My Southeast Asia Travels – Siem Reap at Night

After my daily routine of sunrise and sunset chasing, I spent some time in downtown Siem Reap around Pub Street.  It is touristy, but not quite as bad as other areas I’ve visited.  Lots to eat and lots to drink, and people to watch.  I brought the Sony a7r2 and Zeiss 85mm Otus wide open to see what I could capture.

cambodia siem reap tuk tuk Cambodia Siem Reap bug eating Child and Screen downtown Siem Reap Cambodia Siem Reap Cmbodia Cat

My Southeast Asia Travels – Angkor Wat Sunrise

I was heading to Beijing for some work and decided to swing down to Cambodia for a side trip to Angkor Wat. I stayed in Siem Reap for a week and each morning got up at 430am to go to the temple for sunrise. I got one great sunrise morning. I learned that you definitely want to go early as many people have the same idea. I also learned that there is a backside to the ticket plaza which is less busy. I recommend pulling your camera out of the bag as you arrive at the temple to let it acclimate to the humidity. There are two main reflecting pools. About 80% go to the left one which becomes a sea of selfie sticks and clamoring masses. Its a nice shot, but crowded. The right side pool is also good and less busy.

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Angkor Wat

This was a series of Zeiss 85mm Otus shots to create a pano.

My Southeast Asia Travels – Road to Siem Reap

So my plan was to leave Phnom Penh and get to Siem Reap, my next stop, via taxi.  I hired a driver and the trip was supposed to take about 5 hours.  It took 7 and was amazingly scenic along the way.  The trip was alot like going to Agra from Delhi in India.  Very few rules, just drive and everyone expects the unexpected.  A video of the trip:

…and a live pig being transported on the back of a scooter:

pig on scooter on the road to siem reap cambodia

My Southeast Asia Travels – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I knew I had a work trip coming up to Beijing in October.  The question was, where to go for a photogenic side trip.  I decided on Cambodia and the temples around Angkor Wat.  It made sense to fly into Phnom Penh first, then drive north to Siem Reap, the main town near Angkor Wat.  Much Tripadvisor research pointed to a nice small boutique hotel called the Pavilion.  So glad I stayed there.  It was the perfect little intimate base from which to explore the city.  A few shots from my exploring:

Phnom Penh Natural History Museum

Phnom Penh Natural History Museum

Monks in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

Monks in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Temple Cat

Phnom Penh Temple Cat – Zeiss 85 Otus and Sony a7r2

The Pavilion hotel in Phnom Penh

The Pavilion hotel in Phnom Penh

Enchantments Fall Colors Camping Hiking Ultralight Survival Guide

Enchantments hiking camping ultralight guide leavenworth larches Enchantments hiking camping ultralight guide leavenworth larches Leprechaun Lake Fall Colors

First off I should say that I cant stay away from the Enchantments Lakes Basin in Washington State.  Each Fall, I have to go at least once.  The first time I went, I carried way too much stuff and finished the through hike in 17 hours with bleeding feet and a strong desire to crawl back to my car.  Two weeks later however, I wanted to go again.  Since then, I have become a scientist of sorts figuring out how to lighten my load and make the whole experience more fun.

Last week, I headed up to get some fall color before I fly off to China for a work trip this week.  I saw a lot of miserable people coming up the trail, carrying too much stuff. Actually it was usually one excited person and then the others they had talked into going. I recommend taking a hard look at your load and gear. My pack was a 45L Zpacks Arc Blast, which weighs less than a pound and carries beautifully. My bag was a 10 degree Zpacks 900 fill down bag which weighs 22 ounces. My tent is a Tarptent Contrail which weighs 27 ounces and has never let me down.  I won’t soon forget seeing someone carrying a full-sized Costco tent, still in the box, bungee-corded to their pack.  Or hikers carrying iron skillets.  Ugh.  And for the record, you don’t have to spend a lot to go light.  Ebay, hiker gear for sale sites, craigslist and manufacturer’s website bargain bins are all great sources of discounted gear.  I seldom if ever buy new and only as a last resort.

I saw people carrying gallon jugs of water. I carry one small bottle of gatorade and filter as i go with a Sawyer bag filter. I carry “gatorade” tablets to make more as i go along. Now the camera gear is where i splurge, since that is why I am going.  I recently swtiched from Canon to Sony, which lightened my load a bit.  I see people carrying Gitzo 4 series tripods.  I would never do this.  I carry my Gitzo 0540 and it feels excessive.  Other times I have carried my Tamrac Zipshot hiking pole tripod which weighs 8oz.

I will expand on this topic as more thoughts come to mind.  Thanks for listening. #ultralight #tarptent #zpacks #enchantments #hiking #backpacking #fallcolors

Enchantments Lakes Basin Fall Colors with Zeiss 85mm Otus and Sony a7r2

The Enchantments Lakes Basin is one of the toughest and most rewarding hikes in Washington.  Once you’ve been up there, it’s hard to stay away as the larches turn golden in late September.  This year I decided to take two cameras, three lenses and two tripods.  I was particularly excited to see how the Zeiss 85mm Otus would capture the detail and the glow of the larches as they showed off their autumn palette.

I camped overnight and eagerly anticipated the morning light.  About an hour before sunrise, I headed out with the Otus mounted via Metabones on my Sony a7r2.  I tried to capture not only the broad landscape of fall colors but also the closeup details of the larches and their reflections in the lake.  Once the light had passed and the sun was overhead, I could barely wait to see how the shots had turned out. Mike Reid Photography

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Seabrook Sunset Along the Washington Coast

We visited the town of Seabrook which is this picture postcard little community near Ocean Shores.  Our cottage rental, the Shell House was a perfect home away from home along the coast.  I was able to capture a few sunset views there and at Ruby Beach an hour away.  Mike Reid Photography #seabrook #seabrookwa

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