Khmer New Year Celebrations

In Cambodia New Year is celebrated 3 times, The International New Year, The Chinese New Year and The Khmer New Year.

Khmer New Year, also known as Cambodian New Year is usually a three day public holiday in Cambodia. In Khmer, it is called ‘Chaul Chnam Thmey’, which means ‘enter the new year’.

It is based on the traditional solar new year, that was observed in parts of India and Asia. It falls on either 13 April or 14 April.

The Khmer new year is marked by the sun entering the sign of Aries the Ram. This particular event was traditionally closely related to the Vernal Equinox. In ancient times, the dates of the sun entering Aries and the Vernal Equinox would have been even closer, but they have shifted due to an effect called procession, where the Earth wobbles on its axis over a 25,000 year period.

In Cambodia it marks the end of the harvest before the beginning of the rainy season.

First Day – Maha Songkran

The first day of the Khmer New Year is called ‘Maha Songkran’. Similar to the Tamil tradition, it is believed that this was the day of creation. In Khmer tradition, the world was created by God’s angels and to welcome the angels , people will clean their houses and illuminate them with candles. Families will place an idol of Buddha on an altar.

Second Day – Vanabot

Also known as Virak Wanabat, the second day of Khmer New Year is a time to think of the less fortunate. People offer charity by helping the poor, servants and homeless. Families may go to monasteries to pay respect to their ancestors, and it also a time for family members to exchange gifts.

Third Day – Leang Saka

On the third day of New Year celebrations Buddhists wash and clean statues of Lord Buddha with scented water. This cleansing is done to ensure that Cambodia will receive all the water it needs in the coming year. Another tradition is that children wash and bathe their parents and grandparents in return for blessing and good advice for the future.

 

New PIO School Official Opening

PIO (People Improvement Organization) has be helping to bring education to underprivalaged kids for the past 15 years and has just built a second school to meet the local demand.

Pictures of People/Street Photography/Photojournalism

Pictures of people in their own environment, candid if you wish, working, playing, happy and sad all make attractive and interesting subjects for photography.

Street Photography
20 Top Tips

#1. Less is More – don’t take too much equipment and travel light. It’ll make you less obtrusive and you will be able to move around for the best shot quickly.
#2. Off the Beaten Track – don’t just go to all the touristy shots – try to get ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘real life’ scenes.
#3. Stolen Moments – anticipate moments between people before they happen.
#4. True Colours – black and white is often where it’s at with street photography but at times colourful situations arise and can really make a shot – be on the look out for these.
#5. In the Background – what’s going on behind your subject can actually ‘make’ the shot. Billboards, signs, graffiti and other visual elements can really make a statement in a shot.
#6. Dare to Go Diagonal – don’t just hold your camera horizontally – experiment with angles. Street photography is a less formal medium – make the most of it.
#7. Opposites Attract – shots which challenge the ‘norm’ in terms of composition and story/subject matter can be powerful. Look out for surprising subject matter and composition.
#8. What a Performance – street performers, parades and other street entertainment can be great subject matter on the street.
#9. Off the Streets – other places where people gather in number can lead to great shots in this genre – zoos, fairs, shows, parks, sporting events etc all can be worth trying.
#10. New Angle – find ways to get up high or down low – these new perspectives on subjects that are familiar can lead to eye catching shots.
#11. Practice makes Perfect – over time and with practice your photography will improve. You’ll not only get better at technique but also spotting the things to focus upon on the street.
#12. Fortune Favors the Brave – sometimes the best thing you can do is to get close to your subject – this can be a little confronting but will produce powerful images
#13. Fun in the Sun – often we try to avoid shooting into the sun and the shadows that direct sunlight can produce – in street photography breaking these ‘rules’ can lead to great shots.
#14. Ready to Pounce – have your camera out and ready to shoot at all times. Things can move quickly on the street so if you’re not ready you’ll miss lots of opportunities.
#15. Revise the Revisit – street photography is not all about spontaneity – if you see a scene with potential don’t be afraid to keep coming back to it until you get the shot.
#16. Frozen Motion – the street is a place of movement – to capture it and still get sharp shots make sure your shutter speed is fast enough. 1/125 or more with an ISO of 400 is what this article recommended as a base. I also think it can be fun to experiment with slower shutter speeds on the street – capture the movement as blur.
#17. Street Wallpaper – blend in with the scene – shoot unobtrusively and unnoticed.
#18. Life Through a Lens – ‘exaggerating perspective will help set your subject in context and provide a more forgiving depth of field’ – use a wide angle lens (or even a fisheye).
#19. Expect the Expected – people can be suspicious of street photographers so shoot in places where people expect to see people doing photography. Smile, be polite and be willing to delete images if people protest.
#20. Location, Location, Location – really this is what it is all about. Choose places where people interact with one another and times when they are present.

forPeace, house building project : in conjunction with Tabitha Foundation Cambodia

Please consider a donation, small or large it will all help.

https://www.generosity.com/volunteer-fundraising/cement-wood-tin-fund-15-cambodian-houses

 

Kids

Cat Lady, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I spend many hours walking the streets of Phnom Penh and take many hundreds of pictures every week but it only takes one to make all the effort worthwhile for me. https://www.facebook.com/phnompenhfotowalks/

Seasons Greetings

Ken Cramer died 7/12/2016

The accidental death in Phnom Penh, Cambodia of the well known and respected publisher Ken Cramer, shocked the Expat Community.

