Welcome to the first of my South East Asia travelling posts! Although we technically kicked off our trip in Bangkok, I'm skipping that for the time being as we headed out of the city pretty quick and straight up to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. The 11 hour train journey (actually made 9 hours by in ineptitude of a) not leaving enough time to get to the station with crazy Bangkok traffic and having to race it to the next station and then b) getting on the wrong train altogether and having to catch it up later on) was actually pretty wonderful despite what we were thinking. The views are incredible out of the window - rice paddy fields, rural villages with tiny train stations, and huge hills of jungle land.
Immediately after arriving in Chiang Mai we knew this would be more of our kind of place - less busy, a little less hot, but still full of beautiful places, wonderful food and of course the very friendly local Thais. There are of course a lot of tourists here, but it really doesn't take a genius to work out why so many people flock to this northern city. We knew coming to Thailand would be a bit of a tourist fest, I don't think it's fair to be anti-that given that we're tourists too!
We spent the first few days just exploring, wandering down new streets, tasting new foods, and seeing new things. I always find it so hard to sleep the first few nights in a new country that is totally different to the UK, not just due to jet lag but because my senses are just assaulted with new things and my brain has a hard time processing it all. The food really is amazing here, and of course so cheap compared to England. We are eating mostly at Thai places, side of the road cafes, street stalls and sometimes a slightly more upmarket restaurant. Lots of spicy soups, stir fries, vegetables, and so, so much gyoza (my favourite).
Nick is working out here for his current client 3/4 days a week so I'm joining him in co-working spaces 1/2 days to keep on top of business goings on - blogging, emails, editing, website overhaul, finance - all those winter wedding photographer jobs. Other that than I'm enjoying some down time (something anyone who knows me knows I find notoriously hard!) which consists of reading, writing letters, listening to music & audio books, drinking beer (of which I've found a newly acquired taste, unfortunately my beloved wine isn't abundant out here!) and of course photography. This week I also went on a trek, and a day retreat at Monk Chat, both which were fantastic and a great break from the routine of 'chilling' and meandering around the city. The night markets here are a marvel too - the street food really comes into its own and there are so many stalls selling everything from souvenirs to clothes to food massages.
So, here's a collection of my first week of photos, I've deliberately kept them to a minimum for easy viewing! And a little video to go alongside.
All shot of my Fuji XT1... (now comes the tech-y camera chat)
I was in total turmoil about what camera to take away with me, my main workhorse the Canon 5D Mark 3 is an incredible camera and what I shoot the majority of the weddings I work at on, but it's very heavy and worth a lot of money. I knew i would find it difficult to lug around all day around my neck, and although Thailand is a fairly safe country it's a beacon for theft too. I have the Mark 2 as well, but again it's very heavy and conspicuous. So, I did what any reasonable photographer would do in my position and decided that I would simply buy a new one! There has been a huge amount of hype about Fuji in the last few years, and many successful and well known photographers have swapped over their systems all together from Canon or Nikon to work solely with Fuji. It's very small, light (it's a mirrorless system) and completely different to shooting on my Canon. It's taken a bit of getting used to but for street photography it is AMAZING. I am discovering all about literally shooting from the hip. The silent shutter, tiny size and tilt-able LCD all really help too. The film really doesn't match up the Mark 3 but for my holiday videos it's definitely good enough.