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The Ultimate Photographer's guide to Bangkok, Thailand: Film and Digital (2016)
Old 01-21-2016   #1
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The Ultimate Photographer's guide to Bangkok, Thailand: Film and Digital (2016)

Had a lot of people (who came to me via RFF) asking me for this so I finally thought I would sit down and seriously write a few words on the subject, it ended up being a bit long but I am happy with it. I won't attempt to post the whole thing here due to its size but if RFF members want to read it, it went up on my blog today here:

http://www.chromacomaphoto.com/blog/

If you still have any questions on the subject after reading, you can contact me here or through the address on my website directly and I would be happy to offer any further advice to RFF people.

Thank you
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Old 01-21-2016   #2
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Well written article and bang on advice. Some of the repair and vintage camera outlets you highlight are unknown to me and I'll certainly visit them. Btw, talking about film availability, the biggest film distributor on eBay is films-festival based in Bangkok.

Great work and very much appreciated for the time and effort you took.
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Old 01-21-2016   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReeRay View Post
Well written article and bang on advice. Some of the repair and vintage camera outlets you highlight are unknown to me and I'll certainly visit them. Btw, talking about film availability, the biggest film distributor on eBay is films-festival based in Bangkok.

Great work and very much appreciated for the time and effort you took.
The pleasure's all mine kind sir. Thanks for your feedback and kind words, nice to see other ex-pats in Thailand were pleased with the article. You're certainly right about film-festival also. 'husbandandwifeshop' is worth a google also Reeray. Never ordered personally but know people who have, easy one for residents here, especially as I see that you are not In Bangkok. This assumes you shoot film of course.
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Old 01-21-2016   #4
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I do indeed shoot film in both 35mm and 120. Like yourself almost exclusively XP-2.
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Old 01-21-2016   #5
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This is a great guide - thanks so much for putting it together.
I'll be going to Bangkok again this April and I'll be sure to read through it once again just before departure.

If you could also in the future add some small pictures with the storefronts I think that would really help people finding the locations but even without it's a fantastic guide so thanks again!

Cheers,
Ben
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Old 01-21-2016   #6
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Indeed a long useful article, thanks for sharing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromacomaphoto View Post
Had a lot of people (who came to me via RFF) asking me for this so I finally thought I would sit down and seriously write a few words on the subject, it ended up being a bit long but I am happy with it. I won't attempt to post the whole thing here due to its size but if RFF members want to read it, it went up on my blog today here:

http://www.chromacomaphoto.com/blog/

If you still have any questions on the subject after reading, you can contact me here or through the address on my website directly and I would be happy to offer any further advice to RFF people.

Thank you
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Old 01-21-2016   #7
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Well written and good information, thanks
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Old 01-22-2016   #8
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wow, this really is detailed thank you very much!
one thing I want to ask you, and if it is so this might be worth mentioning: in 'regular' printing services both in Vietnam and Indonesia, can't remember if it happened the two or three times that I had photos printed in Thailand but I's suppose that it might happens there too: the shop simply would crop my photos a bit. This has been very upsetting until I remembered to ask them every time to leave a white border instead.
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Old 01-22-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReeRay View Post
I do indeed shoot film in both 35mm and 120. Like yourself almost exclusively XP-2.
Nice to hear, actually I shoot Tri X mainly and only really shoot XP2 if I'm having a really busy time with other things in life. The reasoning behind that is not just that I am okay with how it looks and its friendly exposure latitude but it allows me to shoot B+W and have a little time off from doing my own developing. I do that maybe a couple of times a year and let a lab do the dev, scans and the whole lot while I just enjoy shooting.

But the rest of the year, it's Tri X and Ilfotec HC every weekend!
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Old 01-22-2016   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bence8810 View Post
This is a great guide - thanks so much for putting it together.
I'll be going to Bangkok again this April and I'll be sure to read through it once again just before departure.

If you could also in the future add some small pictures with the storefronts I think that would really help people finding the locations but even without it's a fantastic guide so thanks again!

