In Focus, Bangkok Photography Blog April 17th, 2010

A Tiger Story/Review, Garmin Nuvi 885T GPS and ERSI Thailand Map Set

Portugal Hotel Guide
Express By Holiday Inn Hotel Lisbon
Tryp Montijo Parque Hotel
Westin CampoReal Golf Resort & Spa
Vila Camacho Hotel


Thank you for your generous contributions. At the present time we have enough images to attempt our first mosaics but these are very time intensive and I'll need to plan a block of time to do these properly. I'm thinking the last few weeks in May or the first two weeks in June. Until then, any images you can manage to send in will still be used and will be much appreciated.

We are still accepting (and pleading for) images of children from SEA. No matter how terrible you think they are, please send them in anyway. These images will be used to complete a set of 3 high quality mosaics which will be sold to benefit the Karen and Burmese Orphans living in the orphanages and refugee camps. The more images the better, I can use all you have. Please take the time to go through your images for anything you think might help. If you missed the "No Place to Call Home" special, you can click on the link and read more about this. Thank you! [email protected]


Quick Click Links

Feature Photograph A Tiger Story. Review, Garmin Nuvi 885T GPS and the ERSI Thailand Map Set Photography News of Interest

Readers Submissions Readers Questions A Snapshot of Bangkok Images Week in Review Infocus Blog, No Facebook For Me Please!


Feature Photograph *menu

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @5.6 1/640th 200mm ISO 100

Do you ever get the feeling someone is watching you? I get this feeling a lot when out photographing wildlife and zooming in on an image I sport this face peering at me from over 200 meters away. Is there any doubt this African Crown Crane is looking directly at me and showing curiosity?

Have you ever wondered in an environment that contains perhaps 1000's of creatures, just how many of them are watching your every move? Something to consider during your next hike in the wilderness. I've watched lions and tigers stalking cars and at places like Safari World where they've even learned to come around the rear of your vehicle and take advantage of the blinds spots!

Sometimes it's not about image quality, it's more about something in the image that stops and makes you think a bit. This image is significant because it did just that to me, it made me stop my work and reflect a bit on my environment and how the residents of that environment might be seeing me.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @5.6 1/320th 200mm ISO 100

Usually a bird appears to be looking off in the distance and sometimes I'll go home and fire up Google to see if they can see from the side, or rear. Usually you'd think they take no notice of you. But on this day I felt the shiver of coldness run down my back and I become aware of hundreds of eyes watching my every move.

A Tiger Story *menu

Last week featured roaring and screaming bears and believe me, there is a difference between roaring and screaming. The feedback was good and a few asked me about the fighting tigers I'd mentioned so I went back and collected some images from that event and will share them here.

If you remember I was with a friend at Safari World and we were having a peaceful day catching up with each other. Out of the blue we heard a roaring and you could almost feel the ground shaking. Looking straight ahead about 200 meters from my window there was a tiger with a freshly caught large stork and some of his buddies who wanted to share. The problem with a stork is that while it's a large bird there just isn't enough to go around.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

Taking the stork in his jaws the only place he could easily get away from the other tigers was to swim out in the pond.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

Things didn't go as planned and soon the other tigers decided to follow.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

He swam fast and the other tigers followed in pursuit.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

One caught up to him and decided to make his move.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/1000th 200mm ISO 100

At the same time the other tiger decided he'd better make his move as well. Two tigers lunging at the one tiger and things were happening fast!

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/640th 200mm ISO 100

It was kind of funny, one tiger discovered the pond was deeper than he thought and the tiger with the stork and the other one turned to watch him struggle.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

However, he quickly recovers and the chase is back on.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/400th 200mm ISO 100

Another scuffle and the fight is back on!

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/400th 200mm ISO 100

Swimming fast for the other side he's probably annoyed tigers from the other side of the pond are trying to get in on the action as well.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

Every time another tiger gets close the tiger with the bird in his jaws breaks away and heads in another direction.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/100th 200mm ISO 100

All the while they're roaring and fighting. It seems it would be hard to roar with a stork in your mouth but he manages.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/640th 200mm ISO 100

The stare down begins!

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

The stare down didn't work so a slap with a mighty claw tipped paw and the fight is back on.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

The tiger on the dock is getting really excited and starts to instinctively flex his claws.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

He breaks away and heads towards the shore and the others watch from a distance.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/500th 200mm ISO 100

Now he's treading water in place and everyone is sizing each other up again.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/500th 200mm ISO 100

Do you think they're whispering to each other?

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

An agreement reached they break the huddle.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/1000th 200mm ISO 100

An argument ensues.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

Meanwhile he thinks if he can escape unnoticed under the dock then he can eat his lunch in peace.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/60th 200mm ISO 100

Having temporarily stashed the stork he looks out wondering if anyone noticed where he went.

Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS, @F5 1/160th 200mm ISO 100

A nice peaceful dock. Perhaps a nice place to have lunch and dangle your feet in the water? You might be thinking to keep an eye out for snakes, but would you ever suspect a tiger is just inches from having your lower legs for desert? Can you see him there (on the left)?

This entire even took place in just 20 seconds or so. There was no time to position for a better shot, no time to adjust settings on the camera, there was just enough time to "point and shoot" and that's what I did letting the automatic focus and exposure modes do their job.

Nothing can prepare you for the rush of excitement you feel the first time you're this close to natures most powerful beasts as they resolve conflicts and behave as they naturally do. It's a real privilege to witness these events. If you've got the time venture on out to your local wildlife parks and protected areas and have some fun.

Review, Garmin Nuvi 885T GPS and ERSI Thailand Map Set *menu

Introduction

Almost five years ago I purchased a Garmin Nuvi 350 and I still swear today it saved my marriage! Immediately the streets of Bangkok and the roads of Thailand were open for my relaxed exploration and I've spent the last five years doing just that!

It took me a few weeks to get used to the idiosyncrasies of using a GPS in the actual real time traffic of Bangkok, but soon I was growing to depend on my new friend and I've since learned to keep an eye on the GPS as frequently as I do the rearview mirror. My wife calls my GPS my "Mai Noi." If only she knew..

Over the course of the last five years I've collected a few hundred POI's (points of interest) including all my friends places, favorite restaurants, hotels I regularly stay, and much more. The minor worry of not being totally sure of your location or direction in a new country is long past.

For five years I used my Garmin Nuvi 350 and I can't count the number of friends who have purchased one based on my recommendation. It never left my car except for map updates. I'd pull it from it's mount, literally toss it in the center console, and then put it back up in the mount where it will sit in the hot sun all day. All this and it never failed a single time! It kept ticking and ticking and it's currently sitting here with the latest map set waiting for me to list it for sale.

A few months ago I was reading about Garmin's latest models and a few new features interested me enough to order a new unit. They didn't have what I wanted in Thailand so I ordered it from the states and it arrived a few weeks later.

Garmin Nuvi 885T

The Garmin Nuvi 885T is their latest unit with all the bells and whistles, yet on Amazon.com it was a reasonable $254.00 USD. It's a wide screen model with a widescreen 4.3 inch high quality LCD display. Its rounded corners and sleek design sits in contrast to the squarish chunky look of it's predecessor.

There is a host of new features I'll discuss individually below:

  • Speech Recognition – This is a very useful feature in Bangkok. Any menu choice can be spoken and the unit responds. It works and it works well.
  • Turn by Turn Directions – In clear English (or whatever language you choose) the Nuvi 885T will give you turn by turn directions using street names.
  • Bluetooth – The GPS interfaces effortlessly with your Bluetooth capable mobile phone and provides a very useful hands free interface.
  • Find Your Car – The Nuvi 885T will remember where you turned off the car and lead you back to it. Just ask it "where am I?" This is actually a pretty handy feature, too bad it doesn't receive the satellites in the Central World underground car park..
  • Lane Assist – A new feature is that the Nuvi 885T will line you up in the lane you need to be in so you're sure to be in the right lane at the right time for your impending turn. This is probably the single most useful new feature.
  • Junction View – Junction view displays an actual photograph of an intersection or turnoff with a clearly marked arrow showing you the direction to follow. This would be a very cool feature if the ERSI English map version supported it. Unfortunately it doesn't.
  • User removable battery – The battery in my Nuvi 350 works just as well and for just as long as when it was new which frankly is surprising, but it does make me more comfortable knowing I can change the battery myself if I must.
  • Auto Re-route – No worries if you miss your turn, you'll be automatically and quickly re-routed and back on your way in seconds.
  • FM Traffic Compatible – This would be a nice feature were it supported in Thailand, but it isn't. Perhaps some day.
  • MSN Compatible – This is a USA market feature but it certainly shows you the future. It networks your GPs with all other compatible GPS's on the road and MSN's www network and shares information as needed. The possibilities with this networking are endless!
  • Speed Limit Indicator – It displays the current speed limit and warns you if exceeded.
  • EcoRoute – Can calculate the most economical route that uses the least fuel.
  • Photo Navigation – Lets you navigate via 'geo-tagged' images you can upload from many sources on the internet.
  • FM Transmitter – Instead of the built in dual speakers which are very adequate, it can also interface wirelessly with your FM radio and use the cars entertainment system to provide directions, play music, read audio books, and more.
  • Picture viewer, Audio book player, headphone jack, micro SD slot, world travel clock, currency and unit converter, calculator, and a bunch of other things I'm sure I'm forgetting. This is an extremely full featured GPS.

Feature by Feature

I'm going to talk about 'some' of the features and my experience using them, but not all. Some of the features I won't discuss might be important to you, but don't take my not talking about them as a sign they're not great features.

Speech Recognition

This is actually useful. I still use the touch screen when the car isn't moving, but I very much appreciate the choice of not having to remove my hands from the wheel or my eyes from the road to input a new destination, take a call, or anything else the Nuvi 885T does.

This works very well, but the key is to speak exactly what the menu choice on the GPS is showing. It takes a few weeks to learn all the choices and commit them to memory, but once you do you can skip menus and go directly to your function.

There is a small very well built button you mount on your steering wheel. It has a rubber strap that goes around the wheel and secures it in place. I routed the strap under my steering wheel cover and it appears almost custom.

Press the big button and a pleasant chime lets you know you can speak a command and a green indicator on the screen appears. Speak the command and then another until you have what you need. Press the small button to let it know you're finished or it will assume you're finished in 10 seconds.

Lane Assist

I can't begin to tell you how useful this feature is. As soon as you complete a turn the lane assist indicator tells you where you'll need to be for your next turn and if there are several lanes only the right lane will be highlighted while the others will be dimmed.

This worked but wasn't fully functional with ERSI Map Version 10.0, but with the recent (April 7th) release of Version 10.1 it appears to be fully functional. This is the single most useful feature over the Nuvi 350 it replaced and is worth the price alone.

Junction View

This would be the second most useful feature IF it worked with the Thailand map set and the image above makes its function self-explanatory. It doesn't.

ERSI Thailand's representative told me that Garmin USA won't allow them to use it with English maps but I suspect they're being less than forthcoming with the actual facts. I suspect map piracy has taken a big bite out of their profits as indicated by the maps rapid drop in price (currently 2000 baht, 450 baht for an update) and perhaps the majority of pirates are farangs. Also, they're protecting their hardware market by ensuring this desirable feature only works with the Thai firmware they install and they'll only install the Thai firmware on the units they sell and support.

I would have purchased locally had they a unit I wanted. The Thai units can be set to display the menus in English and speak English. However, none of their current models has the power cord connecting to the mount. Instead, you need to connect the power cable to the mini-USB jack each and every time you use the unit. If the power connector connects to the mount, then you can simply lift it on/off the mount with no need to connect anything. They also don't sell a speech activated unit.

Map Engine

It is a fact that the map engine is only as good as it's most current firmware and the power of the central processor of the GPS. The more powerful this combination the more quickly and more accurately routes can be made and listed.

There is a significant difference both in speed and optimal route selected when compared to the older Nuvi 350.

The Screen

The new 4.3 inch color LCD is both bright and easy to see. The viewing angle is much better than the Nuvi 350 so someone in the passenger seat can easily see the screen even when it's tilted towards the driver. It's also brighter and more colorful.

The wider screen allows more map real estate at one time which I don't consider that much of a bonus, however.. if Junction View was enabled the screen would be wide enough to display both the map and the picture of the junction at the same time.

In Use

When you turn on the Nuvi 885T you are no longer bombarded with caution screens about driving and using the GPS at the same time. After all, speech activation/recognition alleviates those issues.

Instead you get a simple screen showing the "Where to" and "View Map" options, with a satellite reception bar in the upper left and the time and battery life in the upper right corner. Volume and tools choices are also present on the opening screen.

I noticed the new Nuvi 885T finds and locks onto the satellites in just seconds, perhaps 10-15x faster than the Nuvi 350. If you had arrived at your destination using the GPS it will instantly lock on when you power it back up. This is really great. Occasionally the Nuvi 350 had to be coaxed into locking on.

Pressing or speaking "Where to" takes you to the above screen. One of the things you'll notice is that now the sub-categories inside categories are enabled. For instance, go to "Food&Drink" and now instead of everything being listed together, the choices for "Asian food" or "fast food" work.

You can easily import your POI's from your old GPS into the new one. It's a small file with the extension ".gpx" and can be found in the "Garmin" directory. However, now you can customize your POI's with photographs, symbols/avatars, and other custom information such as phone numbers, birthdays, and so forth.

Actual instructions and updates while driving happen sooner and faster than with the older Nuvi 350. We've already discussed that the map engine is more accurate and will usually plan you a more accurate route.

The music player or audiobook player is handy, especially if you have it set to play through your cars sound system.

The hands free blue tooth calling is surprisingly full featured and it works very well. You get options you wouldn't expect and the quality is very good. I now use the Nuvi 885T as a speakerphone option during meetings. Place it in the middle of the table during lunch and everyone can be clearly heard. Very nice!

The mount is first class and holds the Nuvi 885T securely. So far it has stayed put for a few months now. The mount that came with the Nuvi 350 had to be "re stuck" every few days.

Notice the power connector on the side of the mount? The power cord goes here, so there is no need to connect anything every time you mount the Nuvi 885T. It also comes with a dash disk in the event your state doesn't allow window mounting.

And if you must, a nice flexible weighted mount is optional. A friend has one of these and it allows her to bring the GPS closer where she can reach it. If it were mounted on the window it would be outside her reach.

Summary

I'm very happy with my new Nuvi 885T and for sure it has improved nearly every function. The speech recognition/activation is useful as is the hands free calling. But most of all I'm impressed with the "Lane Assist" feature. Like I said, the lane assist feature is worth the cost of admission just by itself.

I do hope ERSI sees the light and enabled Junction View for English speaking units. This sort of protectionism is one of the reasons holding back Thailand from having the free market it should. ERSI, if you're listening I believe you've made a serious mistake by limiting this feature and discouraged users from buying your maps. Instead they'll simply pirate them out of spite.

I have no real complaints but I do have a worry. The Nuvi 885T gets more than a little warm during use, something the Nuvi 350 never did. I suppose the more powerful processor and bigger/brighter screen draw and must dissipate more power.. therefore creating the extra heat, but it still causes me worry because heat is a well known enemy of electronics longevity.

If you've been thinking about upgrading your GPS, or just buying your first, you won't go wrong with the Nuvi 885T. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

Final notes:

There are several map sets available for Thailand, in fact there are three good ones. However, ERSI's map set is by a significant margin better than anything else out there, including the SEA Map set sold by Garmin. It's also the most full featured.

Photography News of Interest *menu

Real people create a real-lifethird person driving apparatus . This is a fun video to watch and it's interesting to note the Canon 5d Mark II in live video mode is the main ingredient. Check it out!

