Thursday, February 28, 2013

2013, Day 59 - Dusk

Evening at Cambodia's temples are transcendant.  The crowds thin, the air cools, and the shadows from the jungle engulf the world.  In this soft warm light we continued to pursue photographic opportunities and allowed the moments to pass while reflecting on the majesty of our surroundings.

There are times when I feel that my long backlog of images from Cambodia is getting tiresome.  It may be true for some of you who visit daily.  From my point of view I am allowed to revisit a grand adventure and an incredible experience.  I had wonderful travelling companions and the people of Cambodia were unparalleled in their hospitality.  Every evening I am allowed a little time for reflection and it is something that I have come to cherish.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
24mm, f4, merged layers of 1/125, 1/60, and 1/30 sec @ 100 ISO

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2013, Day 58 - Apples

This handsome fellow is Appley.  He is such a happy guy, the world might be a little overwhelming for him at times but he loves to get out and run.  Frankie loves to run with his uncle Appley because he is such a gentleman and doesn't get too rough with him.  I think we're all excited for racing season to start again, all we need is for the ground to dry out a little bit.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/2500 sec @ 400 ISO

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013, Day 57 - Fishing for sunshine

This picture was taken at a silk farm outside Siem Reap.  These are the freshly boiled silkworm cocoons in their raw natural golden hue.  I love the contrast of textures between the woven basket, the aged metal of the spoon, and the rough texture of the raw silk.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/125 sec @ 1600 ISO

Monday, February 25, 2013

2013, Day 56 - Drone

I found this guy resting on a tumbled stone inside Angkor Wat.  It was quite early and the shaded areas were cool, almost refreshing, but it was already getting hot in the sun.  Insects are essentially cold-blooded and the warmth helps their metabolism speed up which is essential for dragonflies.  They are like flying sharks of the insect world, ferocious predators that can move lightning fast.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/250 sec @ 100 ISO

Sunday, February 24, 2013

2013, Day 55 - An ant descending

Sometimes having people in your landscapes and architectural photos add a sense of scale.  I just tucked and rolled down the stairs but more prudent people, like Brian Matiash, took them one step at a time.  It can be rather tricky, the steps are quite steep and some of them have broken treads so the safest way climb up or down is to zigzag from one side to the other.  These stairs lead from the second to the third level of Ta Keo and having Brian there gives you some idea how massive these temples are.  Keep in mind that Ta Keo is, by Angkorian standards, rather small, Beng Mealea and Angkor Wat dwarf this site by a large margin.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
33mm, f4, 1/160 sec @ 2500 ISO

Saturday, February 23, 2013

2013, Day 54 - Itchy

I had quite a treat today, time with puppies!  They are four weeks old to the day and are just now entering their adventurous phase.  The world is ripe for exploration and while it is all good fun it doesn't take long before they are ready for a meal and the comfort of a cuddly nap with their siblings.  I think Mom is ready for them to start eating solid foods as they are a little abusive in their nursing and I expect it won't be long before the transition is started by right now they still mob her at meal times.  Fortunately her only son is happy to show his appreciating by grooming Mom's head after he has had his fill.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
70mm, f2.8, 1/125 sec @ 6400 ISO

Friday, February 22, 2013

2013, Day 53 - Napping

There aren't as many stray dogs in Cambodia as there are in Thailand and I suspect that the answer to the riddle sometimes crops up in the markets.  Still, we found a few here and there in the Angkor temple complex.  Some were wandering and eating the food left in offers and others, like this pup, were napping in the afternoon shade to avoid the worse of the heat.  It has to be a tough life for them but few looked starved or had the mange so common in other parts of Asia.

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/125 sec @ 500 ISO

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013, Day 52 - Crispy

While I might be a freak in my general disinterest in shellfish I have to say that this looks like quality street food.  Hot off the grill, these prawns look quite appealing, much more so than the carts laden with crickets, frogs, rats, snakes, beetles, and other less appetizing treats.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
70mm, f4, 1/160 sec @ 2500 ISO

2013, Day 51 - Fishmonger

Dried fish has, I think, the most unappealing smell.  It is so strong that it quickly becomes overpowering.  Recently I found that a pet food company has started selling dried catfish skins as dog treats.  They too smell awful but the dogs love them which makes me wonder how much they would like dried fish meant for human consumption.  These dog treats are surprisingly expensive and I would not be surprised if alternative sources ended up being cheaper...

