GUEST POST: Terese - Cambodia Workshop

Note:  This post is written and all photos by Terese Chan (less portraits of Terese) who travelled to Cambodia with us.  Terese shot with the Fuji XPro1 throughout the workshop.  These are her thoughts.

(the author - Terese, posing for a lighting demo during the workshop in Phnom Penh)

I've been on and off looking for photography courses in Hong Kong for over a year, most of them I found were formal classroom teaching or commercial wedding shooting…  Honestly, as a design-trained person I perceived they are boring, stiff and too commercial…and then I found F8 Photograpy (  I was stunned by Gary's works, especially the street photos and immediately joined his workshop without hesitation even though I had never met him in Hong Kong.

(A girl playing hide and seek, Fuji X-pro1 35mm ISO 200 F1.8 1/550s)

We met in Cambodia on the first day, all of us got our gear to click on and go! It seems that we had bad luck with heavy showers on the first day but we were lucky though as Gary took us to a good location and we ran into so many lovely warm faces. I had a tough time to avoid getting my camera wet, and yet I didn't want to miss any captures….it was challenging and great fun!

(Terese (left) and Susan still smiling despite the torrential rain...)

(A praying sweet heart, Fuji X-pro1 35mm ISO 1000 F1.4 1/150s)

(Lady under the shelter, Fuji X-pro1 35mm ISO 3200 F2.2 1/110s)

(A girl, Fuji X-pro1 60mm ISO 200 F4 1/45s)

(A boy, Fuji X-pro1 35mm ISO 1000 F2.4 1/52s)

I really enjoyed the total immersion in the environment, it was effective to learn in such a good and relaxing atmosphere with great people. The learning schedule might be intense, but for me the process was fun with all the happy and kind participants, they really made my trip!  All the laughter and sharing made the course fruitful and complete! :)

Note from Gary from F8 Photography:  Terese classed herself as a 'newbie' photographer when she arrived on the workshop.  Having heard that I expected to see 'beginner' images at the end of day 1, but this was not the case, Terese absorbed all the information we gave her about using different lenses and viewpoints to improve her composition techniques, she embraced her camera (Fuji XPro1) which can be slow with autfocus at times, and she got on with all the training, always smiling.  My view on her work that she produced was that it was outstanding, like the other clients we took on the workshop, they all worked together and pushed each others standards higher throughout, which benefited everyone immensely and raised the self-pressure level.  I think working in that style is a good thing, and I know Terese will agree that the images she produced on this workshop were some of, if not her best photographs she has taken to date.  I am aware that Terese is very busy working for Cathay Pacific and it is not easy for her to get time off work, so we want to say thanks for making the time to join us, we hope you reaped the benefits of the workshop, your images certainly tell that story.  Well done Terese, great work, and look forward to taking you the next travel photography expedition :-)  

Here are more of Terese's images from the workshop:

(Terese seemed to be REALLY enjoying the workshop!)

(Gary from F8 helping Terese set up the Fuji XPro1 after installing the new autofocus firmware)

(Sisters, Fuji X-pro1 35mm ISO 200 F1.4 1/680s)

(A boy who peeps, Fuji X-pro1 35mm ISO 200 F2.5 1/220s)

(The boys in a temple, Fuji X-pro1 35mm ISO 1000 F2 1/2900s)

(A smiley face, Fuji X-pro1 35mm ISO 200 F2 1/180s)

We have other posts from the workshop attendees as well as behind the scenes shots and video coming soon.  Please stay tuned for that, you can now ‘search’ the blog on the left side of this post to find subject posts easily, try typing ‘cambodia’ to find all our posts from there if you wish to read more.

Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog, if you like our blog and website, please ‘like’ us on our public Facebook page or on the ‘LIKE’ box to the right side of this blog.  You can share this story with your friends with the Facebook and twitter links below or on the left side of this blog.  You can also subscribe to our blog via the RSS link below or on the right of this post.

F8 Photography provides commercial photography and photography and video training workshops, more details can be found via the ‘courses and workshops’ link and upcoming events via the front page of our website.

