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A View from Phuket

kata beach phuket

with F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8

When people visit places like Phuket in the south of Thailand, there’s often a certain type of photo they want to come back with.

The paradise beach.

People love taking pictures of beaches. And why not, really?

Deserted beaches, either in the full light of day or at sunset, perhaps with the silhouette of a palm tree for that extra bit of cliche, are surefire winners when wanting to make friends jealous.

I’m admittedly not really one for landscape photography anyway, but there’s only so many of these pictures I can look at before they become a bit samey.

They’re often whimsical, unreal and false, with the main aim being to show the audience how there was nobody else there, even though most of there time there was.

kata phuket

During my short time in Phuket, I overheard someone who had just got back to the hostel after going down to Kata Beach for some photographs.

“How was the beach?”

“It’s nice, but I couldn’t get any good pictures because there were too many people.”

It sounds like this person specifically wanted the classic deserted beach shot. That’s absolutely up to them of course, although they were really at the wrong beach for that.

What I’m not sure about is the number of people there making it impossible to get any good photographs.

There’s nothing wrong with getting the idyllic empty beach shot, but it’s good to not let it be your only goal.

Better beach photography

Something that would help people take more interesting travel photos is the realisation that other tourists being there doesn’t stop you from taking great shots.

If you want more interesting results, it actually helps you. Just by being there, the people help you.

Use them in your pictures.

If the beach is busy, convey that. It’s real, it’s different, and when done well is far more compelling to look at.

Look for the small things too.

The things that are there, and everyone knows it, but nobody photographs. Add flavour to your set of images, rather than endless picture postcard vistas.

Kata Beach

thai flag

The other side of Phuket

I was a touch surprised to find that Phuket isn’t all beaches and bars.

For many holiday makers, that’s perhaps all they will really see, but there is more to discover for those wishing to go inland a little.

Compared to the other Thai islands, Phuket is a big place, and spending time in Phuket Town gives you a feeling of being a long way from the beach.

It was also nice to mix up the photography a bit, with some street scenes, old Portuguese buildings, and a Chinese temple.

phuket town

phuket street photography

chinese temple phuket town

Completing the set of pictures from my time on Phuket are a couple of shots of unfinished holiday complexes and other structures.

I really, really wanted to get inside the complex and do some exploring, but I thought it too risky.

The long grass and plentiful shade made it look like the perfect place for snakes to be living, and I didn’t need to be going and disturbing them.

unfinished resort phuket

abandoned phuket

So, no snakes in my set, although I did manage to find a couple of crocs.  🙂

Rubbish jokes aside, do you agree with the points raised?

Do you prefer to take idealistic or realistic photographs? Is the former being deceitful, or is it being creative?

Answers are more than welcome in the comments.  🙂

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Purely landscape photographs of holiday brochure beaches don't really do it for me anymore, and trying to make a crowded beach look that way for the benefit of anyone viewing my images is not something I will ever do. It's the same with any tourist destination. Shoot what's there, not what people expect wasn't. My short time on Phuket took in a few different beaches and the inland Phuket Town. These pictures are from that trip, and there isn't a deserted beach in sight.

 

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