Its taken longer than expected to arrange and finalise, but my Cambodia Ancient Temples Photo Workshop is finally up and ready for booking. I’ve totally re-engineered the workshop this year, so it’s completely different to last years Vietnam and Cambodia Tour. I found trying to see all of Vietnam and Cambodia in two weeks was too much and we couldn’t spend enough time in any location. Plus there was lots of flying and changing hotels which eats up valuable time and is very tiring. So this year I’ve focused (excuse the pun) on the part of last years tour that was my favourite, the few days we spent in Siem Reap and the Angkor ruins in Cambodia.
Angkor Temple Complex.
On last year’s tour we only spent a few days in this amazing place, and I found it was not enough. So much so that after the completion of the tour I returned by myself to spend another two full weeks exploring Siem Reap and particularly the Angkor Temple complex and I loved it! Angkor is over 400 square kilometres of ancient cities and temples buried under the jungles of tropical Cambodia and is the most amazing lost city I have ever seen. I love ancient ruins and lost civilisations and I have explored quite a few, from the jungles of Central and South America, and the desert plains of the Maya in Mexico to ancient Roman, Greek and Byzantine ruins in Europe. Angkor beats them all! Read the rest of this entry »
Another image from my favourite temple in the Angkor complex… Angkor is often misnamed Angkor Wat, when in fact Angkor Wat refers to the largest single temple within the Angkor temple complex (Wat means temple in Khmer). As impressive as Angkor Wat is, due to sheer size and grandeur, it’s often hard to appreciate it due to the vast number of tourists pouring through it, often it feels more like Disney Land, with screaming and yelling and total chaos.
Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm
When I go to places like Angkor, I like to wander quietly through the incredible ruins and wonder at the long dead builders of such a vast and elaborate work of art, and the culture that created it. The temples of Angkor really are beyond compare, certainly to anything I have ever seen. Every square centimetre is covered with detailed and intricate carvings, it’s almost impossible to comprehend the size and complexity of it all.
So the last thing I want is to be there with a bunch of screaming disrespectful idiots, that really breaks the spell and makes me want to leave. Fortunately most of those idiots are on large organised tours that all follow the same itinerary, and they all arrive around the same time… 9.30 in the morning when it’s stinking hot and so humid you almost need to be a fish to breath! Since I have been at the temples since 5am, thats a perfect time for me to head back to the air conditioned comfort of my hotel room in Siem Reap to download images and have a sleep until about 3pm Then I head back to the temples just as those same dehydrated and exhausted tour groups are leaving… strangely quiet now.
The Temple of Ta Prohm doesn’t get anywhere near the numbers of Angkor Wat, but it is still a popular spot for the Disneyland tour groups, so you do have to get there early or late. Fortunately that’s the best time to be there in every sense, light, temperature, humidity and quiet! This image was shot early in the morning on my last Photographic tour to Cambodia and Vietnam on the Hasselblad H4D-60 with a 28mm f4 lens.
Cambodia Photo Workshop
I’ve been planning a photographic Workshop in Cambodia since returning in 2013, those plans have come to fruition and the page is up, you can view all the details here>>
Of all the ruins in the amazing Angkor complex, the ancient monastery of Ta Prohm would have to be my favourite. Ta Prohm has been left in a semi ruined state with giant fig trees growing out of temples and huge roots clambering over roof tops and slowly pulling the buildings apart. It is the most atmospheric of all the temples in the main Angkor complex of Cambodia, and I would guess thats why it featured so heavily in the film Tomb Raider…
Photographic Tour Dates for 2014
I took this image on my last photographic tour to Cambodia and Vietnam in May this year, but I’ve only now got around to playing with it a bit. We only spent 3 days in Cambodia on the last tour, something I regretted at the time and something I will be correcting on the Cambodia Photo workshop for 2015. Then we will be spending more than a week in Cambodia, with a lot of it around the unique temple ruins of Angkor and beyond, including a couple of early mornings at Ta Prohm! Details will be going up shortly for the 2014 dates for this tour, and also my 2014 Photography tour to Bhutan.
This is the third revisit from the images of the fisherman images from Hoi An Vietnam taken on my Photographic tour of Vietnam and Cambodia earlier this year. I posted this image in a previous post with about 4 minutes work done in Lightroom, and looking back at it now it looks pretty ordinary. with just a few more minutes work in Lightroom the image improves dramatically. I have posted the before image here again so its easy to compare the difference, and it really is only a few minutes work in Lightroom to go from before to after, imagine what you could do actually exporting it to Photoshop and really working it up!
Cambodia & Vietnam Tour 2014
I am in the process of preparing the tour itinerary for Cambodia and Vietnam for 2014 right now. The tour will be in July 2014, and quite different to this last tour the same region. We will spending much more time in Cambodia this trip, with more focus on the out of the way non-touristy locations, including more of the far flung ruined temples outside the Angkor temple complex. You can read about the last tour here, and this same page will be updated with final dates and itineraries for the 2014 tour soon… Saty Tuned!
The second instalment of me reworking already posted images, this one from the same day as the previous post. Once again this was posted with about 5 minutes work in Lightroom on the laptop (not the best way to do images), and I have since worked it up on the Mac Pro with a bigger calibrated screen, still only in Lightroom though, there may be some more post processing in Photoshop .
Normally for an image like this to print it, I would get to a certain point in Lightroom (when everything starts to slow down), then export the image out as a High Res Tiff or psd (or a smart object) and work on it further in Photoshop before printing. Well, this image is at the stage of slowing down and not much more is possible in Lightroom (unless you like looking at the spinning beach ball), so the next step would be Export, maybe I’ll show it again later, post Photoshop.