Street Photography with Fuji XPro1

NOTE:  All images shot on Fuji XPro1 and Fujinon 35mm 1.4 lens with autofocus only.

We've had our hands on the Fuji XPro1 for about a week now, and starting to get used to it and its nuances. Yesterday myself and a few friends met up in Soho and headed over to Temple Street in Kowloon which is a great little area for street photography with vibrant buzzing markets and even more vibrant characters around the place.

After a short trip on the ferry across the harbour, we walked up Canton Road, which has a lot of the big brand shops and is always full of characters, a great area to warm up before hitting the markets further into Kowloon.  You can always be sure to see hundreds of mainland tourists spending their fortunes around here on designer brands.

This was the first full day of shooting the XPro1 in this environement for me, and using only the 35mm 1.4 Fujinon lens in full autofocus mode (I believe the manual focus with the fuji lenses is totally useless as its fly by wire only), which means there is no tactile connection between you and camera/lens...its way too slow.  If using manual focus with other lenses such as the Leica lenses, its brilliant, I don't know why they insists on developing a fly by wire manual focus system, it really is completely unusable in my opinion unless you use it exclusively for 'zone focussing'.

So, I decided to shoot everything with autofocus.  There has been much debate about the AF capabilities of this camera in light of the X100 problems.  I can say this....yes, its not perfect, however, it is pretty fast (if the camera is kept awake) and it nailed 95 percent of my shots without a problem.

I shoot very fast when in the streets, so normally i use zone focussing, so using AF was almost a step back for me, however, I think this environment was the perfect test for this camera, as I believe many people are looking at the Fuji as a viable street photography/travel photography replacement for their DSLR or even as an alternative to the Leica M system such as M8/M9.

I shot everything in RAW, converted via the Fuji software supplied with the camera, then edited in Lightroom 4 using VSCO film presets set to Kodak Portra 400 for all images other than the black and white conversion using Niksoft Silver Efex Pro 2.

A quick note on the VSCO film presets - If you are looking for a good film emulation preset for lightroom, then look no further, these really are good, I have hundreds of presets and I keep going back to these ones, I believe they are the most realistc set available, and I am eagerly awaiting a specialist set from the for Leica and who knows maybe a Fuji specific set also, as they tweak camera calibration settings in RAW also, not just basic adjustments, they have camera specific versions for Canon and Nikon already, as well as a generic set for other cameras for now, and they have promised to release Leica specific profiles, which I hope to get my hands on as soon as possible.

The markets around Temple street - as you can see from these pictures have a diverse mix of characters.  Although its probably classed as a 'tourist friendly' area, there are still a lot of things going on behind the scenes here, with triad activity and in particular prostitution clearly visible on the streets even in the middle of the day.  Any photographer visiting this area should be aware that most of these girls will react quite adversely if photographed....some are friendly of course and don't seem to mind....however, if unsure, then my advice would be just stay well away from shooting anyone you think may react negatively.

I noticed many muslim girls around the markets when we were shooting, so approached them to ask permission to take their picture as they were wearing some great colours.  All of them were more than happy to be photographed.

The Autofocus on the Fuji had no problem at any stage with shooting a diverse mix of subjects, and as the image below shows, shooting into the sun, (sometimes difficult for autofocus), there was again no problems with the performance.

Two of the young ladies accompanying us on this 'photo walk' were Becky and Cheryl, both previous attendees of the street photography workshop, Becky was keen on shooting her 5DII using zone focussing to get her shots, whilst Cheryl preferred to use her new Canon S100 (I think that's what it was), for speedy and discreet street shooting.

This gentleman below was a great subject I thought, he was just squatted on the road, laughing continuously, and was more than happy to be photographed.  I noticed on closer look that he had a cigarrete in one hand and 3 spares in the other!!! Thats what I call chain smoking!.

