Thursday, November 29, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 48: ANOTHER DAY AT ANGKOR WAT

Cambodia, has been on the list of places to go to for a long time... I finally managed to tick it of the list. One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about this Southeast Asian country is undoubtedly Angkor Wat.

A a prime example of Khmer architecture, this amazing temple complex built in the 12th century, is even on the National flag. Over the last 10 years, tourists worldwide have also discovered Angkor Wat, leading to a huge influx of visitors to Siem Reap, the city where the temple is located.

I had read multiple posts talking about the hundreds of people that flock to Ankor Wat for sunrise; some people say it is a must see while others hate the crowds. I wanted to make up my own mind and try at least once! 

Erik De Vries, a dutch photographer based in Siem Reap, who I hired for a 4 day photo-tour, recommended not to bring any tripod. I must say that I initially questioned that decision, but in the end I was happy I didn't!  

As the ticket booth for the Angkor Wat temple complex, opens at 5am, Erik showed up at our Siem Reap hotel at 4.45am in a tuk-tuk. A quick drive to buy our three day ticket passes, which by the way are not cheap (37,-USD for a single day and 62,-USD for 3 days) and then to the temple grounds.

Most photographers, shoot the temple at sunrise from one of the two reflection ponds. The one on the left, which has the sun rising behind the temple, had some scaffolding in the foreground, so we elected to use the right one. As we arrived around 5.45am, there were already a hundred or so people trying to get to the front of the small lake. 

A tripod would indeed be more of a hindrance than a benefit. Thanks Erik. It was not that I was about to make a unique image. Just do a google image search for "Angkor Wat sunrise" and you'll know what I mean!

At least the sky looked pretty dramatic the morning we were there. Below is a triptych shot handhold. The first two images were shot within 15 mins while the third one was shot after lunchtime. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with XF16-55 f2.8 lens
  • handheld at 16mm, varying shutter speeds and ISO between 800 and 160
  • Lightroom for RAW development
  • Nik ColorEfex pro 4 for optimal contrast
In hindsight, I was happy that I did the sunrise shoot at Angkor Wat. More for the overall experience than for the actual images I shot. The alternative of shooting one of the other temples around Angkor Wat is not really an option as the other temples only open at 7am.

Personally I find that if I start with shooting those iconic images first, it clears my mind and gives me the artistic freedom to then make some "real" images. 

I hope to finish the editing process of the images shot during my 10 day visit to Cambodia, somewhere next week. More about this in a future blog post.

UPDATE: More images of the Temples of Ankor can be found here.

Remember, "Focus on the journey, not the destination




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