Film in Thailand: Bangkok to Ayutthaya / by Adam Travis

The evening before we took off from Seoul, the temperature was hovering around zero with cold rain coming down. In Bangkok, the next day, it would be nearly 30 degrees.

The weather would be a welcome break from the cold, snow, and rain in Korea and we were keen to try authentic Thai food. I was excited, too, because I’d be spending a week not with my DSLR, but a well-used Pentax K1000 and a dozen rolls of film.

I’ve shot film sporadically for the past few years, but have never used it for a whole shoot – let alone shot more than a couple rolls in a week. But something about it drew me to the idea of shooting film on vacation.

Whatever it was that drew me to this experiment, I was soon regretting it. Within five hours of lending and a tumble off a hotel couch, my camera’s light meter was busted, stuck at the ‘+’ setting. Until my film was developed, I’d have no idea if something else had gone wrong, too.

Putting an incredible amount of faith in a free iPhone light meter app and the ‘sunny 16’ rule, I put the incident out of my mind and decided to just focus on what was in the viewfinder.

Over the course of the week and almost a dozen rolls of film, I slowly forgot about the broken light meter and focused on what was in front of me: beautiful scenery, delicious food and crazy traffic.

Five days after getting home, I got an email confirming that my film had been developed and scanned, and was ready to be downloaded. I had fears of muddy, underexposed frames mixed with completely blown-out shots and x-ray damage, all a testament to this failed experiment.

What I got was 379 frames in colour in black and white, with only a handful of fully unusable frames. Not bad for a ‘broken’ camera shooting in everything from high midday sun to a dimly-lit Muay Thai ring.

Keep scrolling to see the first half of the trip: a loop from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya and back to Bangkok. In the next post, I'll be going featuring shots from Chiang Mai and our last day in Bangkok before heading home.