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Jan Bystrom

Photography Teacher - Queensland, Australia

 

One Precious Day in Bangkok

I recently spent three weeks in Bangkok. Not accustomed to this vibrant city, I researched local freelance photographers via the web in the hope of finding someone who would guide me through the maze of local haunts. I also hoped my chosen photographer would dispense some valuable tips on improving my knowledge of portrait photography.It was my privilege to locate DK and Dennie Cody’s web page and the man himself, whose expert skill and knowledge proved invaluable. In addition, his talented wife, DK provided an additional advantage as a double act. She not only spoke the Thai language fluently but is an accomplished photographer. Working together they proved a formable team. I felt there was a real sense of synchronicity between us and this made my day a sheer delight.From the friendly and professional manner in which my first phone call was handled through the photo-shoots, venue selections and final photos, I found the entire process relaxing, enjoyable and most rewarding. After our initial meeting and discussing my areas of interest, I felt reassured that both Dennie and DK would meet my needs and provide premium photography services in a professional, friendly manner. I was excited about the prospects of getting some interesting images. My questions were:

  • How do I capture the true essence of the person with a split second time frame?
  • How do I approach a person with my camera without invading personal space?
  • What camera setting should I use when moving from one lighting condition to another?
 The day finally arrived and with sheer excitement and cameras charged we began our day bright, brisk and bushytailed. DK was our local guide, organizing the river boats, tuk-tuks, taxis, and essential food provisions. She even dialed up a beautiful sunny day for us.We wandered through alleyways where the local people were working. The size and opulence of the golden Buddha’s which were sold in the local shops took my breath away and proved a unique opportunity for some fantastic shots. Next, came a Chinese cemetery and then I was honored to be invited into the home of a friend of DK’s grandmother. This is considered a gesture of respect in Thai culture and I felt humbled to be afforded this opportunity. I captured her warmth rather than a cheesy, pasted on smile one often sees through the camera lens.But the piece de resistance was photographing some candid moments of a Hindu bride on her dream wedding day. Thanks to DK’s persuasive techniques we were invited to be a ‘fly on the wall’ at this most personal occasion. All was needed was a push of the shutter button. Dennie was unobtrusively coaxing me and subtly directing from ‘the back seat’. He kept a sharp eye and checked my camera settings, angles and lighting throughout the wedding ceremony. He stepped back and allowed me to obtain the best angle, certainly a first for me.I was in heaven.This day is what memories are made of. It was precious and I will treasure it forever. Money can’t buy that. A major topic on the street was my status as a photographer in Bangkok. DK with prompting from Dennie had translated in Thai to potential subjects that I was a “famous photographer”. Their tactic proved to be an invaluable catalyst for their trust. As I gingerly approached these wonderful Thai’s I felt humbled by my new found title. It was a “tall order” but one I have set a goal to aspire to.To my delight, the following day, I received a phone call from Dennie offering to view my images and with his professional eye and help select my potential ‘masterpieces’. He also keeps in contact with me via email with links to interesting photographic sites and welcomed advice. That is definitely going the extra service mile and quite frankly distinguishes him from the rest. My contribution of the fee for the day proved truly worth every penny. My three questions were all answered with solid information and tactics I was provided with during our day together.I believe, Dennie and DK’s priority is a professional approach. It was clear their mantra is to provide the finest locations, specialized photography instruction, unquestionable quality experiences, affordable photography service but most importantly, their extended hand of friendship. With my newly found confidence, I have now taken up the challenge to focus on portrait photography with my camera as a third arm.Thank you Dennie and DK most sincerely for making my first visit to Bangkok unforgettable and I look forward to repeating the experience.