A few months ago I was reading an article on photography that discussed black & white photos. Of course it referenced Ansel Adams and his classic work, but it also included what to look for when taking photos in black & white–the subjects and compositions that make such photos successful. I set out to consciously take more black & white photos when I arrived in Vietnam. That idea followed me into Cambodia as I toured around Angkor Wat.
Less than a quarter of my photos from Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples were in black & white, and some didn’t come out so well. At first I didn’t realize that my camera has two different settings for monochrome–one of those settings makes for clearer photos. There was also the problem of intense sunlight in Cambodia–even in other photos, I had problems getting clear shots with the sunlight, but I managed to find my backlit photo setting to fix some of that problem as well.
While I’d say about half of my black & white photos were worthy of sharing, I was happy with the overall results. Angkor Wat isn’t a colorful subject, which makes it easier to find appropriate angles for lighting contrast without taking away from the beauty of the structure.
Somehow, these photos also eliminated the vast crowds of Angkor Wat (but that was more because of the camera angle). But there really is no way of avoiding crowds in such a popular tourist destination during the high season. Sometimes you have imagine that they don’t exist.