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Photographing sunrises, be in place early.

There is a time between night and actual sunrise that is really magical in photography. This time of day is my favourite, it has a unique light and colour and is generally still and quiet. You also get to witness the sky lottery; what colours are going to be produced, how long will it last, is it going to completely cloud over, which quite often happens. When the conditions all come together a joy fills the heart and you know instinctively that you have the photograph you came for.

digital travel photography holidays tours to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam, Marrakech and Gower Wales hosted by Stephen Studd photographer myanmar hosted by Stephen Studd

Angkor Wat, before sunrise. Manfrotto tripod and head: Canon 6D, Canon 24-70mm lens: ISO 400 – 30 sec @f8 – 0.3ND soft grad filter

You will need a torch to get you to your location pre sunrise, it also helps you with setting your camera dials in low level light conditions. For the photograph above, the scene was really dark to the eye. I set my camera up on my tripod and used a remote release for mirror lock as exposures can be long and you don`t want camera shake. I took a test shot at an extremely high ISO to see whether I had focussed correctly with manual focus. If you use autofocus it is best to move it to manual focus as cameras find it hard to focus in very low light conditions. Once I knew the camera was focused I locked the focus and set my ISO to 400, which still gave a 30 second exposure at f8. I always photograph on manual mode and as the light changes quickly from near dark to sunrise don’t forget to keep adjusting your camera settings. I always have my camera set to RAW for high quality images. I used a 0.3ND soft grad filter to balance the sky with the foreground. I could of used a 0.6ND but wanted the water to be slightly darker than the sky.

Depending on where you are photographing on the planet determines the length of time before first light and sunrise, in the tropics you generally only have about half an hour pre-sunrise.

When it starts to get much lighter, be ready for the actual sunrise, which will give you a whole new feel to your scene. As you can see between the two photo’s the cloud had completely disappeared in the photograph below, which was taken 45 minutes after the photograph above. I had waited for the sun to rise to give me another saleable image from the same morning. Both images have been published in several travel magazines and books.

For the shot below, in my last blog post ‘How to Shoot into the Sun’, it explains how to achieve this effect in your photographs

digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, photo tours and workshops to Asia, Cambodia: Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, sunrise: Manfrotto tripod and head; Canon 6D, Canon 24-70mm lens:              ISO 100, f16 @ 1/500

Get out and enjoy this spectacular time of day, it stills the mind and fills the soul with joy!


I run photography holidays and tours to Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and in the Gower, Wales, please visit the website for full itineraries and information: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

Newsletter subscribers receive special offers throughout the year on my travel photography holidays and landscape photography workshops, you can subscribe here

‘May the light be with you’



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Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and Siem Reap, Best Travel Destinations 2015

Trip Advisor has just announced that Angkor Wat is the top Landmark in the world to visit, with Siem Reap voted 2nd best Destination in the world.

UPDATE: Lonely Planet has just voted Angkor Wat as the Best Travel Destination to go and see 2015.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, tours and workshops to Asia, Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Marrakech Marrakesh Morocco, the Gower Wales UK

Monks in front of Angkor Wat.

I have been photographing here since 1999 and it is truly a magical place, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The whole Angkor complex stretches some 400 km2, so there are always new places to discover.

Of all the different temples that make up the Angkor complex, Angkor Wat is the jewel in the lotus and also the most well preserved of them all.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, tours and workshops to Asia, Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Marrakech Marrakesh Morocco, the Gower Wales UK

Angkor Wat, sunrise

The stone carving here is some of the most exquisite of all the temples.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, tours and workshops to Asia, Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Marrakech Marrakesh Morocco, the Gower Wales UK

digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, tours and workshops to Asia, Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Marrakech Marrakesh Morocco, the Gower Wales UK

Apsara detail, Angkor Wat

Even though the place sees a large number of tourists each year, local life still goes on in and around Angkor Wat.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, tours and workshops to Asia, Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Marrakech Marrakesh Morocco, the Gower Wales UK South East Asia Cambodia Siem Reap Angkor Wat temple complex UNESCO World Heritage site young boy fishing in the moat of Angkor Wat sunset

Boy fishing at Angkor Wat

Siem Reap is the gateway to the temples and a town that has expanded over the years but never lost its charm.

digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, tours and workshops to Asia, Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap. Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Marrakech Marrakesh Morocco, the Gower Wales UK

Shrine on the banks of the river, Siem Reap

digital travel and landscape photography holidays, vacations, tours and workshops to Asia, Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap. Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Marrakech Marrakesh Morocco, the Gower Wales UK South East Asia Cambodia Siem Reap Angkor Wat temple complex UNESCO World Heritage site portrait of Cambodian Khmer old woman with traditional headscarf

There are now great places to eat and drink to suit all budgets in Siem Reap. I’m looking forward to heading back again this November. There are places available on the photography holiday if you want to improve your photography skills. Because of my extensive knowledge of the area I get you to the best places for the best light.

