Learn Photography and Explore the Temples of Angkor with a Professional Photographer

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Fine Art Gallery Cambodia Myanmar Vietnam India

A selection of our best pictures from  Cambodia, Myanmar, India and Vietnam are now available as Fine Art Prints via the e-commerce platform Fine Art America.

You can choose from a large selection of papers: matte, glossy, metallic and the pictures will be send to you in a tube roll. You can as well order wooden framed prints with a large selection of finishing.

 

Order now your Fine Art Print at Angkor Photography Tours Fine Art Gallery

 

 

siem reap photo gallery Cambodia

Cambodia photo gallery

 

Myanmar fine art gallery

 

hoi photo gallery

World Heritage Historic Houses of Hoi An Central Vietnam

hoi an old city houses

Hoi An is a charming and picturesque little city  located near the coastline in Central Vietnam. Once a major trading port between the 16th and 18th centuries, it managed to retain to this day some of his architectural heritage. The old city spreads on  30 hectares and  is listed on the UNESCO Word Heritage since 1999.

Although many of the 1000 old  houses in Hoi An  are now converted to tailor, souvenir, coffee shops and restaurants due the booming of both international and national tourism (more than 2 million tourist in 2016), an handful of preserved houses are open to the public. To  visit them, you need to buy a 120 000 VND ticket (about USD 5),   valid for only 5 world heritage sites. This post lists all  heritage houses you can visit with one pass.

I would recommend  to start your visit around 8 am to avoid  group tours that can spoil your experience and make it difficult to take pictures. The advantage also is to be able to use a tripod as the interior of some houses is really dark. Except for the ancient house, each site is  only few  minutes apart by walk.

 

Tan Ky house (101 Nguyen Thai Hoc St)

Named after  its builder Tan Ky, this house  is the  most popular heritage house in Hoi An, also the first one to be listed on the national heritage of Vietnam in 1985. Built in the late 18th century, its  architecture is   a combination of   Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese styles. Two entrances are available,  one facing the river but unfortunately the first  floor is not open to the general public. It is not the best house to take interior pictures as often crowded with groups.

A short five  minutes introduction is given but some members of the founding family  before you can wander around. On one wall, water levels due to floods are recorded, the last one being  in December 2016 which lasted for 4 days.

Tan ky old house hoi an photography tours

Interior of Tan Ky old house in Hoi An

 

tan ky old house hoi an

Old bed displayed in Tan Ky old house

 

Phung Hung House (4 Nguyen Thi min Khai St)

Not far from the famous Japanese covered bridge,  Phung Hung is a two-stories private house built in 1780 with a combination of  Japanese (four-sided roof), Chinese and Vietnamese styles. A  balcony with a nice vintage on the street below and on the room below is accessible. A small tour with few explanations is given to you when you enter the premises. It  is one the best house to  take interior pictures because it is quite large and bright. A shop selling embroideries is located on the second floor.

 

Phung Hung old house Hoi An

Interior of Phung Hung old house in Hoi An

 

Phung-Hung heritage house house Hoi An photowalk

Interior of Phung Hung old house in Hoi An

 

Phung-Hung heritage house house Hoi An

Interior of Phung Hung old house in Hoi An

 

 Quan Thang  house (77 Tran Phu St)

Built by a Chinese merchant in the late 17th century, Quan Thang  is a one-story shop-house with some interesting architectural details especially the teak walls. No explanations about the house was given by family during the visit. The back of the house is private so photographic opportunities are quite  limited.

 

Quan Thang Hoi An photowalk

Interior of Quan Thang old house

 

Ho Chi Minh portrait

Portrait of Ho Chi Minh in Quan Thang house

 

quan thang house ancestor portrait

Portrait of an ancestor at Quan Thang house altar

 

Duc An old house (129 Tran Phu St)

Duc An is  an heritage house built in 1850 with some timber carvings. The house was a bookstore at the end of the 19th century and Chinese   medicine dispensary  during the 20th century. Unfortunately a souvenir shop is now located on the back of the house thus restricting photography. There was no guide during the visit.

