Mae Salong, located a few miles from the Burma border in northern Thailand is historically a chinese KuoMinTang town... when Chiang Kai Chek felt it was time to leave the wheel for Mao, his troops fled China as well, they crossed the border and settled in neighbouring countries such as Thailand.
At first, they lived on opium sales and participated to the golden triangle wealthy business until the 80's. The Thai govt decided at a time to get rid of the situation by promoting tea plantations over the area. Mae Salong now enjoys a top rank in tea producing for Thailand.
KMT Chinese tea plantation owners mainly use the hill tribe women as tea pickers. Here you will notice Akha tribe women with their characteristic head dress, but Lisu or Lahu can also be seen in the fields.
Tea picking is not an easy job but Mae Salong is a steep town in the hills which hosts robust inhabitants with strong muscles and bones, even for women. I was surprized when the maid of the hotel I was lodging swiftly picked up my 25kg luggage, put it balanced on on her head and promptly walked the stairs two floors up to my room.
Everyday at the golden hour the tea pickers come to bring their crop to the tea factory, I was curious to see what a day of picking tea leaves would earn. I was horrified to see their wages : from 15 to 25 bahts (30 to 50 eurocents)...
This is one of the only place I really had no regrets to make some exceptions to my photographing guideline (ie. no photo trading for money) and here and there give a 20 bahts note to some women who had been particularly cooperative with me.
Critiques | Translate
Morita (203) 2005-03-10 18:49
Great photo. Theme, colours, lightning are all great.
What is impressive for me is that you were able to capture the colours and details of the people having the light behind. I guess that if it were me, their faces and details would had been darker. Maiko
Homerhomer (4080) 2005-03-10 19:08
So even you hava a sunset shot!! But obviously it has your stamp on it.
I think this is one of the best shot on TE in a while (well maybe apart from the of the begger posted by ttmountainman).
AdrianW (2274) 2005-03-10 19:11
Good shot! You've captured (and processed) this shot very well, and a useful note as always too. I'm enjoying the warm colours here as well. That said there are a few things I'm wondering about, firstly I wonder whether the people are just a fraction too close to the edge of the frame, and secondly I find the sun itself marginally distracting - my eyes are drawn to the people, but the sun keeps drawing my attention away... Finally a small post-process nit (please don't look at some of my shots, I know I'm guilty of this in a far worse way) you have a slight brightness halo forming around the roofline on the right hand side - it's very marginal though. Anyway an excellent capture, and nice use of colour too :-D
Leonie (8809) 2005-03-10 19:25
Hey, you are so lucky!! Akha people...I love them and miss them so much...was teaching for several weeks in an Akha village last summer and lived with an Akha family! The greatest people...
Jukalema! (Good night in Akha language..)
DiaAzul (1399) 2005-03-10 19:25
I too like this picture very much, however, do find the balance between the bright sun in the upper left and the dark tones of the woman a little disconcerting. Other than that little issue everything is about this picture is great.
Thanks for the note, it is a good add on to the photo.
richtersl (3546) 2005-03-10 19:50
This is wonderful! You shot into the sunlight and still managed to capture the foreground details perfectly. The only thing I would consider is cropping the photo from the left so that the woman and the car are not in the composition.
AnimeshRay (9081) 2005-03-10 20:09
A beautiful photo, a fairytale place, and beautiful women...but for their hard life
eleparc (24063) 2005-03-10 20:21
perfect composition Luko and light! i like this shot very much! the sunset on the tarmac brings a nice pinkish tone to it... extraordianirement beau !
poulinp (4530) 2005-03-10 20:53
Belle vue d'ensemble sur les gens, la place, le tout dans une luminosité exceptionnelle. Très bonne clarté et exposition. Excellente composition, bravo!
RandomCameraGuy (3069) 2005-03-11 0:45
What a great metering job! You got the golden light backlighting the ladies and still have detail on their faces (without losing detail in the background!!!). And of course, nice composition of the ladies and the road.
A tip of the hat to ya.
cessy (13647) 2005-03-11 1:29
Very beautiful place, love to see these lovely ladies, looks excited. beautiful moment you capture here, with excellent sun light. I particularly like the sun light on the street. beautiful
flydragon (0) 2005-03-11 3:09
nous nous sommes croisés à deux trois jours près
je retrouve bien ici l'ambiance paisible de Mae Salong, une tres belle lumière ici, belle gestion de la lumière en contre. j'espere que tu as pu visiter les quelques champs de thé, qui se trouve dans les environs.
une belle image
vapours (8264) 2005-03-11 6:28
Amazing. The colour caused by the lowered sky on the road is great and the way the road twists through the image showing the way that they have come from is something I love with this shot. A fine photo.
