Broken Stone of Beng Mealea
Fuji Xpro2, 30mm, f/8, 1/100s, ISO 1250
Besides the well known sites around Angkot Wat and Angkor Thom, there are dozens, possibly hundreds of other sites near Siem Reap in various states of disrepair. Beng Mealea was only recently opened to visitors and has not been restored at all. It’s fascinating both because it gives a sense of what the more famous temples must have looked like before restoration and because it truly feels abandoned.
Nature vs. Architecture
Fuji XPro-2, 30mm, f/7.1, 1/90s, ISO 6400
Perhaps the most striking sight in Cambodia, the sign of the passage of time, is these ruins completely overtaken by massive trees, the walls completely encased in roots. I couldn’t find any decent broad shot that would convey the strange majesty of it all, so I went the other way and looked for detailed views. This, ultimately, is a good way of highlighting the fight between nature and architecture.
The Faces of Angkor Thom
Fuji Xpro-2, 50mm, f/2, 1/1500s
The central temple at Angkor Thom is probably the most impressive thing I’ve seen in Cambodia. Other places may have been more majestic or made me feel more like an explorer, but Angkor Thom has a combination of awe-inspiring and mystical. It’s like these faces were universally relevant somehow.
Where the pigeons perch
Fuji X-Pro2, 27mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 800
Throughout my canal excursion I found the houses fascinating, especially the ones on stilts. It’s hard to imagine that this is in the heart of a 6 million inhabitant metropolis. Not to mention the birds: they live there too!
Fishing by the temple
Fuji x-Pro2, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 320
When I booked my canal excursion in Bangkok it said nothing about a temple and yet alongside the canal sits Wat Wayrurachin, a 19th century Buddhist temple. As we were cruising along I noticed these boys fishing, and thought that was certainly worth a shot (I don’t think I’d eat fish from the canal waters, but then I can afford to, which is probably more than can be said for these kids…
Fuji X-Pro2, 27mm, f/8, 1/500s, ISO 3200
Last March I had to go to Bangkok for some work meetings. I had an afternoon free before work started in earnest so I decided to go boating alongside the canals. On my way to the boat I found this cop or security guard napping in a sidestreet. It was too good a photo opportunity to pass.
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 800
The first time I saw such massive incense spirals burning was at Man Mo temple in Hong Kong. I was happy so see some again in Saigon, they’re such graphic objects. The light was much better in Saigon too although it makes them a tad less dramatic I guess.
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 200
The second ethnic minority in the Longsheng area, after the Zhuang, is the Yao minority. The Yao women have a complex and intricate relationship to their hair. They only cut their hair three times in their lives: when they turn 18, when they are wedded and when they are 36. The keep the braids they cut and integrate then into their daily bun. How much hair is apparent also says something about marital status and the number of children. When we met this Yao grandmother, she agreed to show us how she does her hair, and it was quite fascinating.
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/11, 1/60s, ISO 400
Ethnic minorities are a big thing in China even though they only represent 8% of the overall population. During our trip in Guangxi, we encountered members of two ethnic minorities that coexist there, the Zhuang and the Yao. We didn’t see any men wearing traditional costumes, but the women did. Along the path to Ping’An (about two hours walk in the mountains) we saw many food sellers like this Zhuang woman. She sells (from left to right) dried bamboo, chilies, mushrooms (also in plastic bags), eggs and passion fruit. The passion fruit grow in the mountains, and in this season they are fresh and unbelievably good.
Sneaking by the Side Door
Canon 7D, 35mm, f/7.1, 1/200s, ISO 100
I’ve been to India three times, but two of these were so brief that I had no time for photos. The first time though, I’d taken a day off and convinced a very friendly tuk-tuk driver (Surinder) to show me the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, the biggest Sikh place of worship in New Delhi. After the visit, I was impressed by this magnificent silver door, but just as I was putting the camera up to shoot, this man came in and sneaked by.