Elephant getting a wash in Angkor, Cambodia.
Cambodia – Photo Tip

How shooting into the light will make you a better photographer

Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Cambodia – Photo Tip How shooting into the light will make you a better photographer

At Angkor Wat in Cambodia, visitors can climb the temple mountain of Phnom Bakheng by elephant or take a ride around the vast temple complex.

Jochem Wijnands
Jochem Wijnands Founder / photographer

It is marvelous watching these majestic animals slowly ambling past the ancient remains. It is a pity though, that they usually carry sunburnt and badly dressed tourists who wobble from side to side and hang on for dear life. It does not make for a pretty picture.

While the elephant stables at Angkor are not an official tourist attraction, the area is not fenced off and the mahouts, or elephant drivers, seemed happy to let me look around. The vibrant energy of the place is a welcome change from the static permanency of the 1,000-year-old temples.

What first attracted me to the scene was the light. It was warm, strong, unfiltered and penetrated at a low angle. When it caught the water rolling off the backs of the enormous elephants, it created an awesome spectacle. To do this type of light justice you really need to invite it into your frame, and look for a backlit image. You are often warned not to shoot into the sun, but such rules are there to be broken.

Take me to Angkor Wat!

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A splash of cool water refreshes a band of elephants outside Angkor. Elephant numbers have declined over the years with estimates in late 2011 recording just 250 left living in the wild. At the same time there were a similar number in captivity, like these which transport people to the temples. Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Nikon F5

Aperture
ƒ/3.5
Exposure
1/125
ISO
50
Focal
50 mm

A splash of cool water refreshes a band of elephants outside Angkor. Elephant numbers have declined over the years with estimates in late 2011 recording just 250 left living in the wild. At the same time there were a similar number in captivity, like these which transport people to the temples.

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