one dark green (facing right) cab, covered by droplets of water

Cabs at a traffic intersection, on a rainy afternoon

A tuk-tuk three-wheeler and a red taxi-cab facing left and right, respectively

Waiting for the traffic light to turn green..

Like in India, many public transport vehicles in Thailand, most notably the Tuk-Tuks, have funky decorations β€” often matching the fervor with which they are driven!

Back side of a Tuk-Tuk painted in a funky manner with graphics

That is so cool!

People on colourful bikes and scooters waiting at a zebra crossing

Two-wheelers at an intersection in Chinatown

Woman on a bicycle passing in front of some closed shops with brightly coloured iron shutters

In an alley near Pak Khlong Talat flower market

The following photographs are from an excursion on the last (half) day in the city. As I proceeded towards the river by walking from Hua Lamphong MRT station to ‘River City’, saw that Bangkok has many charming old buildings and bridges over canals, which of course require time to explore and appreciate..

Light blue colour old building with many windows on two floors, right behind a canal bridge

An old building at Charoen Krung Road

Once a village on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, many of Bangkok’s historical, cultural and commercial attractions are situated at or close to the river. Chao Phraya is also a waterway. The river is a study in contrasts where one gets to observe temples, monuments, cargo vessels and working class people driving boats against a backdrop of swanky, towering skyscrapers. The Chao Phraya Tourist Boat was a convenient and efficient way to experience the river.

Boat moving on river and several tall buildings visible behind and above it on the river bank

Contrasts at Chao Phraya river

Cargo barges on Chao Phraya river and several tall buildings visible behind them

Cargo barges and skyscrapers of Sathorn, a collage

Tight shot of colourful floral plastic decorations hanging on the edges of two colourful boats

Decorations on tourist boats at Chao Phraya river

The spectacular Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn}, one of the most famous landmarks in Thailand, has its own pier and was easy to reach by the Chao Phraya Tourist HOHO boat. At the temple complex, also saw The Spiritual Life exhibition organised by Knowing Buddha foundation. Many lovely images of this iconic temple can be browsed via search engines, here are two of its superbly intricate exterior decorated largely by colourful porcelain tiles.

Many different, colorfully decorated levels of Wat Arun

Closeup of the temple facade

Closeup of Wat Arun elevation showing several levels with mythical figures in the middle and colourful decorations all around

Wat Arun, elevation detail

Like in India, mythology makes its presence felt in Thailand. Even in posh areas of Bangkok, right next to swanky malls, in many building compounds and on the streets, temples and mythical figures can be seen and this ‘layer’ does make the experience deeper..

Tight shot of a large, colorful and profusely decorated statue of a mythical giant wearing a helmet and holding a sword

One of the mythical giants at Wat Arun

Traditional, decorated roof over a bright red coloured ATM

The most impressive ATM I have ever seen πŸ™‚

The last evening was spent walking in Lumphini Park, an oasis of nature in the midst of a bustling city, flanked by skyscrapers of Sathorn and Silom, the business districts.

A large Monitor Lizard on grass, right next to a tree trunk

Monitor Lizard at Lumpini Park

Joggers and walkers on a track flanked by trees on both sides, with a skyscraper visible behind them

Fitness enthusiasts at Lumpini Park

The image below also depicts my pensive mood at that moment, for the trip concluded just when I had started exploring the city..

A couple sitting on grass alongside a lake and under a tree, looking towards the skyscrapers of Sathorn at dusk

Enjoying dusk at Lumpini Park

And last but not the least, as they say the best things cannot be imbibed through the senses but felt in the heart, much to my surprise and contrary to what I had read and heard about the city, almost everyday I experienced random acts of kindness: by drivers, shopkeepers, staff at coffee shops, guards on the street and strangers at BTS/MRT stations, and was touched by how beautifully people respond if you greet them respectfully; precious experiences that — more than anything else — make me want to visit Bangkok again..

(The photographs above were taken with a Nikon Coolpix P7700 and processed in Affinity Photo.)

After all the enthusiasm of learning and indulging in photography in art school, as revealed in the previous post Film Days (Black and White), a very hectic and engrossing advertising / design career that followed put photography in the back seat. While the camera was upgraded to a Nikon FM10 with 35–70mm lens, photo shoots somehow got confined to a few occasions and trips.

