The Thai Bee Gees At NCR

This was an event that held a lot of importance to the bar in question, New Country Road, which, like many other bars in and around the city of Pattaya in Thailand, is struggling to survive during low season. This year by all accounts, has been the worst yet and there seems little sign of improvement.

beegees A2

But I helped my good friends and owners of the bar to promote the event and it paid dividends, as you will discover as you read on.

However, it was far from plain sailing. The threat of rain was always going to be a factor but thankfully Buddha was on our side. It was a lovely day as we built up for the arrival of the band from Bangkok.

DSC_4707

Then disaster. As the band did their sound check, the quality of the sound emitting to the area where the guests would hopefully be sitting, was dire to say the least.

All the noise was heading into the bar leaving an inaudible whimper coming from the front facing speakers. It sounded like you were listening to music coming from a bar 100 metres away, and there was little we could do.

DSC_4708

As Martin, the boss, looked stressed out, and no wonder; my head was buzzing, searching for solutions. It was then I decided to phone Phil, the manager of a rather excellent bar in Khao Noi, known as Murphy’s Irish Pub.

NCR had hired equipment from them previously for the Jerry Lee Carlson gig, a few months back.

But would they be able to help us out? Thankfully, Phil and owner Steve, were on hand to provide us with two much needed, quality speakers.

DSC_4704

But the problems were far from over, because we didn’t have the correct cables to connect the new additions to the sound system.

Disaster was again averted, thanks to a top man called Darren, who just happened to have the appropriate cables with him. And so, after a bit of jiggery-pokery, we were ready for action.

All we needed now was customers.

DSC_4712

We advertised the event as an eight o’clock kick-off but there was no one there. It looked like a month of advertising had been in vain.

Just when it looked like things were going to go pear-shaped, a party of six arrived. Then another group of eight appeared as the band sang their first song.

Within 20 minutes we had 60 – 80 people seated and for the first time in the evening but not the last, we ran out of seats. Martin and his partner oil, went on the search for more chairs and tables.

DSC_4713

Thirty minutes into the gig and we had around 100 people and again, more seating was required. Chairs and tables duly arrived from other venues, who kindly helped out.

I spoke to a number of people that I had never seen in Rompho before, to determine where they heard about the event. It seems that our many Facebook ads on a variety of events pages, had indeed paid off.

There is no doubt that Facebook advertising works.

DSC_4746

So with a packed house, the boys from Bangkok, began turning on the style. They played two hours of Bee Gees hits. Song after song, had the audience applauding.

There was a table near the front, with European girls enjoying the event and they contributed by treated us to some excellent dancing over the course of the evening.

Many of the visitors were from Thailand but we had a diverse crowd from further afield, in a truly multi-cultural turn out. Germany, Australia, China, Canada, America, France, the UK and people from many other nations were present.

DSC_4739

Pattaya’s number one dancer, John Farr arrived and as always, it was not long before he was strutting his stuff around the perimeter.

The band belted out the hits in that unmistakable falsetto and vibrato voices, accompanied by excellent harmonies, much to the crowds’ delight.

Jive Talkin’, Staying Alive, Massachusetts, which was requested at least TWICE by those in attendance, Run To Me, You Should Be Dancing, To Love Somebody, Words, I Started A Joke, which was another one requested twice as the hits were delivered in their own impeccable tribute to the Bee Gees.

They continued with songs such as How Deep Is Your Love, More Than A Woman, If I Can’t Have You, Alone, Night Fever, Grease, You Win Again and the classic Tragedy.

For their third set, as always, they finished with their variety section, which is not Bee Gees hits. Here they had the girls, and the odd guy, up dancing to the likes of YMCA and numerous other party songs. They threw in a number of rock ‘n’ roll tracks including Blue Suede Shoes, which again had people on their feet.

I am great believer in promoting live music and not a huge fan of karaoke type acts. There is nothing better than listening to a live act, who play their instruments, assuming they are talented musicians of course. However, there are times when rules are meant to be broken and this is one such occasion.

DSC_4749

The guys play keyboard and guitar but for them to produce the sound of the Bee Gees completely live, would mean performing with an orchestra and that is never going to happen in Pattaya. So yes, they utilise backing tracks but they do it so well. The real talent is their vocals for they sound identical to the brothers Gibb, whom they play tribute to.

After over three hours of entertainment, the band sat down with some of the guests and enjoyed a well deserved refreshment.

Would I go and see them again, having already enjoyed their performance twice? Abso-bloody-lutely.

Bangkok weekend anyone?

One comment spotted on New Country Road’s Facebook page in response to my offer of gratitude to the many people who assisted and took the time to come and enjoy the music, had me laughing or to use a word I particularly like “cachinnating”.

It came from Paul Bardsley. He said “A fantastic tribute band who could hit those “scrotum squeezing” high notes!

“A great evening at NCR! Thank you Martin, Oil and the staff!

Til next time………….”

Kazakhstan Beauty Carina

It has been almost a year since I last did a model shoot and if the truth be told, without access to a studio, I did not foresee when my next one would occur.

DSC_4549

I seem to have accepted that my camera would be used mainly for music events and parties in Thailand or maybe an odd tourist attraction.

Although I was frequently in the studio working with a variety of models in Scotland, the lack of a studio to rent in Pattaya has put an end to model days. My last outing with a model was this time last year with the gorgeous Jane and there has been nothing on the horizon since.

