Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Posts Tagged ‘river

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.


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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

Down the river in a boat in Kyoto

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Visitors to Kyoto and Nara almost always focus their activities to visiting temples, shrines and castles.  Of course, that’s why people visit these beautiful locations and there’s nothing wrong with that.  For something just a little different, consider taking a two hour drift boat down the Hozukawa River.   The starting point is near the Kameoka City JR Station, which is about 20 minutes by train from the Kyoto Station.  And the dock is a five or ten minute walk from the station.  There are prominent signs leading the way from the station.  And if you’re lost, the information center at the station will point the way.

The river drift is mostly placid with a few sections of rapids and very small elevation changes.  It is not a dangerous drift.  Each boat has two crewmen.  One mans the oar to steer the boat while the other mans the pole to keep the boat from colliding with the rocks in the river.

The boat trip ends near the Arashiyama District of Kyoto where’s there’s plenty to do including a visit to the magnificent Tenryu-ji Temple.

All photos were taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.  [Note: recommend that you use a polarizing filter on the river as the glare is prominent.  I didn’t.]

Dockside view.

Dockside view.

Down the river.

Down the river.

Fast section.

Fast section.

Train stopped to look at us.

Train stopped to look at us.

Vendor on the river.

Vendor on the river.

Trip ends at Arashiyama.

Trip ends at Arashiyama.

Written by leolaksi

May 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Beautiful Cavanagh Bridge over the Singapore River

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With Fullerton Hotel in background.

With Fullerton Hotel in background.

If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I love walking the bridges along the Singapore River.  From the Esplanade to Clarke Quay and beyond, I find myself walking this route every time I visit Singapore.   I’m not a fan of making this jaunt during the day.  But at night, well, that’s different. Most of the bridges are lit by auxiliary lights that vary in color.  Between these lights and the reflection of city lights on the water, an ordinary river by day becomes a magical stream at night.

The subject of this posting, the Cavanagh Bridge, a pedestrian suspension span crossing near the magnificent Fullerton Hotel, was built in the 19th Century and is a tribute to the Scottish company that designed and built it.  The setting is spectacular, being accented by the tall modern skyscrapers in the background.

Photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Bathed in blue.

Bathed in blue.

Narrow perspective.

Narrow perspective.

And now in red.

And now in red.

Red and narrow.

Red and narrow.

Along the river.

Along the river.

Written by leolaksi

October 18, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Bridge over the Singapore River – Nikon D700 and 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom lens

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At the mouth of the Singapore River

At the mouth of the Singapore River

There are many beautiful and historic bridges over the Singapore River with the oldest dating back to the late 19th Century.  All the bridges are well-lit and make for spectacular photographs at night.  This particular bridge, though neither old nor historic is at the mouth of the river and joins the Esplanade to the small seaside park where the Merlion, the mythical creature of Singapore, statue resides.  Because of this magnificent setting, the area is quite beautiful in an urban sense.  The arched supports of the concrete bridge structure with its perfect lighting placement are suggestive of sea waves and evokes a sense of calm and tranquility.

Using an ultra wide-angle lens can be perplexing so my style is to shoot the scene assymetric, bringing some part of the  object(s) forming the mid or background into the foreground.  Or finding an object in the foreground to draw the eye to the image.  The key is to experiment with the UWA.

Photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Perspective enhanced by ultra-wide angle lens.

Perspective enhanced by ultra-wide angle lens.

From the other side.

From the other side.

Partial view of the Esplanade.

Partial view of the Esplanade.

Man in the dark.

Man in the dark.

Written by leolaksi

October 11, 2009 at 7:53 pm