The Khmer water festival dates back centuries, each year followed by countless people throughout country. Since starting time-lapse photography (my first attempt was in June 2015) I have wanted to shoot this. It’s a spectacular event full of vibrant colours and people. The event is ideal for the toy look time-lapse, mastered by the inspirational work from Keith Loutit.
Armed with a few lenses, Canon 6D, a few memory cards & a Laptop, I hopped on the bus for the 5 hour journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. Thankfully the festival went ahead after being mired with recent political influence. This year had 260 boats, up on 2014’s attendance, but down on the big numbers of over 400 boats witnesses not so long ago.
Murphy’s law seems to haunt me with time-lapse. This time, amongst other things (dropping frames being a pet hate & loosing wifi – probably time to go back to hard wire), the laptop charger failed. With the festival being only 3 days, my intention was to edit as I shoot thus giving instant feed back. However battery power I had was saved for copying files. Most of my work so far has been long exposure, so this was a learning curve & lessons were certainly valuable, but with no real ability to see my efforts until I returned home.
This short clip gives a feel for the spirit of a great event if the Khmer calendar. Cambodia has local elections in 2017, followed by general election in 2018, so there may be political influences on future occurrences of Bon Om Tuk. I hope to shoot this next year after traveling down the Mekong. Lessons learnt, which should put me in good stead for future work.
Other Time-lapse Projects: