Mark Stennett travels South East Asia in search of the perfect photo and the iconic and majestic temples of Angkor are just the starting point for a fantastic photographic exploration of Cambodia…
“Angkor Wat and the many smaller temples in Siem Reap offer a never ending array of photo opportunities and not just at sunrise and sunset, when indeed they really do shine. There are so many new things to discover as you wander around slowly, trying to image what this once mighty civilisation might have looked like back at the peak of power.
Away from the temples is Tonle Sap lake with it’s floating and stilted villages offering us a glimpse of life that we cannot begin to imagine living ourselves. Meeting and photographing the welcoming people around these parts is a joy and serves only to enrich your travel experience.
Then there is the rural landscape of rice fields and villages surrounding Siem Reap. Once again it’s the people living and working in and around the fields that offer some wonderful photographic opportunities and engaging portraits. Done properly, and with respect, you can capture this life in full and have a lot of fun at the same time.
As soon as you arrive in Siem Reap you’ll be drawn to the chilled pace of life, even as this city develops at a rapid pace. Embrace it, slow down and look deeply at what’s going on all around. You’ll be richly rewarded.
1. Slow down, take your time to really observe what’s going on around you
2. Be ‘camera ready’ for when things happen quickly. That means camera out, switched on and lens cap off.
3. Think about what’s in and what’s out of the shot. The latter can be just as important as the former. Actively include things that enhance the image and remove things that detract. Sounds simple but it’s easy to forget.
4. Backgrounds are important. Backgrounds can add to an image or detract. Make a conscious decision about what your background shall be.
5. Pre-conceive the shot in advance. Especially for portraits. Approach your subject with some sort of idea about what the final shot will look like. You may not get many chances with a subject so a bit of planning goes a long way.
6. Photograph people with respect.
7. Get to know your camera before you leave home.
8. Practice on the kids, the pets or around your neighbourhood. There is a tonne of freely available information on the web about things such as composition and travel photography in general.
9. Study other people’s pictures and decide what it is about them you like and what it is that make them work as an image.
10. Start photographing the light. Mornings and evenings are naturally great times to photograph due to the warm, directional nature of the light. At all times it always pays to take note of how the light is falling on a subject.”
Mark Stennett’s business, Drift Photography Tours, is known for bringing guests to photograph in exotic destinations. Mark leads his own unique range of travel photography tours with arrangements provided by Intrepid Travel. The next Cambodia: Ancient Temples of Siem Reap is scheduled from 26 – 29 July and you can find more info at driftphototours.com