Cambodia – Day 2 – Angkor Wat Sunrise & More Temples

Today I woke up very early at 4:30am for a 5:00am pickup to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat. The sunrise wasn’t too spectacular because it was a bit cloudy, but it was still nice to see and get a reflection of Angkor Wat against the water in front of me.

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After watching the sunrise I went and got blessed by a Buddhist Monk, who put a fabric bracelet around my right arm, which symbolizes good like. After being blessed it was time to get some breakfast. I ate a small booth that was setup on the northern perimeter of Angkor Wat; delicious scrambled eggs and some coffee. The mosquitos were brutal here and I didn’t have any anti-malarial pills, but I ended up being okay.

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After breakfast it was time to visit more temples. First stop was Banteay Kdei, also known as the Citadel of Chambers. Banteay Kdei was completed between the 12th and 13th centuries. The complex is in very rough shape due to the poor quality of construction and poor quality of sandstone that was used in the building of the temples.

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Next up was Taprom. Taprom was completed in 1186 AD. When it was found it was found to be in excellent condition due to the trees growing out of the ruins and jungle surroundings protecting it. Taprom was used for the filming of the 2001 Tomb Raider movie. I absolutely enjoyed my time at this temple and liked it even more than Angkor Wat!

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After Taprom we walked through the forest to Ta Nei, a temple dedicated to Buddha, which was built in the late 12th century. It was in fairly rough shape and quite overgrown with trees.

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It was time to get some lunch. We stopped at a place called Ta Keo Khmer Food. I had some local soup and a coke zero. The soup was absolutely delicious. I ended up abandoning the coke zero because a swarm of wasps had surrounded my can.

After having lunch I walked across the road to the Ta Keo Hindu Temple. Built in 1000 AD, Ta Keo Hindu Temple was the first temple to be built entirely of sandstone by the Khmers.

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Next stop was Tonle Om Gate (South Gate), a beautiful gate with a head sculpture sitting inside the sandstone gate structure.

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After passing through the Tonle Om Gate we made a quick stop at the Terrace of the Elephants. The terrace was used by Angkor’s king Jayavarman VII as a platform to view his victorious returning army. The 350 metre long terrace is covered in intricate carvings of elephants on its eastern face.

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Next stop was Baphoun Temple, which was built in the mid-11th century. The temple is three-tiered and also adjoins the southern enclosure of the royal palace that houses a swimming pool. My tour guide told me that when he was a child he would go swimming with his dog inside the pools. The temple was built on land filled with sand, and due to its immense size and site instability it collapsed. By the 20th century much of the temple had collapsed. Restoration was started, but then abandoned in 1970, when civil unrest broke out. Over 300,000 pieces, which were carefully labelled, were abandoned. In 1996 restoration began again under the guidance of French architect Pascal Royere from EFEO. The restoration took 16 years to complete.

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I also noticed some monkey’s playing around on my walk from Baphoun Temple to Bayon Temple. I got some great shots before one of the monkeys started getting aggressive with me and coming after me. The tour guide dropped a water bottle to distract the monkey so we could escape.

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Bayon Temple is an intricately detailed temple built at the end of the 12th century. The Buddhist temple had 49 (now 37) towers with faces on all four sides. This was my favorite temple of the day.

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It was getting late in the afternoon now, so it was time to head back to the hotel. I relaxed for a while by the pool until it was dinner time. I decided to try a vegetarian restaurant called Yuan Sheng Vegetable Restaurant. It was fairly good food, but I don’t think I could be a vegetarian as I like my meat way too much.

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Check back tomorrow when I continue on my Cambodia adventure and explore even more temples! Tomorrow is my last day of my Vietnam / Cambodia adventure. The remainder of this summer will include hikes I have completed, as well as weddings / family portraits I have been hired for.

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Lindsay & Michael’s Maternity Photo’s

My friend Lindsay and her boyfriend Michael are expecting their first born any week now. I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph them together in Big Hill Springs Provincial Park a few weeks ago. I was a bit sidetracked with Natasha and Tracey’s wedding so I hadn’t had the opportunity to post these photos yet. I met Lindsay and Michael about 7-8 years ago when I was working at Golder Associates as a Civil Designer. These two are absolutely hilarious together! I’m rooting for a girl, but I guess we will find out in a few weeks as its it’ll be a surprise for all of us!

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Photo Editing

Photo editing can vary from a basic filter (think Instagram), to in-depth photo manipulation with software, such as Adobe Photoshop. Photo editing is an art, because its all in the eyes of the photographer. I personally love photo editing. Yeah you can give me the best camera money can buy, or the best lens money can buy, but that can only go so far. Yes I’ll have more performance, but a photograph is made into a polished piece of digital / physical art with good photo editing software.

My software of choice is Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Bridge. I’m a bit old school, as most people have moved on to Adobe Lightroom. I’ll explain why I’ve stuck with this tried and true method. Adobe Bridge is basically your Windows Explorer for all your photos. I create a folder for my photos in ISO date format (i.e. 2018-01-24 Calgary Zoo). Then I create a subfolder called RAW where I’ll dump all of my photos for that event. I’ll then boot up Adobe Bridge, where I’ll see a preview of all of my photos. I can open each photo I want to edit, apply the corrections, filters, adjustments that I want and then move on to the next. If I want to bulk apply adjustments to a photograph I can right click a photograph, copy settings, and then apply to all that I want to apply to. I find this quite quick and straight forward.

So why did I not move to Adobe Lightroom? Well I find the program pretty clunky, and a ton of real-estate space is taken up with the photo bar at the bottom, and the manipulating of the photo actually takes longer. It also seems to use quite a bit more resources. I’ve honestly given it a good go, but it’s just not for me.

So what kind of results can you get out of Adobe Photoshop? Well take a look at these two photos of a mom and baby gorilla. The first one is the basic image that comes out of the camera when you shoot in RAW… pretty boring and bland right? The second one is an image I spent a few minutes editing, and it really pops in comparison.

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Thomas & Stephanie

Thomas and Stephanie are some of my very best friends. I’ve known Thomas over 15 years and when I was asked to take some maternity photos with him and his beautiful wife Stephanie I was honoured. Here’s a sneak peak at their maternity photo shoot.

UPDATE: Baby Victoria was born on April 17th 2017. I’m honoured to be “Uncle Ian”

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Here I am with their beautiful daughter Victoria! I love watching her grow up week by week!

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If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

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