In Khmer history, it is believed that Angkor Thom was built as the capital city of the kingdom by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. It is also believed that the king built Bayon as the official state temple of Angkor Thom. Bayon was originally built as Buddhist Mahayana temple, but the successors of the king then modified the temple into Hindu and Theravada Buddhist, in accordance with their own religious preferences.
Anyway, the temple lasts till today. It passed hundred of years of history timeline: wars of Khmer kingdoms, wars of Khmer and surrounding kingdoms and later the French colonialism. It is being renovated now, as seen on my latest visit July 2010, and as seen on my previous visit November 2008.
From downtown Siem Reap, visitors will pass The South Gate and find Bayon as the first temple in Angkor complex. Best time to visit for photo shooting is both early morning and afternoon. Early morning visit will benefit the less disturbance of other visitors. But afternoon visit will give photographer the beauty of reflection in a small pond in west side of Bayon.
In order to catch the reflection, the use of polarizing filter would enhance the reflection. Or else, to get rid of it. The polarizing filter also helped to darken the sky, as seen in the picture above. As the scene has high contrast condition in the afternoon, a gradual ND (neutral density) filter would lessen the contrast.
Actually, there are a lot of subjects to be explored in about 22,500 sq meters area of Bayon. All you need is a pair of strong feet and a couple bottles of water. And, of course, a strong motivation to shoot and learn about the temple. Give respect to other visitors and photographers by stay away from “the line of fire” when they “fire” their camera.
I wish, on my next visit I will combine the beauty of Bayon and the beauty of model(s).
Original post of the picture above in Fotografer.net: Peace in Bayon