 

 

Duc An old house Hoi An

Interior of Duc An old house

 

Duc An Hoi An photography tour

Interior of Duc An heritage house in Hoi An

 

Duc An medicine dispensary

Old medicine dispensary in Duc An old house

 

Tran Family Chapel (21 Le Loi St)

Tran chapel is a beautiful house built   in 1804 by  Tran Tu Nhac  with purpose  to worship his ancestors. Architecture reflects Japanese (five  columns), Chinese (turtle roof) and Vietnamese (bow and arrow)  styles. The house has three entrances, a beautiful waiting room leading to the atmospheric ancestors’altar with stone tablets. A shop is located  at the back with some interesting Yin Yang coins and few Piastres from the Indochina period. The guided visit was one of the best of all the houses.

 

tran chapel family hoi an photography

Waiting room in the Tran Chapel family

 

tran chapel family hoi an photography

Waiting room in the Tran Chapel family

 

Tran Tu Nhac, the founder of the Tran Chapel

 

Ancestors of the Tran family

 

floor tiles heritage house hoi an

Beautiful floor tiles in Tran Chapel family

 

than chapel Hoi An photowalk

Detail of a drape in Tran Chapel Hoi An

 

yin yang coins Hoin An

Yin Yang coins in Tran Chapel Hoi An

 

 

 

Ancient House (104 Thai Phien St)

One of my favorite heritage house situated in the northern part  of the old town. Built  250 years ago  on one floor with 4 rooms  it has an unique  Vietnamese architecture. A cluster of beautiful red lanterns are hanging in the entrance room and carved pillars are well preserved.  Hosts are  quite friendly and invite you for tea and biscuits to reply to questions you might have. Entrance is free so if  if you do not want to buy anything from the shop,  a donation box is available. Ancient House receives only few visitors daily so  you are likely to be alone during your visit.

 

ancient house hoi an

Ancient house interior Hoi An

 

ancient house hoi an red lanterns

Red lanterns in ancient house Hoi An

 

carved pillar ancient house hoi an

Beautiful carved pillar in Ancient House

 

red lanterns ancient house

Red lanterns in Hoi An Ancient House

 

ancient house hoi an photowalk

Glass window detail in ancient house Hoi An

 

 

Diep Dong Nguyen house (82 Nguyen Thai Hoc St)

This old house built late 19th century has been converted to a museum displaying ceramics  and furniture. Of particular interest is the wooden facade of the house with no windows. You do not need the old town ticket to visit the premises.

 

Diep Dong Nguyen house Hoi An

The beautiful wooden facade of Diep Dong Nguyen house

 

Diep Dong Nguyen house Hoi An photowalk

Porcelain displayed at Diep Dong Nguyen house

 

Diep Dong Nguyen house Hoi An photo walk

Resident of the house burning incenses for prayer

Old Colonial Architecture in Yangon Myanmar

yangon heritage houses photography tour

Yangon is the city with the highest density of colonial buildings in South East Asia. Known as Rangoon,  it was the capital of Burma between 1824 and 1948 and one of the province of  the British India Empire. It witnessed a rich architectural development during this period  following  different styles: Art Deco, Edwardian, Victorian and British-Burmese.

Many buildings were built for Scottish companies like Burmah oil, Brothers & Co, A. Scott&Co, Messrs Bulloch Brothers & Co to name a few which operated successful businesses in oil,  import/export of  commodities,  shipbuildings, etc…

Natural disasters (the earthquake of 1930, cyclone Nargis in 2008) and the bombings of Word War II inflicted severe damages to the city and many buildings were lost forever.

The isolation of the country for 50 years after the military coup of 1962 did not help. With all these events, it is actually surprising that so many colonial buildings are still standing today. In 2005, many  government offices were moved to the new capital Naypyidaw, about 350 km north of Yangon and definitely closed.

Nowadays,  many large colonial buildings are occupying  downtown,  along Merchand and Strand roads, and  also on Pansodan street. Some of them have been renovated like  Aya bank headquarters, City Hall  or the Strand Hotel, a famous five stars built in 1901.

This photo essay is focusing on the beautiful and neglected  colonial buildings which will either disappear or being restored in the coming years.

Because of safety concerns some places such as  the Pegu Club are not open  to the general  public anymore. Some others, like the secretariat building,  are under  renovation.
Entering a neglected colonial building in Yangon is like taking a time machine and one cannot help wondering  how it was back then when these places were home of powerful trading houses, banks or offices.

Nowadays, small business offices are sometime occupying premises and  bring some life to these places. Some private buildings have interiors in fairly  good condition and can be accessed after of course seeking the authorization from the owner.