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
47mm, f4, 1/160 sec @ 4000 ISO

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013, Day 50 - Spares

If you are looking for a part for a vehicle of any sort there are rows and rows of shops in Phnom Penh where you can almost certainly find it.  Most are used but some sell new parts and while your competition might be next door the close proximity of all the shops means that you don't have to hunt all across the city to find what you are looking for.  It makes sense when you consider the convenience but with so many choices how do you get the best deal?  I suppose you have to know what you want and how much it is worth.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
70mm, f4, 1/500 sec @ 320 ISO

Monday, February 18, 2013

2013, Day 49 - Dreams of amok

When I look at this woman and what is sitting in front of her all I can think of is a rich curry.  Pumpkin, tamarind, banana flowers, and what I suspect is palm sugar would make a wonderful hearty meal.  Maybe add a little fish and cauliflower and you're set with a good winter meal.  A typical Cambodian amok would not have all those ingredients but it is a fish curry and the national dish.  I ate it every few days and never got tired of it, everyone adds their own special touch and some are better than others but all were delicious.

Our temperatures are creeping back into the thirties again and there is rain on the forecast.  It makes for some chilly days but there are signs of spring all around.  Still, it makes me want to plan another trip somewhere warm.  I know I just got back from Cambodia a couple months ago and I thought the heat was oppressive but the grass is always greener, right?

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
70mm, f4, 1/160 sec @ 2500 ISO

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2013, Day 48 - Remnant

I found the remains of this little guy as we wandered through the salt fields near Kep.  He probably got washed in when the fields were filled and, because it was the off season, found little food to forage.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f2.8, 1/2000 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013, Day 47 - Bad omen

Ta Keo may look like some of the other temple in Angkor but it is quite different.  Where time has stolen the beauty of the others Ta Keo lacked the carvings and fine details that adorned the others.  It was abandoned incomplete when lightning struck one of the towers.  The displeasure of the gods was enough to halt all work on the ill-aspected structure despite being relatively close to completion.  Today there is a shrine in the central temple but who knows prayers offered there will be answered.

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, merged layers of 1/60, 1/15, and 1/8 sec @ 100 ISO

Friday, February 15, 2013

2013, Day 46 - Breakfast at the temple

This little girl was at work with her mother who was busy sweeping at Preah Khan.  She ran around the temple exploring and occasionally her mother would call for her and she would reappear almost out of nowhere.  I saw her multiple times and when I stumbled upon her eating her breakfast she allowed me to take her picture.  As I crouched down to get to her level I started to wonder what it would be like spending part of your childhood playing in such a magnificent place.  Would she appreciate its beauty or would she become immune to its splendor?  It was a great place to play, I pretended I was a cross between Indiana Jones and Lara Croft the whole time.  Too bad I didn't pack my short shorts and my bosom...

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
33mm, f4, 1/160 sec @ 320 ISO

Thursday, February 14, 2013

2013, Day 45 - Lost love

This was one of the last pictures of the day I took at the top of Pre Rup.  Brian, Araceli, and I had already descended and were getting ready to leave but we couldn't find Nicole.  Mr. Mony, our intrepid guide, returned to the temple to find her.  Two minutes turned to ten and the three of us decided to get back into the temple because the sky was really starting to show some color as the light began to dwindle.

We made our way back to the front and climbed two sets of stairs stopping only take another series of pictures to try to capture the light.  Mr. Mony found Nicole and while I am sure Brian was much relieved I was distracted by the amazing sky.  I started to climb back to the third level up the incredibly steep stairs while the guards were ushering people out.  I think Mr. Mony must have distracted him because I was the last person in the temple but caught no flack for it.

It has been a long day but I am glad that Nicole lingered because without those few minutes of delay we might have missed one of the most spectacular sunsets in Cambodia!