DSC_4547

Or so I thought.

I got a text out of the blue from a girl I know as Karin. She asked if I would take some photos of her and her cats. This didn’t excite me too much but her beauty was something I was keen to capture and so I suggested that we do a few shots of her after the family affair and her felines.

DSC_4543

She agreed and the images I have displayed in this post, are the result of 90 minutes with the girl.

I discovered that she was not Thai but is in fact from Kazakhstan. She is here in Pattaya with her family and is keen to improve on her English skills, whilst in the city.

DSC_4566

The shoot took place at her family home, the adjacent street and nearby swimming pool. As agreed, we began with a few shots of Carina (the name on her Facebook page) and her cats, then a couple with her mother, before moving onto the part that interested me most.

Carina has a very photographic face, slim figure and is tall, so it was easy to obtain decent images of her.

DSC_4578b.jpg

Like most girls, they are often overly critical of themselves and we debated what was a good or bad photo. However, I rely a lot on feedback from other photographers on a variety of websites and take on board what they say.

Also comments from people who see the photos of Facebook and Instagram, often provide you with an idea if the image is worthy of inclusion on my blog or not, so it is with those remarks and opinions that I selected the photographs on display.

DSC_4679

Carina appeared wearing jeans and a loose fitting orange top, which immediately displayed her excellent figure but my concentration was very much focused on her face. Her make-up was applied to perfection, which again helped me to capture her attractiveness with ease.

She is perfection apart from one small scar, which was easily photoshopped out. She was also a natural in front of the camera, needing little in the way of direction. All I had to do was follow her around and watch as she changed pose with every click of the camera.

DSC_4620

Carina’s skin required no attention in post editing, although I did sharpen the photos, crop and occasionally adjusted the contrast or colour balance but generally, the images are straight from the camera, straightened and resized.

Carina has a fantastic figure and is a joy to work with. She knows what she wants when she stands in front of the camera but is not overly assertive. She oozes confidence when the camera is aimed at her and moves around like an experienced model.

DSC_4629

She would try different poses and decide if she felt comfortable with the position or how she thought she looked. Generally speaking however, all I did was accompany her and point my Nikon D750 in her direction and let her do the work.

After 20 minutes or so in her jeans, she decided to change costume, arriving in what appeared to be a leopard skin printed dress or possibly one of those outfits that looks like a dress but could in fact be shorts. The outfit was complemented by a hat of a similar design.

DSC_4645

She donned black platform shoes which helped stretch her legs and gave her additional height but she commented that she wished she had a pair of high heels to stretch her legs further. Again a sign that she knew exactly what she desired from the shoot.

However, it was her facial features that I found myself being attracted to and I was soon getting close ups of her striking features.

We did a few full length shots in the centre of the private road where she lives before we moved to the swimming pool.

DSC_4627

Carina became a different person in swimwear. She began with another orange outfit over her bikini, before discarding it and pulling off some wonderful poses in a lovely bikini. She adjusted her stance and posture with amazing grace and with little prompting from me.

Every movement was natural and classy. She maintained a sense of charm and sophistication as I followed her around the pool, permitting her to move with the freedom she deserved.  It was working well so I did not need to interfere in anyway.

She has natural ability to strike a pose, elegance, an air of simplicity in everything she does and of course incredibly looks, which at the end of the day, produced images that I am delighted with.

DSC_4610a

I would dearly love the opportunity to do a second shoot with this girl, for she is a joy to work with. If Carina can come up with something along the lines of fashion and a change of look and make up, I could be easily persuaded to get the camera out again.

The last image is one of the few that I did a bit of messing around with and is not straight from the camera but only because I added a vignette to give a different feel and it is one that I particularly like.

I hope you enjoy viewing the images as much as I did creating them and Karin – anytime you want to have another shoot, just say the word 🙂

DSC_4551

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue Sky Band

I wasn’t planning on taking in two bands in one week, for after the Thai Bee Gees, I considered that anything else was going to be a bit of a let down. I mean no disrespect to other musicians in Pattaya but the Bee Gees blew me away and I considered that ample entertainment for this week.

DSC_3848

However, a good friend invited me his bar to listen to his resident band, with the promise that I would not be disappointed. As it was the same venue the Bee Gees performed at, I gave it due consideration and decided to take the camera out for trip to central Pattaya.

The band were called, as the title of this story suggests, “The Blue Sky Band”. I was introduced to them and sat and enjoyed a brief history of the group and its members from drummer Oy. At sixty-four, he is the elder statesman of the group but he does not look his age.

DSC_3825

He informed the band had been on the go for six months and where I could see them playing around the city of Pattaya. Oy lived in Switzerland for 24 years before returning to his native Thailand.

He introduced the other members as Lek on bass, Aon who plays lead guitar, Joe the keyboard specialist and the very talented vocalist, Jowel, who is the baby of the band.

DSC_3812.jpg

I took my seat in front of the stage area and waited on the music commencing.

Like many groups, they played three sets, the first one featuring songs that are designed to settle the audience down. They played hits from the likes of Chicago and Procol Harum before treating us to the Cars, Elton John and even the Bee Gees.

DSC_3818.jpg

They sounded good but they hadn’t really grabbed my attention. That was until Jowel sang Sam Brown’s “Stop”. It was then that I realised the evening was going to get better. She followed this up with a fantastic vocal on “Simply The Best” from Tina Turner and again, I was starting to accept that the hype honoured on them by my good friend Steve, could actually be justified.