The state of disrepair of some buildings is  such that trees start growing on the walls and entire structures have collapsed.

You can spend hours wandering  in the streets of Yangon looking for unlocked buildings. It is not uncommon while exploring these locations that a friendly local gives you a bit of history about the places, they understand their potential to attract tourists interested in colonial architecture.

Founded in 2012, the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT), has for goal  to identify and preserve  colonial architecture  in Yangon. YHT installed blue plaques on buildings with historical significance to raise awareness among the public, the first one was installed in 2014 at the City Hall.

 

In 2017, Yangon is at a crossroad and time will tell if authorities in charge manage to save this unique architectural heritage in South-East Asia.

 

 

Old staircase yangon photowalk

Defunct elevator in dilapidated colonial building

 

Defunct elevator in fairly good condition

 

Neglected colonial building from 1905 and its gatekeeper.

 

Apartments building in Yangon downtown

 

Relics of yangoon

Dilapidated colonial building in downtown Yangon

 

Relics of yangoon

Beautiful wooden  staircase in a private building

 

Relics of yangon

Neglected staiway in a colonial building

 

Tenants walking down a beautiful rusty stairway

 

Dark staircase in an abandoned colonial building

 

staircase yangon photo walk

Crumbling staircase in an old building

 

Beautiful wooden stairway in private building

 

Some families are still living in their colonial homes

 

Pickerings elevator rangoon

Amazingly, Pickerings company still exist today and is still manufacturing elevators

 

Beautiful metal staircase with rich pattern

 

Details of ceiling at the Inland Water Office

 

yangon photo walk old building

Beautiful old colonial building interior

 

Heritage photowalk yangon

Metal fence outside a colonial building

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Central Vietnam Hoi An Photography Tour

Join me and Etienne Bossot for a 3-day photography tour and workshop around Hoi An Vietnam on 28,29,30th April 2017. This is a fantastic opportunity to discover Central Vietnam, improve your photography skills and come back home with great pictures. During these three days, we will focus on landscape and people photography with three sunrises scheduled. Besides Hoi An, other locations include Lango Co bay and Tam Giang lagoon.
A night photography session in the colorful city of Hoi An is also part of this 3-day workshop with some sessions to review your pictures.

This workshop, limited to 10 people, is priced at the competitive rate of 385 US dollars with the following included: accommodation / transportation / all meals/ tips to the locals.

To get to Hoi An, the fastest way is to fly to Da Nang airport which has as direct flights from Siem Reap, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Please send an e-mail to info(at)picsofasia(dot)com for any inquiries and bookings.

To get a better idea of the photographic opportunities during this tour, please have a look at the pictures taken by Etienne Bossot in the slideshow below:



Photography Holidays

If you do a photo tour with us in Angkor, you are entitled to a 10 % discount for a photo tour in Hoi An in Central Vietnam. Just mention the reference “sent by Angkor!” during your online booking at Hoi An photo tours

Huawei P9 lite review for photographers

huawei p9 lite review photography

I recently upgraded  my smartphone to a Huawei P9 lite and took  it with me in the temples of Angkor during my photography tours along with a 5D Mark II.

The P9 lite, released in April 2016,  packs a 13M-Pixel (4160X3120pixels) CMOS Image Sensor (Sony IMX 214, 1.12µm pixels) with a   f:2.0 front camera. It lacks the dual Leica  lens system and raw capture from his counterpart the Huawei P9 plus. Focal length has a 35 mm equivalent focal length  of a 27 mm.

 

Camera operation

The camera has a quick access and when in standby it is very quick to start. By sweeping left one can access the menu to switch to pro photo. In this mode,  shutter speed, ISO and white balance can be changed.   When shutter speed is determined by the camera,  exposure can be adjusted with the exposure compensation slide (-4 to +4 eV).  Three  focus mode are available: AF-S (spot), AF-C (continuous) and MF (manual focus). White balance can be changed to the usual values from tungsten to cloudy. Like in many  DSLR, 3 metering modes  are available: spot, center-weighted and evaluative. ISO can be set between 100 and 1600 ISO. In auto, the camera can set it as low as 50 ISO.

 

HDR mode

HDR can be useful  to get more details  in the shadow. The HDR mode of the P9 quite good , however there is no option to chose the strengh of the processing.  It works particularly well with textures like on this 9th century temple strangled by a tree in the lost city of  Koh Ker in Cambodia.

