About Me

Sok Sobi. I enjoy taking pictures of people and places, particular interest in Landscape, People and Travel photography. Pictures and stories that bring Social Awareness and the potential for long term social change or policy are important to me. I use Canon Digital Cameras (EOS 1Ds,1D Mk1,2,4 plus Powershot G11) with a selection of Canon lenses, the 24-105 IS f4L being my favourite at present. I use Lightroom & Photoshop Elements to edit my work. Canon equipment and lenses give me just what I need, reliability and high IQ. I am now living and working in Cambodia, South East Asia, using Phnom Penh as a base to explore the region. I publish stories that are important to me on my blog but always try to give a balanced picture.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A Successful Partnership

People Improvement Organization have been in a successful partnership with Just World International based in Florida for the last several years. Just World International is a primary long term funder of the work done by PIO.
Phymean Noun is seen here with Maria Newman a visiting Just World International Founding Board Member, a vivacious and attractive lady who has done much to help achieve her daughter Jessicas dream of helping children in difficult circumstances.
Keep up the good work Maria, Phymean and Jessica, without people like you where would the children be, I dread to even think..

Maria and Heidi Visit PIO

Maria, Heidi,Phymean and Steve
Maria Newman a board member of Just world International and her friend Heidi Greene, the wife of another board member, visited People Improvement Organization today. Maria has visited PIO several times before and was certainly well aquainted with the workings of the organization that JWI support.

Jessica Newman

Just World International was really the brainchild of Maria's daughter Jessica, and as I spoke more with her I became interested in the story of its conception and why that occurred. Jessica is a former international Equestrian Champion and her idea sought to link her world of horses and sport with the need to help others less fortunate than herself and others in her circle. She set up a system which linked into the international competitive horse scene which was certainly a first.

The Jump for a Just World initiative ( such a novel concept) was born of a desire to more fully implicate international equestrian competitors and events to support humanitarian causes.

The international equestrian sport, in Jessica's view, had been left far behind other Olympic sports, such as soccer, cycling and skiing, where athletes publicly donate their time and earnings to humanitarian causes. Jessica believed that the world of equestrian sports stands to gain a great deal by committing to charitable initiatives, especially as equestrians across the globe have begun moving beyond an elite image of privileged athletes and giving the best of themselves to those in need.

Jessica aimed to cultivate and encourage riders who want to make a difference in the world around them. By serving as ambassadors for JustWorld, riders are demonstrating that the horse industry has leaders with integrity and big hearts who really care about others. The goal in working with equestrian athletes and events was to produce a ripple effect and encourage others to follow in the quest for a just world. Star athletes influence significant numbers of people but JustWorld’s goal was and is to recognize the professional, junior, and amateur athletes  are ready, willing, and able to positively influence the world.

The Kids from the Orphanage

The support that JWI offers People Improvement Organization, being a long term commintment, has helped PIO develop in areas that may have been impossible (or very difficult) such as JWI's commitment to PIO's recently opened Orphanage for which I know the children who now live there are very grateful.

Anyways enough of the history lesson and back to todays visit. I spoke at some length with Maria about her travels, her horses and her daughter of whom she is obviously extremely proud and supportive. Her caring attitude shone through with her interactions with the children and she seemed to enjoy her visit. Heidi was in amongst the kids from the first minute and although I had little time to talk with her I enjoyed her funny story about how she met her husband but I will not go into detail about that here.

Maria Newman
The continued support of Just World International is essential to the development of services to some of the poorest children of Cambodia via PIO ,and that this fruitful union of essentially like minded organizations will continue into a brighter future for the children. From what I have seen of the vivacious personalities involved the children need not worry.
The children of PIO maybe do not understand the links between JWI and PIO but if they did I am very sure they would like to say a big THANK YOU !

Sunday, 12 September 2010

A trip to Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham is the third largest city in Cambodia. Despite not having as many tourist attractions as Phnom Penh or Angkor Wat, this charming city is the best place to get a feel of the “real” Cambodia. The remnants of French colonial rule are here, as are modern improvements to this one poor area’s infrastructure. The real charm of Kampong Cham lies with its people. Despite their almost universal poverty and the brutal history of their country, the people of Kampong Cham are mostly friendly, happy-go-lucky folks who are welcoming to tourists.

It was one of those days, I needed to get out of the city for a while so I decided much on the spure of the moment to fill up the truck and drive highway 7 to Kampong Cham. I have been there before and found the place to be friendly and in many ways photogenic. So I loaded the gear into the car and I was on my way. 

Highway 5 / 7 is a busy old road and care needs to be taken as Khmer drivers tend to be a little less road aware than some peoples, especially the Bus drivers who generally think they own the road.

Along the road there are many thing that I find interesting, almost every village that you pass through has a Temple (Wat), no matter how poor the village there always seems to be money available to build the most extravagant Wat's.

The day was bright but overcaste and threatening rain but the cloud eventually began to break up giving some opportunities for some landscape style pictures.
As the morning progress the picture opportunities increased with the weather continuing to change.
I arrived at Kampong Cham at about 10.30 am and it took a while to orientate myself as some new building had taken place since I was last there but I eventually found my way down to the riverside, where I wanted to be, to find some local flavour shots of boats on the river and local people.
Some good shots were to had as the local people are very friendly towards tourists, and to them I'm a tourist. 
I speak only a tic tic of Cambodia but many Khmers like to try their English speaking skills anyways and communication although a little difficult is ceratinly no impossible.
There is much to see in Kampong Cham but my quick trip did not allow me this time to explore futher, I may well go for a couple of days on the next occassion.

Get better picture from your Nikon Camera

The easiest and surest way to save memories of your precious time is to take a snap of that particular moment. And the best way to capture them in all vivid detail is to invest in a DSLR camera. Among the camera companies Nikon DSLRs is as good as any to take great quality pictures at affordable prices. You can take a clear photograph with professional looks with your Nikon DSLR camera, all you have to do just take care of these simple steps:
1. The Autofocus option is available in Nikon DSLR camera which enables the camera to fine tune the focus of the camera automatically. But you should have to take care that your camera is placed well and focusing well on the subject. To Autofocus your Nikon DSLR camera, you should press the shutter button half and after a moment press the button completely which will place an automatic focus on your subject.
2. Hold the camera with both your hands supporting the camera in the left palm and hold the trigger in your right hand. A lot of beginners upgrading from a point and shoot don’t hold the DSLR properly and this results in a lot of shake in the photo.
Nikon DSLR
Nikon DSLR
3. After focusing on the subject , resist camera shake as it will provide you a clearer image. This is especially true in night when the camera needs more time to capture the image. Improvise; look out for places around where you can place the camera in a steady place and use the timer to take the snap.
4. Avoid taking full body photograph of your object when not necessary. Move closer towards the subject and take a close up photograph using the Portrait mode. Try to capture unposed photos thereby capturing real emotions of people
5. Avoid using flash during day time and in the places where enough light is available to take a clear photograph. Flashes tend to wash out the skin and the subtle emotions of people. But do not forget to on the flash if you are taking an indoor photograph with low intensity of light.