Finding my Light at Wat Phra Ram - Ayutthaya, Thailand

Finding my Light at Wat Phra Ram - Ayutthaya, Thailand

Finding my Light at Wat Phra Ram - Ayutthaya, Thailand

I visited the ancient capitol city of Ayutthaya, Thailand on two separate occasions. The first time I visited the city was on a day trip from Bangkok as most visitors do. It was a fun, full day of temples, but as with most day tours you are shooting in the worst light (you arrive well after sunrise and leave before sunset) and are walking around during the hottest part of the day.

After Thailand I departed for Laos and did the rest of the Southeast Asia ‘loop’ tour (Thailand - Laos - Vietnam - Cambodia - Thailand) returning to Thailand a couple of months later. I decided to return to Ayutthaya and stay there for a couple of days to fully explore and experience the ancient wats (temples) at my leisure.

The best strategy for visiting the ancient ruins is early morning and early evening/dusk. This is done for the best light, to avoid the tour groups that come up from Bangkok and to dodge the stifling Thailand heat and humidity. During midday (usually from 11am to 3pm) I was either drinking a nice, cold Singha beer with other fellow backpackers/flashpackers at a nearby cafe or I was back in my guesthouse room with the air conditioning at full blast.

Your best bet to get around the temples is to rent a bicycle. Most of the temples are located near one another so a bicycle sure beats walking around in the heat and besides it is good exercise.

Ayutthaya really (and literally) shines at night when some of the temples are illuminated. One night I decided to photograph Wat Phra Ram. I left my guesthouse about thirty minutes before the blue hour. A bicycle ride from my guesthouse to Wat Phra Ram is normally about a fifteen minute trip, but I discovered five minutes into my ride that balancing my tripod on my bicycle was quite a task. As a result, I barely got there in time to capture this blue hour shot of the wat with the reflection in the lagoon.

After taking this shot the sky turned black and I quickly put away my equipment. I searched for my headlamp in my Think Tank Photo backpack since my bicycle did not have a headlight. After a frustrating five minutes I gave up looking for it, I must have left it behind in my guesthouse. So I got back on my bicycle and weaved my way through the crazy Thai traffic in the dark. Let’s just say I had a couple of near death experiences on my way back to my guesthouse.

In the safety of my room I set up my laptop and hard drives to start downloading the RAW photos from my compact flash card. As I grabbed my backpack, I forgot I left the outer pocket open, and so you can imagine what fell on the floor.

There was my headlamp and my pride.

As a photographer I am always seeking the light, but on this occasion I was completely in the dark.

Check back for more of my Thailand adventures!

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

Facebook | Google + | Twitter | Pinterest | Photography Blog | Travel Photography Gallery

Taken on: 21st June, 2012. Copyright: All Rights Reserved - See Sam Antonio Photography's page of Flickr

Read more about Bangkok

Set astride the majestic, churning Chao Phraya River, the Thai capital Bangkok represents all that is good and bad about an Asian megalopolis. Loved or loathed, it's a city with everything for some and nothing for others, and a place that almost every visitor to Thailand will find themselves in at some stage.

For many travellers, Bangkok, or Krungthep to most Thais (Krungthep mahanakhon amonratanakosin mahintara ayuthaya mahadilok, popnopharat ratchathani burirom ubonratchaniwet mahasathan amonpiman avatansathit sakkathattiya witsanukamprasit to those who like to refer to places by their full name), is anything but charming on first impressions. But peel back its multitude of layers, and you may well grow to enjoy this fascinating city.

Yes, it's dirty and heavily polluted, and the traffic remains appalling despite two mass transit systems opening over the last few years. Glistening skyscrapers perpetually darken wooden slums and squats, while sparkling new Mercedes dodge ... Read our complete Bangkok travel guide

More images