Cheers,
Ben
Thanks Ben, glad that you enjoyed it. Your comments are appreciated, honestly I would have liked some shopfront images as well actually but I at least wanted to get the detailed info out there first. I can be quite single minded once I start something and I just couldn't break off from thinking and typing until it was all finally done!
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Old 01-22-2016   #11
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Originally Posted by stitchohana View Post
Indeed a long useful article, thanks for sharing!
Thank you and you're more than welcome. Seeing as you are not so far away, hope it may help you in the future one day.
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Old 01-22-2016   #12
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Originally Posted by jarski View Post
Well written and good information, thanks
Thank you for your kind feedback.
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Old 01-22-2016   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuuan View Post
wow, this really is detailed thank you very much!
one thing I want to ask you, and if it is so this might be worth mentioning: in 'regular' printing services both in Vietnam and Indonesia, can't remember if it happened the two or three times that I had photos printed in Thailand but I's suppose that it might happens there too: the shop simply would crop my photos a bit. This has been very upsetting until I remembered to ask them every time to leave a white border instead.
You're more than welcome, hope it helps. I see you are in SE Asia too.

I really wanted to get as much detailed information into it as possible. I didn't just want to lightly gloss over things.

In Thailand the photo labs sometimes think that they have a right to start using photoshop on your images. Most customers don't know anything about photos so the labs 'work images over' for them all the time as normal. They aren't actually being deliberately awkward with you, they genuinely think that you wouldn't mind. They don't often crop mine as you have suggested but there can be times when they might look at a black and white image where perhaps you have let the blacks go really black and then decide that it 'doesn't look right' to them and so they start playing with the contrast and other sliders.

As I mentioned in the article, the words 'No' and 'Photoshop' are understood by any Thai person you will ever meet working in a photolab. Whether they decide to listen to you or not can go either way of course but it should be doable.

I have a slight situation whenever I get square format prints done via hybrid process from my Rolleiflex. The prints look amazing and 8x10's cost just seven baht with a 24 hour turnaround on decent paper. Yet they simply refuse to trim the paper down to a square shape. So I get the square picture in the middle of a rectangle and have to trim the top and bottom off myself when I get home. There's always a funny quirk to the various labs you find. Serves me right for not wet printing myself.
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Old 01-22-2016   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromacomaphoto View Post
You're more than welcome, hope it helps. I see you are in SE Asia too.

I really wanted to get as much detailed information into it as possible. I didn't just want to lightly gloss over things.

In Thailand the photo labs sometimes think that they have a right to start using photoshop on your images. Most customers don't know anything about photos so the labs 'work images over' for them all the time as normal. They aren't actually being deliberately awkward with you, they genuinely think that you wouldn't mind. They don't often crop mine as you have suggested but there can be times when they might look at a black and white image where perhaps you have let the blacks go really black and then decide that it 'doesn't look right' to them and so they start playing with the contrast and other sliders.

As I mentioned in the article, the words 'No' and 'Photoshop' are understood by any Thai person you will ever meet working in a photolab. Whether they decide to listen to you or not can go either way of course but it should be doable.

I have a slight situation whenever I get square format prints done via hybrid process from my Rolleiflex. The prints look amazing and 8x10's cost just seven baht with a 24 hour turnaround on decent paper. Yet they simply refuse to trim the paper down to a square shape. So I get the square picture in the middle of a rectangle and have to trim the top and bottom off myself when I get home. There's always a funny quirk to the various labs you find. Serves me right for not wet printing myself.
right, the photoshop 'issue' is the same here in Vietnam and yes, I am 'around'. actually come to Bangkok quite often, if you don't mind I shall contact you before I go there next time to ask you for a meet up
You had covered the 'photo shopping' already in your article, the cropping I was referring to is not one an eager and diligent worker may decide to be the better crop but one that seems to be done to make sure that there is no white border left over. the common paper sizes used here usually are a bit off the size cameras produce (?!!) so if they perfectly fit them on two sides the other two either would have a bit of a white border or a crop and by default, I guess to be on the safe side, they just crop a bit more..
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Old 01-22-2016   #15
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That's a very helpful guide.


I have been to Thailand (also Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam) several times but unfortunately the last time I visited was some time around 2008.

It is a wonderful country both in its beauty and its welcoming people. I first went in 2001 so I would love to return to see how things are different 15 years later. (My first trip was my big intro to photography - I took an SLR and a ton of film and photographed everything like a Nat Geo photographer gone mad!).

I really can't recommend Thailand highly enough for a holiday. If anyone is like me and not too big a fan of large cities I would recommend Chiang Mai and its surrounding areas as a lovely place to visit.
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Old 01-22-2016   #16
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Thanks for this detailed guide! Should be a sticky on the travel sub forum haha!

I visited bangkok last year and was able to check out the cameras at MBK. Prices were on the high end as far as i can remember though
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Old 01-22-2016   #17
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Excellent write up. Im definitely going to bookmark it and let people know about it.

Cheers, michael
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Old 01-22-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuuan View Post
right, the photoshop 'issue' is the same here in Vietnam and yes, I am 'around'. actually come to Bangkok quite often, if you don't mind I shall contact you before I go there next time to ask you for a meet up
You had covered the 'photo shopping' already in your article, the cropping I was referring to is not one an eager and diligent worker may decide to be the better crop but one that seems to be done to make sure that there is no white border left over. the common paper sizes used here usually are a bit off the size cameras produce (?!!) so if they perfectly fit them on two sides the other two either would have a bit of a white border or a crop and by default, I guess to be on the safe side, they just crop a bit more..
Hey Kuuan, although often very busy and with a tight schedule in terms of having time for photowalks and shoots, I always try and least meet up with people for a coffee and chat in the city if I can. Feel free to drop me a line when you're next passing through. I am out of Bangkok with work sometimes, hopefully it might line up.

I see what you mean about the paper and cropping now. I don't tend to have that issue at my current lab. They can be very laid back about deadlines though so I try and choose places that I have to pass in my daily life anyway to avoid the disappointment of an unfruitful special trip to a lab only to find the job still not done. You have to be laid back here if you want to survive and be healthy.
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Old 01-22-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardPhoto View Post
That's a very helpful guide.


I have been to Thailand (also Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam) several times but unfortunately the last time I visited was some time around 2008.

It is a wonderful country both in its beauty and its welcoming people. I first went in 2001 so I would love to return to see how things are different 15 years later. (My first trip was my big intro to photography - I took an SLR and a ton of film and photographed everything like a Nat Geo photographer gone mad!).

I really can't recommend Thailand highly enough for a holiday. If anyone is like me and not too big a fan of large cities I would recommend Chiang Mai and its surrounding areas as a lovely place to visit.
Thanks for the nice feedback Richard. I can tell you it has changed a lot in the past 20 years or so but I've been here all along so you would no doubt notice it more than me I feel!
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Old 01-22-2016   #20
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Originally Posted by bucs View Post
Thanks for this detailed guide! Should be a sticky on the travel sub forum haha!

I visited bangkok last year and was able to check out the cameras at MBK. Prices were on the high end as far as i can remember though
Hey Bucs,

Maybe it might reach sticky status one day if enough people felt the need. Just glad to get the word out and help people in the meantime.

MBK can be good fun although much of a muchness after a while.There are lots of different prices for things here, sometimes there are 'grey' and official versions of the same camera sold new at different price points. MBK certainly has a good selection though and it can be good for haggling, depending on the outlet.
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Old 01-22-2016   #21
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Excellent write up. Im definitely going to bookmark it and let people know about it.

Cheers, michael
Thank you Michael, that's very kind of you to say so. I've certainly seen you and some of your work around the place online also! Have a great weekend.
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Old 01-22-2016   #22
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Wow, I awoke to a quite a lot of email this morning. Thanks to all the RFF folk who have emailed me support and nice comments for the article. At first it seemed an amazing fluke that I happened to write it just before so many people (that obviously read RFF) are arriving in Bangkok.

But upon reflection, I guess there are always loads of serious photographers with nice rangefinders and film cameras arriving every week with no idea of what to expect looking for info on the net.

Thanks anyway, very much appreciated. This forum is great.
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Old 01-23-2016   #23
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Great write up,
I stumbled across a little old school repair shop between Thong Lor and Phrom Phong once, can't remember the name...
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Old 01-25-2016   #24
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Great write up,
I stumbled across a little old school repair shop between Thong Lor and Phrom Phong once, can't remember the name...
Thanks for your kind feedback. Yeah, I've been there once and know the place you're talking about....I think. The name also escapes me right now, I'll probably remember it or hear that name again at some point and update the post when I do. It's only a small place and not a major shop so hopefully doesn't matter too much.

Feel free to share the post/site to anybody who is looking to shoot and could benefit from the info, that's what it's there for.
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Old 01-25-2016   #25
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Could be Vimon Camera repair, I'll be in Bk end of Apr so will go take a look again...
It was an old enthusiastic guy, I was tempted to let him take a look at a beat up Nikon F
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Old 01-26-2016   #26
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Could be Vimon Camera repair, I'll be in Bk end of Apr so will go take a look again...
It was an old enthusiastic guy, I was tempted to let him take a look at a beat up Nikon F
There's a Thai shop called 'Vimoncamera'. They are more modern but claim to offer repairs and service to film kit. The website (in Thai) says that they have two branches, Fortune Town and MBK (both mentioned in my guide article actually) so not where you recall them being. Also from the size of the branches, there's no way they will be repairing anything film on site. Almost certain that it would be outsourced to somewhere I've already covered in the piece. I think that these are not the same place you speak of but it is perhaps this other place that I have also found below?

http://www.vimoncamerarepair.com/mai...?mpage=aboutus

Google has them listed in Thai language. It says in Thai "We accept repairs for digital cameras, film cameras etc." and advertises some kind of TLR for sale. Yet when I click on any of their links, it comes up as an out of date, and private or locked very old website which only shows the name in English and a small amount of Chinese text. Lots of small Thai shops have outdated and abandoned sites so no surprise there. I think that is the probably the place though.

Could even be that both stores are connected in some way, although that name is not uncommon in Thailand so not sure.
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Old 01-31-2016   #27
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Originally Posted by Chromacomaphoto View Post
Had a lot of people (who came to me via RFF) asking me for this so I finally thought I would sit down and seriously write a few words on the subject, it ended up being a bit long but I am happy with it. I won't attempt to post the whole thing here due to its size but if RFF members want to read it, it went up on my blog today here:

http://www.chromacomaphoto.com/blog/

If you still have any questions on the subject after reading, you can contact me here or through the address on my website directly and I would be happy to offer any further advice to RFF people.

Thank you
Thanks for a great article about Thailand and things in Bangkok. It was really helpful.

I'm going to be in Bangkok in March for a month and then in north Thailand for a month in April.

I have one question regarding film purchasing in Bangkok. I'm bringing with me 150 rolls (going to be on the road for a while), but if it's not enough I would possibly buy more in Bangkok.

Do you know the approx price of a roll of Tri-X in Bangkok? I'm currently buying it for around $4.60 a roll.

Thank you!
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Old 01-31-2016   #28
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Originally Posted by awalkinthestreet View Post
Thanks for a great article about Thailand and things in Bangkok. It was really helpful.

I'm going to be in Bangkok in March for a month and then in north Thailand for a month in April.

I have one question regarding film purchasing in Bangkok. I'm bringing with me 150 rolls (going to be on the road for a while), but if it's not enough I would possibly buy more in Bangkok.

Do you know the approx price of a roll of Tri-X in Bangkok? I'm currently buying it for around $4.60 a roll.

Thank you!
Thanks for your kind feedback, happy that the article helped you. I assume that you are quoting in US Dollars and talking about 35mm film? If so, you can expect to pay around 6US Dollars give or take a few cents depending on exchange rates etc. This obviously varies but that will give you a pretty fair and current general estimate based on prices here now and the current approx exchange rate. Hope that helps you? Enjoy your time in Thailand. Let me know if you need any more help.

PS.I salute your resolve on bringing 150 rolls with you as that will eat into your carry on luggage space quite a bit. I would do the same though if I were in your position probably, everything else can go in the hold but the film must be carry on at the end of the day.
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Old 02-01-2016   #29
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Originally Posted by Chromacomaphoto View Post
Thanks for your kind feedback, happy that the article helped you. I assume that you are quoting in US Dollars and talking about 35mm film? If so, you can expect to pay around 6US Dollars give or take a few cents depending on exchange rates etc. This obviously varies but that will give you a pretty fair and current general estimate based on prices here now and the current approx exchange rate. Hope that helps you? Enjoy your time in Thailand. Let me know if you need any more help.

