Getting the photo, part 2 | Bangkok Post: learning

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Getting the photo, part 2

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This is the final part of the Sam and Jessy's interview with Bangkok Post news photographer Sarot Meksophawannakul. In it he gives us some interesting insights into what it takes to get a good news photo. 

Taking a good news photo is not just a matter of pointing your camera and shooting. Often just getting to your destination to can a major undertaking.

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A behind-the-scenes look at three news photos.

Jessy: How did you get this photo?

A photo from the air of the flooding in Nakorn Rachasima province last October. SAROT MEKSOPHAWANNAKUL

Getting to the flood scene.

Sarot: I was in a helicopter. I took this photo on October 18, 2010. This is in Nakorn Rachasima province. In this region, there was heavy flooding and it was difficult to walk in the villages. I covered that particular area, because three days had passed, and the water level was still not receding; in fact, it was still rising. In this area, there were a lot of problems for the villagers. I went on a GMC truck with the soldiers and I saw the helicopter flying around in the sky. I asked a soldier if I could go on the helicopter with them and what their job was.  He said they airlifted vital supplies so that the villagers could survive. In fact, the helicopter had no seats.

Sam: Why is this photo important?

Sarot: This is the first photo of the flood from the sky. It comes from inside a helicopter airlifting supplies. If you looked at the photos in different papers, you would not see this photo. In my opinion, this is not a great photo, but it can open people eyes as to how bad the situation was. I tried to show the public how hard the villagers’ lives were and how difficult it was to get to this area.

Terry: Did you compose this picture?

Sarot: I couldn’t exactly compose this, because the soldiers moved the supplies very fast and in the helicopter, I was on the opposite side of them. Two guys were between us, and I had to stretch to get this photo.

Terry: What kind of camera were you using?

Sarot:  A Canon, high-speed, digital camera. We have completely changed over to digital now.

Sam:  What is this second photo of?

The flood scene at a world heritage site in Phimai district of Nakorn Ratchasima. SAROT MEKSOPHAWANNAKUL

Sarot: This is in the same province but in a different district (Phimai). It is a world heritage site. I tried to cover this site, because it is the symbol of that area and it is very important. Behind the site, I saw that there were statues in the water and the lighting was very good. In my mind, I thought that the scene was symbolic of the whole region. Even national treasures were endangered.

Sam: Would you consider this a good photo?

Sarot:  Yes, I love the lighting and the photo tells a very complete story.

Terry: Where did you take the photo? Were you standing in water?

Sarot: I was standing in water up to my chest and I had to climb across a high fence to get there.

Sam: What about the third photo?

Some of the injured are taken away from the scene of an explosion on Silom Road during the red-shirt protests last year. SAROT MEKSOPHAWANNAKUL

Ready for action near the red zone.

Sarot: This is on Silom Road. About five bombs exploded and the explosions got closer and closer to the anti-red-shirt protestors. In the last three explosions, which were M-79s, one woman  died and about twenty people were injured. It was difficult because we don’t know where it was coming from and we had to stay in the same place and shoot photos too. It was difficult.

Terry: Were any of the people in this picture badly hurt?

Sarot: No, these people weren’t badly hurt; they just had minor injuries.

destination – the place where someone or something is going  จุดหมายปลายทาง
undertaking – something difficult that you do ภาระกิจ
cover – to report news and sport in newspapers and on the radio and television รายงานข่าว
particular – specific โดยเฉพาะ
level – the amount of liquid that there is in a container, river, dam, etc., which can be seen by how high the liquid is ระดับ
recede – to move back; to move further away into the distance; subside ลดลง, ถอยหลัง
airlift – to carry out an operation to take people, soldiers, food, etc. to or from an area by aircraft, especially in an emergency or when roads are closed or dangerous ขนส่ง (คนหรือสินค้า)ทางเครื่องบิน
vital – extremely important; necessary for the success or continued existence of something จำเป็นสำหรับชีวิต; สำคัญมาก
supplies – the things such as food, medicines, fuel, etc. that are needed by a group of people สิ่งที่จัดหาให้, เสบียง, เวชภัณฑ์
survive – to stay alive after a difficult or dangerous situation มีชีวิตรอด
compose – to arrange the parts of something such as a photograph or a painting in order to get a particular effect  แต่ง(รูปถ่าย)
stretch – to reach out as far as possible ยืดออก
World Heritage site – a place, building, structure, etc. that has been determined by the UN to be of great historical or culture value and is given a special protected status โบราณสถานที่เป็นมรดกโลก
symbol – someone or something that represents a particular idea or quality สัญลักษณ์
treasure – something very valuable ของมีค่า
endangered – at risk or in danger of being harmed, damaged or destroyed เป็นอันตราย
chest – the upper front part of the body of humans and some animals, between the stomach and the neck, containing the heart and lungs หน้าอก
minor – not important; small; having little influence or effect เล็กน้อย

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