Angkor Wat in Black & White

angkor-wat-bw2A 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.

Trying to find a balance in contrast through the window
Trying to find a balance in contrast through the window and the haze

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.angkor-wat-bw

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.

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