Novice monks gather in Bangkok for Visakha Bucha Day. Bangkok, T

Monks in Bangkok, Visakha Bucha Day, Thailand

When there are 12,600 Buddhist monks from southern Thailand in one street of Bangkok at once, where, as a photographer, do you start trying to document the mass alms-giving that was Visakha Bucha Day? The answer, of course, is to not panic and keep it simple.

Wide shot, mid shot, close-up. That’s what I was taught when studying filmmaking at university. And I think it holds true for photographically covering events as well. The problem can be trying to cover all three types of shots at once, on a day like Visakha Bucha Day which is why you’ll sometimes see professional photographers with two or three cameras slung around their necks. One camera with a wide lens, another camera with a mid-range zoom and yet another with telephoto zoom lens.

If you look at the original post we wrote about Visakha Bucha Day, you’ll see two wide shots and a close-up, however, I made so many photographs that morning that there are several others in my ‘finals’ folder and this picture above is one of them. I get asked so often for monk photos, I’ve had to go through all my South East Asian images and tag every decent monk photo. I mow have a really diverse mix of photos, from monks collecting alms, to working at their pagoda, o just posing for a photograph after we’ve had a chat.

In this particular photo, I like the serene look on the first monk’s face, and the juxtaposition of the other two monks in the background, and the different expressions on their faces. The symmetry of the photo also appeals to me – but I’m always drawn back to the first monk’s face, and the sense of composure and contentment communicated through his eyes and his smile.

Details: Nikon D700, 85mm F1.4 @ F2.8 @ 1/1600th second @ ISO800. 

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