My photography holidays here also support some NGO’s helping street kids, the rural poor, people with disabilities and also a nature conservation project.


Details of the travel photography holiday I run to Angkor Wat can be found on my website: http://www.digitalphotographyholidays.com


You can follow my journey over the years of photographing at the Angkor Wat temples on the Manfrotto website: http://www.manfrottoimaginemore.com


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Behind the photo: Portrait of Khmer woman, Cambodia

South East Asia Cambodia Siem Reap Angkor Wat temple complex UNESCO World Heritage site portrait of Cambodian Khmer old woman with traditional headscarf digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Venice marrakech Paris Morocco Prague hosted by Stephen Studd

Cambodia is one of my favourite places for travel photography. On a recent trip there I wanted to photograph the sugar palm village which is on the way to Banteay Srei temple, part of the Angkor Wat temple complex.

The sugar palm tree (Borassus flabellifer) is the national tree of Cambodia and has over 800 uses. The root of the tree is used in traditional herbal medicine, the hard heavy wood is used for house building and for furniture making, the palm fronds are used for thatching roofs, making mats, baskets, hats and fans and also weaved to make the walls in traditional Cambodian homes and the fruit is used to make, palm water, syrup and sugar., which has a very low glycemic index.

The sugar palm village is always a hive of activity with bubbling vats of palm sugar steaming away. I was wandering around the village greeting people in the Khmer language, when I came across this lady. She spoke back to me in Khmer and I replied back, much to her amusement. She called out all her family and got me to speak to them. They all found it funny that I even bothered to speak their language, they spoke no English. I was invited to their house to drink the sugar palm water with them, which is highly prized. It had a lovely sweet and very earthy taste.

I was just about to ask if I could take some photos, when the lady had already pointed at my camera and stood up, I always find it amazing that thought always seems to have no language barriers. I took some photos of her and when she looked at them on the back of the camera gave me the seal of approval.

It is these chance encounters that really make me buzz when I am on a travel photography assignment as I love meeting the people of the country. Over many years of travelling to Cambodia I have learned some words and phrases and they always break the ice when meeting people, this is the same when travelling to any country.

I was pleased with the portrait and decided to convert the photograph to black & white in Lightroom and then split toned the image, which is a favoured technique of mine for black & white photography. I used my favourite Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lens, at 70mm – aperture f6.8 – shutter speed 1/80th sec at ISO 500 as the light level was quite low.


I host small group travel photography holidays and tours to Cambodia, Burma, Marrakech and Venice, further details can be found on my website: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com


 


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Angkor Wat, Cambodia, A Journey, part 2, The Power of Nature

267-2-2-2

Part 2 of my travel photography blog has just been published on the Manfrotto Imagine More website. This week is all about the power of nature.
Angkor Wat Cambodia Ta Prohm Temple

You can follow the journey each Friday in March: http://www.manfrottoimaginemore.com/2014/03/14/angkor-wat-cambodia-journey/

Thanks for popping by.


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Angkor Wat, Cambodia, A Journey, travel photography blog

My travel photography blog has just been published on the Manfrotto Imagine More website. It is a 4 part series, following my journey to the temples of Angkor Wat. I first visited them in 1999 when some of the temples were still heavily land mined. This weeks blog looks at these early years pre- digital photography and when I was photographing for an exhibition, giving some of the proceeds of sales of prints and cards to land mine clearance.

Digital photography holidays holiday vacations tour tours workshop workshops to Myanmar Burma Cambodia Angkor Wat Venice marrakech Paris Morocco Prague hosted by Stephen Studd 2014 2015

You can follow the journey here on the Manfrotto website each Friday in March:

http://www.manfrottoimaginemore.com/2014/03/07/angkor-wat-cambodia-journey/

Part 2 next week is the “Power of Nature”, thanks for visiting.


