Getting Close Enough
Getting Close Enough
"If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough." - Robert Capa
Banlung is the provincial capitol for the Ratanakiri Province in Cambodia. Located in the northeastern part of the country, bordering both Vietnam to the east and Laos to the north, it is one of the least visited provinces.
I stayed at the exceptional Treetop Ecolodge run by Mr. T (not that Mr. T from the “A” Team). I rented a bicycle to visit nearby Yak Loum Crater Lake. Mr. T recommended I get there first thing in the morning to capture the best light. He also mentioned that I would probably be the only foreigner there since the lake is mainly visited by locals.
He was right about being the only foreigner there, but the morning light was terrible. The only people around were the local vendors selling food and drinks. I decided to just put my camera down and appreciate the crater lake with my own eyes. Afterwards, I bought a drink from one of the vendors and her two children started to play with me.
I took a couple of photographs of her daughter and she would laugh hysterically every time I showed her picture on my LCD screen. Because of the proximity that I was photographing her there was a clear connection between both of us. Her eyes were the landscape of Cambodia...one of struggle and hope for the future.
Stay tuned for more of my adventures in Southeast Asia.
Text and photo copyright by ©Sam Antonio Photography
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Taken on: 5th June, 2012. Copyright: All Rights Reserved - See Sam Antonio Photography's page of Flickr
Read more about Banlung
Ratanakiri is situated atop the northeast plateau, bordering Vietnam to the east, Laos to the north, Stung Treng to the west and Mondulkiri to the south. A scarcely populated province, Ratanakiri shows considerable promise as an eco-tourism destination with plentiful waterfalls, volcanic lakes, a large national park and a number of waterways, all of which can be explored from the provincial capital of Banlung.
As with Mondulkiri to the south, loggers (legal and illegal) have well and truly had their way with Ratanakiri and while some areas have been protected to some extent -- notably Yak Lom crater lake and Virachey National Park -- the scars of the over-exploitation of lumber can be seen across the province and while driving across the windy, red clay roads, fields of charred tree stumps are visible.
Most travellers who make the effort to reach here tend to stay at least three nights, exploring the waterfalls, minority villages and cemeteries and perhaps ... Read our complete Banlung travel guide