PS.I salute your resolve on bringing 150 rolls with you as that will eat into your carry on luggage space quite a bit. I would do the same though if I were in your position probably, everything else can go in the hold but the film must be carry on at the end of the day.
Yes US Dollars and 35mm film. Thanks, i'll let you know if I have any other questions nearer the time.

It's good to know that it's around $6, I won't have to worry at that price. Here in Korea where I am now it's around $8 a roll, so I have to import it... I expected a similar price in Thailand.

Luckily I won't actually be flying with the 150 rolls, I'm getting it delivered to a family member in Kuala Lumpur which is my first stop. From there I will only travel overland so luckily I don't have to cram it into carry on bags!
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Old 02-02-2016   #30
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Ok, good that sounds like a plan! Any problems or further advice sought, just ask and I will be happy to help if I can.
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Old 10-06-2016   #31
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Had a few people asking so....Anybody need any current advice or info about shooting in Thailand, especially updates on film and processing info....PM me or post here and I will point you in the right direction if I can. Thanks
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Old 01-01-2017   #32
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Extensively updated for 2017: This article has now been extended to cover the current trends here in Thailand and information from the past twelve months (since I last wrote it) including where to buy gear, glass, repairs (in extensive detail) film and devving etc. Hope it helps as many people as possible here at RFF.

http://www.chromacomaphoto.com/blog/...d-digital-2106

Thanks
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Old 01-01-2017   #33
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Had a quick read of the blog, it seems very well written, with good language and deep meaning. However, you should really run a grammatical check, as I spotted double words along with double spaces. It just seems so obvious in the days of automated spell check and grammar fix apps/extensions. Every time I see, it really cheapens the content for me, as if a writer, whose whole job he or she chose to do so, didn't give it enough attention to fix rudimentary errors. Don't get me wrong, I'm truly glad and appreciative of your bringing this vast information to everyone, just wanted to let you know how important it feels to read clean copy. I'm sure people like photographers, who are extremely prone to noticing even the slightest detail will appreciate a bit of a cleanup before posting

I have to say, I'm not one to read blog material, however, I found yours to be extremely entertaining and informative, with certain aspects I can agree with, while some not so much. It's definitely well written with great language and content. Just have a look into something like "Grammarly". It may help smooth it out.
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Old 01-01-2017   #34
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Thanks for the fair comments, well put.
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Old 12-11-2017   #35
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I bump this once a year as a lot of people read it every month and I am always updating it. The main page is still found here and is updated with what is currently going on every month or so. It's well worth a read if you want to know about shooting in Bangkok and there's lots of info for film shooters that is up to date. Even if you have read it before, it's worth dropping by from time to time to scroll down to the bottom of the page for the latest updates etc.:

http://www.chromacomaphoto.com/blog/...d-digital-2106

Additionally, the biggest change this year has been my monthly detailed guides of specific places to shoot. This not only features some old classics but also new, up and coming photogenic spots that even repeat visitors and old hands might not have shot yet. A new chapter is shot and written up every month with tips and general advice.

Here, for example are a few from recent months, old and new:

http://www.chromacomaphoto.com/blog/...rt-5-chinatown

http://www.chromacomaphoto.com/blog/...4-hua-lamphong

http://www.chromacomaphoto.com/blog/...ang-chui-dk59b

I don't make anything from the site, on the contrary it costs me a lot of time, money and effort but I enjoy it and I am just looking to help others.

Thanks.
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Old 12-11-2017   #36
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Thanks for your time and good info. I always thought it would be fun to visit Thailand. But probably will never have the chance.
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Old 12-11-2017   #37
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You're welcome sir, at least you know where to look if you do ever make the trip I guess!
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Old 12-19-2018   #38
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I bump this thread once a year, it's time for that annual ritual...consider it bumped! Loads of new stuff went into the blog this year, loads of lovely old Leica glass and Rolleiflex in Bangkok film stuff. Click on the link below in my sig and then click 'blog' and work back from there if you're interested or planning to go to Thailand to shoot soon.
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Old 12-19-2018   #39
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Just got back from Bangkok. Wish I had seen this earlier , if only to get location tips and perhaps go on a photowalk. I had plenty of film with me so it supply wasn't an issue but I couldn't find a single location that sold silver oxide (SR44) batteries (including Pantip plaza) . Thanks for the blog.
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