We arrived in Phnom Penh at the start of the wet season. I looked at my iPhone’s weather report and every day was represented by the thunderstorm symbol. At this time of year it can rain every two out of three days. And it did.
We were on assignment to do a magazine travel feature, and I know what the editors want. Blue skies. However, sometimes nature and your schedule conspire to render the opportunities to capture those clear skies rare.
I remember many years ago we had a travel guidebook assignment in Dubai, where we used to live. We scheduled the trip for December when it generally was cool and the skies were blue with just the right amount of fluffy white clouds to make the sky a little more interesting – as the first pro travel photographer I worked with used to say “clouds are your friends.” We arrived and the skies were grey and even foggy across Dubai Creek! It rained constantly. My photo editor in London could not believe it. I was shooting all the indoor venues and hotels that I could but I was running out of time. Where’s the beaches? Where’s the Creek and the dhows? I sent my editor a screenshot of the daily weather forecast – it was dismal.
The number of times on trips that I’ve found myself indoors shooting restaurants, boutiques and hotels, while outside there have been perfect blue skies and the sun has been shining, have been many. And Phnom Penh was no exception. It’s just the way it goes. But I know what editors want. So you make do as best you can. Shoot close-ups when it’s miserable. Run round like crazy when the weather cooperates.
I couldn’t help quickly taking this snap on our last afternoon in Phnom Penh when the weather quickly changed. It won’t be in a magazine. It’s a memory shot. Every time I’ve scrolled past it when editing my Phnom Penh photographs, it takes me right back to how foreboding the sky was at the beginning of the wet season. I loved it. And I would have loved it more if I hadn’t been on assignment.
Details: Nikon D700, 35mm F2 @ F5.6 @ 1/4000th second @ ISO400.