Speaking of printing, I am about to run a photographic printing workshop in August this year, so if you have always wanted to get that desktop photographic printer behaving like the salesman told you it would, come along, you can read more details about that here.
Just like the image from the last post, I shot this from a boat in the Hoi An River on the Hasselblad H4D-60 handheld (at 6am in the morning) while on my last Photographic Tour of Vietnam and Cambodia back in May of this year. The image on the left above has had about 1 hour in Lightroom, while the image on the right is the original I posted some time back, with about 5 minutes of Lightroom work. Don’t forget to click the images to get a bigger version.
I’m currently working out a totally new itinerary for next years Vietnam and Cambodia photographic Tour, with a lot more focus on Cambodia and some more remote and Beautiful regions of Vietnam. Stay tuned to this blog for all the updates and book mark this page for all the information about this Photo Tour for 2014.
I posted some shots for the fisherman of Hoi An some time back (I’m not very regular with my posts) that I shot on the last Vietnam and Cambodia photographic tour. The images were posted not long after I shot them and with only a 5 minute basic workup in Lightroom. Usually that’s what I post here on the blog, 5 minute workups… I thought it might be nice to show what a little image work can do for a photograph, sort of a before and after, in this case just in Lightroom.
This photograph was shot on the Hasselblad H4D-60 with the Hasselblad 100mm f2.2 lens handheld, and what you see is basically full frame (besides a little horizon straighten… I was on a boat after all), the file is rather huge and there are 12 stops of latitude for editing, so almost anything is possible.
Directly above is the Lightroom worked up version of the previously posted image. It’s had about 1 hour of processing, mostly just balancing shadow and light, putting the emphasis where it belongs and removing the ugly tower in the background…
The original as previously posted image is repeated below… Don’t forget to click on each image to get a larger view.
Halong Bay in the far North of Vietnam has got to be one of the wonders of the world, especially when it puts on a rainstorm like this as it did when we arrived at the tail end of my Vietnam and Cambodia Photographic tour a few weeks ago.
When we arrived at the dock and got onto our boat the sky was mostly clear with a few clouds on the horizon… those clouds very quickly overtook us and put on this spectacular show…
These images were all shot hand held with the Hasselblad H4D-60 and a combination of the 28mm f4 and the 100mm f2.2 More images of Halong Bay to follow
After beating the fish out of the sides off his nets and collecting the catch from the bottom, the fisherman came over to our waiting boat to show us what he had caught for the day and to chat to our guide.
He was very shy and obviously not used to westerners with cameras (especially big cameras like the hasselblad H4D-60!), but he knew our guide and we were all polite and respectful so he warmed up to us.
As is the current custom in Vietnam, we all gave him a small tip, which would have amounted to more than he would normally make in several days fishing, but for us the experience was priceless!
As we continued down the river we started coming to more and more of these huge fishing nets suspended between 4 poles, they were beautiful, more like a work of modern art than a fishing net. Since they were suspended horizontally across the water it was difficult to see how they were used to catch fish… unless they were flying fish!
Patience is rewarded, and after passing many of these mysterious nets we finally got to see one in action. The fisherman appears in his canoe, standing up and rowing with a single sculling oar, sometimes with his foot… which is an impressive sight.
He paddles up to a small covered platform on stilts off one corner of the net, climbs in and begins peddling a type of windless contraption made of bamboo which winds in a rope attached to one of the four corner posts.
The whole net arrangement tilts sideways and is lowered into the water until it’s completely submerged. Later on that day he comes back and repeats the whole process, but winding in reverse, which of course raises the net, hopefully with a heap of fish in it.
At this point all the seagulls have a party as the net is completely open at the top and provides an easy meal. The fisherman then gets back into his canoe and paddles under the net, and using a long stick and his hands – while controlling his canoe with his foot – shakes all the fish down from the edges into the middle of the net, where there is an access hole for him to get them out into his boat.
All these images were shot on the Hasselblad H4D-60 with either the 100mm f2.2 lens (35mm equivalent of about 70mm) or the 28mm f4 (35mm equivalent of about 18mm), hand held of course, as there is no point in using a tripod on a boat!
Don’t forget to click on the images for a much better view of whats going on! More Hoi An fishing stories next…
Well so much for regular entries whilst on my photographic tour of Vietnam and Cambodia! There just never seemed to be any time with so much to see and do. So here I am back in Cambodia again, post tour, researching next years tour… honestly, i’m working!
Hoi An Fisherman
One of the Highlights of Vietnam for me was an early morning river trip we took with a local photographer I found whilst wandering the streets of Hoi An in Central Vietnam. Thai Tuan Kiet was born in Hoi An and runs a photographic gallery on one of the main streets, that features his own photographic work shot over many years, he unfortunately doesn’t have a website (yet) but his work is beautiful.
I got talking to him and it turns out he does day tours for Photographers in the countryside around Hoi An and particularly up the river to the fishing villages where no tourists go… Luckily our tour has a lot of flexibility, and everyone was keen to get up at 4am to grab this opportunity… perhaps not keen, but certainly willing… Lucky for hotel wake up calls!
We had a perfect morning for our boat trip, no wind and some beautifully shaped cloud that gave the sky some fantastic personality. The fisherman were all very friendly and keen to show us their catch for the day so far.
I took the Hasselblad H4D-60 out on the boat and shot all morning with it hand-held, its just such a lovely camera to use I was loathe to put it down. In fact the only time I used the canon 5D Mk II for the day was when we visited the fishing village and I needed something a bit more manoeuvrable.
All these images have just had a quick workup in Lightroom on the laptop, so when I get home to a nice big screen I’ll spend some more time and refine them further.
To see all the current photo tours I have running go directly to my Photo Tours page.
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