Kites Make Right

For most of my time in Bangkok, I’ve been lamenting the less-than-perfect weather and lighting conditions. Two days ago, however, the clouds dissipated and blue skies dominated the air above. Shocked at this fortuitous development, I grabbed a camera, stuffed it into my smaller bag and took it hunting.

I headed towards the vast open park of Sanam Luang that happened to be surrounded by tents where Buddhist monks and worshippers were performing rituals and, well, watching TV. The festive atmosphere extended into the park where more worshippers could be found circling what looked like a temporary shrine. But of more interest to me on was the large number of people flying kites in the windy air.

Adults and kids craned their heads to the skies where dozens of kites danced in the blue skies. Vendors had kites staked down so the ground was covered in colourful streamers. Families sat on mats on the grass and happily watched the ballet above them. It was a great scene.

I didn’t hesitate to bring out my camera. But when I raised it to my eye, composed my first shot, then hit the shutter, I heard a click. That’s all fine and good, but really I should have heard two clicks. The first is the mirror flipping up, the second should have been the mirror flipping back down.

Ever since shooting the water fights of Songkran, the Thai New Year festival, this camera hasn’t been itself. This issue with the mirror sticking up has happened before. Once it has flipped up, I can press the shutter again and it will flip back down (with no image recorded of course). And after a couple times, functionality went back to normal. I could take pictures without a problem. It was like it just needed to warm up.

But no amount of warming up could get my camera going under the kites. It was over thirty degrees out after all. I clicked and clicked, but it just wouldn’t do what it was told. Disheartened I returned to my room, dropped off my defective gear and went to the Internet cafe to search for camera repair shops here in Bangkok.

The next day, the plan was to go out to the shop and see about putting things right inside my camera. The one thing I was worried about was that the shop might be closed – they didn’t list hours on their site and it was, after all, a Sunday. But, I thought I might get lucky. Wrong. Not only was it a Sunday, but I found out later that it was also a national holiday here – there was no chance it was going to be open.

I eventually found my way back to my room where, undaunted by an irritating previous 24 hours, I willed the skies to stay blue. I summoned all the kite fliers back to the park. And with my other camera (yes folks, take a backup!) I headed back to the park where I had a lovely time shooting everyone who once again had their heads happily craned to the skies.

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