For the last few months I've been recommending the Canon S90 Powershot as the point and shoot of choice if you want the best image quality from a small pocket camera and you still want some control over the camera. This camera is becoming highly popular and my recommendation has only grown strong with this excellent review Digital Photography Review. A worthy read.

This video is an absolute blast! Mount a Canon 5d Mark II in video movie mode on a very large RC helicopter and use it to video a drifting RC car with the intent of making it look like the real car Nissan will use in their advertisement. Perhaps this is the best case yet for "don't try this at home" when it comes to dangerous stunts. Unless you're Stuart Little in a tiny toy car this stuff could be downright dangerous!

The big news this week is that Adobe unveiled its new Photoshop CS5 and it's being hailed as a major upgrade. Such features as puppet masking, content aware fill, takes advantage of more RAM than ever before (24g limit in Windows, 12g in Mac's), more video card support, and all kinds of actually significant new features. I've watched some videos I found online and I can't wait to get my own copy. Read this preview from Imaging Resource for more information.

Panasonic has lead the way with the Micro 4/3's format starting with their DMC-G1, then their DMC-GH1, and the video modes have proved to be popular. Capitalizing on their success Panasonic now announces a dedicated movie camera based on their 4/3's system which has the 4/3's sensor and uses their 4/3's lenses. While not in the same quality realm of the extremely successful Canon 5d Mark II with it's full frame sensor, the 4/3's system is still a notable improvement over consumer video cameras. Check outtheir announcement.

Olympus announces it'snew IPhone application "GetOlympus" which helps users see their new products and helps you make choices. IPhone aps for both the IPhone and the new Ipad are gaining in popularity.

Many have questioned how good the video on the Canon 5d Mark II really is. How about good enough to shoot an entire episode of one of the most popular television series? The season finale of "House" was filmed entirely on the Canon 5d Mark II DSLR. We've already know they've been used to film bits and pieces of certain movies, but this is the first time I know of an entire 60 minute episode was filmed with a DSLR. Read more about it here.

Readers Submissions *menu

Hi Steve,
Here are a few images captured in Pattaya during the daytime with a Canon 50D.

The first was taken with a 70-200mm F/4.0 IS lens. A worker is exterminating mosquitoes, two workers were working together on opposite sides of the second rd, the smell of the smoke was overpowering. Time priority
mode TV 1/200 Av F/5.6 ISO 326 Focal length 138mm Time 09:26.


The second image is of a building site on Soi 12 at 1AM. Av 8.0 ISO 200 Shutter speed 1/400.


The third image was captured at the sanctuary of truth with my 17-85 kit lens. Focal length 30mm. Av f/8.0 ISO 100 TV 1/80.


The fourth image is a close up of some of the carvings with my 70-200mm lens. Focal length 70mm. TV 1/200 Av f/5.0 ISO 100.


The fifth image was taken at the Sri Racha tiger zoo, through thick glass with a 70-200mm lens. TV 1/125 Av f/5.6 Focal length 70mm ISO 1000 Time 10:11.


At the zoo they had elephants & crocodiles and put on different shows. Image six 70-200mm lens Tv1/200 Av f/5.6 ISO 1600.


The next three shots were taken at the Nong Nooch tropical and botanical gardens. The two birds & flower were shot at an aperture value of f/4.0 with a 70-200mm lens.


The last image is of a night market which I wrote about and forgot to put in my Pattaya at night post, taken with a 50mm 1.4 lens at f/2.8 Shutter speed 1/60 ISO 320.


Regards Khunklit.

KhunKlit –

Nice images! Thank you. The shooting data will be much appreciated by those trying to learn. You seem to really be enjoying your DSLR. Great!

I look forward to seeing more from you.

Steve

Hi Steve,

Thanks for that information.

P.S. Have attached 3 photos from 2005 that I captioned and sent to friends.

Kevin.