 

prasat pram koh ker huawei p9 lite

 

 

Macro

The P9 do not have a  dedicated function for macro  but the focusing distance of  about 3 cm make up for it. The amount of details picked up by  the camera is quite impressive. This macro shot of a praying mantis was shot in a very bright light and the details are in the same levels than a DSLR (the DSLR shot being slightly out of focus). For comparison you can see below a  cropped version of the P9 and a Canon 750D side by side:

 

praying mantis macro picture Huawei P9 lite

huawei p9 lite dslr side by side

 

insect macro huawei p9

 

 

Panorama mode

angkor temple photography panorama huawei p9 lite

Panorama mode is accessed from the camera by sweeping up the screen from the left. From there is an option to do either horizontal or vertical panorama.

Generally the stitching is quite good although errors can happen at low ambient light. One of the main drawback I have  found is that it is not possible to lock the exposure before taking a panorama so it high contrasted scenes are difficult to capture.

 

Night Photography

 

pagoda siem reap huawei p9 light painting

Light painting on a pagoda. Pro photo mode 8 s pose, ISO 100

 

Swiping up the screen from the  left let you choose  two modes: night shot and light  painting. In  night shot mode, ISO can be set up between  100 and 1600 ISO and shutter speed  up to 32 seconds. Using the 2-second timer (by  swiping up screen from the  right) helps to avoid blurry pictures.

The second mode available is Light painting  and has 3 presets:  Tail lights, Light graffiti, Silky water and Star track. They differentiate themselves by the ISO settings: Tail lights, Light graffiti: 64 ISO / Silky water:  auto ISO / Star track: 800 ISO. All presets allow very long exposure time, the camera stays open until  the shutter button is pressed again. Pro mode can be used  for  night photography but exposure time is limited to 8 seconds.

The Light graffiti preset was designed to write letters or paint shapes in the dark with a LED light but it can be used in more creative ways  to  create abstract backgrounds like this backlit laptop  keyboard below.

laptop keyboard graffiti mode huawei

Laptop keyboard backlit. Graffiti mode 7.2 seconds, ISO 64

 

Slow Motion

The Huawei P9 can record slow motion at 120 fps but be aware that the resolution is quite low at only 640X480 pixels (VGA). You can see on the video below of a lotus flower opening, both normal and slow motion sequences (4 times slower).

Conclusion

The Huawei P9 lite  is the ideal companion for any travel photographer and has a good image quality. Of course it cannot be compared to a DSLR but in some situations it can the best camera as it can fit in your pocket. The different modes available  allow you to produce some really creative images.

 

 

bayon temple huawei p9 photography tours

 

devata bayon huawei p9

 

 

beng mealea huawei p9

The atmospheric temple jungle of Beng Mealea

Angkor Temples Under the Stars

angkor temples night photography

From time to time, we have requests about capturing the Milky Way or star trails in the temples of Angkor. Unfortunately due to the  archaeological  park’s  opening hours (most temples are only open between 7.30 am and 5.30 pm), night photography in the temples is quite difficult.
January and February are the most favorable months to take pictures of the temples under the stars.  Angkor Wat temple opens at 5 am therefore  it is  possible  to capture long exposure of the night sky. Of course you will not be able to do very long star trails and only several minutes long exposures. Like for any astrophotography,  you have to be aware of the phase of the moon as a full moon will disrupt your plan to get a starry sky.  Here are few night pictures below we capture in the temples of Angkor, we will update  this gallery from time to time with new shots.

 

 

Phnom Bakheng temple under a  full moon

Phnom Bakheng temple is a 10th century hilltop temple, very popular as it drawn thousands of visitors everyday for  sunset. Going there at sunrise  is a unique photography experience even with a full moon.

