Monday, January 9, 2023

Cambodia Photo Tour: Ta Prohm Temple (location of Tomb Raider) and an amazing floating village

On this last blog post from our Indochina trip, I will show you some of my favorite images of the places and people in Cambodia.

As you saw from the last blog post, we made the bucket list visit to photograph Angkor Wat both at sunrise and during the day. But, as it turns out, there was a lot more to see in the area. On one of our days in the country we visited the ancient temple of Ta Prohm, which is an amazing site to photograph. This temple has been overtaken by the trees of the area, but luckily the people of this region have decided to let it be and not intervene. The resulting views are breathtaking.

We had overcast weather on the day that we visited Ta Prohm, which was perfect for photography. No harsh light and shadows to deal with. For this visit, I was using my Canon R6 camera with the Canon RF 15-35mm lens. I chose the wide lens knowing that we would be in tight quarters. This wide lens let me capture photos like this, showing the immense tree growth and how the roots of the tree have integrated with the stonework since the 12th and 13th century.

As much as I looked forward to seeing Angkor Wat, I actually enjoyed photographing Ta Prohm even more. There were amazing views at every turn!

Just like our visit to Angkor Wat, we did not have tons of other visitors to deal with, which made for really clean images.

I loved the different colors in the stone.

You may recognize this spot, as it is featured in the Tomb Raider movie. The place is a big maze, so it really helps to have someone who knows the area to get you to the best photo locations. Mike and our guide have been here many times and knew exactly where to go for the best photos. 

As I mentioned earlier, there were photos at every turn.

I was taking the photo above this one when the sun peeked out, and came through a back doorway and lit this one stone inside this room. It reminded me of something out of a movie, where the tomb hunter gets a sign of where the next clue might be. 

I saw this one tree reaching for the skies and thought that it would be fun to point the wide angle lens up to get this perspective. 

I always tell our photo tour guests to have a subject in their photos. In this case, my subject was the tree in the middle of the scene, with the surrounding building as a supporting subject. 

We gave everyone ample time to photograph this spot, but I could have stayed even longer. I look forward to our next visit to capture more of Ta Prohm.

I also would like to share images of the Cambodian people. 

We hired this young lady to model for our guests. Mike and I picked a nice location for the background and we all had a blast capturing her in her traditional dance outfit. For this outing and the ones to follow, I switched lenses to the Canon RF 70-200mm lens. This is my favorite portrait lens because of the clarity and the ability to shoot at f/2.8 and get great separation between my subjects and background.

We made a visit to a local monastery to watch the munks in their daily rituals. 

We asked these two if they would pray for us in this one location, since it was really beautiful.

I encouraged our guests to photograph them from different angles, giving a very different background and look.

As we were getting ready to leave the monastery, I saw this row of statues and I took a photo. Then I saw this young boy coming up this walkway in front of the statues and I quickly raised my camera and fired a bunch of frames as he approached. Having the boy in the frame makes for a much better photo, in my opinion. 

One evening, we attended a dinner show. I did not take a ton of photos at the performance, choosing to just relax and enjoy the moment more than shoot images. But, I still had the bug to get a couple of nice photos.

These next photos are from our boat tour of a floating village in Cambodia.

We were totally captivated by the people, young and old, living in these floating homes.

This young man was being taken to the floating school.

It was fascinating to watch the pet dogs, who also lived in the floating houses, as they moved between the homes and boats. Small quarters, but they seemed happy.

We loved the colors that people were wearing.

This shows the inside of this mans' floating home.

This woman had SO much character in her face. I love everything about this photo, her face, the pose, the hammock seat...

We saw this young man watching us from his window, and had to capture that smile.

As we cruised through the floating village, we could not stop taking photos. The people and their unique lifestyles were so incredible.

I saw this young man bailing water out of his boat. Keeping my camera in a burst mode (which I always do), I took numerous frames to get that exact moment when the water was being tossed out. 

This older man is WAY more flexible than I will ever be!

Here is a photo of the floating school...

...and some of the children in class.

At one point we were floating along taking photos, when we saw these two ladies up on their roof. We did not understand what they were doing up there until our guide explained that they were drying fish in the sunlight. I zoomed the Canon RF20-700mm lens all the way to 200mm and sure enough, that is what they were doing.

We made a couple of loops through the floating village in order to see all of the different water ways. As we left the village, we saw this boat coming up on us. I grabbed this shot to show the young boy resting on the bow, but also to show the floating homes in the background. This one photo seemed to tell a whole story in itself.

I hope that you enjoyed the photos and stories from this amazing trip. It was my first time going to Vietnam and Cambodia, but will definitely not be the last. Yes, there were endless photo opportunities, but more importantly, it was such a treat to see and meet the people from these remote countries.


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