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Photo Notes

Historic City of Ayutthaya - Thailand

Founded c. 1350, Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. Its remains, characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of its past splendour.

Man and Beast
The love affair between the Thai people and the Elephant is well known. Here, a tourist operator takes passengers on a tour of the many wats, but for me, it evoked a bygone age when Ayutthaya teemed with life and elephants worked the streets of a thriving city. In order to communicate this without distraction, I used a long lens and small aperture to ensure a sharp image but a narrow field of view and keep the focus on the elephant and the temple.

Nestled in the crook of an invading fig root, this Buddha head calmly accepts the embrace that has, in-fact, torn it from its own body as the jungle slowly reclaims the site. The gathering clouds of a tropical shower enhanced the moody lighting of the place and I took advantage of this by using a midrange aperture on the L1 to maintain the depth of field, while still taking this image from a hand held camera.

I entered a courtyard filled with sitting Buddha’s. Each one was individual with its own facial expression, but it shared with its peers a calm and meditative repose. What was most striking, however, was the work of the dedicated hands that had dressed each of these Buddha’s in saffron robes and adorned them with flowers and garlands.. I used the L1, hand held, and made the most of the wide angle of the Leica lens to replicate the effect of peripheral vision.

Serene Scrutiny
While sheltering from a tropical shower in one of the Wats in Ayutthaya, I developed the distinct impression that I was being watched. My observer was this golden Buddha with 4 faces that faced to each of the cardinal directions. It was a calm, almost benevolent observer of centuries of devotion. I snapped off a series of images of it, using the FZ30 with a wide aperture to blur the background and capture this poised but parental gaze.

Photo Notes:
Historic City of Ayutthaya - Thailand
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