 

phnom bakheng temple stars angkor travel photography

Phnom Bakheng tower under the stars illuminated by a full moon

 

phnom bakheng temple full moon night angkor travel photography

Phnom Bakheng shrines under the full moon

 

Angkor Wat under the stars

Angkor Wat under the stars is  a  challenging capture as  your camera  will facing  east. Also, because the temple opens  at 5 am,   it is, for many months of the year,  already too late to capture the stars. Another challenge is coming for the light pollution from the  numerous LED torch used by the earliest visitor to navigate in the park at night. In the two pictures below you can see three of the five towers of  Angkor Wat illuminated by those LED’s. Despite all that, it is still possible to see stars above Angkor Wat temple just before the astronomical sunrise.

angkor wat photography tours night

Angkor Wat under thousand of stars

 

angkor wat photography tours night

Angkor Wat temple before sunrise under starry sky

 

angkor wat photography tours night

Angkor Wat temple before sunrise under starry sky

 

angkor wat photography tours night

Angkor Wat library under the stars

 

 

Bakong temple after sunset

In the picture below, the beautiful three-tiered Bakong temple mountain, built during the 10th century is in the  company of Jupiter and Venus in this rare planetary conjunction taken in October 2015.

venus jupiter conjunction Bakong temple

Bakong temple after sunset with Venus and Jupiter

 

 

Bayon temple under the moon full

 

 

bayon temple full moon

Bayon temple lit up by full moon

 

If you are looking for a photographic  challenge and want to capture Angkor under the stars we will be happy to assist you, please have a look at the many photography tours  we have at www.angkorphotographytours.com.

Most Memorable Photos from 2016

2016 in pictures angkor photography tours

The year 2016 ended in a wink. Nevertheless, it was a year full of sweet recollections and splendid adventures, as I travelled here and there, meet new people, and experience new cultures.  Looking through my collection of more than 1000 edited pictures of 2016, I was inspired to select my favorite ones. I picked these pictures not only based on my own personal choice of uniqueness and aesthetic value, but also, by the stories behind.

These photographs and memories were taken in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, India, France, and the Philippines from my 2016 travel diary.

 

1. Cambodia : Angkor Wat Solar Eclipse – March 2016

angkor wat solar eclipse photography tour

 

This unique picture was taken on the 9th March during a partial eclipse of the sun in Angkor Wat Temple. What make this shot rare is that of the date of the eclipse was less than 2 weeks away from the spring equinox and it was possible to find a shooting location where the sun was just above the central tower at the maximum of the eclipse. According to  ephemerides, the next partial solar eclipse in Angkor Wat temple during sunrise will take place in 2042 ! Due to the nature of this  eclipse, so the passing of the moon in front of the sun could be only be captured using a very dark filter in this case a 10-stop neutral density filter  ND1000 which blocks 99.9 % of the incoming light coming to the sensor. This is a one-of-a kind, unforgettable shot in Angkor Wat as we  were only 2 photographers at this spot. Others have vanished to go see the other temples and most people except few guides were not aware of the solar eclipse that day. To see more pictures of this solar eclipse please have a look at my blog post.

Settings: ISO 400, 105 mm,  f:4, 1/40s, ND 1000 filter

 

 

2. Ho Chi Minh City : Street Scene – April 2016

Saigon street photography tour

Ho Chi Minh is a sprawling city of 8 million and with almost as many motorbikes racing in its streets. Here you can find places to service your motorbike even on sidewalks.

While inside a coffee shop (which is also numerous in Saigon) my attention was caught by this colorful poster across the street. I took few shots of it alone  but it did not come out very well. By moving few feet, I got a much better picture : framing the customer with her red dusk mask waiting for her motorbike to be serviced against the blue metallic wall, while the poster of a future housing development was in the background. The black and yellow line worked as well as a leading line to connect all  the elements of the picture.

Settings: ISO 160, 20 mm, f:7.1, 1/100s

 

3. Cambodia : Boy Planting Rice, April 2016

flooded paddy fields siem reap photo tour

During the month of April, Cambodian farmers are busy planting floating rice on the West Baray, one of the biggest man made reservoirs in the word build during the Khmer empire in the 11th century.To get closer, we boarded a  small fisherman wooden boat  and it was when I took a shot of this  Cambodian kid, knee-deep in water, smiling despite the  hardship of his  work.

Settings: ISO 100, 168 mm,  f:5.6,  1/500 s  

 

 

 

4. Cambodia : Angkor  Wat Vesak Day – May 2016

angkor wat khmer family vesak day

This picture was taken beside the main tower of Angkor Wat (also called Bakan) which is also the most sacred place of the temple. This Khmer family was walking counter-clockwise making several rounds around it, and I waited there to frame the shot with my  20 mm, the minimum focal length from this corner  to fit all the building in a horizontal frame. This scene was taken 2 days before Buddha’s Day (Vesak Day). The act of walking around a sacred temple is called circumambulation and is an integral part of Hindu and Buddhist devotional practices and usually done clockwise.

Settings: ISO 250, 20 mm, f:7.1  1/800 s   

 

5. India : Ladakhi Monk in Lamayuru Monastery- July 2016

This picture was taken during our first photo tour in Ladakh India, more precisely in Lamayuru monastery about 100 km from Leh. We visited Lamayuru Temple during the 3-day annual colorful monastic festival. This monk posed for a brief moment, adjusting his robe, just enough time for me to frame a shot with the door. The colorful mural with its main character looking at the monk add another dimension to the picture.

Settings: ISO 640, 32 mm, f:4, 1/160 s

 

 

6. India : Milky Way in the Himalayas, July 2016

milky way ladakh himalaya photography tour

During our photo tour in Ladakh, we spent several nights in tents at an altitude of 4700 meters. Even during summer months, temperatures goes down below 5 degree Celsius at night. Adding to that the altitude sickness, this night shot sessions was quite challenging but looking at the starry skies and the Milky Way stretching over the Himalaya mountains was quite rewarding. In this shoot the illuminated tent is the one we used for our dinner and gives a touch of color and a sense of scale to the picture.

Settings: ISO 2000, 20 mm f:2.8, 30s

 

7. Thailand : Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok  at Golden Hour –  July 2016

Suvarnabhumi aiport bangkok thailnd photography tour

This shot was taken at the international airport of Bangkok at sunset. Suvarnabhumi, the busiest airport in Thailand handled more than 50 million passengers in 2015. This section of the terminal although not so photogenic came out much better for few minutes with the evening sunlight  illuminating  nicely the arched rooftop.

Settings:  ISO 400, 84 mm, f:4 1/25s

 

8. France : French Medieval Castle at Sunset – October 2016

Beynac castle dordogne France photography tours

During a scouting photo trip in the region of Dordogne in France, famous worldwide for its food and castles, we ended up the day at the village of Beynac-et-Cazenac  just in time for sunset with a view of  the  Beynac Castle built on on a limestone cliff and overlooking the river. This  12th century fortress was built around the same than Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia  and it is tempting to compare the austere architecture of the fortress with the scale and symmetry of Angkor and its fined carvings. Also on the 12th century, only 50,000 people were living in Paris against  800,000 in Angkor according to last LIDAR survey.

Settings: ISO 200, 24 mm, f:5.6,  1/320  s

 

9. Cambodia : Betel Leaves Vendors – November 2016

elderly betel vendors at market siem reap cambodia

In Cambodia, betel consumption is not as widespread as in Myanmar. Most of the time, only the elderly are munching betel unlike in Myanmar where you can see young people chewing them. In this picture, a wooden basket with fresh betel leaves is standing on the floor in front of this two smiling elderly Cambodian ladies.  The three other ingredients making up the so-called betel squid missing from the picture are areca nut, tobacco and lime water (saturated solution of calcium hydroxide).

Settings: ISO 400, 38 mm f:4, 1/160s  

 

10. Cambodia : Red Angkor Wat Sunrise, November 2016

angkor wat sunrise siem reap photography tour

Out of the many sunrises at Angkor Wat temple I have witnessed in 2016, this one was one the most spectacular hat  I have seen. The bright red dramatic cloudy sky were just breathtaking. This picture was taken around the end of November when monsoon season was coming to an end.

Settings: ISO 320 , 20 mm, f:5.6,  1/80s

 

 

11. Philippines : Here Comes the Bride, December 2016

Bride Intramuros Manila photography tours

I took this quick shot at San Augustin Church in Intramuros Manila just when the bride was making her entrance. Intramuros is the frequently visited area in Manila where two beautiful churches are located not far from each other. You can visit the area by taking a horse carriage (kalesa in Filipino), but one of the best way for photographer is to wander around the cobble stone streets in order  not miss any photographic opportunities.

Settings:  ISO 500, 35 mm, f:2.8, 1/15s

 

12. Philippines : New Year Fireworks in Manila , December 2016

Manila new year fireworks photography tour

 

This picture is one of my last clicks of 2016 taken just 5 minutes before New Year’s Eve in Metro Manila. New Year in this megacity is celebrated with loads of fireworks and firecrackers that lighten up the skies around the city. Fireworks and firecrackers are grand spectacles during this year end celebration. The adverse effect though is that hundreds of people injure themselves every year using firecrackers and it gives raise to a peak in particles pollution few hours after.Fireworks were scattered and I was lucky to have a vantage point from a rooftop with the neon illuminated Rockwell Center in Makati just in the frame. Several shots were combined in Photoshop to  have more firework explosions.

