In November 2008, five friends flew from Mai Sai, in the far north of Thailand into the infamous Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge. This is Chiang Rai province's most popular attraction, luring thousands of visitors annually. This notorious area, located approximately nine kilometres from the historic town of Chiang Saen, is bolstered by its history and the surrounding towns. It's riverfront position at the confluence of the Mekhong and Ruak rivers lends it a unique appeal.
Located near the Northern-most point of Thailand - The Golden Triangle was once the centre of all opium poppy growing in the country, and actually refers to a large area of the three bordering countries. However, the point of actual convergence of these borders is what most people now call the Golden Triangle. Here, the illicit crops have long since been replaced, and today the roads are flanked by countless small restaurants and vendor's souvenir stalls along the banks of the Mekhong river.
The historic 60km flight was made in the afternoon, in decreasing thermic conditions. The camera operator had an engine out and subsequent in air re-start at 150 ft. above the rice paddy.
The finale, unfortunately not filmed, was a down wind landing in a brand new university sports stadium, the pilot water-skiing half the length of the waterlogged sports pitch!
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After considering to buy one of the DSLR cameras in addition to my JVC-100 for several months and after watching all the beautiful videos on vimeo produced with the d5 and d7 cameras I still decided to buy Panasonic's GH1. Although it has not a full-frame sensor, the camera is much (half) lighter, smaller and cheaper than the Canon models and especially the handling is great. The viewfinder is very bright and sharp, the LCD display is sharp and foldable, the various camera settings are easy to access and you can instantaneously switch from still shooting to HD recording. And I had never such detailed White Balance settings on any camera. As a former user of the older Lumix still photography models I learned the basics in one evening and was out this morning for a first test shooting at my home place in Switzerland. I mostly used automatic settings and the stock lens. The soundtrack is by my American friends Kodanda and Premik. Enjoy the result!