This time, usage of colour film was prompted by the arrival of commercial digital scanning of colour negatives that supposedly resulted in better, more accurate colour prints. Neighborhood Colour Labs had started providing Compact Discs of scanned negatives for sharing images on e-mail, for more faithful subsequent print reproduction and for lossless archiving. A few selected images taken between 2000 and 2003 are presented below:

Landscape of a serene pink sky above sleepy green fields with trees

Countryside dawn, near Jagatpura, Jaipur

The sun rising in a misty pink sky beyond elephant grasses, trees and green fields

Sunrise of the Millennium; outskirts of Jaipur, India (photographed on January 01, 2000)

A bicycle in the foreground framing the sun rising above misty green fields in the background

The fun of riding a bicycle to the countryside at dawn, watching the sun rise and indulging in photography. Outskirts of Jaipur (Rajasthan, India)

Landscape photograph of lush green fields in the foreground and misty trees in the background

Serene wheat fields on a cold winter morning; outskirts of Jaipur (Rajasthan, India)

A dirt road in the foreground with the the sun rising above misty green fields and trees in the background

Rural sunrise; outskirts of Jaipur (Rajasthan)

Two men walking on a dirt road adjacent to a railway line, amidst trees and dry elephant grasses

Enjoying winter morning sunlight at a rural road, adjacent to a railway track on the outskirts of Jaipur

Landscape photo of yellow-ochre elephant grasses on textured, barren, sandy ground, and a misty green field in the background

Elephant grass on a largely barren landscape; on a misty morning in the countryside near Jaipur

Light streaks of passing vehicles in the foreground and a brilliantly lit-up white marble Birla Temple in the background

Birla Temple, Jaipur, Rajasthan; long exposure at dusk

Abstract image filled with mostly thin, random streaks of yellow, green and white light

Playing with long exposure πŸ™‚ Photographed from a Gurgaon (Haryana) high rise apartment at night

Small, round man-made islands, with tree trunks rising over muddy yellow water; lush green tree canopy above

Flooded duck pond after a heavy Monsoon downpour; Deer Park, New Delhi

Closeup of a large mushroom-like fungi with textured red and yellow colours on top

Bracket Fungi or Shelf Fungi; Deer Park, New Delhi

Fallen tree branches in the foreground seen between them: a Grey Heron standing in colourful, textured lake

Grey Heron amidst a heavenly landscape in Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur (Rajasthan)

A group of trees with their symmetrical reflection and a group of Pelicans in the lake below

Pelicans at Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur

View of a lake with a tree branch going into the water in the foreground and an island with some trees in the middle

Lake-scape at Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur, India

In the second year at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Vadodara (Gujarat), in 1992, we were requested to get SLR cameras for upcoming photography classes. Along with the camera, a Russian Zenit 220 with 58mm lens, the lovely book ‘John Hedgecoe’s Complete Photography Course’ was also purchased, and the two became my introductions to the subject. I thoroughly enjoyed indulging in photography in the following three years of college, and gained from the guidance provided by the very kind Professor Khatri in the Photography department. Inspiration to shoot was also fuelled by hours spent in the Faculty library browsing through the most wonderful collection of classic photography books.

Black and white film was the preferred medium: to learn the basics, for its visual power, and of course, to follow in the footsteps of legendary photographers like AndrΓ© Kertesz, Ansel Adams, Brassi and Edward Weston, to name a few πŸ™‚ To skillfully capture a good moment, in good light, with proper exposure and composition and then arrive at a satisfactory result in print continued to be a struggle for many years. Photography became a passion and almost all the pocket money given by my grandfather went into films and printing. Hundreds of frames were shot and many films and prints developed in the Faculty darkroom under guidance of the ever energetic Ramu Kaka. Some images were also printed at Sangam Studio.

Going out to shoot on a bicycle with ORWO black and white film loaded in the camera became the most favoured pastime. A few presentable images that resulted from all that enthusiasm and struggle, shot between 1993 and 1997, are showcased below. For me, they are also precious memories..