The only lens that I used during this trip was the Fujinon 35mm 1.4, which so far I must say is a great lens (as long as not using manual focus - way too slow), normally I shoot much wider for street photography and closer to my subjects, but this seemed to work well on this day for me.   I keep emphasising about the autofocus - and again you can see from the image above, quicky focussing on the cigarretes on the bottom left corner of the frame, it had no problem locking on and giving me the desired focus point.

The total time we were in the markets was only about 2 hours, and I found the camera consistently delivered the results I needed.  I have tried this camera with a Leica M mount adaptor and the 35mm F2 ASPH lens also, and the results were quite spectacular, very clean and sharp images, very easy to focus using the EVF its really great with an M mount lens for this, my wish would be that it had 'focus peaking' similar to the NEX-7, then there would be no need for me to zoom in to fine tune focus using the rear dial, especially with wide lenses as its a bit harder to fine tune the focus than with a longer focal length lens.

This fantastic gentleman was more than happy to let me take his portrait and yet again the fast performance of the Fuji XPro1 had no issues nailing the shot for me.  Something else I have noticed is that the metering system of the camera seems to overexpose about half a stop most of the time...I consistently left the camera set to -1 or -2/3 to get more accurate exposures, but this is not a problem for me, I just think it takes a little bit of practice, figure out where all the buttons are (there are a lot on this camera that are easy to press by accident...) then it will be fine.  It's just like any other camera tool, we need a bit of time learning our way round it, and then there won't be any issues.

Overall I am very pleased with this camera when using it for street photography.  Being a similar size to my Leica M9, the feel was quite similar and I believe its a perfect size for this style of photography.  People aren't really intimidated by a camera this size compared to a DSLR with a big zoom lens, its ultra light (maybe feels even a little too light for me - again i'm comparing the the tank like construction of the Leica which many won't like).

So my final thoughts are as follows:

Recommended for street photography - A BIG YES.

Recommended to switch if you already have a Leica M9 - personally NO, but I think many will....

Recommended for manual focus with Fuji lenses - NO WAY!

Recommended for manual focus with M lenses - YES, REALLY WORKS GREAT.

Recommended for anyone wishing to switch from DSLR or looking for travel photography camera - YES YES YES.

So, I won't be swapping it for my Leica just yet....but I can still highly recommend the camera, its ergonomically great, looks the part, and I personally haven't had any serious issues with autofocus.

I have another blog post using this camera at night with a 50mm 0.85 lens from SLR Magic, if interested to see the image from that, please click here.

Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog, if you like our blog and website, please ‘like’ us on our public Facebook page and share this story with your friends with the Facebook and twitter links below.  You can also subscribe to our blog via the RSS link below.

F8 Photography provides commercial photography and training across Asia, with workshops on Street Photography and other photography and video training courses, more details can be found via the ‘courses and workshops’ link and upcoming events via the front page of our website.

EXCLUSIVE: SLR MAGIC 50mm 0.95 on M9/XPro1

(Watch seller - Kowloon - Fuji XPro1, JPEG FINE) UPDATE:  I made some comments about the white balance on the Fuji not being so great later in this post - I retract that statement as I had the camera set to VELVIA mode, so the colours are naturally boosted, making skintones much yellower than the unfair comparison, so please disregard anything about colours in the post for now, updated images coming soon with ASTIA/PROVIA film settings and RAW once available.

Its arrived!  The SLR Magic 50mm 0.95 'stealth' edition of only a few in the world available for testing....and we are lucky enough to be one of the chosen few to put it through its paces.  Unfortunately the M mount version of this lens (featured here) is not available to the public yet, so you will have to wait a few more months to get one, the initial pre-order batch for end of July has already sold out.  I think September 2012 is the next batch so get your pre-orders in quick if you are interested!

Another toy that happened to come along with it was the Kipon M adaptor for the Fuji XPro 1, so we have the exclusive opportunity to be able to show some of the first ever images (if not the first) with this combination.

Effectively on the Fuji (1x5 crop), the hyperprime becomes a 75mm 0.95 lens, great for portraits!..

