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Beberapa Tips Fotografi dari Songkran Water Festival 2012, Bangkok, Thailand

Under Rapid Songkran Fire - Fotografer.net Hunting Series 2012 Songkran Water Festival Bangkok. Photo by Kristupa Saragih
A Friend Indeed - Fotografer.net Hunting Series 2012 Songkran Water Festival Bangkok. Photo by Kristupa Saragih

A Friend Indeed – Fotografer.net Hunting Series 2012 Songkran Water Festival Bangkok. Photo by Kristupa Saragih

Tahun ini adalah kali kedua saya meliput Songkran Water Festival di Bangkok, Thailand. Berangkat bersama tim Fotografer.net Hunting Series 2012 Bangkok, kami berkunjung ke Bangkok 13-16 April 2012. Tahun lalu, di Songkran 2011, pengalaman saya posting di “My Canon EOS 1D Mk III Survived in Songkran Water Festival 2011“.

Under Rapid Songkran Fire - Fotografer.net Hunting Series 2012 Songkran Water Festival Bangkok. Photo by Kristupa Saragih

Under Rapid Songkran Fire – Fotografer.net Hunting Series 2012 Songkran Water Festival Bangkok. Photo by Kristupa Saragih

Berikut beberapa tips fotografi jika Anda hendak memotret Songkran Water Festival di Thailand, yang saya rangkum dari twit @kristupa ketika festival berlangsung di Bangkok:

  1. Memotret Songkran Water Festival kental nuansa dokumenter dan jurnalistik
  2. Songkran digelar di seluruh Thailand. Di Bangkok teramai di Khao San Road dan Silom Road
  3. Songkran di Bangkok biasanya ramai setelah tengah hari. Di Khao San ramai mulai jam 4 sore
  4. Songkran berupa water festival berbentuk “perang” siram-siraman air. Lindungi kamera dengan rain cover
  5. Di Songkran, suasana ramai berdesak-desakan. Pilih angle supaya dapat clear shot. Pertimbangkan lighting dan background
  6. Di Songkran tak mungkin setting subyek foto. Jika Anda aliran fotografer pictorial bisa frustasi
  7. Pakai lensa normal atau tele, karena sulit mendekat ke subyek dan situasi out of control
  8. Untuk lindungi kamera dari air tak disarankan pakai underwater housing. Berat bo’!
  9. Bisa pakai kamera jenis apa saja, tak harus DSLR. Yang penting Anda kuasai benar pengoperasiannya
  10. Songkran adalah festival tahun baru Thai. Rekam suasana ceria dan optimis. Air sebagai simbol yang ada artinya
  11. Songkran adalah festival siram-siraman air, maka dress accordingly. Tapi jangan pakai wet suit!
  12. Disiram air, dilarang marah. Blend in dan jadilah bagian dari pertempuran siram-siraman air
  13. Cukup bawa 1 bodi kamera, lebih dari itu berarti Anda perbesar resiko loss karena kesemprot air
  14. Cukup pakai 1 lensa, karena sulit ganti-ganti lensa di situasi simpang-siur semprotan air
  15. Cipratan air bisa direkam dengan speed tinggi untuk freezing, bisa juga dengan speed lambat
  16. Agar cipratan air terlihat signifikan, pilih background gelap dan kondisi backlight atau sidelight
  17. Lautan manusia terus bergerak, gunakan AF mode AI-servo atau AF-C
  18. Amankan alat komunikasi dan uang tunai secukupnya dalam kantung plastik kedap air
  19. Meski medan tak luas, tetap butuh stamina prima. Lautan manusia berdesakan
  20. Di Silom Road Bangkok ada jembatan penyeberangan, bisa high angle, tapi tetap siap basah
  21. Di Silom ada semburan hidran pemadam kebakaran, jadi permudah pilih angle
  22. Waspada lensa terkena semprotan frontal, siapkan tisu atau lap di kantung kedap air
  23. Tiba di lokasi segera orientasi medan, tentukan meeting point dan jam bertemu dengan teman-teman serombongan
  24. Selain semprotan air, siap-siap terima olesan larutan tepung di muka. Dilarang marah
  25. Siapkan pakaian ganti, naik mobil/bis/MRT ber-AC dengan pakaian basah kurang sehat
  26. Siapkan memory card cukup, kalaupun harus ganti memory card cari tempat aman dari semprotan air
  27. Available light is the best, flash tambahan ribet dan resiko kena semprot
  28. Berbaur dengan massa itu harus tapi jangan hanyut, tetap konsentrasi dengan subyek foto dan pesan
Suasana Songkran Water Festival di Silom Road, Bangkok, 15 April 2012. Foto oleh Kristupa Saragih

Suasana Songkran Water Festival di Silom Road, Bangkok, 15 April 2012. Foto oleh Kristupa Saragih

Pasukan Fotografer.net Hunting Series 2012 Bangkok basah kuyup usai memotret Songkran Water Festival di Khao San Road, 14 April 2012. Dari kiri: Armand Megawe, Yulianus Ladung, Kristupa Saragih, Zulkifli Kibor. Foto oleh Farano Gunawan

Pasukan Fotografer.net Hunting Series 2012 Bangkok basah kuyup usai memotret Songkran Water Festival di Khao San Road, 14 April 2012. Dari kiri: Armand Megawe, Yulianus Ladung, Kristupa Saragih, Zulkifli Kibor. Foto oleh Farano Gunawan

Pasukan Fotografer.net Hunting Series 2012 Bangkok usai memotret Songkran Water Festival di Silom Road, 15 April 2012. Dari kiri: Kristupa Saragih, Yulianus Ladung, Farano Gunawan, Zulkifli Kibor. Foto oleh Armand Megawe

Pasukan Fotografer.net Hunting Series 2012 Bangkok usai memotret Songkran Water Festival di Silom Road, 15 April 2012. Dari kiri: Kristupa Saragih, Yulianus Ladung, Farano Gunawan, Zulkifli Kibor. Foto oleh Armand Megawe

Kamera Canon EOS-1D Mark IV basah kuyup air campur larutan tepung di Songkran Water Festival 2012 namun lancar dan berfungsi normal. Foto oleh Kristupa Saragih

Kamera Canon EOS-1D Mark IV basah kuyup air campur larutan tepung di Songkran Water Festival 2012 namun lancar dan berfungsi normal. Foto oleh Kristupa Saragih

Agar tenang ketika berdesakan, bodi kamera diamankan dengan camera strap Pacsafe yang anti-jambret. Foto oleh Kristupa Saragih

Agar tenang ketika berdesakan, bodi kamera diamankan dengan camera strap Pacsafe yang anti-jambret. Foto oleh Kristupa Saragih

Agar aman dari semprotan air, barang bawaan dan asesoris fotografi disimpan di dalam pouch dengan built-in cover buatan ThinkTank Photo. Foto oleh Kristupa Saragih

Agar aman dari semprotan air, barang bawaan dan asesoris fotografi disimpan di dalam pouch dengan built-in cover buatan ThinkTank Photo


Cap Go Meh 2012 di Pulau Kemaro, Palembang

Lilin-lilin raksasa di kelenteng Pulau Kemaro, Palembang saat Cap Go Meh 2012. Foto oleh: Kristupa Saragih
Lilin-lilin raksasa di kelenteng Pulau Kemaro, Palembang saat Cap Go Meh 2012. Foto oleh: Kristupa Saragih

Lilin-lilin raksasa di kelenteng Pulau Kemaro, Palembang saat Cap Go Meh 2012. Foto oleh: Kristupa Saragih

Memotret upacara Cap Go Meh banyak dinanti fotografer. Di Indonesia, Singkawang, Kalimantan Barat jadi tempat tujuan paling ramai karena acara-acara yang atraktif. Tapi, upacara Cap Go Meh di Palembang, Sumatra Selatan ternyata menarik juga.

