December 6, 2010

Thailand Part 5: The Best Day

Often times people ask what the best part of your trip was. For me, it was this day. Unfortunately I don't have photos of every part of it, but there is enough to paint a clear enough picture.

We woke up and enjoyed breakfast at our resort where we sat at a bar overlooking the ocean. The breakfast at Lebua (see Part 1) was amazing, but the view here was something I'd never experienced before. From there we were off to meet our new friends at Goodtime Adventures.

We made our way to one of the highest points of Koh Tao for an afternoon of scaling granite rock at an area known as Mek's Mountain. We were able to escape the morning heat at most areas, but some were in the sun and almost unbearable. While we were up there we trekked up to the top of Fraggle Rock for a gorgeous panoramic view of Koh Tao.

Around noon we escaped the blistering heat of the mountainside for our first scuba diving adventure of the trip. Unfortunately I don't have waterproof housing for my camera and this part of the trip is left to memory. However, this was an amazing way to spend the afternoon. In between dives (we did 2 this day), we stopped off at a rocky shore for some cliff jumping. The perfect way to spend a surface interval!

When we finished our second dive we returned to the Goodtime Adventures shop where the guys enjoyed some cold ones while the girls had their first Thai Massages on the beach(sans fish).

Rock climbing, 2 scuba dives, cliff jumping, and soaking it all in on the beach made for the best day.

November 29, 2010

Thailand Part 4: Island Bound

After spending over 18 hours in the air to get to Bangkok, we woke up at 3:30am to head back to the airport for yet another flight. Luckily this flight was much more manageable. We flew to Koh Samui off the east coast of Thailand. Upon arrival, we hurried to make it to a waiting bus that would take us to a high-speed catamaran to the island of Koh Tao. The island is covered with enormous granite boulders (which we would soon get to know better). This is where we would call home for the next few days.

November 26, 2010

Cactus at the Fine Line

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing Phish bass player, Mike Gordon (aka, "Cactus") at the Fine Line Music Cafe when his band made a stop in Minneapolis. Once again I was given the usual first 3 songs to do my shooting, which is typical for concert photography. This doesn't give you a whole lot of time to explore or set up the perfect shot. The challenge of taking pictures with the ever-changing lights which are near-impossible to predict is something I look forward to at each show I shoot.

I also did a write-up of the show. You can read the full review at

November 16, 2010

Thailand Part 3: Khao San Road to Sky Bar

Leaving the river, we decided to see if we could cram 5 people into a Tuk Tuk. The Tuk Tuk's similar size as a golf cart, but we were successful! We held on tight as we zipped through the Bangkok streets to Khoa San Road. This is a long strip filled with street-side shops and food vendors. You definitely need to keep your head up for traffic. We took in the chaos and indulged in pad thai noodles with scrambled egg, shrimp and chicken. It cost about $1.50 for a plate that fed 4 of us. We made it back to our hotel and enjoyed a late afternoon soak in the pool with some cold beverages.

On top of our hotel was the Sky Bar, one of the world's highest open-air bars. We had to wait for the rain to pass but finally they let the masses that were gathered to go out to enjoy the views. When we finished taking our pictures and having a few drinks we made our way back to the streets of Bangkok. What better way to end a long day in Bangkok than a fish massage, where hundreds of fish would attach themselves to your feet and suck off all of your dead skin.

November 4, 2010

Thailand Part 2: Longtail Tour

We made our way through a small market to escape the heat of the Grand Palace and take a longtail boat ride through the back channels of the Chao Phraya River. The market was full of exotic fruits, vegetables and ready-to-eat foods. Arriving at the river we found our longtail boat. The boats are equipped with a very large engine and a long shaft that goes far behind the boat, which helps navigate in shallow waters. The channels were lined with lower-class housing and we came across a few locals. One lady in her "floating market" offered us her trinkets which we weren't interested in. Then she opened her cooler of beer. She knew exactly how to get our attention! Toward the end of the tour we stopped off at a temple that you can see in the background. Just seeing the daily life of some of the locals, relaxing with an ice cold beer, and enjoying the ride made for one of the best afternoons in Bangkok. 

October 19, 2010

Thailand Part 1: Bangkok

The long awaited, much anticipated Thailand posts have officially begun! I apologize for the delay, but I assure those of you (there's got to be 1 or 2 of you) who have waited patiently, it will be worth it. I originally planned on this being 5 or so different posts covering the whole trip. But after going through the first day (and this is not even close to all of it), I realized I was in for a much larger project. So on to the details...

After a 11.5 hour flight from Minneapolis to Tokyo and another 6.5 hour flight from Tokyo to Bangkok, we finally arrived in Bangkok around 2:00am. The following morning was followed by one of the best breakfast's I (and I don't think I'm alone on this) have ever experienced. Aside from that, it was free and included with our hotel. We then set out to the Grand Palace where we were lucky enough to have the greatest local (and easy on the eyes) tour guide, Oh. She helped us find our way and even though she herself wasn't appropriately dressed, she made sure we had donned proper clothing. The sights were amazing and the heat was even beyond that. I thought we were all going to melt!