Kevin –

It's good to hear from you again and we always look forward to your images from Vietnam. Your captions are always fun as well.

Take care

Steve

Hi

Today was a great weather day in So. Ca.

Perfect for a demo ride on six different trikes – 3 wheel motorcycles.

Evaluations for a magazine article.

Through the hills and on the freeways.

Bart

Bart –

These are cool! I'd imagine they'd also be a lot easier for those with physical challenges or wanting to carry more with them. Very nice!

Steve

I suspect the readers submissions will be a highly anticipated section of this column and I encourage anyone with photographs and travel accounts they'd like to share to please send them to me at: [email protected]

Readers Questions *menu

Steve

Do you make any money selling photos ? I see that Getty Images and Flickr and others will sell your photos and give a commission. What do you think of this ? Is anyone making money anymore taking photos? I was hoping to make a little bit selling photos thru one of these agency's when I semi-retire next year.

Kelly

Kelly –

I'm really sorry for not answering this sooner. I've been working hard trying to get our new site up and lost track of other things.

Yes.. I make money selling photos but I've been involved with some stock agencies for a long time and I don't share this information.

This has become a very competitive and in some peoples minds explosive topic. Ever since Getty Images bought most of the major stock agencies and then lowered their fees to in many cases just a dollar or two a use.. the market changed.

The good news for amateurs and part timers is its now a lot easier for them to make small amounts of money from their work. For instance on Flickr you can sign up to let Getty use your images and depending on how an image gets used you might make enough to buy yourself dinner. Obviously this won't pay the rent, but its a nice gesture for them using your images.

As the market changes.. and its changes a lot in recent years.. photographers are going out of business at an alarming rate. The way I see it is that they're not changing with the times and sticking with their old ways is no longer working for them. In today's market you need to be willing to reinvent yourself and this takes a bit of creativity and a lot more business know how. I've always said "professional" photography is a lot more about business skills than camera skills and this is more evident today than ever before.

The most successful new photographers have found a niche. Look for your niche and see what you can come up with. And example of a niche would be what I did in Oregon prior to moving back to Thailand. It happened by accident:

I was having a new custom home built and being a big DIYer (do it yourselfer) I always thought it would be very useful to know what was under a floor, under a cement slab, behind a wall, where all the pipes ran, elec, etc. So every major step of the way I'd carefully photograph and document the construction on my new home and I made a notebook. The first pictures started with unbroken ground with trees, and the last pictures were glamour shots of the completed home at dusk with the lights on inside and smoke coming from the chimney. Everything between was covered.

The contractor liked this so much he asked if I could do the same for his other custom homes he was building. At first these photos were to show new clients and for insurance purposes.. but soon the customers themselves wanted a set. Soon they asked me if the finished glamour shots could include the family and the family pets.. My contractor tacked my fee on to his estimates and soon I was pulling in some decent regular money for not many hours of work. Other contractors heard and I marketed myself to them. Most of the people who could afford homes in this range had a bigger income and had kids getting married, birthdays, graduations, and more.. and within 2 years I was grossing more than any other photography business in the city.

A niche will provide income, allow you to meet prospective new clients, and to practice your skills as it grows and moves into bigger and better things. This is my best recommendation. Trying to earn money with stock photography these days is a no win situation.

I hope this helps

Steve

Steve

Hey fantastic answer !! So thoughtful of you to reply.

I want to be in Thailand so much but with my savings it wouldn't be great. I have tried and it was wonderful but need an extra $$ a month while IN Thailand. Working permits seem hard to come by and teaching English I don't think I would be qualified.

I guess and occasional free dinner from Getty photo is a start.

What do you think of Photo Booths ? I've seen a couple around BKK but I think they would be a hit in Pattaya and Phuket bring them to different bars set up for free then split profits with bar owners and lady's ? Once the novelty wears off, off to the next bar ? Would have to let a Thai friend in on it I'm sure I'll do the selling he does the delivery/partner part. Or maybe some sort of portable super fast wireless printer and a IPAD/Camera and do on the spot photo's. Sort of like you see in Hong Kong where the photographers do tourists in skyline shots.

