Thmei Phsar Thmei

15 10 2009

One of Phnom Penh’s most recognizable landmarks is getting a makeover. Built in 1937, its Art Deco dome is one of the coolest looking buildings I have ever seen.
It is now being renovated to its former glory by the French Development Agency at the sum of $5.5 million. The first of three market renovations planned by the FDA (Psar Chas and Psar Kandal being the other two), it is estimated to take 18 months to complete.
The first of three stages is now complete and market vendors are now moving back.


Tonle Sap River

13 10 2009

We are at the tail end of the rainy season here but there seems to be no let up. Levels have gotten so high that you are able to see the tour boats from riverfront businesses. I have never seen the levels so high.
Taken from Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh.

A tour boat sits on the Tonle Sap river

A tour boat sits on the Tonle Sap river

A really wide lens

10 10 2009

I have been commissioned to shoot an event in Battambang for IDWA. It’s an interesting pilot program where they are teaching mine awareness through hip hop. From what I took today, it is a great program that should get more exposure.
Along with taking photos of the event, I got some great audio to hopefully turn it into an audio slideshow. So to the two or three people that read this blog daily, it will be up in the next few days.
Anyhoo, to the title of the post. I got a chance to shoot with the Sigma 12-24 lens (aka “Popeye” for its huge front lens element). I used to own the lens about 4 years ago when I first bought my Canon 20D but since sold it when I had a chance to buy a 17-35L from an AP shooter in Phnom Penh.
Now that I primarily shoot with a Canon 5D, it was interesting to put the lens to a full frame camera.
For those not versed in the geek camera cabal that I happily belong to, the Canon 20D has an APS-C camera sensor which means it has a 1.6 focal multiplier. What the hell does that really mean?
Well it means that the sensor that captures the image is smaller than regular 35mm film. Which is not good if you are shooting in ultra-wide but is an asset if you are shooting long (or telephoto) which means you effectively have a longer reach for photos.
Now, if you have a full frame sensor and have the Sigma 12-24, you get some pretty interesting compositions.
Big ups to Heng Chivoan from the Phnom Penh Post for letting me shoot a couple of frames with it.


7 10 2009

Since I have been back from vacation, I have been completely slack for the blog. Sorry about that.
Slowly getting back into the swing of things. Just a couple of photos from the trip that are worthy of posting but couldn’t because of my pano software being a little buggy. Now that it is fixed, I can give you a couple of panoramas from Syria.
First one is from Crak des Chevaliers or Qala’at Al-Hosn which TE Lawrence once dubbed “the finest castle in the world”(Thanks Lonely Planet). Amazing castle with lots to check out.
Second pano is of western Aleppo which is the second biggest town in Syria. Taken from the Citadel, you can see the massive souq or market below.

Digging Beirut

1 10 2009

This is a fun city. Its also an old city. Thousand year old rivalries and conflicts are as strong today as they were ages ago.
This was put to us today when taking a little detour off the tourist track to Bourj Hammoud, a heavily populated district in northeastern Beirut where a big Armenian population resides. We were recommended by our hotel to head there to find second hand camera equipment.
We also met a very helpful young man in a coffee shop. He is Turkish, wants to go to England to participate in some hooliganism and has a Hitler speech as the ringtone on his phone. He also talked about the Armenians and how they were just greedy and wanted to take all the Turks land.
I understand that this young man was not the best representation of the Turkish population in Beirut but I think it gave me a reminder about how people can cling onto something that happened 90 years ago.
Sorry about the sophomoric philisophical musings.
Anyhoo, whilst there I took some snaps at some of the religious iconography in the area.

Jesus on a street corner in Bourj Hammoud

Jesus on a street corner in Bourj Hammoud

Jesus graffitti in Bourj Hammoud

Jesus graffitti in Bourj Hammoud

After, We went to the Rawcheh Rock formation which is the most famous natural feature of Beirut. Went to a cafe near there and took this photo of a nargileh or hookah attendant preparing it for a customer.
Preparing the hookah at sunset

Preparing the hookah at sunset