He was an educated man with forthright opinions and was always willing to speak up and discuss situations. He will be sadly missed. Gone but not forgotten.

 

On Assignment : Village 17/22 Toul Kork, Phnom Penh

Taking images to tell a story (photojournalism), takes time and effort. Deciding why and how to tell the story takes planning and an understanding of the subject matter.

I was recently asked by a friend who runs a small FREE school for underprivilaged kids in Toul Kork a part of Phnom Penh, Cambodia to produce some images that tell the story of the life of these people and accordingly tell the story of why he found it so important to open this school.

IKM_0004The people of this area make a living on the edges of society, collecting recyclables, cans, bottles and plastics, making very little, some as little as $1US per day.

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His school (Aogaah Foundation) gives the children of this area probably the only access they may ever have to education of any sort as public education in Cambodia is expensive and these families could never afford it.

 

Street Photography

The street photographer has to have quick eyes that constantly search the scene before them, be ready to capture the image they see. Knowing your equipment is essential as messing around getting things set looses pictures.

The choice of camera and lens system is less important than knowing how to use what you have. Good street pictures can be had with almost any type of digital camera, point and shoot or DSLR and can still be done very well with film cameras in fact BW film is a great choice if you are still shooting film.

For my street work I admit that I use a DSLR either Canon or Nikon with the best glass I can afford but this is not totally necessary if the images are just for your own pleasure and as a record of your trip.

  • Less is More – don’t take too much equipment and travel light. It’ll make you less obtrusive and you will be able to move around for the best shot quickly.
  • Off the Beaten Track – don’t just go to all the touristy shots – try to get ‘behind the scenes’ and ‘real life’ scenes.
  • Stolen Moments – anticipate moments between people before they happen.
  • True Colours – black and white is often where it’s at with street photography but at times colourful situations arise and can really make a shot – be on the look out for these.
  • In the Background – what’s goign on behind your subject can actually ‘make’ the shot. Billboards, signs, graffiti and other visual elements can really make a statement in a shot.
  • Dare to Go Diagonal – don’t just hold your camera horizontally – experiment with angles. Street photography is a less formal medium – make the most of it.
  • Opposites Attract – shots which challenge the ‘norm’ in terms of composition and story/subject matter can be powerful. Look out for ’surprising’ subject matter and composition.
  • What a Performance – street performers, parades and other street entertainment can be great subject matter on the street.
  • Off the Streets – other places where people gather in number can lead to great shots in this genre – zoos, fairs, shows, parks, sporting events etc all can be worth trying.
  • New Angle – find ways to get up high or down low – these new perspectives on subjects that are familiar can lead to eye catching shots.
  • Practice makes Perfect – over time and with practice your photography will improve. You’ll not only get better at technique but also spotting the things to focus upon on the street.
  • Fortune Favors the Brave – sometimes the best thing you can do is to get close to your subject – this can be a little confronting but will produce powerful images
  • Fun in the Sun – often we try to avoid shooting into the sun and the shadows that direct sunlight can produce – in street photography breaking these ‘rules’ can lead to great shots.
  • Ready to Pounce – have your camera out and ready to shoot at all times. Things can move quickly on the street so if you’re not ready you’ll miss lots of opportunities.
  • Revise the Revisit – street photography is not all about spontaneity – if you see a scene with potential don’t be afraid to keep coming back to it until you get the shot.
  • Frozen Motion – the street is a place of movement – to capture it and still get sharp shots make sure your shutter speed is fast enough. 1/125 or more with an ISO of 400 is what this article recommended as a base. I also think it can be fun to experiment with slower shutter speeds on the street – capture the movement as blur.
  • Street Wallpaper – blend in with the scene – shoot unobtrusively and unnoticed.
  • Life Through a Lens – ‘exaggerating perspective will help set your subject in context and provide a more forgiving depth of field’ – use a wide angle lens (or even a fisheye).
  • Expect the Expected – people can be suspicious of street photographers so shoot in places where people expect to see people doing photography. Smile, be polite and be willing to delete images if people protest.
  • Location, Location, Location – really this is what it is all about. Choose places where people interact with one another and times when they are present.
  • Digital School of Photography a great source of information..

 

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