Elephant shots, scenic vistas/ tourist areas ? Much larger than the old poloroids that are still out there ? Again I probable would need to train my trusty Thai partner

Thanks again for your last answer !

any thoughts would be great

Kel

PS love that I dea about the houses.

Kelly –

No problem, questions like this give me the opportunity think about such things.

Photobooths are very much automated and there are tons of them everywhere you look being operated by minimum wage workers with no idea about photography. I don't see much opportunity with photo booths.

There are also all kinds of "on-the-spot" photo services everywhere you go. Go to the floating market and you won't even see them take your picture, but when you return from your boat ride they'll have your picture mounted on a plate or cup and try and sell it to you.

And there are millions of photos on the web of everything else you mentioned so its probably rare someone will be willing to pay for one.

Another cool idea I saw that paid off was a guy who bought a 3d camera and a laser that would etch a persons portrait INSIDE a square block of glass. The results were visually stunning. I asked how much he invested and he had something like 30,000 USD's in the system and figured it would take him about 5 years to return his investment. He'd sit out in the hot sun day and night at Suanlang Night Bazaar hoping to make enough each day to make the payments on his system.

Try and remember the average Thai has very little disposable income. You won't find much profit there.

All I can recommend is come over here and spend lots of time out and about and see what your imagination can come up with. It's a hard game and if it were easy many would be doing it. There are lots of talented farang photographers in Thailand and very few make money doing it. Its going to take good photography skills, a great imagination, and excellent business skills. But most of all it's going to take patience as you feel out the market, and perhaps years to establish yourself.

I wish you luck.

Steve

Please submit your questions to [email protected] All questions will be answered and most will show up in the weekly column.

A Snapshot of Bangkok Images Week in Review *menu

Oh boy, where to start… You'll probably notice in the coming weeks that this column will be thin and not up to its usual standards. But it's not because I'm slacking off! We hope to go live with our exciting new website by the third week in May and I've been putting in every waking hour migrating content and working with our web guy.

A new site? Yes. Making public claims often leaves people with egg on their faces but lately my confidence is high. I expect this new site to quickly become the number 1 photography site in South East Asia. We're going to have loads of content, reviews, tutorials, interviews, forums for photo related discussion, guest galleries to show off your own work, and much more. By now regular readers know my personal philosophy concerning photography and that I very much believe photography should be fun and personally rewarding. Fun and rewarding are the priorities of our new site.

So please bear with me over the next 30-45 days with my shorter than normal columns and look forward to our new site. Once it goes live the weekly will go back to it's full effort and length and will in fact provide exclusive content for at least a week. In other words you'll still see it here first!

Meanwhile, get your images ready to share and sharpen your pencil for discussion because we're very close to having a lot of fun!

Infocus Blog, No Facebook For Me Please *menu

No Facebook For Me Please

I must apologize to those of you who send me Facebook invitations and invitations from other social networking sites. I simply don't have the time to play on social networking sites and I have no interest in having a presence on one.

Yes, I have an account but only because Facebook makes this necessary to view my sons Facebook pages. Otherwise I wouldn't have an account at all.

Between running a business, running my own website, and writing this column I have very little free personal time left over and I'd rather spend this time with my closest friends and family members than pitter away my time on a social networking site.

And what is this when people have something like a million friends? REALLY? This makes me feel very unpopular. I don't have nearly a million friends like most of the people on Facebook and you know what? I don't want that many friends. Real friendships are yet another commitment on my limited resources so I tend to limit them to those I value the most. Am I sounding anti-social? Perhaps.

Where does anyone find the time to maintain friendships with a million people? Or even a thousand or a hundred.. there just aren't enough hours in the day to have any sort of meaningful relationship with a hundred friends.

So, instead of wasting the limited amount of free time I do have pittering around on a social networking site, instead I'll use that time to call up a friend to have lunch, perhaps a friendly chess game and dinner, or a day out on a photography outing.

I hope you understand.

Until next week..