Darren (6823) 2005-03-11 7:37
This one is beautiful Luko. Compositionally, it is fine, but the toning and the quality of light is just so great. Not sure how you kept so much detail in the faces when shooting into the sun as directly as you were, but it looks just great. Really nice, wish I could pick it apart more.
robiuk (10805) 2005-03-11 8:31
One of the shots when one can say: "Whoaaah!".
I don't find anything distracting here like some others: half-woman & half-car on the left are far from my focusing on the subject, tried to see halos on roofs but couldn't find any, and the sun itself is so carefully framed between two posts' tops so it looks like a street light (just a bit, of course).
Great contrast and if there's any PP-ing apart from dodging faces, it is done with amazing feel and precision.
Thx for sharing and the note, Luko!
Fixfocus (9385) 2005-03-11 14:24
A fine backlight shot,Luko!
Beautiful light and colors in this image,nice how the late sunlight is "flowing"down the street.Very well balanced compo,the person on the left in white t-shirt is a bit disturbing but I think cropping her would disarrange the balance more.
manny (21833) 2005-03-12 12:55
Excellent Luko...the light is magical. Composition is very good too with these girls occupying the right side. Even the lectric lines serve a purpose...framing the shot.
(My Akha picture was with the BPS. I tried staying away from the group to try a differentcompo.)
premels (2400) 2005-03-13 5:34
Les reflets sur la route sont très beaux. Les trois femmes et les maisons sont très bien éclairés malgré le contre-jour.
La composition proche des personnages est très forte.
Praetzer (1662) 2005-03-15 12:14
Lovely golden light reflected by the street. Excellent exposure maintaining the overall atmosphere.
Elise_d (1943) 2005-03-16 6:52
Je découvrre avec grande surprise tes nouvelles photos qui sont absolument merveilleuses. Quelle belle lumière ici. Bravo...
lemon_logix (1054) 2005-03-19 2:19
Hi Luko, thanks for sharing the wonderful informative note, I felt like I just went on a trip there myself. The pic is well done, with good exposure, depicting the lives of these woman as mentioned in your note. Good shot.
analupi (227) 2005-03-21 18:02
Great composition, Luko. Nice color in this get dark...the street looks golden!
markoci (3927) 2005-03-21 23:55
as said above, lovely golds and a fantastic job on the metering. looks like the post is eating the sun! thanks for the notes!
sohrab (7439) 2005-03-25 14:49
beautiful shot luko
the composition is very good, the light is very good, the PP is very good
but what takes the cake for me is the slopy curving road
it's fantastic. even the poles and the wires seem to be doing a good job of filling up the sky
take care :)
Kicka (0) 2005-04-09 16:15
Great shot, good composition with the women walking down the road. Light and colours are very nice. Well done with the pp too.
Take care, Jessica
Steft (5975) 2005-04-18 10:49
Very nice, warm and positive photo. I like the golden colours, the light that is coming from the left via the road en gives a nice depth, and the happy people to right. I don´t know why I like this photo so much, probably of the positive energy!
fixed (3833) 2005-08-01 10:57
Salut Luko !
Par où commencer ??
Tant de belles photos chez toi ...
Celle-ci me plait bcp !
Par ces tonalité, par ce qu'elle raconte ...
une bien belle photo !
bravo et merci
snwdgs (10) 2005-10-26 3:57
very nice picture... the composition is great, just enough of the street background for reference but not distracting... your subjects stand out well... i never cease to be brought to reality when i think of how hard some people work for so little... it makes me appreciate and feel greatful for what i have... these workers even look happy and satisfied here... thanks for making me think again.
ahhow (114) 2006-05-29 21:03
Great lighting and expression!
I went to this little town too... you really caught a great shot of the little town and its people!
- Copyright: Luko G R (Luko) (13978)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2005-02-28
- Categories: Daily Life
- Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon 17-40mm/4L
- Exposure: f/6.3, 1/250 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2005-03-10 18:40
- Favorites: 5 [view]