Bamboo Train in Battambang, Cambodia

Cambodia is famous for the temple of Angkor Wat and the many other temples that are nearby to it.  There is so much more to Cambodia though than Siem Reap/Angkor Wat.  We spent a few days in the Battambang area as well as Koh Rong Samloem and the capital city Phnom Penh.  More to follow on the other areas of Cambodia but for now the Bamboo train in Battambang.  This is a bit of a tourist trap to be honest but a fun way to spend an hour or two.

There is some interesting history to the train and it is still used to get crops to market from farms that have no roads leading to them.  Here’s some pictures and some descriptions.  I wrote a little about how I took some of the pictures as they weren’t the easiest to take.

This was our driver.  He controls the speed with the stick which is a clutch to control the belt tension from the motor to the drive axle.
Riding on the train – the view ahead.

I wanted to write a little about how I took this and the next few pictures. The settings for this picture were ISO 200, f 2.8, focal length 17mm (34mm equivalent) and a 0.6 second exposure.  I used a 10 stop Neutral Density (ND) filter to allow me to get over a half a second exposure in the middle of the day.  This screw on filter is effectively is like putting on 3 pairs of sunglasses.  It massively decreases the amount of light hitting the sensor so allows a longer exposure.

The Bamboo Train is old, I think dating back to the 50’s and very bumpy.  This makes hand holding a long exposure a challenge. I am very fortunate to have excellent stabilization built into my camera body (Olympus EM1) which allows handholding of these type of images.  A tripod may have helped but since it would have been on the bumpy train I don’t think it would have helped much.

I took a lot of pictures to get a few that were usable sharp.  I don’t think it would be possible to get something tack sharp as well as having the interesting motion blur effect.  As I read somewhere else recently motion blur looks good if there is a lot of it but terrible if it is only a small amount.

Looking back at our driver
Looking back at our driver
We caught up with another train.  When you meet a train coming in the other direction one of the trains has to be removed from the rails. It only take a minute or two to pass a train.
Not the most comfortable ride but it was fun
Our train with no passengers.

If you are in the Battambang area give the train ride a go.  It doesn’t take long and is not much money either.

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