I ended up at the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Exhibition. It was a lucky mistake as well as a happy surprise! I was planning on going to the Chiang Mai Botanical Garden and that's where I thought I was heading!
The botanical garden is there for my next visit but the Royal Flora Exhibition, a repeat of the 2006 original event, lasted only a few months... December 14, 2011 until March 14, 2012.
And I was in Chiang Mai at the end of January, just at the right time.
I could lie and say I planned it that way but I really had no idea where the songtaew (a kind of taxi) was heading.... or that this amazing event was going on at the time.
Here's a view down the Royal Path that leads to the Royal Pavilion off in the distance. The pavilion was the center of the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Exhibition.
Its an interesting composition... lots of patterns, lines, angles, colors and great perspective.
I love the curvy-sexy lamp posts. Don't they look like lilies perched on top of a long, slender stem?
The Ho Kham Royal Pavilion was at the end of the Royal Path. The sun was incredibly bright and I couldn't get any detail in the white sculptures with my point and shoot. The difference in the darkest shades and the whites was too much! I chose to capture the dark and mid tones and sacrifice the bright whites.
It's really important to use your histogram and check your shots to make sure you're getting the most detail in your photos, but when the contrast is too much for your camera to handle.....
There are ways to get around losing detail! You can take multiple exposures of the same scene (with your camera on a tripod). Then you can use layers in Photoshop or other programs to sandwich them together. Or you could merge them to HDR, either in Photoshop or a dedicated HDR program.
I was more successful with my video camera. Video seems to be a little more forgiving in high contrast light. But I still had problems and I had to constantly adjust the exposure.
Of course you can only guess about the quality of the image until you see it on your computer.
The original Royal Flora Ratchaphruek
was held November 1, 2006 to January 31, 2007 at the Royal Flora
Ratchaphruek Park... which is also called the Royal Agricultural Research Center.
If you missed this floral exhibition in 2006, I hope you dropped in for the revival.
Thailand got special permission from the International Association of Horticultural Producers to throw this shindig in Chiang Mai again - 14th December 2011 to 14th March 2012.
The original version celebrated King Bhumibol's 60th Anniversary of his reign as well as his 80th birthday. He was the world's longest reigning monarch... Yeah Thailand!
The winter's re-run in 2011-2012 celebrated the King's 84th birthday, Queen Sirkit's 80th birthday and Crown Prince's 60th birthday!
Three's the charm.
Water and reflections. Whenever you get the opportunity to photograph reflections... grab on to it with both hands! Reflections on water or in a mirror make for great photos.
Reflections will look completely different if the water is still or if there are ripples or waves.
If you want interesting patterns, drop a stone or two into a calm pond.
COLOR! Reflections double your opportunity for showing off exquisite
color... like the luminous yellow and green patterns mirrored in the
pond around the Royal Pavilion.
Before I left Korea, it was -14 degrees and it was a bummer adjusting to the heat in Thailand.
The hot sun really hit me walking around outside the Royal Pavilion! All the gorgeous ceramic brick and stone really reflected the rays!
The view was gorgeous out here, looking out over the beautiful lawns, the gardens and the pond. The shapes and textures are amazing in this shot.
Take a couple of minutes and tour the park with me... took us 5 hours on foot, but here are some interesting stops along the way in just under two minutes.
The estimate for walking the entire area of the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Exhibition was 6 hours. But that didn't take into account that photographers move about as fast as slugs!
We didn't plan on the size of the park and unfortunately, we missed so much.
I was exhausted after 5 hours
of walking in the heat. But so grateful for seeing what we could fit in. An awesome floral exhibition.
The video is a meager sample of 30+ participating countries' pavilions at the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek ... and it only gives a glimpse of this flower photographers' paradise!
Wow, get a look at this great wall. ... a perfect example of different textures. To show off texture in a photo, shoot from the side.
Or shoot from the front but have the light strike your subject from the side. Side-lighting picks up all the minute details.
All the lines converge on the right side of the photo and gives a sense of distance. Even better, though, I love the texture of the rock and grass panels of the massive wall.
This is the Belgian contribution to the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek. The wall is "L" shaped around a gigantic horn made of materials native to Thailand. There were hundreds of orchids inside the horn.
Watch the video to see the entire Belgian exhibit.
The Orchid Pavilion ... Unbelievable
...the color combinations, the detail in every bloom, the huge number of plants.
The pavilion was exquisite. Of course, we're talking about a country famous for its orchids!
I love the orange and green.
The image is full of parallel lines... in the strings of orchids hanging from the ceiling and in the green column.
If you're an orchid lover, my orchid-pictures page is for you! I hope you'll take a peek at those images.
The Orchid Pavilion was one of the main attractions of the Royal Flora Ratchaphuek. When you're in Thailand, you're in orchid country! The displays were extravagant and the size of the entire orchid exhibition hall was humongous!
A class of local art students settled into this pavilion early in the morning and by the time we got back, they were well into working on their canvases.
Several water features were, oh, so relaxing. And a display of the orchid competitions was an awesome kaleidoscope of color. And the scents of orchids swirling in the air... just lovely.
The orchid pavilion was our last photography stop. By the time we arrived back, we had only flitted over the entire Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Exhibition. This pavilion alone needed an entire day to do justice to any photography.
The huge area and hundreds of orchids were
overwhelming. In our short visit it was so difficult to settle for so few
It's now several years since I attended the Royal Flora Ratchephruek. You can still visit the park area and experience an awesome showing of flowers. The orchid pavilion will be waiting for you there and it's just as glorious.
But now, you'll be visiting the Royal Park Rajapruek.
Go well armed with your tripod, camera and an entire day. Don't skimp on the time you plan to spend there.