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A Shot in the Dark - Sunrise at Angkor Wat

During the Cambodian leg of our journey, one of the things I had been looking forward to the most was visiting the ancient site of Angkor Wat. Everyday Angkor Wat and surrounding temples and cities of the Angkor empire attract thousands of visitors. Knowing this I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to get any photos of Angkor Wat without hundreds of tourists unknowingly photobombing my image. The evening before our official visit, my friend Charlie and I procured our tickets and did a quick visit/walk through of the temple grounds to find the perfect place to shoot a sunrise image of the temple. We really had no clue where to set up the next day. Thankfully a quick visit to our friends Hannah and Adam’s travel blog, Getting Stamped, gave us some inside tips on where to be. Early the next morning (4:30am) Carol, Charlie, Sarah, and myself set out from the hotel to get the remainder of our tickets and arrive at Angkor Wat before the masses did. We arrived just as they were opening the gates to the temple at 5:00am. At this time there are really only the serious travelers and photographers waiting to get in. We soon found out why. After walking the short distance across the moat and the first gate, with only the light of an iPhone to guide us, we set up our camera gear at the far corner of the left pond that faces the front of the temple (this is the spot Adam recommends and it is perfect - thanks Adam!). Setting up my tripod at the edge of the pond ensured no one would try to step in front of me and block the shot I woke up at 4am to capture. One rude Chinese tourist tried such a maneuver and we, along with other photographer/travelers next to us, yelled at them to step back. Gotta stand your ground when you do the difficult leg work for a rewarding image. Within 30 minutes of our arrival the area around the pond was crowded. People were stacked up four and five rows deep from the people at the edge of the pond to all capture the same shot. At the perfect moment I let the trigger loose and snapped some wonderful images of Angkor Wat. Yes there was some post processing done to the images to really make them shine and remove the stray tourist from the foreground, but all in all a beautiful photo of a temple chock full of history.

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