DSC_3850

Occasionally Oy took the lead vocals as Jowel either went for a rest, played guitar or keyboard or wandered around the bar. He did a pretty good rendition of “Hello”, the classic from Lionel Richie. I was taken aback by his vocals, not something you often hear from the drummer of a band.

Jowel returned to front the group and sang a superb cover of a song, that at the time, I could not think who sang the original or even decide on the title. I had to ask the singer what the song was. It was Adele’s “Hello” which I thought was called “The Other Side”.

DSC_3894

We live and learn.

They completed the first set with astounding versions of “Purple Rain” and “Sweet Child Of Mine” by Prince and Guns ‘n’ Roses respectively. It was during these two songs that I realised how good the musicians in The Blue Sky Band were. The drums, lead guitar and keyboards shone through.

I had requested “Proud Mary”, one of my all time favourite Tina Turner songs and Jowel, true to her word, opened the second set with the song and nailed it. The drums on this one were top drawer it has to be said.

DSC_3892

They band were really coming to life and stepped it up a gear as they entertained us with a song I never expected from them – Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. The bass on this track pumped around the venue and the keyboards produced what sounded like the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. What a treat we were having and the best was yet to come.

I should have known they would be a top band because they play in the Hard Rock Cafe, a venue that only use the cream of talent from the Philippines, Indonesia and occasionally, Thailand.

DSC_3878

The other thing that was evident, was their grasp of English during the vocals. Every word was pronounced as it should be, which is a failing on many local bands.

I always prefer live music over bands or artists that use backing tracks but there are some I make exceptions for, such as the aforementioned Bee Gees, who were a class act.

The Blue Sky Band however, were live and rocking the joint.

DSC_3884.jpg

Jowel continued to amaze us with her versions of Heart’s “Alone”, accompanied only by the sound of the piano.

Similarly Oy offered us his interpretation of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful To Me”. Aon exhibited his ability on the guitar as the five piece group played Toto’s “Hold The Line”.

DSC_3875

Then the real treat for me came with two back to back Queen hits “I Want To Break Free” and a spectacular version of “Somebody To Love”. The band were now well and truly alive and Jowel frolicked on the stage, goofing around with the band members. They were really enjoying this set.

DSC_3869

However, they attempted to cover Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares To You” which went pear shaped. They apologised and admitted they had never performed it before. Nevertheless, they came back to the song during the third set and did it justice.

It was during the third set that they played what I considered to be the best tune of the night. They had sang “First Cut Is The Deepest” in an acoustic style and “The House Of The Rising Sun” but when the played a very long intro to a Blondie track, I knew we were in for a treat.

DSC_3855.jpg

“Atomic” was just sublime. Jowel sang in the style of Debbie Harry but the band performed their own twist on the 1980 UK number one hit. Astonishingly, the recording just broke the top 40 in the USA back in the day.

With my evening complete, I packed up the camera and departed the Triangle Bar in the early hours. Three hours of wonderful music from a highly talented bunch of musicians, everyone of them a master of their trade.

It is baffling why talent of this nature is never seen around the globe or even further afield than Pattaya. In this case, it is Pattaya’s gain.

If you wish to see them, they play in the Triangle bar Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Variations of the band, under another name, play the Holiday Inn and The Hard Rock Cafe, although the line up is slightly different.

DSC_3860

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thai Bee Gees

Music is a passion of mine and has been for many years. Alas it is only as a listener of quality songs over the decades as I never learned to play an instrument, and if I had my life over again, I would certainly pick up a guitar, drum sticks or keyboard and try and learn an instrument.

DSC_3756

For the moment, it will have to be the triangle, spoons or tambourine but there isn’t much demand for these skills.

However, what I lack in musical talent, I like to think I make up for with my trusty Nikon D750 and associated lenses and flash.

DSC_3730

Last night, I was accompanied by my hardware and a few friends and went to take in a gig featuring Bangkok band “The Thai Bee Gees”.

Now before I continue – there are numerous bands in Pattaya, who are Thai and musically they are extremely talented but when it comes to vocals, they struggling with English interpretations, especially when the letter “R” is used. Now I do not mean to be condescending or demeaning to anyone, for I know how difficult it is to learn to speak Thai but my point is, that the Thai bands are often let down when they commence singing.

It is for this reason, that many of the better bands feature Filipino or Indonesian singers to front them.

DSC_3742.jpg

This was not the case with the Thai Bee Gees, for this lot are top drawer. In fact, I would put them on a par with another amazing act and a great favourite of mine, Sweden’s “Jerry Lee Carlson”, who of course has played in Pattaya a few times and been the subject of my photography and blog on more than one occasion.

DSC_3749

Jerry is more flamboyant than the Thai Bee Gees. He has a huge stage presence and works his audience well as he sings the hits of Jerry Lee Lewis and other rock ‘n’ roll legends from days gone by.

The Bee Gees routine is 100% based on the vocals of the act they play tribute too. There are no gimmicks, no dancing, no fancy clothing or stage antics. They rely on the fact they sound like the Bee Gees to sell themselves and they do it very well indeed.

DSC_3758.jpg

They covered every Bee Gees song I could think of. In fact I got my iPhone out at one point and perused the trios hits over the decades, to see if they had missed any classics.

They had not!