Canon 1D X, Canon 16-35/f2.8L Mark II
16mm, f8, merged layers of 0.3, 0.6, 2.5, and 5 sec @ 200 ISO

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013, Day 44 - Heavenly light

This was taken at the temple of Banteay Samre.  During our exploration one of the caretakers informed us that tripods were not allows at the temple.  That was news to us since every other temple in the Angkor complex permitted the use of tripods except on the second and third levels of Angkor Wat where it gets so crowded that it is a hazard.  Banteay Samre was, conversely, almost deserted.  I think we only saw a couple other people while we were there so their prohibition on tripods seemed silly but we are all team players.

That means that all images with only a couple exceptions were taken handheld.  Not a problem but it helps composition to be able to use a tripod.  When I saw this scene I knew I wanted to try to capture it.  The stone sarcophagus with the offerings bathed in the light of a doorway with another door in the background to frame the scene.  The carving on the lintel is the icing on the cake for me so that this photograph captures a different and enchanting element of the temples of the Khmer empire.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
65mm, f2.8, 1/160 sec @ 800 ISO

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013, Day 43 - Dragon

I found this monster lazing in a bush outside the tower room that I was sharing with Francene and Araceli in Kampot.  The downside to the location was how far from town it was but the upside was the proximity to nature.  Butterflies danced on the breeze, chickens wandered freely, dogs dozed in the share, fish jumped in the river, and lizards hid in plain sight.  At first I didn't notice him but as I moved close to the bush to investigate the flowers I caught a little motion out of the corner of my eye.  He allowed me to approach slowly and I managed a few good pictures before he beat a hasty retreat.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
70mm, f4, 1/320 sec @ 800 ISO

2013, Day 42 - Keeping cool

I met this boy of Silk Island, he was with his father and little brother riding in the back of a horse-drawn cart.  In the bed were large blocks of ice.  They stopped at each house and at most they took a long saw and cut pieces off the larger block.  That is how food is refrigerated in Cambodia, it isn't fancy but it works and helps the keep another family fed and clothed.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
155mm, f4, 1/125 sec @ 250 ISO

Sunday, February 10, 2013

2013, Day 41 - Relax

The dam at Kamping Puoy was not only used for laundry, children were playing in the water.  This boy looked so peaceful drifting in the slow moving water, his face surrounded by ripples where droplets hit the surface after ferocious kicking.  As I look at this picture I can feel the refreshing cool of the water with the warmth of the sun of my face.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
135mm, f4, 1/1250 sec @ 100 ISO

Saturday, February 9, 2013

2013, Day 40 - Vendor

I took this picture at a small rural market on my way back into Phnom Penh from visiting the killing fields.  It was an odd experience because the killing fields really do catch you off guard.  The site looks like much of the surrounding countryside with beautiful trees but the ground is uneven where there were mass graves and if you look closely at the ground you can see bone fragments rising to the surface.  A scene of peaceful rural life is the site of attempted genocide.

Then, on the way back, I ask the tuk tuk driver to stop at a small market.  It is midday and there are children getting out of school walking past and riding the bikes waving enthusiastically and saying hello.  Some more adventurous individual test their English skills while laughing.  Shy smiles come from all directions and even the ladies sitting in their stalls are chatting and laughing.  It was an amazing testament to the spirit of the Cambodian people; only a few miles away thousands of people were murdered only a few short decades ago and they can still smile and laugh and warmly welcome complete strangers.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
59mm, f5.6, 1/125 sec @ 1600 ISO

Friday, February 8, 2013

2013, Day 39 - Whiffy

One of the things that strikes you in all the markets in Asia that I have ever been to is the smell.  We're so used to keeping everything under plastic which keeps the fish from smelling fishy but it also prevents us from checking the freshness.  Although I have been vegetarian for over a decade I still cook for my dogs and sometimes you unwrap a piece of meat and it is fatty on the bottom, or it has oxidized and is a little tough.  The dogs don't care but if I were going to eat it I would be upset.  In the markets in Cambodia you can inspect the meat, see the nice color, and know that it is fresh.  I like that and while some people find the mingled aroma to be a little hard to take I am find the sights, sounds, and smells new and exciting.  I wonder if these little guys are going to be smoked and served in a green mango salad...

Canon 1D X, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f4, 1/250 sec @ 100 ISO

Thursday, February 7, 2013

2013, Day 38 - Golden bolt

My fuzzy children have been so good lately.  The kitchen has been under construction for the better part of a month and I have had contractors in and out constantly.  They use noisy tools, drill, hammer, and sometimes swear and the dogs take it all in stride.  Almost all of them have become accustomed to the additional noise and the new faces.  Hubert, Johan, and Frankie are often trying to help or get a better look.  It's nice that all of the people working on this project don't seem to mind the extra attention.