Arts faculty building in the distance, surrounded by trees

Quiet M.S. University campus in the evening

Vertical composition of criss-crossing trees

Trees at Kamati Baug, Vadodara

Strong silhouette of multiple trees and their shadows below, with light coming from behind

Silhouettes on a misty morning at Kamati Baug, Vadodara

A man walking below a huge Banyan tree

Banyan (or ‘Vad’) tree; M.S. University Campus, Vadodara

Lone squirrel amongst empty park benches, seen in perspective

Squirrel amidst empty benches, one afternoon at Kamati Baug, Vadodara

Tight shot of trees submerged in and their reflection on water

Flooded University Campus, Vadodara

Street photo showing people and an elephant heading towards Amer and Jaigarh forts in the background

Amer town, Jaipur, on a lovely morning in 1994

Three camel carts in silhouette, within a dry countryside landscape with trees in the background

Camel carts on a rural road; outskirts of Jaipur, on a hazy winter morning

Wide landscape shot with scanty vegetation and country road in the foreground, three camel carts and trees in the background

Barren country landscape with camel carts in the distance; Jagatpura, Jaipur

Silhouettes of Acacia trees and a bicycle parked below them

Photographer’s bicycle amidst Acacia trees; Jagatpura, Jaipur

Two adjacent palm trees and their reflection in the water below; hills in the background

Palm trees at Maan Sagar / Jal Mahal lake, Jaipur

A group of Acacia trees and below them, dry grass

In a beautiful Acacia scrub forest, Jhalana, Jaipur

Ramparts on hills in the background and below them a lake

Sagar lake, a landscape; Amer, Jaipur

Two groups of clouds floating in a dark sky, above the fortress on a hilltop

Clouds over Moti Doongri fortress, Jaipur

Tight shot showing geometric stairs connecting different levels of the step well, half in shade and about half in light

Chand Baori – a magnificent stepwell, in light and shade; Abhaneri, Rajasthan

Abstract photograph with strong tree silhouettes in water and amidst them the sun shining

Reflections of trees and the setting sun; Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan

Instagram was installed on my budget mobile handset, a Nokia Lumia 520, as soon as it became available on Windows App Store. Was eager to try this popular photography tool and indulged in it for a few weeks. Loved the square image format and the spontaneity associated with it β€” of capturing images quickly and casually (since a mobile phone is frequently carried in a pocket), applying filters (like quick fix post-processing), seeing the final result on screen soon after and the ability to share images on social media instantly (without having to first download them on a computer).

However, while using the app, missed the (old-fashioned, if I may say) handling, control and image quality of a physical camera and ended up switching (back) to a pocket, carry-everywhere point-and-shoot digital camera for casual photography. Shall perhaps return to Instagram in the future; for now, am pleased to share some images taken in the short period of using the app.

Reflection of a tree on the windscreen of a parked cab with a bit of the cab's yellow roof on top showing

Reflections on the windscreen of a parked cab in New Delhi

Closeup of a beige coloured painted metal door with a door handle, a latch, rusted metal and small leaves stuck on it showing

Door detail, in Jaipur

A stem with sharp green leaves lying on a park walking track with shoe sole prints underneath

Fallen stem and leaves on jogging track, in a Jaipur park

Abstract mobile phone photo from a moving train, of passing green trees, falling raindrops, and reflections of opposite train windows and cabin lights on the window glass

Raindrops, trees outside and reflections on the window of a moving train

Trees, grasses, their reflection and textures of floating algae on a lake

Monochrome landscape, at Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India

Closeup of many scratches and brown and burgundy colour rust-like marks on a textured white wall

Scratches on a wall, in Jaipur

Sunlight and shadows of a tree above falling on bluish, textured tiles on the ground below

Tree shadows on floor, in Jaipur

The sun shining through trees and below them a path leading to an old tomb in the distance

Late afternoon walk in Lodhi Gardens, New Delhi

Round, brown coloured marks of tea glasses on textured wood and visible on the top right: the bottom part of am empty tea glass

Stains, at a tea shop in Jaipur

Intricate tree branches coming into the frame from top right, on a bluish-yellowish, hazy background

Reflections on the foggy windscreen of a car at a New Delhi parking lot

Abstract photo of rain clouds above, green vegetation in motion below and reflection of interiors of the bogey on the window glass

Monsoon clouds and lush green fields, as seen from a moving train

Closeup of funny-looking water and droplets left on a scratched wooden table, with vignette effect on the sides

Animated water mark on a table, left by a glass of cold water

Shapes, patterns and shadows that angular winter morning light made in and around my room continued to intrigue me and I started photographing them again this winter, though not with the same voracity as earlier (see The Light Came From the Window). This time, however, colour played an important role in the images. Thanks for looking, hope you will like them! They are available as affordable prints on archival paper.

