Sunday, January 20, 2013

Angkor What???

Angkor What??? by Sam Antonio Photography
Angkor What???, a photo by Sam Antonio Photography on Flickr.
According to a recent poll, yours truly was voted the top travel photographer of 2012. How did I achieve such excellence? Perhaps it was due to my creativity, my intuitive vision or maybe because I shoot with cool Canon gear.

Or it could be that I travel to places most people have never heard of.

Take for example Angkor Wat. Located in the exotic country of Cambodia, I played Indiana Jones for a day as my local Cambodian guide and I trudged through the steamy jungle for over three hours to find this magnificent Khmer temple.

So there we were in complete solitude admiring this magnificent structure. I put my Canon gear through the paces as I quickly realized I was one of the few photographers in the world to captured this amazing place. It was time of spiritual joy, aesthetic pleasure, and deep contemplation.

I was in photography nirvana.

That was the Angkor Wat of my travel dreams.

This is the Angkor Wat of travel reality.

I photographed Angkor Wat at sunrise over a period of two days and both were a bust. This was taken on my second attempt and it was just a tad better than the first which isn’t saying much. I was there in May which happens to be the hottest part of the year. It was hot, brutally hot. The weather was terrible and the light was flat. With no decent clouds in the sky, I didn’t get the trophy shot of Angkor Wat at sunrise with the stunning morning light reflected off the clouds and a perfect reflection in the pond.

Instead I shared my early mornings with throngs of tourists all aiming to get the same photograph that a million photographers have captured before. Through it all I endured sharps elbows to my lower back as people jockeyed for position, sand flies in my face, the brutal heat with a slap of humidity and the constant harassment from the vendors demanding I have breakfast at their “five-star” outdoor dining establishment.

So this was my view of Angkor Wat...tourists wandering around in the frame, an ugly scaffolding that begged to be torn down and pathetic clouds with a hint of some morning light coming from behind the temple.

Thanks to Apple Aperture I was able to bring back to life the beauty and splendor of the heart and soul of the Khmer Empire - Angkor Wat Temple.

P.S. I really was awarded the top travel photographer of 2012. The polling just happened to be skewed in my favor. I was the only one polled and I voted early and often! Hmm? Sounds like the 2012 American presidential election?!

Happy Travels!

Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography

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