My photography journey 2016

Like many things in the world, photography is something that is easy to do and perhaps impossible to truly master.  

There are so many facets to explore within this medium making the term 'photography' itself practically meaningless. Holiday selfies to war photojournalism, and everything that lies between.  Landscapes, sports, wildlife, abstract, conceptual, fashion, architecture, forensic, macro, Astro photography and within those (and more besides) seemingly endless sub-genres and specialisms. 

All of these fascinate me, and when I started on this journey I couldn't tell you what I liked more. However over the past year I believe that I am beginning to get a better sense of the direction where I see my photography going.

My first love is and always will be the views from the rooftops of the cities of the world, where we live and work. My intention in the new year and beyond to explore more, but to place a greater emphasis on light, but also to challenge myself to capture the feel of the city from locations a little closer to the ground.

The second area is people. Over 2016 I found myself going down the rabbit hole that is lighting and studio work. I love the challenge of lighting, and the creative freedom thxat abounds from working with models, make up artists, set designers.

I expect to explore this aspect more deeply in 2017 and will challenge myself to develop stories and let concepts develop from that. 

I hope you accomplish all that you have planned for yourself, your family, your work and your friends in 2017! 

Uploaded by Marcus Burtenshaw on 2017-01-01.

Annie

Annie

Annie

I had an incredible time shooting the gorgeous Annie at the weekend, but before you rush off to take a look at the set, take a quick look around at some of the changes I have made to the site. 

I wanted a home page with a link to various galleries so I can try and work out which type of photography you guys like the most, and it's now much easier to buy my images

If you have ever wanted a beautiful cityscape picture for the wall of your home or office, or even for use in a publication, you can now buy prints or download any image on the website and via the magic of the web none of the images will be watermarked. 

So please let me know what you think of the new layout, and of course the gorgeous Annie, enjoy!

 

 

 

The 2016 Rocket Festival, Yasothon, Thailand

 Rocket Festival, Yasothon, Thailand 2016

I first heard about the Rocket Festival via some clips of the Bang Fai Festival on YouTube of enormous rockets (Bang Fai) being set off in a field to blaring music and the delight of an obviously very drunk crowd.

So when a good friend asked if I wanted to go, I jumped at the chance, after all who doesn't like whisky and explosions, and in the famous last words of adventurers, what's the worst that could happen? 

So we booked flights on Air Asia, from don Muang airport to Ubonratchathani Airport from where we would take a taxi (1500 THB) to our rooms at the Green Park Grand Hotel in Yasothon.  So with the logistics organised (or so we though) and with a few weeks to go until the second weekend in May (which is when the festival is held every year) we started planning. 

First of all we wanted to know what this Rocket / Bang Fai Festival was all about. There's not a great deal of information online and asking around most people would tell me that the rockets are set off to ask for the rains to come, but it turns out that isn't quite accurate.

 Phaya Khang Khod, The Toad King

 Phaya Khang Khod, The Toad King

The origin of the story lies in myth, more specifically the Legend of the Toad King. In one of his previous lives the Lord Buddha was incarnated as a toad. Following his incarnation all the creatures of the land flocked to hear his sermons which were proving more popular than the Lord of the Sky's.

This angered the Sky Lord, who in a fit of jealousy withheld the rains for seven years, seven months and seven days. 

 Rocket Festival, Yasothon, Thailand 2016

Despite being cautioned by the Toad King, Lord Naga took arms and went to war with the Sky Lord and lost. 

 Rocket Festival, Yasothon, Thailand 2016

The Toad King enlisted the aid of termites who built towering mounds to reach the sky and sent up centipedes, and scorpions to attack the Sky Lords feet, and asked the winged hornets to join the fray. Overwhelmed by the assault, the Sky Lord sued for peace and released the rain.

Each year the rockets are released to remind Phaya Thaen (The Lord of the Sky) of the terms he agreed with the Toad  King. The Lord Naga was rewarded for his efforts with the role of Honour Guard to the temples of Thailand and Laos.

 

 Rocket Festival, Yasothon, Thailand 2016

In present day Yasothon, the festival lasts three days on the second weekend of May every year. The celebrations begin on Friday but sadly I missed those, as we arrived on Saturday morning just in time for the parade (and the sweltering heat!). 

Saturday, 14th May 2016

  

 

 

 

Then on Sunday, the fun with rockets and whisky begins at 9 o'clock in the morning.

The noise was incredible. The largest rocket weighs 120 Kgs and can fly in the air for almost 5 minutes. The record is 320 seconds which of course teams from around the country compete to beat and perhaps have a friendly side bet on whose rocket will fly the longest. 

Rockets fall to the ground where they may, but usually over a large field behind the grounds, and hopefully gently swaying beneath a parachute, but that doesn't always work out quite to plan. 

There's lots of markets stalls selling all sorts of food and drink in a real party atmosphere with some of friendliest and most hospitable people you are ever likely to meet. 

The Bang Fai Festival ends on Sunday at about 4:30pm, so we left from there and went to straight to the airport. But here's the strange thing, just as we got into the taxi and started on our way back, the heavens opened and the rain began to fall.

