On my first time ever to visit Angkor Wat, I did what is expected…. catch sunrise over the main temple. It was so painful. Not painful that I had to get up and meet my tuk tuk driver at 5 AM. That part was easy because I hadn’t even gone to bed the night before. It’s impossible to sleep on the bus. The painful part was dealing with the droves of tourists converging at the same place for sunrise and trying to find a spot to get a clear shot.
The bus ride from Phnom Pehn to Siem Reap was advertised at about 5 hours. It took ten. I was in the worst seat in the very back of the bus where it bounced so bad and the air conditioner was blasting right down my neck the entire trip. Stuffing my water bottle into the air conditioning outlet helped a lot, but the frigid air was relentless. This is a universal condition in busses anywhere you go in Southeast Asia, the blasting of the A/C. This may sound like I’m complaining, but no, just telling how it was.
So the bus pulled into Siem Reap about 2:30 AM. My nephew, Johann, and I warded off the few, but persistant tuk tuk drivers who were clamoring to take us somewhere. Johan had been here several times and he knew we could simply walk for about ten minutes and find a guest house.
As we passed the Siem Reap Hotel, which is really a guest house, a nice fellow called to us through the iron gate asking if we needed a room. Of course we did. This turned out to be the new owner of the place and it looked like a very decent place so we flopped down our packs and signed in.
We had already arranged with one of the tuk tuk drivers at the bus stop to pick us up at 5 AM to get to Angkor Wat in plenty of time to get our tickets and see sunrise. That was less than two hours away so I decided to just stay up. Johann, on the other hand, crashed & burned rather quickly.
I’ve already talked about the crowd that assembles for sunrise at Angkor Wat every day so no need to whine about that again…. I made my peace with what it is and was able to get this shot of the temple. The cool thing about it is that the cloud above the temple looks like a dragon! To my daughter, Ashley, it looks like a Pterodactyl. I guess it really does. I just went with dragon probably because it’s a word that I could spell. Anyway, there is some sort of legendary mythical beast living in that sky.
Tripod was absolutely necessary for this. When you have an opportunity for a shot with water in the shot, I try to make a nice reflection shot to double the fun. Let me mention too that it’s best to get your camera as low as possible to the surface of the water. You get a really great reflection that way. Try it yourself. Go easy though, you don’t want to get it into the mud.
This shot was done at f8, 1/20, ISO 500 on my Nikon D90.
Processing the single RAW frame done in Lightroom.