Cambodia was a country that I knew very little about. I was unsure what to expect when I first arrived in Phnom Penh. I had been in Southeast Asia for five months and imagined it could be similar to Vietnam. What stood out most for me during my three weeks in Cambodia was the resilience, character and attitude of the people. Their very horrifying recent history is nowhere to be found in the laughter, smiles and outlook of most of the Cambodians I came across.
In Cambodia I traveled to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. I concentrated on capturing everyday moments in markets, villages and on the streets. I enjoyed the Angkor Wat complex and learnt so much at S21 museum and the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh.
For the majority of the portraits and street photography I used my Sony 55mm, 1.8 FE lens. I really love this lens for low-light and portraiture photography.
CAMBODIA TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY – PHNOM PENH
The first series of photos are took from a moving Tuk-Tuk as we weaved in and out of cars and motorbikes on the busy streets of Phnom Penh. Shooting from a moving vehicle is always tough. With only a second or too to compose the shot it can be very hit and miss. I try and bump up my shutter as high as practical and do quite a bit of panning. Another tip that helps is to watch down the street 50-100 yards as that’s where your next shot is going to come from most likely. Therefore if you spot an interesting scene you can semi-compose it before you even arrive. These were my favorite photos from our 15 minute Tuk-Tuk drive in Phnom Penh.
I visited the Russian Market in Phnom Penh, in particular the meat and vegetable sector of the market. To view the entire photo-blog post from the Russian Market CLICK HERE. After our short Tuk-Tuk drive I arrived as the sun was setting and although we were surrounded by building it gave the scene a nice golden glow, perfect for avoiding shadows and shooting some portraits. My aim was to capture the hustle of the workers and many seemed drained after a long day of working in the market.
CAMBODIA TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY – SIEM REAP
I had arrived in Siem Reap and decided to head to the night markets of which there are plenty. This is a situation where the low-light capability of the Sony Alpha a7II really delivers with it’s built in 5-axis stabilization. In conjunction with the Sony 55mm F1.8 Lens, I am able to shoot inside the market, handheld even in darker areas.
The temples of Angkor Wat were amazing but a little bit of a challenge to photograph. The extreme heat, immense crowds and time of day I visited all played against me. Having said that I didn’t take too many photos and enjoyed wandering through the ruins of an ancient civilization. Sunrise at Angkor Wat is incredibly intense. Thousands of people crowd around the ponds in front of the temple hours before the sunrise, jockeying for position. I arrived as the sun was rising and the opportunist in me found a small crack in the crowd to shoot a classic reflection shot.
My favorite part of the trip was visiting Chong Kneas and Phnom Krom after riding a bicycle 10km from Downtown Siem Reap. I made the journey twice and loved hanging out and playing soccer with the same kids both times. Chong Kneas is a small village on the water’s edge. Most of the houses are propped up on stilts and some are floating entirely. I wrote a full blog post about the experience.
And here are a few other photos from my bicycle travels around Siem Reap.