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Memories: pop up photography exhibition

Sorry, the pop up photography exhibition is now closed. A big thanks to the thousands who visited.


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International Photography Awards 2013, Burma, Angkor Wat & Iris

The International Photography Awards 2013 have just been announced and I received an Honourable mention in 8 categories, which I am really pleased with as there were over 15,000 entries from around the world.

Some of you might have seen my Myanmar (Burma) photographs when they first appeared on the Manfrotto website.

Travel and Tourism category and Fine Art; Landscapes category “Temples of Bagan”

Having first visited Bagan eight years ago, on my return visit in April of this year I had already pre-visualised a series of black and white images of the temples. There are over 4,000 temples on the plains of Bagan and the whole area has an ethereal, timeless feeling and is one of my favourite places on the planet. For the series I converted my images to black & white, then split toned them in Lightroom. It was important to have the same tone in the series as I wanted them to work together. These 3 photographs were the ones I entered.

Myanmar Burma Bagan temples sunrise black and white

Myanmar (Burma) “Temples of Bagan”

Myanmar Burma Bagan temples sunrise black & white

Myanmar (Burma) Temples of Bagan

Myanmar Burma Bagan temples sunrise black and white

Myanmar (Burma) “Temples of Bagan”

Panoramic category “Temples of Bagan”

For this image I wanted to show a panoramic view from one of my favourite temples, from which you get an idea of what the stupa studded landscape looks like.

Myanmar (Burma) Bagan temples panoramic view

Myanmar (Burma) “Temples of Bagan” Panoramic

Culture Category “Stonemasons Burma”

In Mandalay there is an area of the city where images of Buddha are carved from rock. I spent a morning in this area photographing the many processes that are undergone to make the statues. The air was filled with rock dust and it was quite oppressive in the searing heat of April in Mandalay. The boy to the left has to stand there applying water to where the man is drilling. This photograph was just one from a whole series shot that morning.

Mandalay stonemasons quarter boy and young man carving Buddha statue Burma Myanmar

Stonemasons Burma

Fisherman Inle Lake

Lake Inle in the Shan State of Myanmar covers an area of 45 square miles (116 km2) and is at an altitude of 2900 feet, it is home to the leg rowing fisherman. It was my first visit to the lake and it came as a welcome relief to the heat of Mandalay in April as the air was much cooler. I was really taken by the beauty of the place and chartered a boat to take me out for a few days. On my first dawn outing the boat captain drove past this fisherman who was completely oblivious to us. The sun had just appeared over the hills which made for a great silhouette and some warmth after a chilly start. I often see photographs of the Inle Lake fisherman which are over posed, I liked the natural feeling to this shot.

Myanmar Burma Lake Inle sunrise leg rower rowing fisherman

“Lake Inle fisherman”

Travel & Tourism Category; People of Burma

Myanmar Mandalay U Bein bridge woman watching sunrise

Mandalay U Bein Bridge

Mandalay stonemasons quarter boy and young man carving Buddha statue Burma Myanmar

Mandalay Stonemasons

Burma (Mandalay) Schwezigon Paya pagoda monks

Young Monks Nyaung Shwe

Inle lake, Myanmar (Burma) fisherman with girl on boat

Inle lake, Myanmar (Burma)

Portrait of an old Shan man in Myanmar (Burma) Lake Inle

Trees Category; “Tree Roots; Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia”

This shot is one from an ongoing project photographing nature`s strength over humankind at the temples of Angkor Wat. The trees roots of this tree are slowly pulling the temple apart returning the stone back to the Earth and creating a new form of beauty.

Asia, Cambodia, Siem Reap, Angkor wat, Ta Prohm temple.

Tree Roots; Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia

Flowers category; Iris

This image of the Iris was taken with my 180mm macro lens which is my favourite lens for close up photography. The Iris was slightly back lit from the sun which showed off its translucent petals.

Iris

Iris

I am looking forward to returning to Cambodia and Burma this winter as I host travel photography holidays to my favourite locations www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

You can sign up for my free newsletter on the website and be the first to hear of new locations and dates: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com/newsletter

My Travel, Gardens, Plants, Photography Website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DigitalPhotographyHolidays and I can be found tweeting from www.twitter.com/StephenPhotos

Thanks for popping by my blog and “may the light be with you”