Every year, when the full moon falls in the 12th month of Lunar calendar, Loi Krathong festival, a celebrations of water under the moonlight, will be held throughout of Thailand.
Loi Krathong is a ceremony of gratitude to thank Mae Kongka or Mother of Water for her scarification in giving us water to live on and generosity in forgiving us when we have ruin her water.
Loi is to float, and Krathong is a boat/raft, so the word Loi Krathong literally means to float a boat/raft into river. Krathong was originally a small cup made from bamboo or banana leaves, however, they are now transformed in to a flat slide of banana-tree trunk and decorated with colorful leaves and flowers. On the top, a candle and incense sticks are inserted.Some coins may also be added in hope to return gratitude to the Mother of Water and let go bad lucks and sufferings, but these can become a prey to boys in search for treasure.
Many Thais make their own Krathong for temselves and family members, however, a number of people find it more convenient to buy a ready-made Krathong selling along the riverside. The prices are ranging from 20 and upwards. If you look closely, you can find a stall that have Krathong made of bread and ice cream cone for sell which can be alternative way to join the ceremony and feed the fishes in the river.
For the past few years, I have lived many extraordinary moments that would be engraved in my mind forever. Last weekend, I experienced one of these moments here in Chiang Mai during the long awaited Loy Krathong/Yi Peng holiday.
Loy Krathong takes place on the night of the full moon of the 12th month in the Thai lunar calendar and is celebrated all over Thailand. Loy means to float and Krathongs are small rafts made of bread and banana leaves that Thais offer the the river spirits.
Loy Krathong also coincides with the Northern Thailand Lanna festival called Yi Peng. It is during this festival that thousands of flying lanterns are released in the sky.
I have tried to document the event as much as I can, and I hope this Photo Essay will help you experience the beauty of this festival for just a bit.
In every corner, decorations and lanterns are installed illuminating the city with bright beautiful colors. These lanterns are displayed in front of the 3 Kings monument and attract many tourists and locals at night.
Many different types of lanterns are found everywhere in gardens, shops and temples. From intricately shaped paper lanterns (khom fai), hanging lanterns (khom khwaen), small lanterns carried on a stick (khom thue) and of course the flying lanterns (khom loi).
Elaborately decorated krathongs are seen everywhere in town. They are often made of bread (or styrofoam although rare as they are polluting) and folded banana leaves. Candles, flowers, incense and coins are often added as an offering to the river spirits.
At night, Thais will float their krathongs on the river (or pond) to pay respect to Buddha and the river spirits. Some will also add fingernails and hair as a symbol of letting go of the bad parts of one’s life.
The most impressive Yi Peng celebration is the huge lantern release near the Mae Jo University a few kilometers North of Chiang Mai. Thousands of people gather that day to celebrate and release khom loi lanterns together.
The ceremony starts with blessings, chants and prayers from Buddhist monks as well as a guided meditation in both Thai and English. The ceremony lasts a few hours until dark.
Thousands of people coming from all parts of Thailand gather around the temple in Mae Jo to experience this beautiful event. Everyone carries at least one or two lanterns to light at night.
When the moment comes, the crowd unfolds their lanterns and starts lighting up the fuel cell attached to fill the khom loi with hot air. Excitement is felt everywhere, from families preparing to launch the lanterns …
… to friends all holding their khom loi and making a wish together.
After a short prayer and a blessing from the monks, the crowd release the lanterns at the same time. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have lived. The sky quickly fills with thousands of khom loi lighting up all the place. No words can describe the feeling experienced.
The lanterns flying high appearing like a shiny Milky Way across the night sky.
Soon after the first release, a second round is announced and people light up their remaining lanterns.
and another post from Eugene Tang
Thailand The Festival of Lights – Loy Krathong (21 Nov 2010)
The Loy Krathong festival dates back to the time of the Sukhothai Kingdom (Thailand),the first Thai capital about 700 years ago. This is one of the Kingdom’s oldest and best-preserved traditions. Throughout the Thai kingdom, hundreds of thousands of ornately-decorated krathong or traditional banana leaf floats are set adrift in rivers and waterways in a spell-binding ritual called “Loi Krathong” – the ‘Festival of Lights” on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar.
