Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Random scenes of trains in Japan.

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Shinkansen train at Shinagawa Station.

Shinkansen train at Shinagawa Station.

One thing about Japan, there are plenty of trains to look at.  From quaint narrow gauge systems that take you up into the mountains to the very latest “Bullet Trains”, one is never bored looking at and shooting trains.  And people that are naturally found around train stations.  These photos were taken earlier this year and are good examples of addressing perspective.  By virtue of their length and narrow footprint, trains naturally draw your attention to the subject of your photos.  When shooting trains, quickly figure out the subject of the shot and use the train’s vanishing point to focus attention on the subject.  Of course, the same goes for any scene with strong bold lines.

All photos were shot with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24mm f/1.4 lens or Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Osaka train station with waiting woman.

Osaka train station with waiting woman.

Works with bold lines.

Works with bold lines.

Trains, lines, columns and rafters.

Trains, lines, columns and rafters.

All aboard.

All aboard.

Written by leolaksi

August 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Boats on the Mekong, Cambodia to Laos

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Sunrise from Don Kong Island.

Sunrise from Don Khong Island.

Life on the Mekong River in Cambodia and Laos hasn’t caught up with the 21st Century. Yet.  There is still a connection to quieter times, a slower pace of living, that belies the dramatic changes that will occur on the Mekong.  From China to southern Laos, there are plans for over a dozen dams that the authorities say will benefit all the people of the region.  They come up with a myriad of benefits, from cheaper electricity to reduced flooding.   In looking at this future, I have a hard time envisioning the simple life that exists there now.  I recommend that you visit this area before it’s all gone.

Photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens and a Nikon D300S and Nikkor AFS 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens.

Vietnamese fisherman at Stung Treng, Cambodia.

Vietnamese fisherman at Stung Treng, Cambodia.

A smoke on the boat.

A smoke on the boat.

Time to board.

Time to board.

Lost in thought.

Lost in thought.


Written by leolaksi

August 1, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Irawaddy Dolphins on the Mekong River

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Deep pool in the background. Home to the dolphin "pod".

Deep pool in the background. Home to the dolphin "pod".

Just outside Kratie, Cambodia, on the Mekong River is a very deep pool of water that is home to a “pod” of Irawaddy Dolphins.  There are a couple dozen of these very rare dolphins that used to number in the hundreds before the Khmer Rouge decades back slaughtered most of them.  The dolphin is not considered an endangered species as there are several thousand in Bangladesh although their numbers in Southeast Asia are very small.  There is also a small pod in Laos on the Mekong just above the border crossing.

Typical guide boat.

Typical guide boats.

These dolphins are very shy and difficult to photograph.  Combine that with a rocking boat in the river current and it makes for trying conditions.

The dolphins live in this deep pool, perhaps 800 meters deep.  Its depth allows the mammals to adjust to the changing temperature of the water throughout the year.  And because the pool is downstream from very shallow water, food is ample.

The river guides are attuned to the comfort of the dolphins so that they maintain a distance of 50-100 meters.  And the guides drift with the current, again to not frighten the dolphins.

Up for air.

Up for air.

All photos were taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens or Nikon D300s and Nikkor AFS 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR zoom lens.

Written by leolaksi

July 10, 2010 at 7:43 pm

A worthwhile visit, a rural school in Cambodia. Part 2.

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Smiling student.

Smiling student.

One of the most rewarding things to do when you are in Cambodia has nothing to do with sightseeing at venues like Angkor Wat or visiting the Irawaddy dolphins at Kratie.  I recommend you take some time out of your busy days to visit a rural school and donate school supplies.  These students are not well to do and are always short of basic supplies like pencils, paper tablets and rulers.  For less than $50 US you can easily supply every student with these supplies. And you never know how you might be impacting these students.  For every child attending school, there is probably another that does not attend school for one reason or another and it is near impossible to make a difference in their lives.  At least with the children in school they are learning the basics although there is no telling where they may be in ten more years.  The five and six year olds in these photos may be working in the fields with their parents in another 6 or 7 years.

Photos were taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens or a Nikon D300s and Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VRI zoom lens.

Three room school near Stung Treng.

Three room school near Stung Treng.

Using chalk and fiber boards.

Using chalk and fiber boards.

Big smile on small face.

Big smile on small face.

Interested girl.

Interested girl.

Written by leolaksi

June 20, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Old Delhi near Jama Masjid – great location for photographs

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Full load.

Full load.

Here are some more photos from my last trip to Delhi.  As noted in my previous postings about Old Delhi, a rickshaw is a great vantage point for photos.  Not only do you get a convenient means to travel this area, the perspective renders a slightly different point of view.

All photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Heavy load.

Heavy load.

Back end.

Back end.

Grueling work.

Grueling work.

Rickshaw man.

Rickshaw man.

Written by leolaksi

June 6, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Memory Lane for great yakitori in West Shinjuku

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Omoide Yokochō

Omoide Yokochō

Omoide Yokocho (or Memory Lane) is an old neighborhood of small yakitori joints that harkens back to days long past. It is located within the neon-lit skyscrapers of West Shinjuku.  Adjacent to the Uniqlo store near the Lumine Department Store, Omoide Yokocho’s days are numbered as it is beyond its shelf-life.  The area is ramshackle and its only of matter of time before it is torn down in the name of progress.  The option is to rehabilitate the area however no one except for some of the tenants is in favor of this.  Some of the Yakitori is quite good as the numbers of patrons indicate.

This area dates back to the US Occupation post World War II and has always been a favorite for good relatively well-priced food.

All photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24mm f/.4 lens.

Crowded and friendly.

Crowded and friendly.

Red lanterns everywhere.

Red lanterns everywhere.

Tight confines.

Tight confines.

Another joint.

Another joint.

Written by leolaksi

May 30, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Rural Cambodian school near Steng Trung.

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Angel.

Angel.

One of the most fulfilling things one can do when visiting the rural areas of Cambodia is to set aside time to visit schools.  As some of the rural schools are extremely poor, you should think about buying school supplies to donate to the children.

This particular school, which is located south of Stung Treng, had no electricity, windows and other conveniences that we take for granted in other parts of the world.  In fact, the children had neither paper nor pencils.  Instead they were using planks of wood and chalk during class.   I purchased pencils, rulers and tablets for each of the 100 children in the three classes.  (And candy and cookies to please each student’s sweet tooth.)

The children were kindergartners to second graders and were extremely bright.  However as they were in a very poor rural area,  their future is a bit hazy.  Do what you can to help.  Not only will the children benefit, so will you.

Concentrating.

Concentrating.

What's the answer?

What's the answer?

Reciting the lesson.

Reciting the lesson.

Written by leolaksi

May 23, 2010 at 7:39 pm