Dari tahun ke tahun, upacara Cap Go Meh di ibukota Provinsi Sumatra Selatan dipusatkan di kelenteng Hok Tjhing Rio, Pulau Kemaro. Dari pusat kota Palembang, Pulau Kemaro bisa dicapai tak sampai setengah jam. Pada hari biasa, pengunjung harus menyeberang dengan perahu untuk mencapai Pulau Kemaro.

Pada Cap Go Meh 2012, panitia sudah mengantisipasi 70 ribu pengunjung yang diperkirakan hadir di Pulau Kemaro. Dipusatkan pada tanggal 4-5 Februari 2012, ada 7 barge alias kapal tongkang yang dijajarkan membentuk jembatan menuju Pulau Kemaro. Pengunjung datang dari banyak tempat di Indonesia, seperti pantai timur Sumatra dan Jakarta. Bahkan ada beberapa bis yang mengangkut pengunjung dari Malaysia.

Umat bersembahyang dalam upacara Cap Go Meh 2012 di Pulau Kemaro, Palembang, Sumsel. Foto oleh: Kristupa Saragih

Umat bersembahyang dalam upacara Cap Go Meh 2012 di Pulau Kemaro, Palembang, Sumsel. Foto oleh: Kristupa Saragih

Pulau Kemaro lekat dengan legenda Siti Fatimah dan Tan Bun An. Secara historis, banyak cerita yang melekatkan penduduk setempat dan penduduk Tionghoa. Di hari biasa, kelenteng Hok Tjhing Rio dan pagoda 7 lantai di sebelahnya sudah jadi salah satu tempat tujuan wisata penting setelah Jembatan Ampera.

Pada Cap Go Meh 2012, Gubernur Sumatra Selatan Alex Noerdin hadir pada puncak acara, tengah malam 4 Februari dan dinihari 5 Februari. Asap hio pekat membumbung tanpa henti. Mata perih dan napas sesak jika berlama-lama berada di sekitar tempat sembahyang umat.

Penjual kacang rebus dan kembang api Cap Go Meh 2012 di Pulau Kemaro, Palembang, Sumsel. Foto oleh: Kristupa Saragih

Penjual kacang rebus dan kembang api Cap Go Meh 2012 di Pulau Kemaro, Palembang, Sumsel. Foto oleh: Kristupa Saragih

Antrian kendaraan membuat macet jalan sejak kompleks Pusri. Tak hanya umat yang hendak sembahyang yang datang ke Pulau Kemaro, tapi banyak wisatawan juga datang hendak merasakan kemeriahan Cap Go Meh. Untunglah panitia menyiapkan lahan parkir yang terorganisir rapi dan aman, penerangan cukup dan petugas parkir dalam jumlah memadai.

Kembang api silih berganti mewarnai langit, seiring bunyi yang meledak-ledak. Di Pulau Kemaro, kembang-kembang api menghiasi langit di sekitar pagoda. Bahkan penumpang kapal-kapal yang hendak merapat dan baru angkat sauh pun ikut memeriahkan malam dengan kembang api yang mengudara dari atas dek.

Saya menggunakan kamera Canon EOS-1D Mark IV dan lensa lebar Canon ED 17-40mm f/4L untuk memotret di Pulau Kemaro malam itu. Karena gelap, saya harus mengandalkan ISO 800 dan ISO 1600. Shooting mode dipaku pada modus aperture priority Av dan bukaan diset pada f/4.

Memotret dengan lensa tele jadi sulit karena puluhan ribu pengunjung yang berdesakan. Selain itu, seringkali lensa tele menarik perhatian dan mengganggu konsentrasi umat yang sembahyang. Lagipula, memotret pagoda dan kembang api di sekitarnya lebih mudah dengan lensa lebar.


