Posts Tagged ‘Angkor Wat’
One of the highlights of my latest trip to Angkor Wat is the opportunity to capture people going about their daily routines. This could include dancers working at night at Angkor Wat or monks in a tourist mode visiting during the day. Irrespective of their activities, they were all at ease before a camera, making it much easier to slip into a photographer and start shooting.
Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens and Leica C-Lux 2.
Preah Pithu is a group of five temples in eastern Angkor Thom, near the “Terrace Of The Elephants”. Although the complex appear to be a group, they were probably not designed as such. These temples are known for their setting in majestic trees that can be a locale for a respite in the tropical Cambodian heat. There is also a refreshment stand (and restrooms) nearby. These temples also house some very intricate carvings that are surprisingly intact.
Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.
Pre Rup Temple is an alternative to the very popular Angkor Wat for sunrise. In fact, climb the stairs to the top of the temple for a memorable sunrise. On this particular day, the cloud cover was heavy so the sunrise was not as spectacular as it can be when it strikes the red sandstone, laterite and brick of Pre Rup. An added bonus in visiting here is that there aren’t hundreds of people as there can be at Angkor Wat. This morning, there was our small group and three others visitors.
Another thing. Pre Rup is a very compact temple that is easy to access. Angkor Wat is huge and sometimes loses intimacy, especially at sunrise when there are crowds of people trying to share the same expericience.
Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.
One early morning we traveled to Kampong Kleang, a small fishing village on the Tonle Sap. From Kampong Kleang, we took a small boat to a floating village about 30 minutes away in the Tonle Sap.
The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and is the life blood of the Cambodian (Khmer) people. It is known for reverse flow of its water from wet to dry season and the rich biodiversity surrounding the lake.
When we visited, it was still the dry season, however, in another month, the rains will fall and the water may rise up nine meters.
The land surrounding Kampong Kleang will be underwater with the only high ground being the temple grounds. As the houses are built on stilts, there is little risk from rising high water. And the people have been living here for thousands of years. They are well aware of how to survive in this environment.
They go about their daily lives no different than people around the world.
To visit this village travel south by motor vehicle about 1 hour south of Siem Reap. There are other villages closed to Siem Reap, however, they have become heavily visited by tourists.
Photos were taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.
We visited Banteay Srei temple early one morning, hoping to catch the glow of a bright sunrise against the red sandstone. Sad to say that the sunrise was not spectacular so we were left with the beautiful red sandstone.
Banteay Srei is a relatively recent name and means “citadel of women”, referring to its delicate proportions and intricate decor. Banteay Srei was consecrated in 967AD and dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. The original name of the temple was “Tribhuvanamahesvara”, meaning “Great Lord of the Threefold World.
The temple is a must-see. It’s about 25km from the main Angkor complex. It is heavily visited so I recommend that you visit early. You will have the temple all to yourselves. Later in the morning, there are lots of visitors.
After a few days in Siem Reap, it’s time to take a break from the dozens of Angkor-era temples that are available to see. One of the best alternate trips is to travel to one of the floating villages on the Tonle Sap.
The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and is the life blood of the Cambodian (Khmer) people. It is known for the reverse flow of its water from wet to dry season and the rich biodiversity surrounding the lake.
When I last visited Siem Reap seven years ago, I visited another village closer to town. Since then, that village has become a tourist magnet with dozens of larger tour groups with the result that it sometimes feels like there are more tourists than villagers.
This floating village is about one hour south of Siem Reap with the last 15 kilometers over a dusty and narrow road, passing several small villages before stopping at land’s end at Kampong Kleang. From Kampong Kleang, you boat down a narrow waterway for open water. Ten minutes later you arrive at this village. By June, the village will be gone, as it is rainy season and the lake will rise about 9 meters. The village will then be moved closer to land. In fact, the waterway will also disappear as its channel will submerge under the rising water level.
The residents of this floating village are ethnic Vietnamese whose principal livelihood is fishing (as you can probably guess). Check out the last photo below with the large pig in a floating cage. Also the small boat in the next to last photo is a local version of a grocery store.
This was not the best morning for photographs due to diffuse hazy light. And when you’re captive to a boat, it’s a bit difficult to plan your photos, both in terms of lighting (the location of the sun) and the distance between your camera and your subject. Sometimes you have to improvise.
Photos taken with a Leica M8 and a Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.
Ta Prohm was built sometime in the late 12th or early 13th century. It is also known as the “jungle temple” because it has been allowed to maintained its original “discovered” state from the early 20th century. Although the undergrowth has been cleared from the temple, the large trees with their roots have been allowed to remain in place. This has led to the temple and accompanying trees to have an eerie almost supernatural feel.
It’s a good bet for a decent photograph or two. Between light and shadow and the vegetation, there is plenty of opportunities to be pleased with your results. More so than at other locations that are predominately rock with very little contrast and flat lighting.
Some of the scenes in the Angelina Jolie movie “Tomb Raider” were filmed at this temple.
It is located in the central Angkor area and is easy to access. There can be crowds there. I recommend that you visit Ta Prohm either early in the morning or before closing at 6:00pm.
Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 or Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens.