The first time I photographed Angkor I spent over 3 weeks patiently waiting for groups of tourists to pass by and capturing the scenes without people. The only exceptions was the day I started the rent-a-monk program and made a few captures using their services.
In the months of post processing that followed I kept getting the feeling something significant was missing from the images.. turns out it was people.
I've since been back more than a few times and stopped worrying about 'most' of the people. The huge tour buses of Koreans and Chinese still bother me.. they're loud and very disrespectful of what the locals consider a very sacred site.. so I suppose I still have my limits..
Sometimes the tourists are groups of Buddhist monks in their saffron robes. I don't mind them. They suit the environment, although I've always found the mixture of monks and voluptuous ladies a little incongruous because, as we all know, monks strive to have no thoughts about sex. I suppose the situation is explained by the fact that the early temples were purely Hindu. There was a gradual transition towards Buddhism over the centuries, rather than a complete take-over with the usual destruction of the former idols.
What I find annoying are the hordes of tourists just aimlessy wandering around. Even before one lot has departed, there's another that immediately takes its place, each member of the group requiring his or her photo to be taken in front of whatever feature is considered to be the main attraction of the site.
However, sometimes the tourists can become the main feature of a composition. Some of these temples have very big and very steep steps leading to a shrine at the top. Climbing such steep steps seems to appeal to those with a montaineering spirit. I think I captured a few amusing shots of the tourists. Sometimes the wife is the leader and gets to the top first whilst hubby still struggles below.
[attachment=21423:Steep_steps_3.jpg] [attachment=21424:Made_it.jpg] Phew! Made it! What a view!
One also has to be careful on the descent. One young tourist from Eastern Europe boasted to his friends that he could run down these steps without stopping. To prove his point, he tried it, stumbled about halfway down, and tragically landed at the bottom, dead. This is not recommended. Be careful!