My Canon EOS 1D Mk III Survived in Songkran Water Festival 2011

Incessant Songkran - Photo by Kristupa Saragih
Incessant Songkran - Photo by Kristupa Saragih

Incessant Songkran - Photo by Kristupa Saragih

Songkran สงกรานต์ is one of important festivals in Thailand. People celebrates Thai traditional New Year by throwing water to symbolize cleansing for good fortune. This annual festival is celebrated throughout this Buddhist country.

Canon EOS 1D Mk III and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM in Songkran #1

Canon EOS 1D Mk III and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM in Songkran #1

Photographically, Songkran is a must-shoot opportunity. This is the first year I shoot Songkran, together with a group of fellow Indonesian photographers. We went to Silom and Khao San in Bangkok to capture the “water battle”.

I realized that keep camera safe, it had to be covered properly against water. All fellows covered their gears with various brands of plastic rain cover for photography gears. Considering my Canon EOS 1D Mk III is weather-resistant and splash-proof, I did not put any cover.

The only cover in camera body is Camera Armor. It is not a protection for water, as actually Camera Armor is designed only to protect camera body from scratch and impact. Anyway, the lens I used Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM was not covered by anything.

Canon EOS 1D Mk III and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM in Songkran #2

Canon EOS 1D Mk III and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM in Songkran #2

I read in a photography magazine a story about photographer shooting similar festival in India using Canon EOS 1Ds Mk II. The camera was totally showered by colored water, and it was working normally. To clean it up after shooting, the photographer switched off the camera body, took off the lens and put the body cap on, then gave a flowing hot-water from a hose. The camera then got dried up properly, and worked again normally.

A couple years ago, I went to shoot traditional bull race in rice field in West Sumatra, Indonesia. A fellow Singaporean photographer somehow fell down into the mud of rice field. He got himself covered by mud all over his body, and so was the camera which was Canon EOS 1Ds Mk II.

He then went to a nearby house, got himself a hose and gave a flowing water to the camera body to clean it up from mud. After giving it a proper drying up, the camera then worked properly with no single malfunction. I noticed it myself and it convinced me to go to Songkran without any water protection to my EOS 1D Mk III.

Canon EOS 1D Mk III and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM in Songkran #3

Canon EOS 1D Mk III and Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM in Songkran #3

Me and my group hit the road of Silom in downtown Bangkok around 9 AM. Then, after lunch, we continued to shoot more extreme water battle of Songkran in Khao San Road. No one, I repeat: no one, came out dry from Khao San. It was around 4 PM in the afternoon when we decided to cease fire and struggled to come out from water-battleground.

My camera and lens was totally wet. Some part of the camera body and lens even got some powder, as powder is also part of the water-battle of Songkran. I took some proof pictures of my camera and lens using my mobile phone. My wallet, mobile phone and some other important stuff was kept in a splash-proof plastic bag.

As written in the specification, Canon EOS 1D/1Ds serie is designed to endure the weather, including water splash. No, it is not designed to be waterproof, if you tried to sink it into water. It is designed for professionals working in unfriendly shooting situation and extreme condition.

And I feel satisfied to prove myself that Canon EOS 1D Mk III works and functions normally until now.

Songkran 2011 in Khao San, Bangkok - photo by Kristupa Saragih | taken by BlackBerry 9780

Songkran 2011 in Khao San, Bangkok - photo by Kristupa Saragih | taken by BlackBerry 9780

After succeeded to get out from Songkran water-battleground in Khao San, Bangkok. From left: Armand, Yoyon, Dimar (sit), myself, Romi and Edy. All Indonesian photographers.

After succeeded to get out from Songkran water-battleground in Khao San, Bangkok. From left: Armand, Yoyon, Dimar (sit), myself, Romi and Edy. All Indonesian photographers.