Traditional Krathong made from banana stump
Krathongs made of natural materials instead of styrofoam, which is not bio-degradable
“Loy” means “to float“. “Krathong” is a raft, about a hand span in diameter, traditionally made from a section of banana stump. A raft is decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, incense sticks etc. It marked the end of the rainy season and the main rice harvest. It is based on a Hindu tradition of thanking the water god for the waters.
Beautifully handcrafted Krathong
Thai people still practise their unique traditions dating to the Sukhothai period
Loy Krathong is held. In the western calendar this usually falls in November. Many people will float a small raft (Krathong) on a river or other body of water, such as canals, lakes and seas. Some people even float a raft (Krathong) in a basin in their own yard. Thai people believe that floating a raft on the river is to honor and pay respect to the goddess of water. Also, floating a raft in the river is to apologize to the Goddess of the Water for the bad things we have done to the river during the past year. This is one of the Kingdom’s oldest and best-preserved traditions.
Noppamas Queen Contests – Miss Loy Krathong Bangkok 2009
The beauty contests that accompany the festival are known as “Noppamas Queen Contests“. According to legend, Noppamas was a consort of the Sukothai king Loethai (14th century) and she was the first to float a decorated raft (krathong).
Khom loy are symbols for letting go of all one’s troubles and worries
Loy Krathong – a festival for merit making
In the northern part of Thailand, in addition to creating “krathong” people also celebrate the festival with “Khom Loy“. People usually create “Khom Loy” from a thin fabric and let the air get inside so that “Khom Loy” can go up in the air like a balloon. This tradition is called “Yi Peng” meaning to celebrate goodness (tam-boon) in the 12th month in Thai lunar calendar. The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations can be seen in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna kingdom.
Loy Krathong Event Highlights – Handmade Krathong Contest
At the Sukhothai Loy Krathong festival, visitors will be dazzled by the float procession of large krathong from 17 Northern provinces. The procession will consist of krathongs from government agencies, state enterprises, private sectors, and the general public. There are also a Krathong design contest, the Miss Noppamas Beauty Contest, and Sukhothai arts and culture performances.
In 2010 Loy Krathong Day will be celebrated on 21 November
Loy Krathong – A magical night where the City of Angels filled with thousands of wishes
If you know that a photo opportunity will present itself at an event (which it always does), dress nicely. Try to avoid wearing stripey outfits, clashing colors or uncomfortable clothing and accessories. Keep it simple, neat and ironed. If you’re wearing something sheer, realize that it will become more transparent under certain lighting and camera flashes.
Photo thanks to g-mikee
If there’s a mirror around or a reflection, take a quick glance at yourself. Check that your clothes aren’t crumpled, hair’s not messed up or something stuck between your teeth. If you can’t find a reflection or there’s no time, ask the photographer to do a quick check.
Slouching not only makes you appear shorter in photos, but often brings about unsightly stomach rolls too. Straighten up and stand tall, as if you’re head’s being pulled by a vertical string.
When we’re nervous or stressed, our shoulders automatically tense up without us knowing. Take notice of them and subtly roll them back and push them down.
There’s nothing worse than a forced smile, so think back to a moment when you were truly happy. That vacation you went on? Maybe last year’s Christmas celebration? Or that person you have a crush on? Hopefully that happy thought will bring a more genuine smile to your face.
Photo thanks to mcpeak_michael
Model Tara Banks will always stress on the importance of smiling with your eyes (aka smeyes). If your lips are smiling but your eyes are all tensed up, you’d end up with an awkward photo. Simply relax the eyes and eyebrows and don’t strain your eyes trying to look at the camera. If needed, close your eyes for a second before opening them to take the photo.
Photo thanks to Sara* Eloise*
An interesting background can make a huge difference to the photo. Have a look at your surrounding and see if you spot anything intriguing. It can just be a textured wall or a colorful backdrop.
Photo thanks to Bzuk
No need to come up with the extreme poses you might find in fashion magazines. Maybe just twisting your body slightly, or putting your hands in your pocket. Also, have some fun with your poses or maybe interact with a prop or another person.
