We probably have one of the largest collection of Laos photos exhibited on the Internet. We put up our first photo galleries in December 1998 after Peter's first trip to Laos in November 1998. This photo of the group of monks walking in Luang Prabang was taken way back then! And at the time digital cameras were still quite crude and Peter was using a Canon SLR shooting Kodachrome slide film. Peter stopped shooting film in 2000 when he got his first Nikon Coolpix camera and now uses a Canon 40D and hopes to get a Canon 7D...
We have hundreds of photos of monks in our collection. It’s hard to go wrong taking photos of monks in Laos as their orange robes stand out and can provide eye-catching compositions.
Peter remembers back to when he took this photo. "Being as it was my first time in Laos I was hyper-sensitive to everything around me. Honestly, for three weeks it felt like every pore in my body was wide open and absorbing everything around me. It was an incredible high to have all my senses being bombarded, especially from a photographic standpoint. If I didn’t have my camera to record what I was seeing and experiencing, I think I would have exploded!"
Luang Prabang back in 1998 was much less of a tourist destination, even though it had been classified a World Heritage site in 1995. A lot of shops on the main street were still closed, like the one in the background of where the monks are walking. The muted colors in this old French colonial city are a photographer’s dream and when Peter saw these shuttered blue doors he immediately thought how they would provide an exciting contrast to the orange robes of the monks as they walked by.
The monks in the late morning after their morning meal often walk together in groups going to one school or the other and with their shaved heads most are always carrying umbrellas to protect themselves from the bright sunlight and as Peter recounts, "What I did was to find a spot across the street, set my camera up on a tripod and wait for the right combination of monks to come walking by. I don’t remember taking a lot of photos and must have known that this shot had great potential. Of course then, since the camera wasn’t digital, there was no way for me to play back the image to see if it was a “winner” or not. But intuitively I knew I had something special."
This photo has been a lucky photo for Peter. He entered it in a Korean Air photo contest about five years ago and won a RT first class ticket from SF to Bangkok!
A couple of years ago San Diego University asked to use this photo in their publicity for a Social Issues Conference based on the theme of Walking Together in Peace. We really like their graphic design and especially the caption of “Walking Together in Peace.” That’s something we both believe in and support...
You can also see that we've incorporated the same image into our banner on our blog and Yahoo Store website. When you look at images like this and other images on our blog and Yahoo store website, just imagine that if you join our June 2010 tour the images you will be able to take and then bring home, images that will capture both your experiences and the special spirit of Laos - its breathtaking natural splendor, rich cultural heritage, and profound spiritual mystique.