Settings:  ISO 100, 25 mm, f:9, 30 s (composite picture)

Bambu Stage Interactive Shows in Siem Reap

angkor temples decoded bambu stage siem reap

Bambu Stage introduces a new form of educational entertainment in town as it opened unique shows about Cambodian culture and the famous temples of Angkor in its very own backyard in a quiet street not far from Wat Damnak Pagoda. Created by Nick Coffill and Jon de Rule, whose years of experience in museum design and theatre production delivers a different take of informative, interactive, and entertaining performances giving the audience that one-of-a-kind authentic experience. Other members of the team  include Malar (marketing and F&B), Sorn (puppetry), Wab (technical). At present, Bambu Stage runs two different shows each week. Every Friday, a show about the history of Cambodia exhibiting the very first photos of Angkorian temples taken by John Thompson and Emile Gsell is narrated by Nick. SNAP! 150 Years of Photography in Cambodia takes you back in time from 150 years back, all the way thru the golden age of the 60’s, throughout the dark period of the Khmer Rouge, and Cambodia today. Tuesdays in Bambu Stage is a show about the temples of Angkor and their connections to Hinduism and Buddhism. This rare interactive show, named Temples De-coded, using a miniature model of the temples will give you a better understanding of the layout of both pre-Angkorian and Angkorian temples relative to astronomy and the spirit of the ancestors. It also presents some new insights about the last LIDAR scans done in Angkor by the Cambodian Archaeological Lidar Initiative. Another exciting act, Bambu Puppets, is set to run very soon on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Shows starts at 6.46 pm on the days specified. This is a highly recommended must-do for your stay in Cambodia, to have a better understanding of the culture and history of this town with so much ancient history to reveal. Shows are priced at $25 which include a welcome drink and a banquet. An option without dinner is also available at $12.50. Private shows are also available upon request. For bookings please please click on the logo at the end of the page. Below are few pictures we took during the show Temples De-Coded.

temples-decoded-bambu-stage

Temples De-Coded just before the show

 

temples-decoded-bambu-stage-live-drawing

Live drawing on projector

nick-coffill-map-asia

Nick Coffill starting…

nick-coffill-bambu-stage-drawing-diaporama

and finishing drawing a map of Asia

 

 

bambu-stage-nick-coffill-angkorian-temple-model

Nick Cofill showing a piece of the Angkorian temple model

bambu-stage-cambodia-nick-coffill-temple-model

Nick Cofill showing a piece of the Angkorian temple model

 

 

 

 

bambu-stage-nick-cofill-guest-temple-building

Nick, Wab and a guest starting the design of a temple following the sun

 

 

bambu-stage-temples-decoded-interactive-show-guest

Drawing the lines….

 

bambu-stage-temples-decoded-interactive-show

The design is almost completed

 

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Main lines are drawn before adding the main structures

 

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Nick working on the Angkorian temple model

 

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Partially completed Angkor temple

 

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Angkorian temple completed

 

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Angkorian temple completed

bambu stage siem reap cambodia

A Day at the Cambodian Silk Farm

angkor silk farm artisans angkor

Cambodian silk, better known as golden silk (CGS) because of its distinctive color, has a long history that dates back to the 13th century. The silk production industry almost came into extinction during the Khmer Rouge regime. Slowly, silk production pulled thru after the genocide. However, instead of an increase in production, there was a huge drop from a 5 tons yield in 2005 down to less than 1 ton in 2014 due to challenges in the cultivation of silkworms that compelled farmers to stop mulberry plantations. Sericulture is a sector in need of revival in Cambodia especially when imports from China and Vietnam account for more 300 tons a year. The Cambodian silk is one of a kind with its color and quality of thread, a sector worth saving so the government developed a Cambodia National Silk Strategy (2014-2018) with key measures to revitalized this industry.
Fifteen kilometers away from Siem Reap, just before the small city of Puok, you can visit the silk farm owned by Artisans d’ Angkor. Entrance to the silk farm is free and it comes with 30-minute tour with a guide who will walk you through the different steps of fine silk production from the growing of mulberry plant to the work of the workers on the loom machines.