Photo thanks to Geekr
As a photographer, you know that lighting can make or break the photo. When you’re in front of the camera, make sure that the lights will hit your face at a desirable angle. For example, Standing directly under harsh lighting can make shadows appear under your eyes, so you may need to lift and tilt your face.
Photo thanks to Simon Pais
Yes, practicing in front of the mirror will make you a pro when you need to look your best in front of the camera. When you’re alone, practice a few poses, try out a few different smiles and work out your better looking side.
Photo thanks to another.point.in.time
Shooting on a medium light day also greatly helps the vibrancy and illumination of the petals. High light can cause blowout and overexposure of the image which will wipe out all the intense details. Low light will cause color distortion and inaccuracy. It will be important as well to adjust your ISO setting, if you can, up and down per shot as you need to depending on the direction the flowers are facing. Also, light meter carefully to bring out the richness of the color without having to do a lot of post work on the computer.
Also, consider the form and shape of each group of flowers you are shooting. The contours of the edges may be the most interesting so you could show the flower from the profile side. Or, the texture and softness of the flower may be best shown in intense, zoomed in detail. Or, perhaps show the grouping of tiny flowers by not zooming in too much and allowing space to show the bending of the stems as well. Perfection is not always the goal in shooting this kind of subject matter. Each flower has its own personality. Try to bring out their character by embracing their imperfections as well as their color. The background, if left simple, can also be used to bring out their intricacies.
Photographing fruit is a similar situation to shooting flowers. They often have amazing color and their abundance in a group are fascinating to capture. Their textures and shape are interesting and through proper exposure, their high saturation color can also be shown in all their vibrancy.
These were shot at an outside farmer’s market which is ideal lighting. Bunches of fruit can also be shot at a grocery store, but often, the fluorescent lights can make the colors inaccurate and dull. You may need to shoot different fruits at different times of year, depending on when they are in season and at peak ripeness and color. This will depend a lot on where you live and what is available. Keeping the exposure accurate is also important to keep the roundness of their shapes. Over exposing the image can take away the edges and blend each piece together.
Remember to experiment with each image to capture the subjects at their maximum color. You may want to bracket in case the lighting changes or the color is not 100% accurate.
Hopefully this photos will will give you some fun, unique and refreshing ideas for your next photo project. If you have any other great examples to show us, simply post up a link in the comment box. We go through all the comments (good and bad) daily and try to respond to all of them.
You don’t need Photoshop to produce this effect. A lot of digital cameras these days have a selective color setting you can use. The below photo is shot by Taispy using her Canon IXUS point-and-shoot camera, no post-processing has been applied.
Golden hour (aka magic hour) is around the first and last hour of sunrise and sunset. The sunlight during those hours creates soft warm hues, as oppose to the overtly bright tones you’d find during midday.
Don’t be surprised to find more landscape photographers during golden hours. The sun illuminates buildings and landscapes with a desirable red and orange tint. You’d often notice in films how they also deploy this technique to capture breathtaking scenes of the ocean, countryside or cityscape.
1) Check the times of sunrise or sunset in your local area
Don’t just assume. Also check the weather forecast. If it’s very cloudy or there’s a chance of rain, you won’t be able to see the golden hour.
2) Arrive early
Don’t let the name fool you as sometimes you’d have less an hour to capture the photos in the warm tones. Especially during the Winter months. Getting there early means you won’t be rushed setting up your gear or adjusting camera settings.
3) Turn off auto white balance
Manually adjust the white balance to create the color mood you desire. Or, you can also experiment with the auto-presets such as ‘sunny’ or ‘daylight’.
4) To light up your subject in the foreground
Set EV (exposure value) to +1, +2 or +3. Alternatively, you can also slow down your shutter speed or use a fill flash.
5) To create a shadow effect with your foreground subject
Set EV to -1, -2 or -3. You can also choose to make your shutter speed faster.
6) Use a tripod
You would produce clearer images and capture more vibrant colors.
Here are some examples that would hopefully inspire you to get shooting during the golden hours!