Trail Running Stock Photo Shoot in Pai Canyon – Thailand
In November I headed up to North Thailand hoping to do a trail-running photo-shoot in the dramatic canyon on the outskirts of Pai. Pai, a small former hippie settlement that really hit the map in 2006, when the place set the stage for the thai-movie, Love Pai. Since then the place transformed into a tourist trap catering to the hordes of thais arriving on weekend visits from Bangkok. Between May and October the town returns to it former self, and despite the prevalent rainyseason, still the best time to visit.
Pai Canyon is located 8 km east of Pai and can best be described as a mini-Bryce Canyon, with narrow ridgelines and steep drop-offs. The canyon provide a spectacular backdrop for any photoshoot.
The plan was to bring some trail-running talent from Chiang Mai, but this didn’t work out as planned unfortunately. Instead I decided on a type of shoot, that has been my backup plan on several occations. Relying on suitable talent when travelling, can be a challenge so often I rely on my true and tested method of shooting action-selfies, utilizing remote triggers and a tripod.
Sunlight in Southeast Asia is harsh, dramatically reducing the hours suitable for shooting photos. Daytime is best spent scouting locations and shooting angles, searching out areas where few people will venture out on their own. Only a few hours after sunrise and before sunset delivers usable light, so a sunset photo shoot is usually the best option. The only drawback is the number of tourists that vist the canyon to enjoy the sunset over the canyon, providing un-wanted elements in your photos. Hiking to a remote corner of the canyon turned out to be the only option, scrambling over sketchy exposed terrain to accces locations with no people.
In my backpack I carried a sturdy Gitzo tripod with a Schneider ballhead, a Canon 7D with an old 17-35mm 2.8L mounted. The lack of digital coating on this lens makes it flare extensively and very suitable for the backlit shots I had in mind. A couple of wireless triggers completed the equipment needed for this shoot. With the location scouted, I set up around 4.30PM, focusing on some narrow trails with a distant mountain backdrop. Shooting at f8 @ 17mm provided plenty of DOP for relatively sharp images at 1/500. With composition and pre-focus locked down, I did a few test-runs on the trail, firing off short bursts with the remote trigger and camera set at continous 8fps. At 6PM the sun was getting low on the horizon and in the frame, I managed to shoot several runs, in three different location, all very close to each other.
Check out the results from that days shooting and the option to license photos from this shoot : Trail Running Photo Shoot Pai