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After dabbling with a basic point-and-shoot digicam and enjoying the experience (see the previous post Digital Curiosity), in 2006, I felt the need to shoot with a more advanced or serious digital camera, particularly one with manual (PSAM) modes. After a brief but exciting search, Canon PowerShot A95, which, during those days, was a highly regarded compact digital camera, was zeroed-in on. Went for it and started shooting with it as soon as it arrived. Thoroughly enjoyed using it and as luck would have it, we travelled quite a bit around Rajasthan in subsequent months and the camera went on all the trips too πŸ™‚ My tryst with the A95 lasted for only 4 months after which I bought a Digital SLR. The following are some of the better photographs taken in those 4 months (from August to November 2006), hope you will like them! They are available as affordable prints on archival paper, print sizes: 16×12 inches or 12×12 inches.

Long exposure photograph of Statue Circle, Jaipur

Statue Circle, Jaipur, at dusk (long exposure)

Landscape photograph Birders at dusk, from Taal Chapar

Birders at dusk, at Taal Chapar wildlife sanctuary, Rajasthan

Undershrub Aerva Persica

Undershrub Aerva Persica at Smriti Van, Jaipur

The Ripple, beautiful photograph of a wetland

‘The Ripple’, at Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur

Sculpturesque trees

Sculpturesque trees at Tal Chapar wildlife sanctuary, Rajasthan

Landscape shot taken at Harsh parwat, Rajasthan

Vegetation and the land beyond, as seen from Harsh, Rajasthan

Wild grasses in afternoon light

Wild grasses in afternoon light, at Smriti Van, Jaipur

Salt lake textures

Salt lake, an impression. Near Sambhar lake, Rajasthan

Lady of the lake

‘Lady of the lake’, on a cold evening in New Delhi

Photograph of flowering Kair or Capparis decidua shrub

Flowering ‘Kair’ shrub at Taal Chapar wildlife sanctuary, Rajasthan

Colours of twilight, a landscape photograph

Colours of twilight, at Taal Chapar wildlife sanctuary, Rajasthan

Indian Skimmers at Chambal river

Indian Skimmers at Chambal river, Uttar Pradesh

Silhouette of a Peahen at dusk

Peahen at dusk, at Smriti Van, Jaipur

Sunset with trees

A sunset shared with trees, in the countryside around Jaipur


‘Duet’, at a New Delhi lake on a cold winter evening

Blackbucks on grassland

Grassland and Blackbucks at Tal Chapar wildlife sanctuary, Rajasthan

The sun setting over Jaipur

The sun setting over Jaipur, as seen from Smriti Van

In 2004, everyone seemed to be buying pocket digital cameras, which had finally become affordable. After resisting for a long time, I too took the plunge out of curiosity but also for the sake of convenience. Bought a basic 3 megapixel point-and-shoot ‘digicam’, a Sony Cyber-shot DSC P72, which became my introduction to digital photography. Coming from a fully manual film SLR, I did not consider the digital camera as a serious photography tool but enjoyed using it off and on and carried it on birding trips. Recently dug the photos out which were taken between 2004 and 2006 and thought some could be published here. Hope you will like them πŸ™‚

Bird on a wire, near Nahargarh fort, Jaipur

Bird on a wire, near Nahargarh fort, Jaipur

Stone quarry, on the outskirts of Jaipur

Stone quarry, on the outskirts of Jaipur

Fallen pink and yellow flowers beautifying a pavement in Jaipur, India

Natural pavement beautification, Jaipur

Pink Bougainvillea flowers and fresh green leaves in Jaipur, India

Bougainvillea flowers and fresh leaves, Jaipur

Scrub forest veil, at Sariska National Park, Rajasthan

Scrub forest veil, at Sariska National Park, Rajasthan

Reds and green colours of the forest at Rose Garden, New Delhi

Forest colours at Rose Garden, New Delhi

A tree leaning towards the lake, at Hauz Khas, New Delhi

Leaning towards the lake, at Hauz Khas, New Delhi

Rockscape and barren tree at Samode, Rajasthan

Rockscape at Samode, Rajasthan

Dusk colours of cloud, sky and hill at Samode, Rajasthan

Dusk colours at Samode, Rajasthan

House Swifts at above rocky ramparts of Nahargarh fort, Jaipur

House Swifts at Nahargarh fort, Jaipur