Interview with Thai Street Photographer Sakulchai Sikitikul about making his dreamy floating soap bubbles hores rider shot on Samila Beach in Songkhla.

About Sakulchai Sikitikul

Sakulchai is a experienced Street Photographer from the city of Songkla in Thailand. He shoots street for over 8 years now and is an active member of the Street Photo Thailand Collective. We interviewed Sakulchai to learn what it took to capture his dreamy, surreal image of soap bubbles floating around a horse, rider and child on a beach. The shot was nominated as finalist during the single image contest of the San Francisco Street Photography Festival in 2019.

Making Of Interview

Where and when did you make the photo, was it a familiar or new location to you?

Samila Beach, Songkhla, during Summer of 2019. A familiar place which is not far from my home. The place where I often visit and take pictures. This beach always has something to surprise me. On that day, for the first time, I met people who made soap bubbles to sell to children and families.

What was happening and why did you photograph the scene?

It was a very hot month in Thailand and there is calm with occasional gentle breeze. The weather was quite hot and humid. In the area under the tree that is quite far away from the beach, I noticed a bubble floating away toward the sea. He (the bubble maker) invited people, especially children, to come by. He made a large bubble to grab attention. This was quite effective. Parents had to buy the tools for the children to play with. Many bubbles, some small some big, started floating out toward the sea with a gentle blowing wind. This was the starting point for me to start shooting.

Was it spontaneous or did you prepare the shot?

This aroused me. After that I developed many ideas while shooting. Would it be better to take a photo without seeing the person who made the bubble? etc. And I was very lucky in that while shooting. There were cowboys that provide horse riding services for tourists to ride along the beach.

In case you made more that one exposure, could you please share some images and/or describe what you did to get it right?

As described, I saw children playing with bubbles. In the meantime, kept thinking and tried catching the exact moment of the children in the composition.

Did the photo came out as you planned or did something unexpected happen and added to it?

Since the gentle breeze was blowing continuously, there were soap bubbles that had a slow floating movement, some were hanging in the air. There was still time to set up the composition of the bubbles distribution and wait for the moment that the cowboys walk the horse, while I was trying to bring tourists into the frame. I also tried to maintain the balance in the image integrity as much as possible. I got only 4-5 pictures. After that it was not possible to shoot while keeping the frame balance again. I chose to shoot the bubbles alone for another theme.

What camera, lens, and settings did you choose? Was a gear setting/feature particularly important/useful?

Sony a7s with a 35mm Leica Summicron lens. Camera was set to 1/500th, ISO 200. 

What makes this photo a good choice for submitting it to a street photography competition?

I showed all pictures to my girlfriend and she thinks that this picture feels surreal. Unlike the familiar Samila beach. It is interesting enough to look at it for a long time.

Is there anything you took away / learned from making this picture?

Despite being tiresome chasing soap bubbles under the hot sun on the beach for over an hour, it was fun and rewarding.  

Links to Sakulchai Sikitikul

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