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IN THE PICTURE #54: MARCEL HAKIME
In this feature called ‘In the Picture‘ we ask great photographers from all over the world to share their 10 most favorite Thailand photos with our readers. See Thailand through the lens of the photographer, read the background stories and learn more about the land of smiles.
Never before have we had a pure and simple underwater photos from a professional diver. Hereby we present you ten insanely beautiful underwater photos from Thailand. Thank you dear Marcel for this special contribution!
Hello Marcel, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I am Marcel Hakime, born and raised in Brazil, precisely in São Paulo. I have been living in Thailand for the past 5 years of my life, in a tiny island called Koh Phi Phi, which is mostly known by the parties and Maya Bay (the most famous beach in Thailand). What most of the people who visit Koh Phi Phi do not know, is how incredible is the island beneath the surface, (and I also didn’t know until I was able to check by myself). Firstly, snorkeling around I was able to see how rich in numbers, and diversity it is, so, I decided to follow my instinct to explore it more and more, I became a professional diver, and underwater photography was the way I found to describe this extraordinary underwater world.
Come and virtual take a dive with me and see that Thailand is not only beautiful above water but also under water!
The reason I like this shot, is because of the expressions the yellow-edged moray is starring at the lens with a suspicious looking. Also, the nostrils are very cute in my opinion. Moray eels in general, have a poor eyesight, but an incredible sense of smell. Another funny fact, is that just like an alien, they have a hidden internal jaw called “pharyngeal jaw”.
I have so many photos of sharks, but the reason I chose exactly this one, is because of the suspicious eyes, the way it is looking at me, seeing me as a possible threat that it should keep an eye on me all the time. Sharks are not a threat, but we are, as around 100.000.000 sharks are killed by humans every year, by another perspective, less than 10 human deaths per year in average. Meanwhile the shark looks suspicious, a juvenile golden trevally is swimming comfortably and feeling shelled under the black reef tip shark.
What is your favorite destination in Thailand?
Koh Phi Phi is my favorite place to be in Thailand. Apart from the underwater perspective, I really like living on a small island, where there are no cars or motorbikes, you just walk around the island, and, at the same time, you can find everything you need. Another factor that I really like, is having always happy people around, most of the people get fascinated by the place, and it gives an incredible atmosphere.
Which place / destination in Thailand is still on your wish list to visit?
I Have travelled to most of the places on my wish list, but obviously there are more places that I’d like to visit, and, I am curious about the islands on the east side of Thailand, Koh Chang, Koh Mak and Koh Kut.
This is one of my favorite shots, regarding the synchronization and the shape of the school of 2-spot snapper. The metallic scales provide brightness and shadows for the shot, whether the tail fades out smoothly.
Cuttlefish is one of the most extraordinary species on earth. Apart from the curious shape, the way they change patterns and colours, with different purposes such as hypnotization to hunt or as a charm for mating purposes, are simply a show. Here is a male protecting a female (from other males).
Which place / destination do you recommend our readers to visit and why?
I always recommend a travel itinerary in which Thailand is covered from north to south, I mean, it is a waste of opportunity if you come to Thailand, and don’t get to visit the north of Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai) even that the islands on the Andaman Sea are breathtaking. As I am not big fan of cities, i always recommend not wasting many days in Bangkok, because pretty much the rest of the country deserves more time.
Where do you like to eat?
Pum Pui Restaurant on Koh Phangan, a Thai restaurant that everything on the menu is flawless.
Watching a jellyfish swimming, like pulsing, is hypnotic and extremely beautiful, smooth movements from the middle to the extremities exactly like a jelly. A funny fact is that you are likely to find fish and crabs taking a ride inside the jellyfish like on this one. Like pretty much all the marine life, you should never touch it, especially because of the stinging cells it has on the tentacles.
Well, so many thoughts about this photo… First, the amazing symbiotic relationship between a clownfish and a sea anemone. The anemone provides protection to the tiny clownfish, which would be an easy prey without it, and as a payback, the clownfish searches for food to feed the anemone and keep it’s house alive. Clownfish are able to develop nematocysts, a external layer that makes it possible for them “slide” on the tentacles, while all the other fish would get stuck and injured, or either to end up as a food.
Tip us a nice coffee shop or bar where our readers can drop by.
Banana Bar on Koh Phi Phi.
What is your favorite Thai dish?
As a big fan of curries, I’d go with Massaman Curry (but honestly it is very hard to pick one up, as there are some many good options).
This is a Titan Triggerfish biting a rock in search for food. With very powerful jaw, they are able to break rocks and get the micro life inside the rock as a food, the Wrasse fish around the Trigger fish are just taking advantage of the situation, and, most likely will get a bite without any effort.
Glassfish covering the corals on the most top rated dive site of Thailand called Richeliew Rock and located on the surroundings of Surin Island. The dive site itself is covered on soft corals, which host so many different species. It is definitely a must, if you are a scuba diver.
What is your favorite accommodation in Thailand?
I usually do not worry too much about accommodation, as my goal is always the nature around, but when I visited Railay, I really enjoyed Railay Bay Resort.
Do you have a (travel) tip that might come in handy in Thailand?
My first tip about people visiting Thailand, is about the length of stay, I always feel like, the longer, the better. Another tip, is, try not to plan everything, because great experiences will probably make you to change your plan at some point in Thailand.
Is there a Thai phrase or word our readers need to learn?
There are not much sense on it, but I really like “Mai Pen Rai” which means “No worries” or “No problem”, technically nothing special, but there are always the feeling of kindness behind it.
The second to the last photo is about the simple. No matter where you are in Thailand, if you are by the sea, go to explore it’s underwater world, pay attention on the details, like this sea feather, or the polyps of the corals, or whatever catches your attention. It is a wonderful new world.
Here is a Whale Shark (the biggest fish in the world) visiting the waters of Koh Phi Phi. Regardless the size, whale shark is one of the most docile of the ocean. watching them swimming very smooth is very grateful. This exact one from the picture is considered a juvenile and has around 5 meters in length, but an adult can grow up to 12 meters long.
What type / brand of camera do you use?
I chose a compact camera which was made focused on underwater photography. It is an Olympus TG6. I also shoot with SeaLife wide angle wet lens, a pair of INON S2000 strobes (flash) + all the rig to carry it underwater.
Where can our readers find your work / photos?
I publish some of my photos on my Instagram account.
Last question, who should we also ask our ‘In the Picture’ feature?
Marc Alvez is a very talented photographer with very special perception, his photos show strong emotion.