A sunrise at Banteay Chhmar temple

I took these photos on my third day visiting the temples. I was leaving that afternoon, so that morning I made sure to get up early. I wanted to take my last “sunrise” photos today before departing.

That morning was my second sunrise in the park.

I entered the park by the back gate, which was close to where I was staying. Again, in the park, there were no visitors. The only people were the park guards at their ranger stations. Most were still cooking and getting ready for the day. I had met the main guard last night. He had invited me to the ranger station for us to sit in hammocks and chat. He talked to me about the park, his life, his job, about the temples, and the future of the park. This morning he was headed down the path to the river for an morning dip. We each waved hello.

I could see the sun coming through the trees but it was still very low, not yet above the treeline. I took a few photos from one vantage point I had grown to like. Then, I meandered around the area, up one temple wall and then down to another structure, stopping here and there to take photos sometimes, but mostly just looked again at the carved reliefs and thought about the detailed stories they intended to tell. In the morning sun, the rays hit the carvings at such an angle that the reliefs still stand out with great detail, although the carvings are several hundred years old.

At one point, I rode over to one corner and parked my bike. I had spotted my favorite spot to sit. I sat down and put aside the camera. I decided not to worry about photos. I sat and watched the sun rise over the temples and the trees.

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