A flash trip to Thailand

It's always troubling if you are a photographer or a photo hobbyist and you would like to bring as little gear that is lightweight with you on a trip. You will usually end up bringing tons of equipment as you start considering the lights and lenses you need 'just in case'.

I gave myself a mini challenge, to bring as little as possible on this trip to Bangkok. And so, after careful and excruciating consideration, I decided to bring 1 x Canon 600EX II-RT(Flashlight), 2 x Kupo Grip, 1 x Canon 5D Mark III, 1 x Canon ST-E3-RT (Light Transmitter), Full CTO & HALF CTB gels and a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II. It all added up to a mere 4kg! 

I've always had this idea in my head - if I only have one flash at a given location, what can I do with it ? So for this short vacation break, I made use of whatever I had.


It's always a challenge to shoot a portraiture during mid-day. Usually you will need a diffuser or a scrim to diffuse the harsh sunlight (which can also mean an extra hand needed). However, we were lucky enough to have Mother Nature help us with that! A natural diffuser of earth, clouds. And so we waited patiently for the right time to capture the image. All the images taken at the sunflower field were lighted with our little flash.

Here is how I setup the light! Use whatever I can find :)


At this particular hotel, Modena by Fraser Bangkok, they had a captivating lift lobby, which was a  vivid yellow coloured container. This was shot at UTC+2am and the security guard even came out to check on us because we were stacking chairs along the walkway, just to clamp the camera at the right height. Haha! All for the photo right? Again, we only had one light for this location.


Rod Fai Night Market, a night market that sold antiques & vintage items, and was also lined with bars & various eateries. We came across a lane right at the end that displayed all the vintage and used items. It was such a lovely location for another shoot. Of course, all the items belong to the storeowners and you have to handle them carefully if you want to touch them.

There were so many interesting compositions to shoot at this location but you have to be daring enough to pose amidst the swarm of tourists walking by and looking at you. Also, please do ask the storeowner for permission first. 

Can you guess which image below did not make use of a single flash? :)


We came across this little cozy cafe while getting lost. A happy accident as our stomachs were screaming for food and we went in to grab a bite. The interior was lovely and we could not resist taking an image before leaving.


Primo Piazza, a small and quiet place with not many tourists. It is definitely a great place for a simple photoshoot especially if you are looking for Mediterranean architecture with a hint of the country side influence.


The Paz Khao Yai, one of the most chilling place I have ever been in Thailand. It was so relaxing, cooling and quiet. As I sat at the sky bar thinking I was done shooting for the day, I saw a little glimpse of light in the sky and could not help but do one last shoot. So I used a full CTO (Colour temperature orange) gel with my flash and clamped it onto the railing on our far right. It was pretty dark so the ISO had to be at 6400. 


The following images were taken at random locations at different days. All of which were lighted up with the sole flashlight I brought.

I have to say, it was pretty satisfying to be able to create a set of images with whatever you have and  can find on location. It forces you to think out of the box and solve problems by adapting.

This was simply a fun challenge for myself and I am definitely going to do this again on my next trip. Why not try it for yourselves too?