Angkor Wat, Travel Photography
Last year, on a trip to South and Southeast Asia, I finally had the opportunity to travel to and photograph the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat, the largest religious complex ever built. Built during the Khmer Empire between the 9th and the 15th centuries, it started as a Hindu religious site and eventually morphed into a Buddhist one. Actually, Angkor Wat is just one of the temples at the complex but we have come to know the whole complex by that name. The actual site itself is over 400 sq. kms. and has many other famous temple complexes such as Angkor Thom and the Bayon Temple scattered across the region.
The complex is really close to the town of Siem Reap where you will find accommodation and lots of great restaurants. You can either fly into Siem Reap or you can get there by bus or private car. Or you could take a tour with a travel company, but really it’s an easy thing to do by yourself. I stayed in a nice 3-star hotel and hired guides and drivers when I was there and I had a great time and learned a lot. You can buy a one-day, three-day or a seven-day pass. I bought the three-day pass which was ample for my needs and I went in late March which I would highly recommend since the tourist crowds start to drop and you can actually take a photograph without somebody in it! But you can always find a place to get away by yourself—people flock to the big sites; you can spend time at the smaller ones and have a lot more space to wander about by yourself.
As for travel photography, Angkor is supreme especially if you photograph just after sunrise or around sunset. Angkor has a mystical feel to it and you can capture a lot of different moods depending on the light and the angles you choose. The photographic possibilities are endless. And then, you just want to sit and take it all in, put down your camera and just be. Actually, as a travel photographer, I have learned to do that a lot. In my opinion it’s kind of tragic to go somewhere exotic and beautiful and only see it through a lens. I learned that lesson a long time ago. In travel photography, less is more in a crazy kind of way. I think you get better photographs if you take the time to just be in a place. Somehow the images get more dramatic and more magnetic if you get pickier about what you shoot.
I shot a lot of Angkor in Black and White because sometimes colour, although pleasing to the eye, can actually distract from form and texture which is what really caught my attention at Angkor. I’ll be putting a Travel Photography Gallery soon but in the meantime, I’ll be posting some images that will eventually show up in that gallery.
Bye for now and thanks for taking the time to read this.