The audience were given three sessions over a three hour period. They sang the early songs such as “I Started A Joke” which is one of my all time favourites. They did “Massachusetts”, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart”, “Grease” and “I’ve Got To Get A Message To you”.

DSC_3778.jpg

The hits continued one after the other as the audience enjoyed the show from this talented group.

But it was the disco hits of the 1970s that really proved how good their harmonies were. “How Deep Is Your Love”, “More Than A Woman”, “Night Fever”, and “Staying Alive” had the Triangle Bar jumping.

DSC_3763.jpg

The floated back and forward to hits like “Run To Me”, “Words”, “You Win Again”, “You Should Be Dancing” and “To Love Somebody”.

For me, and for many others, the best came when the did a tremendous version of “Jive Talking” and followed that up superbly with “Tragedy”.

DSC_3765

Now there are many tribute acts around the world and I have seen a few but you will be hard pushed to find a show, which nails 80% of the songs covered, the way they did. I say 80% because like any other gig, there is always a song or two that you don’t know or possibly didn’t like. In this instance, there was maybe two I couldn’t claim to know.

Their third session was a variety of songs, showing how diverse they are. The covered the Eagles with “New Kid In Town and Hotel California” which of course most rock cover bands will do.

DSC_3733

Then they opened up with an excellent version of “Smooth” which was a hit for Santana of course. They sang three or maybe four catchy Thai songs, which had all the Thai ladies up dancing.

At my request, they finish with a couple of the disco hits as the guys happily repeated two of the earlier songs.

DSC_3739.jpg

Now, the group did use backing tracks. At the end of the day, there are only three of them and one only played the tambourine. The hits of the Bee Gees, frequently had orchestral backing, so they have little choice but use backing tracks.

I have no problem with this because their vocals and harmonies were simply sublime. One guy played keyboard and the other a guitar.

But I can assure you, they are not a karaoke band. The lads are extremely talented and entertaining.

DSC_3752

Steve Archer of the Triangle Bar is renowned for attracting some of the best acts to the venue. With Jerry Lee Carlson, The Bangkok Beatles and of course his regular nightly rock bands, the Triangle is one of the hot spots for music in Pattaya. The Thai Bee Gees graced the stage and hopefully will be back in Pattaya very soon.

Most local acts would kill to play at the Triangle for they always have a large audience. Yes there are numerous venues that supply a wonderful assortment of musical extravaganza; something for everyone you could say but there are few that come close to this venue.

DSC_3788.jpg

For those who like the Bee Gees and have not seen this tribute to the Brothers Gibb, I strongly suggest you do so. You will not be disappointed.

 

 

Soulmates

I was very much in demand at the weekend, which is never a bad thing. Nor is it something to complain about, for if you are being requested to attend certain events, they it suggests that I am doing something right.

Firstly a friend from Germany, Helmut, asked me to take some photos to assist in the promotion of his band and in particular, their new singer Maricel.

DSC_3673

It soon transpired that I would be participating with a band of maniacs, and I mean that in the kindest possible way.

I had met all of the band before apart from the new vocalist and my first impression was, she was very pretty and I may get some decent images. But I did not expect her to be so natural and fun in front of the camera.

DSC_3680.jpg

The images were to be taken at Dongtan Beach in Jomtien area of Pattaya and on location at the “Sand Bar By The Sea”. The light was fading fast, for in Thailand it gets dark from 19:00 and by 19:30 it was pitch black, apart from any ambient lighting from buildings.

DSC_3679.jpg

I hadn’t began taking the photos when the hilarity began. The top image is of Helmut and Maricel. The gentleman that he is, offered to carry the lady to the beach, because she couldn’t walk in her heels. It resulted in my first picture.

Next I snapped one of Maricel as she larked around, letting the sea breeze mess with her hair. She certainly enjoys being in front of the camera and was a dream to photograph.

DSC_3685a

From there I took a couple of group shots before snapping head and shoulders photos of each member of the band, who are known as “Soulmates”.

All was going well despite the lack of light. I was using flash of course and it is well documented on my blog that I am not in favour of using what I believe is an offensive weapon but I am slowly beginning to make the best of any situation, where I have to use artificial lighting.

DSC_3686

My forte is of course studio work or in fact anything that involves pointing my camera at people and on this occasion, I had some excellent models to hone my skills on.

I learned a lot about the usage of flash from a fellow photographer living in Pattaya by the name of Marcus. He showed me the error of my ways and I feel that my photography has benefited from him taking the time to assist me. Just shows that we never stop learning.

DSC_3695.jpg

Based on that, I play around with settings when working with my Nikon SB700 flash. Sometimes I like to capture the ambient lighting, which is what I was failing miserably at before my meeting with Marcus.

However, sometimes I like to keep the background as dark as possible. This is by design as I believe that a plain background, can often emphasise the subject, in the case the model.

DSC_3718

Now time was tight as I had agreed to take images at a gig in central Pattaya at the Triangle Bar, where a top tribute band were performing. The band in question was the Thai Bee Gees. They commenced their performance at 21:00 and I wanted to be there early to get a front seat.

DSC_3716.jpg

My next post will be based on the Thai Bee Gees event.

This meant I could not hang around to listen to the new vocalist, but I did hear her first song and was very impressed.

DSC_3722

So I will make a point of going to see them for an evening in the very near future.

Helmet seems to have a knack of discovering wonderful female vocalists and it would be fair to say, he usually has the best in the city of Pattaya, and Maricel fits the bill perfectly.

DSC_3670.jpg

For those of you who haven’t seen Soulmates, you should make an effort and take in one of their gigs. Their selection of music often starts of slow and relaxed in their first set and builds up to a crescendo of top quality guitar, keyboards, bass and drums from the band and there are three top class vocalist to entertain you.

Their style is a mixture of blues, rock and soul but let me tell you – if you are a fan of lead guitar solos, you must go see this band.

Many thanks to the guys and doll for inviting me along to do these photos. Hopefully there will be many more as we go forward.

DSC_3691a

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back To The Football Two

Following on from my previous post featuring the kids of Pattaya participating in a major football tournament, here is the prequel to that event.

The men’s competition took place the day before on the Saturday. Again there was an abundance of skill on show from both Thai and farang players.

DSC_1260

Firstly though, I must pay tribute to a lady known only as Colette, who literally could have saved me from a hospital visit. With not a cloud in the sky and temperatures hitting 32 degrees, I found myself feeling ill as the bright sunshine and heat took its toll on me.

DSC_1280.jpg

I was burning, especially my face and head. I felt nauseous and if the truth be told, I was ready for home after only two hours of photography.

Then this very kind lady introduced herself. When she realised I was struggling, she brought me chocolate milk, water, rice and eggs and a beer with the statement “one of these will cure you – I am not sure which one but one will do the trick.” She was right. After eating and drinking the mixture of consumables, I was feeling great. She then presented me with a hat to stop the sun doing further damage.

Thank you Colette.

DSC_1321.jpg

So back to the football. It still baffles me why the standard of football in Thailand is so poor at international level, when there is clearly an abundance of talent coming through. The skills from the kids on the Sunday was exceptional and many of the younger players in the adult competition were very capable, albeit on a seven-a-side basis.

DSC_1347.jpg

Take my first image for example. The chap in the red, left the two opposition players for dead, with skill and pace, before approaching the keeper and sliding the ball into the net from a tight angle, despite the best efforts of the keeper.

The next photo is of a young goalkeeper, who is small in stature but incredibly graceful and talented, and as you can see, very adept in front of the camera.

DSC_1576

I have taken photos of him and a few others at a beach football competition in Jomtien a few months back.

I selected the next one because the player is high in the air as he attempts to block a long pass from the player in white. He failed but the image was captured in a series of three and I like this one.

DSC_1589.jpg

Next up is another skillful lad, who easily passes two players, leaving one on the floor. He successfully crossed the ball into the danger area but a goal was not forthcoming on this occasion.

DSC_1590.jpg

In case you are wondering why so many teams are wearing white shirts with “MoneyGram” on them, this is because the sponsor provided strips for one of the teams in every match.

I must also add that every thirty minutes or so, I was treated to cold water, coke zero or beer by the organisers. I guess they had concerns that the old man may keel over in the heat 🙂

DSC_1666.jpg

Now there is often a moment of hilarity at these events and this one was no exception, unless you are the poor lad lying on his back holding his testicles. The chap took a sore one from an opponent and was on the ground in agony. He was not afraid to let people know exactly where the pain was emanating from either.

“Oh my bollocks” was just one of the choice phrases he let rip with. I also cleaned that comment up somewhat 🙂

DSC_1689

Of course acting with the utmost professionalism, I wandered over and took a few images of this crestfallen moment in his football career. I am happy to say, he was soon on his feet, resting against a wall.

Amazingly, no one offered to massage the area to speed up the healing process.

DSC_1752.jpg

The lad taking the ball on his chest is one I particularly like. Especially when followed up with the subsequent image, which is taken a split second after the first. This time he resembles a ballerina as the ball rose upwards after connecting with his chest. He did however, bring the orb under full control seconds later.

DSC_1761.jpg

How about a “sausage roll”, the diet of champions? Actually, the guy had been injured and was unable to continue, so like many others, he sampled some of the excellent food on offer at the event.

Not only was there Thai food, there was an excellent stall selling spaghetti, chicken and pork. Someone said there was a burger van but I failed to locate it.

DSC_1878.jpg

The one of the chap in the Italian strip (at least I think that is what it is) appeals to me, as it represents a standard football image, with a player running and controlling ball. His poise is ideal for the shot.

Back to the goalkeeper mentioned earlier. This time he has pulled off a stunning save from a shot taken from a player out of picture on the right. Top class goalkeeping.

DSC_1892.jpg

Yellow versus white as the player donning the yellow strip, attempts to pass beyond his adversary. I can’t recall if the tackle coming in was a success or not.

As the competition got into the final rounds, the guys became increasingly jubilant when they scored a goal. If I recall, the chap with his arms outstretched, scored a hat-trick during this match and is clearly delighted that his team are heading into the next round.

DSC_1924.jpg

The image of the guy in the yellow shirt, depicts finesse, fitness and strength from a player who was rarely dispossessed when he had the ball at his feet.

Concentration on players faces, often results in good photos. The one above, is part of a series of five, where the duo are fighting for possession of the ball.

And last but not least is one that shows why the photographer should, whenever possible, get down low when capturing sports. If you observe professionals at football matches, they are often seated behind the goal. This is usually part of the ruling bodies restrictions on photographers but it also provides the best angle to take the photos.

DSC_1982.jpg

Getting down to eye-level is great but sitting on the ground adds another dimension to your photography, typically at football events.

Finally, I would like to thank the organisers, sponsors and participants who permitted me access to the tournament. It has been a couple of years since I last took photos at football and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I only wish I had my other Nikon D610 in Thailand, so the images could have been a little bit sharper.

If anyone in Scotland is heading this way, maybe you could bring it to me:)

 

 

 

 

 

Back At The Football

Firstly, before I commence this post – let me explain why the logo has changed and the reasoning behind it. When I began SK Photography around seven or eight years ago, there was only one person working under than name in the UK and one other, I discovered later, in the USA. Now there are a number of people using the name and it was becoming difficult for people to locate me on Facebook.

DSC_2323

So after months of deliberation, I opted to re-brand and change the logo to suit. I considered a number of names but finally chose ThaiSken, simply because I now live in the Kingdom of Thailand and Sken was a name that was used to identify me at BT when there were two people called Steve and we both had the same initials. So he became Skin and I became Sken.

DSC_2470

So – back to my day out with the camera. Well it was actually two days out. Saturday was men’s football in a tournament style. Group stages in the morning and knock out stage in the afternoon, leading to the final around 17:30. The photos for that are not ready yet.

DSC_2486

The second day, which was on the Sunday, was under 10s, following the same format.

I used to work in the field of football photography back in Scotland, firstly in non-league football, then youths and finally women’s football. However, It has been a couple of years since I attempted to capture fast moving subjects, such as kids chasing a ball.

DSC_2622

The first thing I noticed was the standard of play and skill on display and not only from the boys, for there was an odd girl playing too, and they were in a similar class.

I worked with kids this age in Scotland and in my opinion, the standard here at this age group, is higher. What happens when they get to adulthood I do not know, for the Thai national team is pretty poor, judging by their results over the last couple of years. But if these kids can produce the quality on display on Sunday, then nation has a lot to look forward to in the world of football.

DSC_2640.jpg

The top image is of one of the girls, who played in the early stages of the tournament. She was taller than most of the boys in her team and this could be why she took most of the throw ins.

The next two I selected because I like the facial expressions of the kids. One chasing the ball, determined to catch the attacker and the other fighting hard to retain possession.

DSC_2862

The one with the youngster in the light blue shirt, shows him running with the ball as he scans the park, looking to make a pass.

The kids here are not greedy when the have possession of the ball. They happily look for players who are in superior positions. Someone in space or in a better location to shoot, will get the ball, generally speaking anyway.

As a former goalkeeper, I love the image of the boy bravely diving at the feet of the attacking player. He tucks his head in to avoid injury and safely collects the ball.

DSC_2866.jpg

Again, the lad taking the throw in, shows tremendous focus. His face is full of intense thought as he aims the throw in towards a team mate. And of course the hair style adds to the image.

Back with the goalkeepers. This was the third of six images, that captured the kid with the gloves making a tremendous save. He dives to his right, pushing the ball away from the goal and onto the post. One of the defenders then cleared the danger.

DSC_2874

 

Most of the goalkeepers were of a high standard too.

The chap above displays great poise and elegance as he steps up to take a free kick. Again the majority of the boys and girls, were very adept when striking the ball.

DSC_3028.jpg

Most passes found their team mates and those who shot at goal either rattled the frame of the goals, brought out a save from the keeper, were blocked by defenders or indeed, scored! As in all games, some were off target.

The victory celebrations are featured above. The team in blue had lead by a solitary goal in the final but lost a late goal, which took the game into a “golden goal” situation. Within two minutes, the lad being held aloft, drove at the opposing keeper from the right of the box, before firing in the winner.

DSC_2894.jpg

His elation had to be seen to be believed. I captured the goal in a series of around eight photos, including his run, shot, two of the ball passing the keeper and bulging the net and the celebrations. I elected to use this one, simply because the others were posted earlier on Facebook.

The last one is by far my favourite. It shows a young girl playing with friends on a spare pitch. She is barefoot and could strike a ball harder and more accurate than most of us can do wearing trainers.

But what makes this photo for me, is the joy on the children’s faces as they chase after the lass, with not a hope in hell of catching her.

A fantastic day, eight hours each day, sweltered in 32 degrees, burnt to a crisp, aching back and for the most part, wishing the day was over. But I would happily do it all again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese Food At A Top Bar

A few weeks ago it was announced that the Corner House Bar in Rompho, Pattaya had done a deal with a local Chinese takeaway company called Wok N Rok, with the outcome being, the bar would be hosting a special buffet featuring Wok N Rok food.

DSC_1127

Going forward, the Corner House will also be offering Chinese cuisine from Monday to Saturday, so not only do I have access to some of the best delicacies in town, I can now eat it at one of my favourite bars.

DSC_1130

I decided to pop along to the buffet night and took my Nikon D750 with me to grab a few photos.

The food is cooked in a typically British style of Chinese cuisine, similar to what you find in almost any town or city across the UK. The chef is Thai but she spend many years working in Chinese restaurants in Scotland, so this for me is like a piece of home.

DSC_1139

My favourite is Chicken Curry, I cannot order a Chinese without having a curry, and Wok N Rok offer a fantastic variety of curries including beef, pork, chicken and special curry.

I am also partial to some Sweet ‘n’ Sour or Spare Ribs in either Gravy or Barbecue Sauce or in some instances, I will even have them dry.

DSC_1140

Wok N Rok have an extensive menu so it could take me some time and many visits to see Stuart and Phetch at the Corner House before I have worked my way through what’s on offer.