 Rocket Festival, Yasothon, Thailand 2016

I had a truly great time and will certainly an experience that will stay with me forever, I highly recommend it.

 Rocket Festival, Yasothon, Thailand 2016

PS

Top travel tip!

Yasothon doesn't have much in the way of public transportation, no taxis,  no Tuks Tuks, no Sontahews or buses, not even a converted pickup truck. Bear this in mind when thinking about getting back to the airport, and be sure to take a few name cards of taxi services on offer at Ubon's airport, you'll need them!

Ayya

Last month I organised my very first fashion shoot. I sourced and secured the model, location and arranged all travel, accommodation and set up all the lighting etc conducting the shoot without an assistant. 

It was a challenge, and as expected not everything went to plan, but I think the shoot was a success.

I had the pleasure of working with a professional model who truly contributed and shared in my vision for the shoot. there are few things in life as truly satisfying as creating something that you are proud of. I am proud of this shoot, but am realistic enough to understand that I still have much more to learn. 

So after what seems like forever, here is the set, please let me know what you think:

 

 

 

 

 

MXGP 2016 , Suphanburi, Thailand

Today I was fortunate enough to shoot the Thailand stage of the 2016 MXGP World Championship. 

It was an incredible experience to be trackside shooting the world's best motocross riders  alongside the professionals. It's certainly a memory that will stay with me for a while., even though it was very, very, very hot. (I can only imagine how the riders felt). 

I knew I had this shoot coming up, so I borrowed a friend's Sigma 50-500mm, stuck it on a monopod, and that's it.

It was my first time ever shooting any type of sports, but I can tell you it won't be my last. Composition was a real challenge, heck even just getting the riders in focus proved tough at times, but I think I did okay, but you be the judge: 

 










.. is this thing still on?

Yeah... so.... I haven't posted in a while, the truth is the blog slipped in my priorities, but this little corner of the web is still important to me so today I have come back in and refreshed my portfolio. 

In the time since I last posted I've been on a few trips. I went to Sydney with work,  hit some beaches in and around Thailand, and have been doing more model shoots, including a  Clockwork Orange themed shoot which was great fun. 

In 2016 you can expect more citiscape work, but I also hope to do a lot more work with models because let's face it no subject is as fascinating as people.

I will also dabble with some more types of photography such as sports and macro and whilst these may not make it into my portfolio per se, you can expect to find those types of shots right here in my blog. 

That's it for now, but expect a little more life in the blog over the coming months.

In the meantime here's a selection of various images I have shot since I've been away, let me know what you think

 




Sometimes the quality of the picture isn't important...

So today is the last day of my very first exhibition. It's a shame that I was unable to get to see it there, in person.After all it was displayed in a gallery in London, and as proud as I am of this, it is still on the other side of the world and I still have a day job and a family, but this where the internet once again shows how amazing it can be.

A friend in the USA, who I have only ever 'met' online asked a friend of his in London, who I have never interacted with, to go to the gallery and take a few pics. They very kindly shared these images with me, together with profuse apologies for the quality of her shots, however, for me I couldnt care less. 

Through her eyes and the lens of her camera I was able to see my photograph hanging on a wall of the Printspace gallery in Shoreditch London, in the Alamy / Photocrowd / Digital Camera magazine exhibition. A moment that I will remember forever, especially now that I have her photos


Wat Suwan Photowalk

I was delighted and honoured for my photo to be selected as the cover shot for the recent BPG photowalks magazine, and to have the following four images  to have been published, together the explore form, shapes and lines, in black and white.

I did however take a few more shots that day, so as has become my habit, I have also added a few 'bonus' shots

In case you missed it, I urge you to check out the magazine in full at the link below

A return to where it all began...

Last year I went fishing with a group of friends at Srinakarin reservoir in the province of Kanchanburi, Thailand. 

It was from here that I took some shots that changed my whole approach to photography.

A location perhaps better known for its terrible history during the second world war as the location of the Death Railway and of the infamous Bridge Over the River Kwai. It is hot and unforgiving terrain, and I can not begin to imagine how those young men suffered. 

But at the same time every time I visit I am awed by the majestic beauty of the landscape.  I just got back from a trip there and over the next few weeks will post up some shots but here's one to go on for now. ..

Srinakarin reservoir, Kanchanaburi, Thailand 

The Russians Are Coming

and that was the title of a recent photoshoot held by the Bangkok Photographers Group on facebook, about 20 models turned up and whilst I did get to shoot some girls, for some reason the overwhelming majority of my subjects were guys. but that's cool, it was a Trade for Prints session, which meant we were all there to develop our experience. 

It was just my second time shooting with models, and the first time that I got to work one on one and had full control over my own lighting setup. For whatever reason I decided I didn't really want to shoot against a white wall. everybody else was doing this, and I thought I'd try something different, so I used a single speedlight fitted with a honeycomb grid. This modifier really restricts where the light falls, but at the edges it falls away softly.. well that was the idea. 

On reflection I could have probably have been served well shooting at a slightly higher iso to preserve some details in the shadows and still maintained a dark and moody feel, which was my aim. 

