Note: This post is written and all photos by Steve Porte who recenly travelled to Cambodia with F8. Steve shoots with a combination of Mamiya 7ii film camera and Canon DSLR rigs, this trip he used the Canon rigs, this is his story. - Gary Tyson, Director F8 Photography.
(Steve with the friendly locals which make Cambodia such a great place to be)
Several weeks ago, I traveled to Cambodia with F8 Photograhy owner Gary Tyson and two other photographers. The aim of our trip was to spend 4 days shooting in and around Phnom Penh. Here are my thoughts on that trip...
Cambodia is a wonderful place to visit. There are good connections from most regional cities. The Cambodian e-Visa is a user-friendy, online system, that really makes the immigration process simple and inexpensive. Accomodations, ground transportation, and food are very reasonably priced, but there are plenty of up-market offerings for those so inclined. But what makes Cambodia really special is the people.
(Kids were fascinated by the digital cameras)
Everyone we met - from service staff, to shop owners, to people on the street - was warm, friendly, and kind. There is an inner tranquility about the people that translates into a vibrant but peaceful atmoshphere. It only took us about three hours in country to unwind from the hectic pace of Hong Kong.
(Typical greeting, 5D Mk III, 100mm)
(Dignified villager, 5D Mk III, 100mm)
For photographers, it gets even better. Everyone has their own particular criteria, of course, but most would agree that the two basic requirements for producing good images are good light and interesting subjects. Cambodia has both in abundance. The air is clean, and the light is soft and beautiful. Even at mid day, we found the light to be less harsh than in other locations. The quality of light is hard to describe, but easy to see when you're there.
(Steve shooting with his trusty Canon rig)
(Quality of light at 11:30 am, 5D Mk III, 100mm)
(Quality of light at 1:10 pm, 5D Mk III, 100mm)
There is also an endless variety of subjects to shoot - pastoral countryside, vibrant city life, quiet villages, interesting infrastructure, and, of course, the people. What I enjoy most is documenting daily life and local culture. For me, Cambodia is as good as it gets. The developing infrastructure offers a wide variety of interesting subjects, and glimpses of a life quickly disappearing in many regions.
(Traditional fishing, 5D Mk III, 100mm)
(Ferry traffic jam, 1D Mk IV, 25mm)
The local people were the highlight of the trip. They were warm, good natured, camera-friendly, and, to me, beautiful. Their warm and dignified character shone through - from the youngest child to the oldest villager. Virtually everyone we met was happy to be photographed and met us with direct eye contact; usually happy, sometimes somber, but always engaged.
(Village girl, 1D Mk IV, 35mm)
(Temple minder, 5D Mk III, 100mm)
Cambodia is relaxed, and rich with photo opportunities. The F8 crew travels well, and has a good working knowledge of local venues. Gary is a highy skilled and experienced field photographer. He has a knack both for capturing high quality images, and for helping others to develop their own photographic skills. Cambodia would make a great classroom, but, workshop or not, I'll be returning soon....
Final note from F8:
Gary, the Director of F8 has also written a blog post about his experience, that can be seen by clicking here.
Guest blog posts written by Dave who also came along can be seen here:
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F8 Photography provides commercial photography and training across Asia, with workshops on Street Photography and other photography and video training courses, more details can be found via the ‘courses and workshops’ link and upcoming events via the front page of our website.