“there is a light and it never goes out”, or light in Thailand for photographers

Matisse moved to the South of France chasing its beautiful light. When I first read this, I remember thinking: light is light, dark is dark, how can light be different from one place to another? It’s only when I came to South-East Asia that I understood how light can have different qualities.

Depending on the time of day, the light here is soft and kind, stark and merciless, pure gold, heavy and tired. Capturing these different feelings and moods is what makes photography in Thailand and South-East Asia so interesting.

As Shanghai photographer Franc Peret says: “don’t chase the subject, chase the light.”

Morning light is a beautiful soft light. Morning light is violet and kind, there is a tenderness to every morning landscape:

soi dogs at dawn 6:04

6:30 am

Noon light: In South-East Asia this light is very, very strong and washes out all the colors. I don’t like taking pictures at this time, never mind it’s hot to be walking around doing anything at all.

(These colors have to be cranked up using photoshop, and even then, it feels pretty washed out)

in the distance

Late afternoon light: This is the most beautiful time of day here. The light feels like liquid gold. If I am free, I always try to go for a walk around this time.

Sakura on the Chaopraya


Nightfall: In Bangkok itself, nightfall is weary and dramatic, but in the countryside, nightfall is dense and beautiful.


sunset cruise on the mekong river

Matilde at sunset on Kao Tao

What is your favorite time of day for taking pictures in Thailand?

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A blog about culture and technology in South-East Asia.

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