We were told that we could bring props, and the only thing that I had was an old BB gun that was a good replica of a Colt 1911 that I had purchased a while ago to go with a Magnum PI fancy dress costume I had put together ... dont ask... 

So yeah, it may be a bit cliche, but instead of doing straight up portraits a theme began to emerge. The set may not be my best examples of photography, but we all had a great time putting it together, even though it was like an absolute sauna in there... i am fairly sure I lost about 2kgs that day!

So check out the gallery below for a selection of my shots from the Russians Are Coming photoshoot

 






Bangkok Yai Photowalk

I am a member of the Bangkok photographers group on facebook which organises regular photowalks and publishes a magazine which is curated by the group admin Dennie Cody. 

The latest magazine is out and can be viewed here 

My contributions are also in the gallery below, plus a couple of bonus pics from the walk


How I got into photography

I still have the first camera I ever used,  a Praktica L,  with a Prinzflex 35mm f2.8 lens. My father gave it to me when I started university. That camera is as about as old as i am and just like me it's seen better days, but it still holds a special place in my heart.  

IIt usually sits in pride of place on a shelf above my monitor, looking down at me as I clumsily type away, just as it did in my dorm at university and everywhere else that I have ever lived.

This miniature single lens reflex, manual everything, film camera taught me the importance of shutter speeds and aperture, but I'd be lying if I said I knew what I was doing back when I first had it. The shutter jammed back a way, and since I rediscovered photography just recently, what better time to get old faithful fixed. Parts for these cameras are hard to come by, so it won't be perfect, and there's still a less than even chance that they'll be able to fix it at all, but I really do hope that they can!

Looking back I have always enjoyed photography, and back then I even occasionally took a photo that doesn't make me cringe today, but on reflection whilst they weren't exactly accidents, I probably didn't exactly know what made them pleasing to my eye, but I always tried to take the time to compose a shot I liked.

But it wasn't really until  last year, 2014, that I decided to actually put some real effort into photography.

I had been fishing with friends on the Srinakarin dam in Kanchanaburi and had had a pretty slow day. Luckily I brought along my Olympus Pen EP1 (a digital m4/3rds camera that I had bought soon after the birth of my son), and soon found myself intrigued by the shapes cast by a submerged forest against the horizon of the jungle covered mountains that surround the reservoir. I took a lot of photos those few days, including the one at the start of this post, I got some great feedback but my feelings of pride in that shot are somewhat marred by the fact that it was shot... ehem... on auto mode, a mode I have not used since.

To me getting off auto mode, is when photography evolved into something more than just recording a memory, into more than just a hobby, but a creative release, such as I have never experienced and would not want to imagine my life without.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The store is live

Yay, the store is now live! So if you want you can now fill that blank wall with something a bit easier on the eye! 

The store to the top right of the page is where you can purchase prints of my photography. Its powered by Fine Art America who offer my prints  as posters,  framed metallic prints, or even as cases for your phone, or cushion covers. They are a huge company and have a great reputation and I am very pleased to say ship worldwide, including of course, Thailand.

Pricing this morning been permanently discounted for all images to start at what I hope is a very reasonable 22$ or roughly THB 660 each. 

I am in the process of adding all of my photographs to the store, but a lot of information has to be added to each image and for reasons best known to themselves  batch processing is limited to 5 images at a time, so bear with me as it will take a little while to complete. 

In the meantime if you can't find your favourite image in the store, drop me a line and within 24 hours I will push it to the top of the to do list. 

Please note all images on the site have embedded but barely visible watermarks, but prints are watermark free!

So what if you don't want to buy? You'll be pleased to know that I have included functionality for "personal use" that allows you to share the images that you like with your friends and family and heartily encourage you to make use of it.

However, this isn't a license to do whatever you like with them, I do reserve all copyrights to my images which are watermarked.  have also not included a facility to download images and, have disabled right click functionality and do not permit hotlinking. 

I don't pretend to think that this will stop anyone, but if you go that extra effort that does show your intent and the resolution of the images on this site are pretty low. 

If you or your organisation would like to use any of my images for any editorial or commercial purposes whatsoever, or would like to get hold of a high resolution image please use the contact facility to get in touch to discuss and agree rates and terms.

I like to think I am pretty reasonable so please dont hesitate to get in touch. 

Welcome

20150331-IMG_0400.jpg

First of all thanks for visiting my little corner of the web. Its not the first site I have ever owned or run, but this one means the most to me. 

At the moment its a showcase for my hobby, and my very own place to share my thoughts on whatever happens to be taking my interest. Given that my twin passions are property and photography, these subjects are likely going to come up pretty often. 

I may well share some basic photography tips, but given that I am very much still honing my craft I am just as likely to recommend other tutorials and learning resources that I have found and use on a regular basis. 

As for my photography it should be of no surprise to see that most of my images will be of  cityscapes, landscapes and architecture, but I am interested in and experiment with all aspects of the digital photography medium. 

But it is my hope to show you the cities that I know and love, through the bespectacled eyes of this commercial real estate geek.

See you around, 

 

Marcus