Below is Randi at race practice.  She is a keen little lady who loves to chase.  Although she isn't one of mine I am really interested to see how she does this year as she is only a year and a half old but did exceptionally well last year.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/800 sec @ 640 ISO

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2013, Day 37 - Laundry day

On our last day in Battambang we went to Kamping Puoy, one of the massive projects undertaken during the reign of the Khmer Rouge.  They constructed an impressive set of dams and in the process   thousands of people lost their lives to the merciless conditions in the forced labor camps.  Today it is a popular recreation site and as we explored we came upon this woman doing her laundry in the canal whose gentle flow is controlled by the dam.  All I could think as I watched her was how heavy those laundry baskets must be full of damp clothes.  It can't be an easy life but the setting is beautiful.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/2000 sec @ 100 ISO

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013, Day 36 - Evening stroll

I took this picture on our second night in Battambang.  It wasn't especially late but night comes rather early and quickly in Cambodia.  Francene, Araceli, and I had finished a nice dinner and opted to walk back to our hotel from the city center.  It wasn't a long walk and even though the sun was gone it was still hot and humid.  I can vividly remember the sweat dripping down my back as we walked but it was pleasant despite the heat.  Plus we had enjoyed a large meal and the walking helped to jump start digestion.  I love seeing cities at night, the may be lively during the day but there is a whole new heartbeat at night.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24/f1.4L Mark II
24mm, f1.4, 1/80 sec @ 1600 ISO

Monday, February 4, 2013

2013, Day 35 - Melting in winter

I can't believe that the weather we had while in Cambodia was considered mild.  The sun was merciless and there was rarely any air movement so it was like living in a giant sauna and in the hottest part of the year it would reach temperatures fifteen to twenty degrees hotter than what we experienced.  I always thought that it was only hipsters who wear scarves in the summer but I found that the krama, a traditional Cambodian scarf made of cotton, was great to keep the sun off my neck and head plus it served to help keep sweat from running into my eyes.  It isn't the same reason hipsters wear scarves in summer but at least they can be completely functional.

Canon 1D X, Canon 70-200/f2.8L IS Mark II
200mm, f4, 1/1250 sec @ 100 ISO

Sunday, February 3, 2013

2013, Day 34 - Serenity

Angkor Wat by night is a marvel.  It is, strictly speaking, not accessible at night but with the right connections anything is possible even if the heads of state for a dozen nations and the US Secretary of Defense are being entertained a half mile away.  With the assistance of a general in the Cambodian army we made our way into the temple complex.  It was remarkable how still it was under the towers of the ancient edifice that is now the symbol of the nation.  In the distance the drumming of the apsara performance was almost drowned out by the drone of crickets, the barking of geckos, and the call of "tree snails."  The stars in the sky were broken by clouds and the occasional stray firefly would blink to life and then disappear.  If I could have stayed all night I would have, it was a unique experience and the calming influence and the relative cool of the night was magical.

Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
24mm, f2.8, 120 sec @ 400 ISO

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2013, Day 33 - Resting

This is my sweet old man, Stubbs.  He will be ten years old this fall and he loves to worry me.  Somehow he always seems to have a new minor source of discomfort that migrates from one area to another.  So we go to the vet and he invariably says that it is a muscular issue and it will heal on its own.  Sometimes it sticks around for weeks and then I get paranoid and we take x-rays which reveal nothing but give me some expensive peace-of-mind.  Still, it's worth it, he is a gentle soul full of affection and I adore him even if he is a hypochondriac.

Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 50/f1.2L
50mm, f1.4, 1/100 sec @ 2000 ISO

Friday, February 1, 2013

2013, Day 32 - Pure

Black and white photography can be magical but often, in my own work, I feel it misses the mark.  Today I was working on this image of a poppy and decided to lose the vibrant color to try to draw the focus to the structure.  Turns out it worked the way I hoped and I am really happy with the results.

Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon 100/f2.8L IS
100mm, f8, 1/1000 sec @ 200 ISO