Sunrise at Angkor Wat

After a good night rest following a long day that started with a trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, followed by a visit to Angkor Wat and Phnom Bakheng, and completed with attending an apsara dance performance over dinner, we’re ready for another day full of activity in Siem Reap area. We started very early in the morning, leaving our hotel around 6 am when it’s still dark. The first activity of the day, back to Angkor Wat to watch the last sunrise of year 2010.

This activity was as popular among tourists as going to Phnom Bakheng to watch the sunset. It was still dark when we arrived at the entrance gate to the Angkor Archaeological Park, but we could tell that it would be quite a crowd judging from the line of cars waiting to get the entrance passes checked by the officials.

When we arrived inside the Angkor Wat complex, there were already many people in there, mostly waiting near the pond in between the library and the main temple building. That seemed to be a popular spot to wait for the sunrise as from there you could see the silhouette of the temple with the sun rising behind it, and the temple reflected on the pond.

The area near the pond was already full of people, so I decided to set up my camera and tripod a little bit further to the side so I had room to capture the image with long exposure at low light with the tripod support. It worked pretty well, though there were several takes that had to be redone because I had people walking in front of my camera setup as they didn’t realize I was taking photos there.

After a little while, the sun had been rising for a few minutes and it’s getting brighter. Many people had left the pond area, so Kristi and I decided to get closer there to take photos of the temple reflected on the pond. I was able to still get the effect of sun rising by changing my shutter speed to be very high. That allowed me to take some photos like one below without the aid of tripod — very helpful as there were people around me that made it difficult to do any set up at all that require space. It was a great experience, and I was glad that it was a nice, clear sky and we could see the sunrise nicely as we hoped for.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

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