The buffet was a huge success as people ventured in over a four hour period.

DSC_1141

I hope that the daily service will take off, for Chinese restaurants are few and far between in the city of Pattaya.

I only took a few photos on the night, mainly due to a variety of circumstances but the food as you can see is amazing.

DSC_1142

The Corner House rarely do things by half measures and this was no exception. Everyone appeared to enjoyed their “All You Can Eat” buffet and washed their meal down with a few drinks of their choice.

Sadly I got caught up in other things and did not get the opportunity to sample the self service fare on offer but I will be around soon to order my favourite curry.

DSC_1145

Nom on the other hand, delved in and sampled the delicious food from what was, a substantial buffet.

Can you do it again Stuart?

And we need another Rompho party night 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Party Times In Pattaya

It has been a while since I found time to update my blog but despite this, I have been active with the camera, although not as much as I would have liked.

34783240636_35abde5df6_k

I still have an ongoing issue with my Nikon D750 but there is little I can do until I find a way to get my D610 delivered to me from Scotland.

Most of my attention has been taken up by parties, a subject that often involves great hilarity and meeting new and wonderful people here in Pattaya.

34690528181_cabc9f05d8_k

Take my first image for instance. I was at a birthday party for a good friend “Phetch” when I spotted a gorgeous little girl enjoying a lolly. I introduced myself to her mother and asked permission to take a few photos.

The result is an image of an angelic little girl.

34013067583_9eff09999d_k

My next offering is of the birthday girl herself and her boyfriend Stuart as he presents the birthday cake. This lovely couple own the Corner House in Rompho.

Next we have two images that for me, were the best of the night. Wan attended the party and sat beside myself and Nom. She had a couple of drinks and got up to dance. At the time however, she was on the stage and singing along with the band, providing me with a few classic images.

34659910102_6af39ca4a6_k

Wan is one that you never take your eyes off, for you just do not know what she will do next.

The image of the lady singing (the one WITH the microphone) sings with a another chap that I have never managed to discover their name either as a duo or own identities. They are often seen entertaining around Rompho though.

34659927312_08be687bb0_k

They are an excellent duo and produce some great cover versions of rock standards and ballads.

Staying at the Corner House Bar, I have included one of Nom, taken with Wan, before either of them had been dancing.

34783228466_a4daeb320d_k

I was going to say they were taken before any alcohol was consumed but that may be a lie.

Shortly after Phetch’s party, I was invited to another party for my good friend “Dong” er Martin.

34833165031_3e9dd380de_k

Martin and his delightful partner Oil, own New Country Road Bar (NCR) in Rompho, a short walk from the Corner House. I had assisted with some arrangements for this event, following the highly successful Jerry Lee Carlson gig at the NCR. Click here for photos and blog article.

Martin, like Stuart, has been very supportive of me during troubled times, and I owe this pair my very existence in Thailand. Yes you know who to blame now 🙂

Dong as he is affectionately known is pictured above.

34801475872_39285b47b8_k

The entertainment for this came in the form of a Scottish lassie living in Pattaya by the name of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Stephanie. Steph does a lot of oldies like her name suggests, with a bit of hip shakin’, gyrating and knee grinding thrown in.

34577782140_b83a19c9dc_k

One of the guests was a guy called John, another top man living here in Pattaya. John loves to dance, especially to the likes of Chuck Berry and despite being in his 70s, the man can boogie all night – almost non-stop.

Where he gets his energy from I have no idea but I wish I had half of it. Stamina beyond belief!

34801354662_741a54e9cf_k

It is incredibly rare for me to feature in my photos, mainly because I am almost always behind the lens.

But due to camera issues, another splendid chap known as Marcus attended, with a view of offering advice but as a result of his presence, I got some time to be on the receiving end of the camera. Marcus is a top photographer in his own right.

This one is of Nom and I, which would usually only be captured on a phone picture.

34833329031_0d5eb3adf6_k

Anyone hosting a party in Pattaya should really look into hiring the Jäger girls. These two lovelies work for free, promoting Jägermeister and other drinks such as Jim Beam.

The deal is simple, they will sell customers one measure from your own stock and they will provide a free drink from their collection. The guest gets two drinks for the price of one, the bar gets the sale they may never have had and everyone gets inebriated. Result!

It is difficult to say no to a Jägerbomb when a two ladies are offering a free one, along with a photo too.

34154525003_07e881b485_k

So what happens when customers get free Jägerbombs and Jack Beam? See for yourself 🙂

I don’t know the girl standing behind Nom but she was the life and soul of the party. She had everyone in tears of laughter all night long. A top girl and one that would be welcome at any party of mine. Here she has bent a drunken Nom over and well – I will leave the rest to your imagination 🙂 Jenny can be seen sitting on the bar looking weary.

34964975765_72a13bd391_k

Another classic featuring the wonderful Julie, who is a regular with husband Steve at both aforementioned bars. Steve and Julie love to dance and are in fact, featured on many video recordings from this night. Friendly people who liven up every party they attend.

34965160215_dfb41cfbfe_k

The image above is one of my favourites. I had just met Karin for the first time and found her to be an outgoing person who loves to sing and enjoy herself. I snapped this photo when she was laughing and chatting with her friend Poi. Completely natural and one that I am proud of.

34965130715_517deb97dc_k

Next is Martin’s girlfriend oil, who was still reasonably sober at the time but like the majority of Thai ladies, they love to dance. And boy can she dance! Later in the evening she was found on top of the bar with Jenny dancing to many party hits.

