Ko Samui, Thailand

From Bangkok I made the misguided decision to travel to the Island of Ko Samui with Air Asia, this involved an arduous coach and ferry journey because the flight only takes you south, landing on the mainland in Surat Thani province rather than directly onto Ko Samui Island.

Ferry to Ko Samui, Surat Thani, Thailand

The Scent Hotel, Ko Samui, Thailand

Two buoys, the first on the upper deck on the Samui ferry, this one at The Scent Hotel.

Bangrak Beach, Bophut, Ko Samui, Thailand

After a stormy afternoon this beautiful sunset unfolded, being on a north facing beach (Bangrak Beach) I wasn’t in the best position to do anything with this, I walked down the shore until I found this palm tree to silhouette against the sky, with a wideangle lens.

Taling Ngam Beach, Ko Samui, Thailand

After a couple of days on the north side of the island I was wondering what all the fuss was about with Ko Samui, in the 1970’s it was one of the original backpackers paradise islands but had it now gone the way of Ko Phi Phi – overdeveloped and crowded? Thats what I thought until we reached the southern half of the island.

Palm Trees, Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

Instead of driving through rows of tacky tourist shops we were now passing through palm forests and quiet beaches, throughout the trip I’d been making a habit of shooting directly into the light, testing the D800E’s handling of these high contrast situations.The light coming through trees is a classic subject for landscape photographers and here was no exception.

I shot this at 1/125th at F9, ISO100, 31mm on Nikon 24-70mm Lens in Manual exposure mode. I use the Active D-Lighting on the Nikon system and have it set to high to record as much tonal information as possible, then in post production I can decide how much shadow / highlight info to keep.

Jetty, Taling Ngam Beach, Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

The Jetty – another subject I can never resist. Found this one at one of the main hotel’s on the island, and returned to it a few more times to shoot.

Man leading Ox, Taling Ngam Beach, Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

While recceing this beach for a possible sunset shoot I was lucky to find these chaps leading their cattle home for the evening.

Palm Trees, Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand


Palm Trees, Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

Nikon D800E with 24-70mm lens, 1/250th at F/11 at ISO100 I pulled my moped over to stop and shoot these trees whilst heading back to the hotel to get my tripod for sunset.


Glad I did, that evenings colours were some of the best of the week. I set up my stuff further along the beach from this spot but made the late decision to relocate, I needed the reflections provided by the still water in this mini lagoon. Sometimes with landscape photography you arrive and know instantly where to be, other times you have a feeling you’re not in the best spot, being open to moving is important but you need to make sure you’re ready when the light is at its peak. I used a Lee 0.9 Neutral Density Hard grad on this shot to balance the sky with land.

Dawn on Thong Krut Beach, Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

A dawn shoot on the south facing beaches of Samui, the colours didn’t really happen so I went to black and white, Had used a 6 stop ND filter to prolong the exposure here, blurring the cloud and water alike. (5 Minute shutter at F/11, ISO50)

Portrait of Richard, Thong Krut Beach, Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

We stopped at Richard’s cafe for a morning coffee after the dawn shoot and he agreed to a quick portrait. Nikon D800E with 24-70 Nikon at 70mm, 1/80th at F/2.8, ISO250

Banyon Tree Resort, Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

Banyon Tree Resort, Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

This was taken in the middle of the day with fairly uninteresting light but i liked the way the steps were built into the rock and wanted to return at dawn to shoot it with the first light.

Dawn at Chaweng Noi Bay, Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

(Nikon D800E with 24-70mm at 26mm, 30 Sec at F/16, ISO50) In the two pictures above you can seen the value in getting up early for dawn. I used a 6 stop Neutral Density filter to soften the raging sea into a white mist. There was some really interesting and photogenic geology on Ko Samui, reminded me of pictures I’ve seen of the Seychelles with their huge, curvy rock formations on beaches.

Market, Lamai,  Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

Sweetcorn in Lamai market, a wideangle lens in close to the action.

Market, Lamai,  Ko Samui Island, Surat Thani, Thailand

Getting low and isolating the bbq’d meat with a wide aperture. More pictures to come from our stay on Ko Samui soon…..




6 thoughts on “Ko Samui, Thailand

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