(My friend Kelly helping out with the lens tests - Fuji XPro1, JPEG FINE)

The shots on this blog post were all taken on day 1, have tested the lens here in Hong Kong on a rainy night only for only about 2 hours, the images will all tell you underneath which camera was used and all are shot wide open at 0.95.  The images shot on the Fuji XPro 1 were in Vivid (Velvia) mode in JPEG FINE setting as we are still awaiting RAW conversion update for Lightroom 4, so is difficult to compare with the excellent RAW files coming out of the M9.

(passer by, Kowloon - Leica M9, processed from RAW)

With the Fuji, there is no focus confirmation, but there is the zoom button which allows very easy focus confirmation at extreme magnification...if anything it zooms too much for my liking.  Personally I found it a lot easier to use just the EVF (i normally hate EVF viewfinders) to focus it and found I could do it quickly and accurately most of the time, even wide open was easier than I thought....this gives a slight advantage over the M9, as with that of course it is always manual rangefinder focus with available light...which is fine during daylight, but much more difficult in low light, the EVF on the Fuji brightened up the scene and made it relatively simple to nail the focus.

(shy laughter, Canton road - Leica M9 processed from RAW)

I noticed Steve Huff did a review yesterday using the lens in bright sunshine with an ND filter, link here, I will be taking his advice and trying something similar myself, although unfortunately the current Hong Kong weather has little requirement for ND filters...its dark by 3pm with this crappy weather! :-(  Maybe in a few days I can get a few images up on the blog with that setup, I have only generally used ND filters either for video work with the 5DII, or with flash to shoot wide open during daylight...perhaps I will try the same with this lens :-)

(shopping, Fuji XPro1 JPEG FINE)

So, heres some more images for now showing both cameras output with the lens.  I must state again as before in all my reviews that I am a 'user' not an analyst, so i don't care much for technical jargon, I just want nice sharp images full of 'pop' coming out the other end of the camera, and both M9 and Fuji are doing that without any hitch whatsoever, I am excited to see the RAW files from the Fuji, as the JPEGs are already amazing....i think in all honesty I am still a slave to Leica though....theres just something magical about what comes out of that camera for me...maybe its the time, effort and money I've invested in the Leica system that hypnotises  me...I have used many many different cameras over the years...but like most M9 users we all agree that when it hits the target...there is nothing quite like it.

(mainland tourists in Nathan Road - Fuji XPro1 JPEG FINE)

(outside Chunking Mansions - Fuji XPro1 JPEG FINE)

(crossing the road - Leica M9 processed from RAW)

(middle of the road - Fuji XPro1 JPEG FINE)

(makeup - Leica M9 processed from RAW)

(man in street - Fuji XPro1 JPEG FINE)

(My friend Kelly again, in the subway - Leica M9 processed from RAW)

(lady in the street - Fuji XPro1 JPEG FINE)

(Kelly full length - Leica M9 processed from RAW)

(lady daydreaming - Leica M9 processed from RAW)

My main observation so far between the two has been colours....of course as stated before, its very difficult to compare RAW files with I'm not going to dwell on it just yet....more tests to come as soon as I can get RAW access from the Fuji.

You can clearly see from these samples that the colours on the Leica M9 are far better, much more natural and muted and representative of the natural light when out shooting, the Fuji images are excellent, just need the white balance tweaked for each one (I haven't touched white balance on any of these samples).

Anyway, hopefully this will show anyone that is interest in either combination of camera that they are both very very capable of producing excellent results with this lens, and I am very excited to try more shots, especially during daytime also with the ND filter.

Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog, if you like our blog and website, please ‘like’ us on our public Facebook page and share this story with your friends with the Facebook and twitter links below.  You can also subscribe to our blog via the RSS link below.

F8 Photography provides commercial photography and training across Asia, with workshops on Street Photography and other photography and video training courses, more details can be found via the ‘courses and workshops’ link and upcoming events via the front page of our website.




My first thoughts...Fuji XPro1

(35mm lens, ISO 6400, 1/250th F1.4) I have been back in Hong Kong only a day, and I get a phone call from one of my suppliers....the Fuji XPro1 kit is here....come and collect it and take it for a test drive...of course, like the obedient little boy that I am....i quickly agreed and darted across the river to Kowloon to collect it.