34924322936_17e28dd11c_k

Above, we have Poi and her magician boyfriend. The latter entertained us with some magic tricks when we required a bit of respite from the antics going on inside the bar.

Rompho throw the best parties ever. I have attending parties galore since arriving here and very few disappoint. Often people get very drunk but you never see anyone causing trouble. No requirement for bouncers here.

33979713404_6528de1d5f_k

I will finish with a photo taken at Phetch’s party at the Corner House, simply because I wasn’t sure what was going on but again, it depicts fun and beautiful people. Well OK – Stuart adds the fun part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven In Pattaya

What a fantastic couple of weeks I have enjoyed as far as music is concerned. Firstly, I went to see Helmut and Friends at the wonderful Hemmingways in Jomtien, where the band blew me away, with some amazing cover versions of soul, blues and rock tunes.

DSC_0055

Helmut is a guitar maestro and handles everything from Mark Knopfler to Gary Moore. In fact, the whole band are superb and if you haven’t seen them and you are in the Pattaya area, head along to Hemmingways on a Thursday evening from 20:00 and observe an awesome band in action.

The food in the bar is rather tasty too, I hasten to add.

DSC_0060

However, this post is about a certain Jerry Lee Carlson from Sweden and Håkan Nelson, from the same country. The pair played four gigs in Pattaya and I was fortunate to see two of them.

Initially I ventured out to The Triangle in central Pattaya, where a large crowd gathered to enjoy the show and secondly at New Country Road Bar (NCR) in Rompho, which is located in the Rompho Complex in Jomtien area of the city.

DSC_0061.jpg

Many people said the event would never work in Rompho but my friend Martin asked me to promote it for him and I did just that. Firstly with posters and flyers then numerous videos supplied by Sweden’s number one rock ‘n’ roll star, Jerry.

Jerry has played all over the world, including tours of Europe with his legends show, featuring tributes to Elvis, Roy Orbison and of course Jerry Lee Lewis.

DSC_0073

He has recorded a number of albums, appeared on TV and radio and is simply, one of the best entertainers you will ever see.

A lot of planning and preparation went into the NCR event, hours of hard work, hiring equipment, tables, covers in case it rained, food and so much more. Was it worth it?

Damned right it was.

DSC_0012

NCR attracted 102 people seated, plus 16 inside the venue and approximately 40 bystanders, who watched from the sidelines, due to either a lack of seating or they were enjoying the event from another bar.

Jerry kicked off the show as always with thundering rock ‘n’ roll classics from his hero Jerry Lee Lewis. He sang the hits of Elvis, Fats Domino, Hank Williams and even did a rendition of a Robbie Williams hit, just to show his versatility.

DSC_0088.jpg

Rock, country, blues and boogie woogie tunes all blasted out from the venue. Håkan Nelson on drums was his usually faultless self ashe followed Jerry’s left hand to keep the tempo going.

People came from other bands to watch the gig. Local media in the form of Pattaya People were present to record video material, which will air shortly. Love Pattaya were represented too and kindly supplied the bar staffs shirts.

DSC_0129

Bar owners came from pubs in Pattaya and Rompho to enjoy a fantastic show.  Many people came to Rompho for the first time and hopefully they will return with other new faces for future events.

Jerry sang “Great Balls Of Fire”, “Whole Lotta Shaking”, “High School Confidential”, Hound Dog”, Bonnie B”, ” Mean Woman Blues”, “Lewis Boogie” and many more classics from the golden era of music.

DSC_0131

If ever there was a man born to entertain, Jerry Carlson is that man. He is a genius on a keyboard/piano and sounds identical to a certain Mr. Lewis, when the legend was in his prime.

He also does a great impression of Andy Kaufman’s fictional character Latka Gravas from the hit US sitcom “Taxi”.

DSC_0135

Jerry also impressed with a version of “Take Me Home Country Roads” with a “NEW” added into the lyrics, just for the bar. He sang ” Blueberry Hill” replacing Blueberry with Phratamnak to give the song a local feel about it. Phratamnak Hill is a popular area in Pattaya with tourists.

Yours truly even acted as compere for the night, introducing Jerry and Håkan. Not something that was planned, I can assure you but it’s amazing what you can be persuaded to do following a few Smirnoff Midnight’s.

DSC_0141

Jerry did three sets and even came back for an encore or two once he had washed the sweat from his face because it was incredible hot on Saturday evening.

Like many others, I felt disappointed when the show came to its conclusion. The guys had entertained us for a couple of hours but I would have happily listened for another two hours.

DSC_0161

I love rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly, especially when it is produced to this standard. But all good things have to come to an end – till next time that is. Jerry and Håkan’s return cannot come fast enough and rumours are rife that they may return as a trio. I hope so!!

Next up NCR have Rock ‘n’ Roll Stephanie, who will feature at Martin’s birthday party. Steph, like me, is Scottish and does a fair bit of hip shakin’ during her act.

DSC_0128.jpg

If that event proves successful it will pave the way for further live music events at NCR, which can only help to attract visitors to the area, which in turn will benefit the many other bars and restaurants in the complex.

I happen to know a few great singers and bands in the UK, who if they ever fancied a busman’s holiday to Pattaya, could be catered for.

Ziggi – your audience awaits you 🙂

DSC_9973