travel

Qantas Airways, Travel Insider - Free the Bears

A travel feature photography assignment for Qantas Airways’ Travel Insider inflight magazine, written by Ann Fullerton. The trip was part of a wider tour run by travel company World Expeditions. Below are some tear sheets from the article plus other shots from the Free the Bears sanctuaries located at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, Cambodia, and Luang Prabang, Laos. As well as a short side trip to Mandalao elephant sanctuary in Luang Prabang.

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Mekong Delta Snaps

A six day road trip through the Mekong Delta by scooter. From Saigon to Phnom Penh via Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Sa Dec, Chau Doc and Ha Tien. Great weather, good street food, lots of boats and friendly folk.

Below a handful of travel snaps from the trip shot with the Sony A7Rii, Zeiss 24-70 f4 lens and Canon 16-35 f2.8 L Mkii on a Metabones adapter.

Cambodia Train

Recently shot a travel photography feature for Silkwinds, Silk Air's inflight magazine covering the newly reopened Cambodian train service from Phnom Penh to the south coast.

Long gone are the romantic days of train surfing on the roof of a dilapidated Cambodian train. After 14 years the passenger service from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville via Takeo and Kampot has been up and running for less than a year. Clean air conditioned carriages and soft seats make for a smooth ride, top speed is 60kmh. The passenger service currently runs only at the weekends. But is expected to run every other day soon. The windows in the carriages were sealed shut for the AC, But from between the carriages it is possible to open the doors and get a mix of fresh air with the odd diesel waft. A great scenic ride plus safer than bus or taxi. It is definitely worth the marginal extra time. Desapeeup la'or!

The magazine article by Jonathan Evans along with some of my photography can be found in the March issue of Silkwinds here.

Photographs from the journey can be found in the "Cambotrain" gallery.

Chhlong Jaunt

Finally was able to properly use the Sony Alpha 7Rii for a personal travel photography project in Chhlong Cambodia. An amazing high image quality 42mp full frame camera, the small size is perfect for use in travel and documentary photography, but also high end enough for commercial and studio use. Soon HDR processing will be history as new sensors' dynamic range will become greater. I felt liberated with this small and robust camera after being used to carting a hefty Canon DSLR around. Less obtrusive for both portrait and general travel photography. The Sony menu system will take some getting used to, none intuitive and disorganized. Minimal weather sealing could also be an issue, the camera is now covered in Cambodian countryside dust and may need a professional clean.

In 2003 I took my first ever motorbike road trip adventure from Phnom Penh to Sen Monorom in Mundullkiri province over 10 days or so, with a 35mm analogue film SLR and a few rolls of Kodak Portra. On arrival in Snool I was covered in thick orange dust, few roads were sealed at the time. On the return journey we stumbled upon Chhlong village on the river road from Kratie to Kompong Cham. A small town on the banks of the Mekong in Kratie province, dilapidated French colonial buildings, a bustling market and the simple quiet life along the river was a real draw that had a lasting impression. We ended up staying for 2 nights in the town's only guest house.

Returning in 2017 with a Bangkok photographer friend was an attempt to get away from the expats and tourists of Phnom Penh, and even Kampot my usual go to place when in need of a break. To feel once again the only foreigners around in a sedate land. Kratie city is just 4 hours from Phnom penh by share taxi and Chhlong 1.5 hours from Kratie on a motobike. For our 2 day jaunt we rented Honda Wave's in Kratie city early morning. We skipped Kratie town altogether, the town's folk were miserable in 2003 and not much seemed to have changed 14 years later, something I haven't really experienced in other Cambodian towns. Once out of Kratie town, things changed rapidly into the old dreamscape I remember and still try to hold onto after 14 years in Cambodia.

Conclusion. The real Cambodia still exists out there in all directions, it's further from Phnom Penh than it used to be. Take it while you can.

More images from Chhlong can be seen in the Chhlong gallery here.

Fah Thai Magazine - Banteay Chhmar

This is from a while back now. But I just came across back dated Fah Thai (Thai Airways) inflight magazines online. I hadn't gotten a copy of the magazine at the time, but it's some of my photos and an essay by Dennis Gray from my Banteay Chhmar travel photography assignment for the May 2012 issue. I was hired through Asia Motion photographers agency based in Phnom Penh.

From Siem Reap my assistant Tauch Lon and I travelled by bus to Sisophon in Banteay Meanchey province, then took a shared taxi to Banteay Chhmar. As there are no guest houses in Banteay Chhmar we stayed at a homestay with a very nice Khmer family. The next day we unofficially rented a motorbike from a local who was a volunteer at the Banteay Chhmar Community-Based Tourism (CBT) group - http://www.visitbanteaychhmar.org This gave us the freedom to explore the whole area and the satellite temples by ourselves. It was proper Indiana Jones, apart from some restoration guys and a few local kids with sling shots we had the temples to ourselves.

The villagers around there are really laid back, none of the hardcore tourist business you get in Siem Reap. It took me back to when I first came to Cambodia in 1999 and then to live in 2002, when Phnom Penh people were super easy going and friendly.

It was baking hot in late March but it was well worth it, just got to get up early. It is way up North near the Thai border, not too far from either Sisophon or Poipet, less 2 than hours in a taxi.

My travel photographs from the shoot can be viewed here on this site.