Angkor Wat and the surrounding Angkor temple complex in Cambodia are without question one of the seven man made wonders of the world. Even after nearly 1000 years of neglect the dozens of spires and thousands of feet of intricate stone carving-all without the use of mortar or any machines-stand as a monument to what ancient civilizations were capable of. The art in photographing them is in culling out bite-size chunks from the overwhelming experience so that your camera can make sense of them. In this issue I'll take you through my recent trip there and give you some ideas on how to approach photographing Angkor or other similar ancient wonders.
Ever since seeing a large model of Angkor Wat in Thailand and photos of it at the Smithsonian, it is been top on my list of "must see" locations. The security situation in Cambodia and the sheer logistics had made it difficult to get there, but it has never been easier to see one of the true wonders of the world so I was determined to make the effort on my most recent trip to Asia.
The visit was worth it in every way. The sheer variety of temples is impressive, as is there size and age (many are over a thousand years old and almost all of them were built by hand from massive stones at least 700 years ago), but most impressive to me was the almost uninterrupted and intricate carvings that covered every surface.