Now something has been tickling my mind...last week I had my best week ever with the Leica M9....totally restored my faith in the beast....however I know the Fuji was on the horizon, and although I don't consider it a direct competitor with the Leica, I have to admit I was scared in case the results from it were so good that I started to question my investment in the Leica gear at some point.

Now I must stress again that I am not a technical wizard nor a scientist of any form....I simply use the camera I have in my hand to attain the best images I can....and the only thing that limits me with the Leica is the ISO..thats it, and even then its mainly because i LOVE to shoot in almost darkness or extremely low light and have found the ISO performance questionable in certain situations.  That will soon be rectified as I will be testing the SLR Magic 50mm 0.95 lens from next week, so will be able to shoot bats in a cave without light i think :-)

Anway, I just wanted to post a few images that I shot tonight and share a few quick thoughts on the Fuji XPro1 having used it on the streets of Hong Kong for only 3 hours.

(35mm lens, ISO 3200, 1/800th F1.4)

Camera settings will be posted under each image, however I will not post full size images for one reason....i dont know how to do it and keep the blog size images at same time! I'm an wordpress idiot when it comes to that, so if anyone can share how to do that on my blog I will happily share links to full size files for them should they want to see them.

My initial thoughts were as follows:

Pros:  perfect body size, amazingly sharp lenses with great maximum apertures, looks super cool (one guy i shot even shouted 'waahhhh LEICA!' after I took his pic, so the Fuji has no problem demanding street cred already as people are thinking its a retro Leica :-), extremely good high ISO performance...shooting in the dark at ISO 25600 and nailing sharp images!

Cons:  Autofocus missed a handful of shots initially...i have almost rectified that problem already by turning on some other autofocus settings that seem to help...I think a bit of practice is needed then it will be fine.  After an hours fiddling around, I was able to shoot in a bar with literally no light, where I could not read the label on my beer and get perfectly sharp focus 9 times out of i guess its just a bit of practice, time will tell, I've heard many complaints about the X100 i was expecting problems, but nothing dramatic has occured, simple fine tuning and it seems to be pretty much there already.

Here are tonight's quick snapshots, please bear in mind these are purely test shots for me to try and familiarise myself with the camera in low light...testing focus and high ISO performance.

Following shots all on the 35mm 1.4 (equivalent approx to a 50mm on full frame) 

(no post processsing or adjustments, simply camera JPEGS here)


(Rocco the Leica slave,  1/350th F1.4, ISO 6400)

(Taxi,  1/1000th F1.4, ISO 3200)

(Woman texting,  1/150th F1.4, ISO 3200)

(Happy Couple,  1/350th F1.4, ISO 3200)

(Caught me peeking,  1/105th F1.6, ISO 3200)


The following few pictures were all taken on the 60mm 2.4 lens (again, no post processsing or adjustments, simply camera JPEGS here)

(dinner time,  1/110th F2.4, ISO 5000)

(inside computer centre,  1/500th F2.4, ISO 5000)

The following images were shot in a very very dark bar, i cranked up the ISO straight to the maximum ISO 25600.....heres the results...again, no noise reduction, or post production whatsoever, these are straight from camera.

(35mm lens, ISO 25600, 1/450th, F1.4)(35mm lens, ISO 25600, 1/340th, F1.4)(60mm lens ISO 25600, 1/120th, F2.4)(60mm lens, ISO 25600, 1/170th, F2.4)

Although these images have been shrunk down for blog sizing, hopefully there is enough information to show the quality at least to give an idea...basically as I said already, there is a total lack of noise anywhere at any ISO....I shoot normally Canon 5D Mk II, Canon 7D or Leica M9 and this Fuji blows them all out of the water in a nano-second with regards high ISO performance...if this is the future of cameras to come with this kind of high ISO performance, then I might as well sell my flash units, as I won't be using them much anymore!

I have to say, apart from the tiny niggles with the autofocus I had at the start of the night, overall I am extremely impressed....I ain't selling my Leica gear, its a very different feeling for me shooting a rangefinder over an autofocus camera...but for sure this new Fuji is going to be getting a serious workout over the coming weeks.

My initial advice to anyone who is looking for a lightweight alternative to DSLR where image quality is paramount, or a less expensive alternative to Leica for street or travel photography...I think this camera could very easily fill that gap.

Please bear in mind that I have not tested any other cameras that could be considered competiton....this is just my gut feeling as a photographer who shoots a lot of images on a day to day basis in a variety of situations.

Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog, if you like our blog and website, please ‘like’ us on our public Facebook page and share this story with your friends with the Facebook and twitter links below.  You can also subscribe to our blog via the RSS link below.

F8 Photography provides commercial photography and training across Asia, with workshops on Street Photography and other photography and video training courses, more details can be found via the ‘courses and workshops’ link and upcoming events via the front page of our website.




Cambodia - Me & my Leica M9

Note: This is not a technical review of the Leica M9 in any way shape or form, its purely my own view of the experience of using one in the field with the images I shot to support my views, I also comment here about some AMAZING Zeiss lenses that I have been using that should definately be considered if looking for alternative glass for Leica cameras. (Children live along the disused railway line in Phnom Penh, one of the poorest parts of the city - this shot taken with the Zeiss 25mm 2.8 lens, which surpassed my expectations, delivering amazing sharpness and 3D look every time)

So its been 6 months since I travelled to Cambodia and almost as long that I've owned and used a Leica M9 for my street photography in Hong Kong.  On my previous travels I have always taken too much gear, 5D Mk IIs, lights, video kit....the list goes on...

One of the reasons I acquired a Leica M9 was to enable me to travel light and still maintain a full frame camera with high quality as well I guess as taking a step back into retro-land and simplifying the process by using a rangefinder with minimal external functions, other than aperture and shutter...

The purpose of this particular trip was a mini-workshop, teaching a few previous students some 'environmental portraiture' in a photographically rich environement, which was to be the city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia and its surrounding villages and islands in the Mekong river (blog post on their work to follow).

As I was teaching as well as shooting my own work, the Leica gear was a perfect compromise as it enabled me to move around quickly with just one small bag (the thinktank retrospective 5) with all my gear inside instead of the usual large heavy backpacks that I carry full of DSLR kits.

My packing list for this trip was:

Leica M9. Leica lenses: 35 f2, 40 f2, 50 1.4, 90 f2. Zeiss lenses: 21 2.8, 25 2.8 (quite possibly my new favourite lens). external viewfinder for the 21/25 lenses. 2 x batteries. Macbook Pro and external firewire 800 'Lacie rugged' hard drive

(I always use external firewire or thunderbolt drives to store and manage my Lightroom catalogues - it runs just as fast if not faster from an external drive (as long as not USB, and worse case scenario if my laptop were to be stolen I would still have my external drive with all my images (that stays in the hotel safe when I'm not there).

Enough of the technical jargon....below you will find images from the trip that I shot (we were there 4 full days).  All I can say at this point is the M9 far exceeded my expectations, delivering everything and more than my Canon can deliver, and to be honest I think the star bit of kit on this trip was the Zeiss 25mm 2.8 nailed every shot with some of the best 3D rendering I have been able to produce.

(More kids living in shacks along the disused railway line)(old lady, shot with the Zeiss 25mm lens...amazingly sharp)

One of the most prevalent features of Cambodia for me are the children, there seems to be just masses of kids everywhere, a lot of them living in extreme poverty yet in general they seem quite content, I guess they don't know anything else, so they just cope with what little they have.  Whilst in this run-down part of town, I noticed one child that stuck out more than others, because he was pure can see him in the photograph below right.  I spoke to his mother and father through our translator (both parents were very dark - his mother can be seen in the image looking down on him).  I was slightly confused as to his origins, however they assured us that his dark skinned father was indeed his natural parent, and that the mother had watched some western TV shows and prayed for her child to look that way, and lo and behold - he was born white with light almost ginger coloured hair!

