Travel Photography Inspiration Project: Cambodia - Digital Photography School
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Travel Photography Inspiration Project: Cambodia

When I say Cambodia, what comes to mind? Angkor Wat? Monks? While we will be feature photos of that nature in this post, there is more to the country to be explored. The coast, the people the quiet moments of religion.

Follow along with these DPS readers who submitted their images for another view of Cambodia. Maybe you’ve seen all this before, maybe you will find something new. The readers have also graciously offered tips if you are planning a trip to Cambodia to capture your own magic.

This is the seventh country we are covering in the reader fueled DPS Travel Photography Inspiration Project.

If you would like to be involved in the next country’s post, drop me a line here.

Kirsty-Larmour-Cambodia-01

Girl on a boat in the stilt village of Kompong Klong by Kirsty Larmour

Tip: Always have your camera ready to snap – 2 seconds later and we were past her, and on the way back she’d disappeared.

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Monk at Siem Reap by Danielle L Goldstein

The saffron cloaked monks are ubiquitous at the temples….less so in the town of Siem Reap….even less so carrying an umbrella! This was a lucky shot.

IMG_2471

 Worshippers, Angkor Wat by Sarah Ball
Description: The devout give offerings and prayer to a Buddha at Angkor Wat.
Tip: Only a small part of the photo is properly exposed, but the darkness enhances to the mystery of the scene. A touch of Fill Light in Lightroom brings in a little detail on the worshippers's faces without adding noise.

cambodia2kids

On the Tonle Sap river, near Battambang, 2003 by Alexandre Ayer

The Tonle Sap lake is the heart of Cambodia’s biodiversity. During the monsoon, the Tonle Sap river reverses it’s flow and the lake increases tenfold, creating South East Asia’s largest floodplain.

The trip from Siem Reap (where Angkor is) to Battambang can be done by boat. It is slow but beautiful. There are many floating villages and daily life on the river can be very photogenic.

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Father and Son Fishing by Kelly Irving

Another telephoto photo from a photographer who prefers not to use one. But in this instance it allowed me to stay on the beach and  achieve a selective depth of field, blurring the boat so the figures stand out against it. Taken on Rabbit Island, my favourite island paradise in Cambodia.

4 The Killing Fields

The Killing Fields by Vicki Stewart

The Killing Fields of Cheung Ek near Phnom Penh is where 17,000 civilians were killed and buried in mass graves, and is a chilling reminder of the brutalities of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime (not advisable for the faint hearted). This photo is from the 17 story glass memorial in the middle of the Killing Fields area which houses 8000 skulls exhumed from mass graves, and was taken at a low angle to emphasize the seemingly never-ending layer of skulls.

dps-cambodia-3

Untitled by Jon Sanwell 

These two monks were sitting in the doorway to a stilt house, while I was at ground level below them.  I wanted to get the whole of the doorway in the frame, so I used a wide angle.  I usually try to be at eye level with people when I take their picture, but in this case, I quite like the way they are peering down at the viewer.

Kirsty-Larmour-Cambodia-02

Petrol Station by Kirsty Larmour

Tip: You see so much life happening right by the roadside. Take photos of the every day stuff that’s so different from what you see back home.

IMG_2953

Peaceful Afternoon, Sihanoukville by Sarah Ball

Description: A fishing boat is moored on Otres Beach, Sihanoukville.Tip: With travel photography you often have to capture a moment by nailing the shot in one or two frames. Take advantage of the quiet moments when you can take time to align and compose a little more thoughtfully.

cambodiamonk

Sanctuary, Angkor Wat, 2003 by Alexandre Ayer

The ancient city of Angkor offers countless photo opportunities. It’s most famous temple is Angkor Wat. Try to avoid the postcard shot and look for something a little different. In this case, a touch of color, symmetry, and patience (I had to wait almost 15 minutes for the frame to be empty of people and the monk to pass by).

irving-100225001

Faces by Kelly Irving

One of my techniques for street photography is to obviously be taking a photo of something, in this case the torn faces on the wall, and wait for someone to walk into the frame. Later, while cataloging my images, I noticed the word ‘sex’ scrawled on the wall, which just added to the oddness of the image. Phnom Penh is a city of textures with lots of decay, contrasting with the modern building boom.

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Cigarette lady, Phnom Penh by Jon Sanwell

I often use a 50mm lens for taking people pictures in cities.  You can get close to the subject and hopefully create some intimacy, and still include plenty of background to show some context.

Kirsty-Larmour-Cambodia-05

Kids exploring around Angkor Wat/Bayon by Kirsty Larmour

Tip: Make sure you remember to capture your own family exploring the country too – you don’t always have to take the posed typical tourist photos to show that they were enjoying themselves and taking it all in.

IMG_2542

At Dawn, Angkor Wat by Sarah Ball 
Description: A pony grazes at Angkor Wat while visitors watch the sun rise over the temple.
Tip: Be careful around animals when you're traveling, many societies don't touch animals with affection so your approach will often be seen as hostile.

cambodiastairs

Stairway to Nirvana, Angkor Wat, 2003 by Alexandre Ayer

The steep stairway that leads to the heart of the Angkor Wat temple (the sanctuary) is extremely steep, in order to symbolize the difficulty of accessing Nirvana (Buddhist heaven). Getting up is easy, but be careful on the way down !

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Bokor Boys by Kelly Irving

Bokor Hill Station is an old French resort sitting on a high plateau in southern Cambodia. At New Years they opened the new road, still under construction, so that Cambodians could drive up for a holiday picnic. I framed the room and waited. The lads walked directly towards me, the one fellow tugging on his friend’s sleeve to alert him to my presence. I desaturated the colour to emphasize the other-worldliness of the scene.

5 Krama Wisdom

Krama Wisdom by Vicki Stewart

A “krama” is the checkered scarf which distinctly separates the Khmer (Cambodians) from their SE Asian neighbours, and can make for some very colourful photographs. This photo was taken in Kampong Thom, a small village between Siem Reap and Phnom Pehn. Respectfully taken using a wide aperture at a distance (with her permission), you can’t help wondering what Cambodians of her generation have lived through.

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Untitled by Jon Sanwell

I got down low to take this picture, as I wanted to get the tower lined up behind the statue.  This was taken near Kompong Cham, on the Mekong river.  If you have the time, I recommend getting away from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and seeing some more of the country; Kompong Cham and Kratie in the east and Battambang in the west are all well worth a visit.

Kirsty-Larmour-Cambodia-03

Carvings at the Terrace of the Leper King by Kirsty Larmour

Tip: Change your angle of view, maybe take from the corner instead of straight on, but watch the light to see that it’s reasonably even on both sides to avoid blowing one side out.

IMG_2407

Afternoon Light, Siem Reap
Description: I'm always struck by how different the light looks when traveling from place to place, and the first thing I noticed arriving in Siem Reap was the ethereal quality of the afternoon light.
Tip: Even though the subject isn't that exciting, I love this photo because it tells you about the place with light, color, and texture. When you look back at your photos years later, it's shots like these that will bring you back to the time and place you shot it.

angkor-wat-monkey

Thoughtful by Kelly Irving

One of my favourite portraits. The morning light was excellent, highlighting the monkey’s eyes. He was still, so the detail in his fur is amazing. It’s best to use a telephoto for photographing monkeys; if you get too close they’ll be all over you, trying to snatch whatever they can.

3 Monk(ey)ing Around

Monk(ey)ing Around by Vicki Stewart

Most young men in Cambodia, especially if they are from the countryside, are expected to study the teachings of Buddha as novice monks. They are conspicuous in their orange robes throughout the temples of Angkor, and are generally happy to smile for a photo and to talk with you, depending on what vows they have taken. Here, I gave a friendly wave from a distance and was given permission with a smile to take a photo – the two monks on either side were sharing a joke and oblivious to me.

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Peter West Carey is a world traveling photographer who now is spending a large amount of time going back through 6 years of travel photo and processing them like he should have to start with. He is also helping others learn about photography with the free series 31+ Days Of Photography Experiments which builds off of the 31+ Days To Better Photography series on his blog.

  • http://raghavendra-mobilephotography.blogspot.com raghavendra

    A good collection of pictures of combodia.
    covering people, god and animals.

  • Liv

    Lots of great photos there! Any word on Japan being a part of the series soon? I’m headed there in a bit less than a month and would love the inspiration!

  • http://jasoncollinphotography.com Jason St. Petersburg Photographer

    In the summer of 2001 I spent 10 days traveling in Cambodia. This was not so long after the country first re-opened for foreigners to (somewhat) safely travel in the country. I have lived and traveled in over a dozen countries and my time in Cambodia remain my favorite experience by far. A collage of a few of the photos from that trip can be seen here:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2011/10/7/photography-tip-travel-or-live-abroad.html

    I got my first digital camera (Olymups 2040 EZ 2.1 megapixel) a few months before the trip, but since memory cards cost an absolute fortune back then, I only had a single 512MB card. Considering I also visited Thailand as part of a 3-week total trip, and such things as Internet cafes where you could burn a disc did not exist then, most of my shots were 640×480. A select few I took at the full 2.1 megapixel resolution. Obviously now I really wish I had higher resolution images of that trip. Keep that in mind when people say today 12 megapixels is more than enough, and maybe it is, but in another ten years from now?

  • http://www.clickudos.com/ rohit kothari

    amazing work nicely covered the combodia

  • http://www.jolini.com Michelle E. / Jolini Art – Fine Art for sale

    A wonderful selection.
    “On the Tonle Sap river” is breathtaking. I really loved “Peaceful Afternoon” as well.
    I think Cambodia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
    Michelle

  • Lesley

    I specially liked Vicki Stewart’s photo labelled ‘Krama Wisdom’

    I am privileged to know well, two Cambodian women who lived through the Pol Pot era. It took a long time for them to trust me with their stories, but they have shared with me on many occasions, with no prompting from me, little snippets that make me wonder at their resilience. The grace on your subject’s face is something that comes from within. My two friends will never forget. Neither will they truly forgive, because they know what was done to them and their families was wrong, but they are not vindictive and they don’t bear grudges. I see that in this face.

  • chamroeunlampard

    The Lighting and Accessories Design Company

    “Clerkenwell Design Week’s popularity continues to increase year after
    year,” says Diana Yakeley, BIID President.

    “It has become a prominent fixture in every designer’s calendar, and we
    are delighted to be supporting its program of activities. We also thank Ochre
    for their support during this major international festival. The Ochre showroom
    is an arresting space and the perfect place to hold a stylish event during the
    design week. We look forward to an informative and entertaining evening.”

    As furniture in
    Cambodia construction materials reported that the lighting and accessory design company will
    welcome a special evening. In this way this company will provide the beautiful,
    luxury, and stylish lighting to designers or houses owner who wish to have the
    beautiful lifestyle.

  • chamroeunmessi

    The Luxury Purple Kitchen Design

    It is the modern luxury purple kitchen has been designed by the Italian kitchen design company, according to furniture shop in Cambodia
    construction materials stated.

    In addition this kitchen has been created with the concept, “A workshop of ideas for the kitchen” with its lovely colors and well arrangement.

    By this way this kitchen is built with a professional team of specialists such as architects and engineers in order to come up with innovative, functional and great looking kitchen interiors.

    One more thing this kitchen design is full of contemporary feel, stylish, modern, the unexpected touch and the overall elegance.

    Indeed the owners will enjoy with this kitchen and let themselves to get inspired with its unusual pendant decoration.

  • loyman86

    Google X: Google’s Latest Scientific Technology to Detect Cancer

    (digital marketing agency) – Unlike many other worldly announced projects from the most famous online search engine Google, Google X is the latest life science project that is developing unnoticed from the public with the purpose of detecting diseases in
    our body system, specifically cancer.

    Here’s how this tech seems to work: a body takes up a pill and attach a wearable device. The pill, which has nanoparticles, will dissolve, spread, and attach itself to the body’s cells and protein then extract health information from them and report back to
    the attached device. This pill is unambiguously made to catch cancer symptom in
    the body.

    And fear not of leakage in personal health information since Google’s head of life sciences Andrew Conrad confirmed that Google would authorize this tech to “others, who will handle the information and its security”.

Some older comments

  • Lesley

    June 8, 2012 10:36 pm

    I specially liked Vicki Stewart's photo labelled 'Krama Wisdom'

    I am privileged to know well, two Cambodian women who lived through the Pol Pot era. It took a long time for them to trust me with their stories, but they have shared with me on many occasions, with no prompting from me, little snippets that make me wonder at their resilience. The grace on your subject's face is something that comes from within. My two friends will never forget. Neither will they truly forgive, because they know what was done to them and their families was wrong, but they are not vindictive and they don't bear grudges. I see that in this face.

  • Michelle E. / Jolini Art - Fine Art for sale

    June 1, 2012 09:19 pm

    A wonderful selection.
    "On the Tonle Sap river" is breathtaking. I really loved "Peaceful Afternoon" as well.
    I think Cambodia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
    Michelle

  • rohit kothari

    June 1, 2012 07:53 pm

    amazing work nicely covered the combodia

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer

    June 1, 2012 12:21 pm

    In the summer of 2001 I spent 10 days traveling in Cambodia. This was not so long after the country first re-opened for foreigners to (somewhat) safely travel in the country. I have lived and traveled in over a dozen countries and my time in Cambodia remain my favorite experience by far. A collage of a few of the photos from that trip can be seen here:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2011/10/7/photography-tip-travel-or-live-abroad.html

    I got my first digital camera (Olymups 2040 EZ 2.1 megapixel) a few months before the trip, but since memory cards cost an absolute fortune back then, I only had a single 512MB card. Considering I also visited Thailand as part of a 3-week total trip, and such things as Internet cafes where you could burn a disc did not exist then, most of my shots were 640x480. A select few I took at the full 2.1 megapixel resolution. Obviously now I really wish I had higher resolution images of that trip. Keep that in mind when people say today 12 megapixels is more than enough, and maybe it is, but in another ten years from now?

  • Liv

    June 1, 2012 12:06 pm

    Lots of great photos there! Any word on Japan being a part of the series soon? I'm headed there in a bit less than a month and would love the inspiration!

  • raghavendra

    June 1, 2012 11:33 am

    A good collection of pictures of combodia.
    covering people, god and animals.

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