The little girl with the umbrella

One of the things to do when visiting Cambodia is to explore the waterways of Tonle Sap Lake. Tonle Sap is a seasonally variable lake with water levels changing hugely with rainfall or the lack of it. A brief but pleasant paddle through a mangrove swamp resulted in today’s image. A young girl, I guess about 3 years old, if that, shelters under her umbrella whilst her mother sits at the bow of the boat gently rowing along.

Young girl under umbrella
sheltering under the umbrella while her mother rows the boat. Mangrove swamp, Tonle Sap, Cambodia.

I took several photos of this little girl, how could I possibly resist? This was more difficult than you might think. For one thing, as we were moving between the submerged tree trunks, the light levels were fluctuating wildly as the tree canopy momentarily blocked the sunlight and then the gaps let through brutal late morning light.

Secondly, the child was happily doing her own thing, umbrella up, umbrella down, face covered, scratch her nose, etc, not up for following directions from a strange foreign man.

Thirdly, the best angle was to get the camera down low, not as simple as you think and not as simple as it should be! I have no objection to getting right down flat on my belly to get a shot, but in a small rowboat, not possible. What is really needed is a fully articulated touch-sensitive rear lcd camera screen. Sadly my current camera doesn’t have that capability, the result being that I was almost shooting blind.

Finally, by way of self-critique, I’m happy with the lighting on the shot, soft and giving some modelling to her face. The image perhaps tells a story, the boat, the girl, her mother paddling and the mangrove swamp background. The pensive facial expression I think is sweet, but the hand gesture is a little puzzling, I think she was just about to scratch her face! 🙂

This image is part of my still expanding Cambodia 2018 gallery. ~KD