The shot above was captured with my Nikon F2 using HP5+ at an exposure index of 200. It is a shot inside the famous Angkor Was temple but it is a bit of a "tall tale". The reality is that this place is crawling with tourists who do not respect the posted signs so they are literally climbing the walls. Here I managed to find a family empty corridor and beside the corridor was this scene. I captured a few versions of it, some with my sons leg in it and other annoying intrusions. So if you plan a trip, accept the tourists as part of the experience.
Cambodia is about rocks, trees and people (both local and tourists). It has had its share of rough history, the killing fields we visited I did not take pictures of, but it has evolved into a poor but wonderful country. Angelina is revered there, not because of her humanitarian efforts, but because she helped put Cambodia on the map.
Shoot pictures of rocks on film is easy. These temples beg for B&W conversion (if shooting digital) or B&W film. It is all about texture with little color to add much if anything to a composition. The trees are a different matter. Lush greens mixed with wonderful brown bark give you some great compositional elements if shooting in color. So I would recommend either taking B&W and Color film or also taking a digital camera.
So what is the best film to capture the human spirit? Nothing can, but your outlook as a photographer should change. You are there not to highlight the differences between your home and Cambodia, but rather the similarities across cultures, to shoot the very things that make us all human.
Ah, yes the tourist. You will find a few of them. If you want to avoid them, travel outside of Siam Reap, where you will find some amazing temples, locals and monkeys, but few if any tourists. But if you embrace the tourist as a vital part of the new Cambodia economy, then they become a part of the story. Why tell the story of ancient Cambodia alone? Why not put it into modern context?
Patrick...confirmed film & digital photography addict.