Traveling with BlackBerry Bold 9700 Camera

Taal. When traveling you must have pictures that would make you memorize the place. In a visit to Taal, Batangas Province, Philippines, I found this sign inside a Spanish colonial style building. Photo by: Kristupa Saragih with BlackBerry Bold 9700 Onyx

You must live in the other planet or live in another century back if you haven’t traveled anywhere in your life. Traveling becomes an integrated part of life and for some people becomes their habit and desire. One important thing is to have a camera to be your best traveling buddy.

One compact camera is enough to accompany you during the trip. It was years ago when traveler had to bring, at least, two gadgets: mobile phone and pocket camera. Image sensor, resolution and quality in camera in mobile phone was not good. Today, there are plenty of options of mobile phone which has good quality of image sensor, lens and big resolution.

I know a mobile phone today reaches 12 megapixel resolution. Another mobile phone put on the legendary Carl-Zeiss lens. You may want anything, but it’s better to have what you really need. I choose BlackBerry Bold 9700 Onyx which has 3.2 megapixel camera.

It goes whereever I go. I seldom bring my pocket camera. My big professional DSLR is with me in serious targets. Anyway, simplicity in mobile phone camera would let us concentrate more on the subject and idea rather than technical things, i.e shutter speed and aperture settings.

Sample of pictures here didn’t go through any single digital editing. I only resized them down so you may witness the strengths and weaknesses of mobile phone camera. Let the pictures talk.

Afternoon in Kalasey. Overlooking Manado Tua volcano in the distance, I found this place calming. It was a bit cloudy but some parts of blue sky occured. Shooting only the volcano would not distinguish it with another shot from another angle. An addition of foreground would make it distinctive. If you visit Manado, North Sulawesi you must give yourself a photo of Manado Tua. Photo by: Kristupa Saragih with BlackBerry Bold 9700 Onyx

Filipino Traditional Dance. I positioned myself as an ordinary tourist. If I put myself as serious photographer, I would remove the background and find more artistic setting. But this kind of situation is a scene that any traveler might face. There was low light condition and the subject was moving. I read the movement and tried to find the pattern, as any kind of dance would have, and caught the moment of when some dancers sat still while the others moving. Pre-focus, hold the camera button half-way then only pressed fully down at the desired moment. This is a regular dance performance in Intramuros, Manila, Philippines. Photo by: Kristupa Saragih with BlackBerry Bold 9700 Onyx

New Year's Fireworks. Shooting fireworks is a challenge, even if you're armed with DSLR. It's even much more challenging to shoot fireworks with mobile phone camera. It couldn't measure exposure value as in DSLR, and we couldn't set aperture and speed manually. The effective way to shoot is to determine the exact location of fireworks, pre-focus by pressing the camera button half-way down and pushing it all-the-way down at the desired moment. It's hard, but I made about 2 out of 10 successful pictures in New Year 2010 Eve in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo by: Kristupa Saragih with BlackBerry Bold 9700 Onyx

Jeepney. When traveling, you must give yourself photo of an icon of the place you visit. Manila, of course, is famous with its Jeepney, the common public transport. When shooting in front of Malate Church, I found a lot of Jeepney passing by. It's only a couple hundred meters away from Roxas Boulevard, Manila Bay, Manila, Philippines. Photo by: Kristupa Saragih with BlackBerry Bold 9700 Onyx

St Nino Festival. A trip that match an event would give some more memories, things to learn, experiences, and subject for photography. St Nino Festival is held annualy in Manila, Philippines. I found this eye-catching costume of guards among the crowd of thousands of people in the streets of Pasay City, Manila, Philippines. Photo by: Kristupa Saragih with BlackBerry Bold 9700 Onyx

Nasi Kuning. Another important thing in traveling photography is making photos of local food. Yellow rice in Yogyakarta, Indonesia is made of turmeric and accompanied with grilled chicken, sliced fried tempe, and some condiments. Light situation was available light, a side light from nearby window. Photo by: Kristupa Saragih with BlackBerry Bold 9700 Onyx