Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Cambodia Photo Tour: My first time to Angkor Wat

Holy cow, it has been almost three weeks since I have posted to the blog. I guess it is just that time of the year when everyone wants family portraits, and all those people I photographed throughout the year are ordering their digital images for holiday cards. All of that and a little time off for me too.

But alas, I am back at the computer to do something other than photo retouching.

In today's blog post, I will take you along with me to Cambodia. You get to see all the sites that we saw, but without the jet lag!

Our photo tour group departed Vietnam and arrived at the Siem Reap airport for our first steps in Cambodia. We were all excited to be so close to the ancient temple of Angkor Wat, with high expectations for the coming days.

I am not an early morning person, but Mike (the owner of M&M Photo Tours, and my partner on most of my trips) set a very early meeting time for our first full day in the country. We were going to leave the hotel at 4am and make our way in darkness to Angkor Wat for sunrise. Even though the tourist numbers were lower than normal (due to the pandemic), we wanted to make sure that we had a clear shot of the temple across the water as the sun rose. That next morning we walked through complete darkness with our flashlights in hand, got to the waters edge, set up our tripods and waited.

At approximately 5:15am we could start to see the shape of the temple, and we started taking photos. I took this photo at 5:40am, before the sun rose above the horizon.  For this shot I was using the Canon R5 with the Canon RF24-105mm lens. The colors were gorgeous, the reflection just right, and the silhouette was iconic. All of us were excited to see what we had captured in our cameras. This was a photo I had dreamed of for many years! 

At 6:30am, we packed up our tripods and waited for the sun to light the surroundings so that we could tour the complex. 

It did not take long for the darkness to change to light, and we all scattered to photograph the largest religious monument in the world.

Being at Angkor Wat towards the end of the pandemic did allow us to get clean photos without throngs of tourists.

I was totally blown away as I walked around and saw endless details in the stone.

It was amazing to see how all of this artwork has survived since the 12th century.

With over 400 acres to survey, the photo opportunities were endless.

This photo was taken in the back of the temple. We had set a meeting time and I arrived at that location a little early so that I could get some photos from this perspective before exiting.

I had some time to walk around the back of the temple, and saw this one flowering plant growing in the grass, and decided to use that to capture a different view of Angkor Wat. I took a couple of photos using the plant as my subject and the temple as a supporting subject, and then noticed a dragonfly that was flying amongst the flowers. It kept coming back to the same flower, so I thought it would make for a nice photo opportunity.

I switched to my other camera which was the Canon R6 which has the Canon RF70-200mm lens, and zoomed all the way to 200mm. I got down low and waited for the dragonfly to stop. I shifted my position so that I would have a good background and got this shot. I loved the way that the colors of the dragonfly were in contrast to the purple flowers. This dragonfly was so predictable that I notified our other guests about this shot, and they all took turns photographing it.

A couple of days later we made another visit to Angkor Wat in the later part of the afternoon. This time our goal was to get photos of the temple with the golden hour light on the front of the buildings. As we approached the complex once again, this time entering in daylight, we saw a couple having their engagement photos taken. I asked if we could take some photos of them as well. 

Their photographers were really nice to let us step in for some photos. As we were shooting, they were checking out (and very jealous of) our newer Canon mirrorless cameras. 

I saw these 4 monks who were walking the property and asked them if they would let us take their photo. Once they agreed, I walked them over to the spot you see here, knowing that this would give us a nice reflection in the water. As soon as I took this photo, I knew that this would be one of my favorites from the trip.

After taking the photo of the monks, I asked this young lady if she would do the same thing for us. This is not a hired model, just a young lady who was there with friends. I love that she helped us capture another favorite photo!

This was my first trip to this amazing country and surely it will not be my last. Mike and I will surely be doing this trip again in 2024. If you are looking to join us in Asia sooner, we are heading to Japan in March and have a couple more spots available.


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1 comment:

Susie Johnson said...

Love your version of the dragonfly!
And hey, I know that lady in the second photo - lol.