(Children of the railway village, including the 'western' looking child we found pictured here on the right)

We also found some local older girls who spoke perfect english and were happy to admit they worked as 'bar girls' in the red light area of the Phnom Penh, they were also happy to be photographed.  It is an unfortunate fact that in this city for young women living in these areas, this lifestyle is probably by far the most lucrative for them - an unfortunate situation that is probably emulated in many other cities around Asia and the rest of the world.

(working girls that live in the railroad slums)(in the doghouse...)

Although this part of town is extremely poor, it is photographically rich, every doorway and person I saw was a potential photograph, one of our workshop participants felt a little uncomfortable to shoot in this neighbourhood, feeling it was slightly voyeuristic and intrusive.  I can totally see his point and why he felt that way, but I personally have shot in many areas like this all around Asia, and my general feeling is that if you approach your subjects the right way, talking to them first, asking permission, and I also take a small Canon CP800 printer with me and supply them with prints right there and then (the battery on this thing lasts almost a week whilst churning out 40-50 prints a day!!!), then generally its a very positive experience for everyone, probably a novelty for them for some western people to visit, show an interest, give them gifts and exchange lots of smiles along the way.

(giving back a print and some candy to the kids was certainly the best way to gain access for us)

Of course a visit to Cambodia wouldn't be complete without involving some monks or temples...we didn't want to travel to the famous temples in the North around Siem Reap, instead we opted to find some working monks in pagodas around and outside the city on the outlying islands in the Mekong river, so our next day was spent in the heart of mosquito land around the rivers.  We found plenty of friendly working monks who were more than happy to be photographed, we took them a 20kg bag of rice as a gift and that opened up all the doors we needed to get some nice environmental portraits, as well as them enjoying practicing their english language skills with us.  In my experience this has been always the kind of reception I get, other people I have spoken to tell me Monks usually don't like being photographed...I personally have no experience to support that theory.

We also found a muslim area in Phnom Penh, something I had noticed on previous visits, unfortunately people were very reserved and not willing at all to be photographed, everyone I approached either ran away or waved me away, so I respected their wishes and left them alone, I only managed to grab one shot in that part of town which was a young girl who I guess was out shopping for her family, she giggled and covered her face when I spotted her, but didn't seem to mind being photographed so I took the chance and grabbed the shot from across the street.

(young muslim girl in Phom Penh)

On our last day we were finishing up and driving back to get our gear to head to the airport when we noticed a massive gathering of women and children at the roadside.  Our Tuk Tuk driver informed us that this area had a free childrens hospital so everyone was waiting for that...I couldn't resist jumping off and grabbing a few shots from across the street to create a panoramic look then getting up close with the Zeiss 21mm lens as they all seemed happy enough for me to be there...

(the Zeiss 21mm 2.8 performed amazingly on the M9)

So that was it, 5 days travelling around Phnom Penh and the surrounding villages, only the Leica with me this time, and I hope the images above can speak for themselves...with a few different focal lengths this kit was much more efficient for me than my bulky gear I normally take...I will be testing the Fuji XPro1 shortly which may indeed give the Leica a run for its money, especially given the incredible price difference and the amazing high ISO performance of the Fuji...(I tried one last night back in Hong Kong so I have seen the results already)...So until next time, I hope you enjoy the images from our travels and they can inspire you to get out and shoot...and if you haven't been to Cambodia are really missing a gem of a place to visit...not to mention Angkor beer is amongst the finest ale I have ever sampled :-)

My assistant photographer RJ has also written a blog post about his experience, that can be seen by clicking here

Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog, if you like our blog and website, please ‘like’ us on our public Facebook page and share this story with your friends with the Facebook and twitter links below.  You can also subscribe to our blog via the RSS link below.

F8 Photography provides commercial photography and training across Asia, with workshops on Street Photography and other photography and video training courses, more details can be found via the ‘courses and workshops’ link and upcoming events via the front page of our website.