There are hundreds of temples in Angkor complex, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Angkor Wat is mandatory, but the lure of Ta Phrom is a must-visit temple in Angkor complex. It is one of a kind, photographically, at this moment.
Ta Phrom is temple of giant trees, where their roots are the proof of nature supremacy. It is the reason people calls Ta Phrom as The Jungle Temple. The artistic visualization of ruins and giant roots above it were one of the reason for Tomb Raider movie chose it as one of location set.
Both morning and afternoon are best time to shoot, as the contrast would be less and side light might be more friendly. But as a temple in the hit list of Angkor visitors, there would be people everywhere photographers point their camera.
What I did was find my point-of-interest, chose my angle and wait for other visitors to fade away. The moment last for only a minute or less. Within that moment I had to made some shots in several alternatives composition.
There are mostly dark and narrow passages inside Ta Phrom. Pay attention to signs and direction, obey the “no access” borders and you would be fine. It is not worth such an effort to find unusual angle by climbing over the ruins or cross “no access” area.
Wide angle lens helps a lot. The space of shooting is mostly narrow. Go as wide as you can. One body of camera and one lens would make it easier to browse around.
In my previous visit to Ta Phrom on November 2008, there were some areas under renovation. In my latest visit on July 2010, there were more areas under renovation. Off course, the scaffoldings are distracting for photography. Fortunately, there were still some corners and giant roots available without any distraction.
Don’t get lost in Ta Phrom.
Original post of the picture above in Fotografer.net: Over-riding
If you are a photography enthusiast, Angkor Wat is a must-visit place in South-East Asia. Situated in Siem Reap, second biggest city after Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat is the main place of interest among hundreds of temples in Angkor complex. Angkor Wat is the largest temple in Angkor complex, built by the Khmer civilization around the year 1100 AD. It was probably built as a furnerary temple for King Suryavarman II (1112-1152), to honour Vishnu, one of the Hindu God.
Shooting sunrise in Angkor Wat is supposed to be an enjoyful thing to do. Anyway, you should get here by 5 AM in the morning to be ready-to-shoot on-site before the sunrise, and most importantly before the place gets crowded by tourists. It is suggested to leave your hotel in Siem Reap at 4.30 AM, get your transport and go through temple-pass checking station at Angkor complex gate.
The most favorite spot for sunrise in Angkor Wat is in lotus pond in front of it. Bring your torch as it will be still dark in early morning and there is no lighting at all in the temple. You have to cross the moat and go through the Angkor Wat main gate and walk a couple hundreds of meter to get to lotus pond.
Suggested gears for sunrise photo shoot in Angkor Wat are: wide lens 16mm or at most 24mm, tripod and graduated ND (neutral density) filter. Tele lens would be an addition, but tripod is a must to avoid camera shake due to low light condition at dawn. Graduated ND filter is mandatory, as you are facing a high-contrast light condition in sunrise time. Catch the reflection in the lotus pond, set your white balance correctly, and make sure you have enough power in your camera battery and enough space in memory cards.
Shooting time would not be last after 5:30 AM, as the sun will be high after that. You will be surrounded by other visitors with their camera. Give respect to them, and you will be respected. But stay in your position, unless you want to let your place taken by other visitors.
There are local people with their business offering you a simple plastic chair and coffee. Just get one, pay US$ 1 then you will be fine in your position of shooting. This is the latest situation I recognized on my visit, late July 2010. There wasn’t that kind of business on my previous visit to Angkor Wat, November 2008.
Enjoy your Angkor Wat sunrise shooting.
Original post of the picture above in Fotografer.net: Romantic Angkor