Cambodia – the conclusion

Today was our last workshop session. Half a day today as some of us were traveling.

My day started with a shock when the alarm woke me at 5.30am. I wanted to get the most out my trip but I have to admit the prospect of climbing out of bed before dawn again was more challenging today. I stumbled out of the hotel and the glorious sunrises of previous days were nowhere to be seen. Just a tinge of red smeared along the horizon. Within minutes the sky changed to the hues I was there for albeit less intense today.

I want to work on this file when I have more time – this is a quick conversion and it deserves better. The joy of EXIF is that I know that I took this at 05.48.

My last decent sunrise image was taken at 05.51, a full 3 minutes later. If you blinked too long you missed it. Sorry Steve. The son et lumière show was shorter each day and I don’t really know why. It meant however I could grab a decent breakfast before we headed out.

We were en route to the temple when suddenly we spotted people working in the rice fields. Never willing to miss a photo opportunity we trekked crocodile file into the paddies to a mixed reception. Some of the ladies were happy to work with us but one small girl was visibly unsure about these strange people and she treated us to a show of tears and pouting, whilst her mum (?) comforted her. Her she is clinging to her security blanket – mum’s blouse.

The file needs more work (again) but captures nicely, in my humble opinion, her insecurity.

After almost an hour here we headed on to the temple, which was rather busier than we had expected. Nevertheless most people came away with one or two nice shots as a reward. This was my favourite.

As it is already late and I need to sleep for a change, I will move swiftly to the climax of the workshop – the individual slideshows. We were asked to select our ten strongest images from the 4 days.

Somehow my overall favourite image did not make it to the slideshow. In my haste to cull, I reduced it in error from 5 stars to 4 and the filters meant I missed it in the final edit. To be honest I don’t think it mattered too much which ten we selected. The lesson for me was simply to be much more ruthless in weeding out not just the weak but the  fairly strong. Only the absolute cream should rise to the top if progress is to be made. I will certainly review the full library again and consider how the best can be improved. The post processing has been time-constrained and I want to experiment more boldly with some. Suffice it to say that the slideshows were a good reward for the effort we had all put in.

Here is my last offering for this post.

Would I recommend this sort of workshop? Definitely. It fast-tracks the development of your skills like doing a language immersion course. It makes you think and it rips you out of your comfort zone. It left me with a different sense of what I should be trying to achieve. It was fun. I am always slightly apprehensive about group dynamics but in this instance the group clicked. No caveats other than a need to be willing to hear feedback that is “constructively negative” and also give critiques in a similar vein – honest but constructive and sensitively delivered. Would I recommend F8 Photography and Gary Tyson – no qualms there either. He’s a great teacher with oodles of passion. The Duracell Bunny of photography. And he didn’t pay me to say that!

I hope the blog will revisit the workshop once I am back home and I have had time to do the Cambodia library justice.

11 thoughts on “Cambodia – the conclusion

  1. Glad you enjoyed the trip… I have misgivings about this style of semi candid street photography, inarticulate the distress of the young girl. What are your feelings on this, given that it was your group that caused it?

    • I think it is the mother who can decide Alister. She can always pull the child away. Mother knows best. After a few minutes and a couple of sweets calm was restored. She was the only one in 4 days who reacted like this. Virtually all want to be photographed and are fascinated when they see their image on the screen.

  2. @ Alibenn ~ Just a side note. Virtually none of the shooting we did was candid. At each location, we made clear our intentions, and respected the wishes of those who chose not to be photographed. This young girl seemed to be nervous about the presence of so many farangs but, as Andrew mentioned, she quickly calmed down and we left with all parties smiling…..

  3. Again, well done. Lthough some the photos seem contrived, the are masterfully captured by you and your M9.

    PS Leica’s new M release should help with second hand purchases!

    Thanks Andrew

    • Thanks Barry. Very few shots are “posed” as such but yes, people knew they were being photographed. In that sense they are not candid. Alister raised an interesting issue which I hope Steve and I have addressed. Cambodians are incredibly friendly and most engage happily.

  4. That’s all good to hear. I am confident that your group went about this “the right way” – thanks to ou and Steve for putting my mind at rest.

    I can now continue to drink coffee in my 4×4 waiting for a sunrise hat looks unlikely to happen 🙂 best wishes.

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