Aside from being a very informative visit, it is a great opportunity to take pictures for the enthusiasts. Below are some pictures taken during the different stages of the silk production-from the nurturing of the silkworms to the weaving process. Taking pictures in the silk farm is quite challenging due to the fact that light is low for most parts of the production area and some objects are in motion.

Mulberry leaves cultivation

Mulberry leaves cultivation

 

Newly hatched silkworms fed with small pieces of mulberry leaves

Newly hatched silkworms fed with small pieces of mulberry leaves

 

Growing green-colored silkworm fed with bigger mulberry leaves

Growing green-colored silkworm fed with bigger mulberry leaves

 

Mature silkworms turned yellow in wooden baskets

Mature silkworms turned yellow in wooden baskets

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Mature silkworms turned yellow ready to start their cocoon

 

Cocoon of Cambodian golden silk

Cocoons of Cambodian golden silk

 

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Closeup of golden cambodian silk cocoons

 

silk cocoons

Cocoons of Cambodian golden silk hanging from a window

 

The best cocoons are selected

The best cocoons are selected

 

Boiling cocoons to kill the worm inside

Boiling cocoons to kill the worm inside

 

 

 

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Different types of silk displayed

 

 

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Workers on a  throwing machine with golden silk

 

silk weaving woman artisans d angkor

Worker behind her loom machine

 

worker loom silk

Worker behind her loom machine

 

 

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Worker on her weaving machine

 

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Red silk on loom machine

 

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Threads of silk  stretched on  a weaving machine

 

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Worker spinning silk threads

 

silk design closeup

Closeup of a silk design

The First Photographs of the Temples of Angkor

old pictures angkor wat temple cambodia

With the widespread use of digital cameras and smartphones, ten of thousands of pictures are taken everyday in of the temples of Angkor. We take this for granted but we often forget that the first pictures of Angkor were taken 150 years ago! Back then, photographers were using one of the first photographic process created called wet plate collodion. They had porters to carry their darkroom and chemicals and it was a challenge  to develop the photographic plates on site. In top of that, access to temples were not easy as now as they were still covered by a dense forest….

Two photographers are credited to successfully capture the first pictures of Angkor. The first one, was a  Scottish Photographer  named  John Thomson, 29 years old,  based in Singapore at the time: he  did an extensive photographic work during his two weeks spent  in 1866. John Thomson was inspired by the writings of Henri Mouhot in 1860. Beside Angkor Wat, Thomson took pictures of Angkor Thom and Bayon which was back then still covered by a dense jungle. It was only in 1911, that Jean Commaille lead an archeology mission from École française d’Extrême-Orient to clear up the trees in Bayon up and start restorations.

Few months after Thomson, Frenchman Emile Gsell, 28 years old  and based in Saigon, brought his darkroom to Angkor and captured more than 100 pictures. He returned later on in 1873 with the famous expedition lead by Louis Delaporte. Gsell developed his glass plates on paper coated with albumen. The pictures of Thomson and Gsell are  priceless documents of the temples of Angkor when they were largely unknown to the word and put in perspective the massive restoration work accomplished  since the beginning of the 20th century.

 


 

EMILE GSELL

 

emile-gsell-bayon-1866 emile-gsell-angkor-wat-library-1866 emile-gsell-angkor-wat-corner emile-gsell-angkor-wat-1866-1873 gsell-west-gate-angkor-thom gsell-unidentified-temple gsell-statue-leper-king gsell-angkor-wat-corridors-1866 gsell-angkor-wat-aerial gsell-angkor-wat2 gsell-angkor-wat emile-gsell-bayon-temple-head-1966 emile-gsell-bayon-temple-1866

 

 

 

 


 

JOHN THOMSON (Copyright Wellcome Library)

 

angkor-wat-bas-relief emile-gsell-angkor-wat-1866 thomson-terrace-elephants thomson-panoramic-angkor-wat-1866 thomson-leper-king-1866 thomson-bayon-yemple-1866 thomson-angkor-wat-naga-1866 thomson-angkor-wat-inside thomson-angkor-wat-door thomson-angkor-wat-devatas-1866 thomson-angkor-wat-corridor-1866 thomson-angkor-thom-south-gate central-gateway-western-entrance-angkor-wat-thomson

 

 

 

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Angkor Photography Tours - Siem Reap - Cambodia

Contact

laurent.dambies@angkorphotographytours.com

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