Monday, December 1, 2014

My Love Affair in Cambodia

My search for the pure and uninterrupted dawn lighting is a love affair, it doesn't last forever and is very unforgettable.

Images found here are captured during an early trip to Angkor Wat Temple and Bayon Temple in Siem Reap.  Catching the drama of dawn lighting is not easy especially when few bottles of beer and European foreigners dancing in Pub Street dangle in my memory like a strange after taste.

Check 'em out and let me know what you think.

"Murky Mirror"
The ground where I chose to stand that morning was very soft and only inches away from a murky pond in the temple grounds of Angkor Wat.  However, when you change perspective, the dark water reflecting the five towers of the temple with water lilies adding foliage was an unforgettable shot.

"Legs & Pillars" 
Human legs carry the weight of a human body like these pillars carry the weight of Angkor Wat.  I like low key photographs that emphasize darkness and the soft introduction of light that blends well in this frame.
The sunrise in Angkor Wat does not only provide popular silhouettes of the temple's towers, but also provide great natural light for kids playing in the pond.  I remember taking this shot while the tourists around me were very busy taking pictures of the temple.  

"Window for the Soul"
When taking photographs inside a temple, I'd like to use frames that capture a patch of green paradise outside.  Since Angkor Wat is a really big temple, her structure provide frames that soothe the eye when all you get to see inside are gray stones and solid heavy structure.  
"Not Even A Nod"
Buddhist nuns when reaching old age shave their heads, use a simple white uniform, and volunteer to watch over temples.  To them, this is the purest form of happiness and service.  The light on the right side of the frame is from the morning sun on the eastern side of Bayon Temple.  

"Breathing Towers"
From total darkness, the sun slowly went up at around 5:30am.  I felt the towers move and wanted to document it.  The old "zoom-in-zoom-out" trick in slow shutter did the story.  This old trick in the bag never fail to add flavor to my photographs.

"Early Monks"
It was almost noon when these Buddhist kid monks showed up.  They were too willing for a quick photograph while I take advantage of the rim lighting in their head, shoulders, and emphasizing their saffron robes.

"Late Sunrise"
According to traveler's stories, the sunrise of Angkor Wat is one of the most epic sunrises in the world.  Hundreds visited the temple that day but when the sun blinded us, only a few stayed to photograph the sun directly.  An under exposed setting to emphasize the shapes of Angkor Wat, the color of the sky, and the reflection in the pond is an eccentric shot but a damn good unique shot.  

On your next trip why not go out of the usual shelf itineraries and veer away from groups itching to take one and the same pictures; because chances are you'll have identical photos.  Look for the unique ones.

I've always believed in finding treasures in thinking the opposite.  Maybe it's time to change your perspective too.  Because like a love affair, dawn lighting is hard to catch but can be very unforgettable.