In this battle, nature wins

By | 2012-12-03T22:42:48+00:00 Nov 12th, 2012|

The Story

Never in my life have I ever seen a spectacle illustrating the relentless power of nature over manmade structures as in Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia. I’ve seen images and heard stories from friends who have visited this area but none of that came even close to the jaw-dropping awe that I experienced as I stood here, looking at these gigantic tree roots cut through solid temple walls like a hot knife through butter. It was both beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

Photographing around Ta Prohm was, without a doubt, the highlight of my trip so far. We’ve been traveling with an absolutely fantastic guide here in Cambodia and he was masterful in getting us to all of the best parts of this area before any of the other tourist hordes arrived. I cannot express how much having your own private guide is worth every penny. With areas that are as feature rich as this one, you really need to think on your toes and start picking off the shots that you think will be keepers. Every minute that went by brought the tourist hordes closer and closer – and trust me, there were a few times when we were overrun. It’s the nature of the beast and I totally get that. But I’ll be damned if I don’t try to take every possible advantage I can get to be one of a handful of people occupying this area at any given time. Ultimately, it boils down to getting the frames. That is and always will be my priority when I’m out shooting and I suspect that more than a few of you can sympathize.

In terms of processing

This is a seven exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix Pro.

Stylization was done in Perfect Effects 4 by onOne Software. I masked in Vecchio onto the roots and used a Multiple blending mode. Next, I applied Magic Forest to the entire area because I really liked the particular color style that it applied. I finished things off with a Hollywood Glow using a Soft Light blending mode.

Next, I sent the image into FocalPoint 2 (also by onOne Software) and rendered the area through the doorway out of focus to give the image a 3D feel.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.3 RC.

[map w=”745″ h=”185″ lat=”13.434811″ lon=”103.889229″ marker=”yes” z=”17″ maptype=”SATELLITE” 940 /]

105 Comments

  1. DrDebrup Chatterjee November 12, 2012 at 6:16 am - Reply

    brilliant

  2. Marty Glaubitz November 12, 2012 at 6:19 am - Reply

    Tomb Raider

  3. Norma Flores-Allende November 12, 2012 at 6:19 am - Reply

    beautiful photo!

  4. PJ Ammidon November 12, 2012 at 6:21 am - Reply

    Very cool spot you found +Brian Matiash !

  5. Fathima Sabrina November 12, 2012 at 6:22 am - Reply

    cool

  6. Chris Lazzery November 12, 2012 at 6:23 am - Reply

    Absurd details. Rad spot, dude. That really had a to be a treat.

  7. Faraz Siyal November 12, 2012 at 6:24 am - Reply

    woW ..awosm pic

  8. Jim Logsdon November 12, 2012 at 6:26 am - Reply

    This is utterly capturing

  9. Yuga Wong lee November 12, 2012 at 6:30 am - Reply

    Yo también quiero una house asi xD

  10. Michael Chick November 12, 2012 at 6:33 am - Reply

    Wow, I would love to see this.. I have the Nat-Geo video from way back when they re-discovered this place, really cool!

  11. Harshita Naithani November 12, 2012 at 6:33 am - Reply

    cool spot but a little bit scary too………..

  12. Hayley Jayne Thatcher November 12, 2012 at 6:40 am - Reply

    Amazing where is this

  13. Paula Dąbek November 12, 2012 at 6:40 am - Reply

    THIS PLACE IS AMAZING

  14. Zackary Cruz November 12, 2012 at 6:40 am - Reply

    Looks haunted..!!

  15. Chang Lin November 12, 2012 at 6:42 am - Reply

    wow

  16. Darren Neupert November 12, 2012 at 6:45 am - Reply

    Very cool indeed!  I can hardly wait to visit this place.  Hell, I was fascinated with it when I first saw the movie Tomb Raider.

  17. ravin singh November 12, 2012 at 6:45 am - Reply

    nice…
    ;)

  18. Ron Paulk November 12, 2012 at 6:51 am - Reply

    Brian, this shot is great. Is this the 15mm fisheye? I definitely want to add this to my places to visit.

  19. Kathy Porupski November 12, 2012 at 6:57 am - Reply

    Amazing place and seems and so happy to hear your having some amazing adventures… Hope and can't wait to hear about them over a few beers when you make back our way in the near future! :-)

  20. Giao Trần November 12, 2012 at 7:01 am - Reply

    quai that

  21. Barb Cochran November 12, 2012 at 7:07 am - Reply

    WOW!  Great image!

  22. Shelly Gunderson November 12, 2012 at 7:09 am - Reply

    Wow, that is pretty amazing!  Wonderful image too with the colors and textures.

  23. sela nget November 12, 2012 at 7:34 am - Reply

    Nice !

  24. Aileen Sorenson November 12, 2012 at 7:44 am - Reply

    Amazing!

  25. Shubham Meshram November 12, 2012 at 7:48 am - Reply

    scary

  26. Pimanna Boonyasak November 12, 2012 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Great captured, very nice!!!

  27. Abigail Thompson November 12, 2012 at 7:57 am - Reply

    Wow, what an epic looking location. I love the processing, great work!

  28. subbiah goundar November 12, 2012 at 8:00 am - Reply

    It reminds me of the Ross Island near Port Blair,Andaman Islands

  29. Kelsie Casey November 12, 2012 at 8:02 am - Reply

    cool

  30. syeda ameena November 12, 2012 at 8:03 am - Reply

    it,s an old temple right.

  31. Trish Chaffee November 12, 2012 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Very special!

  32. Candy guiteau November 12, 2012 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Wow that look like wizard 101

  33. Karen Hutton November 12, 2012 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Man, I love the textures, colors… and jaw dropping awesomeness of this +Brian Matiash! Worth the sweat I'd say!
    A new "ex" for you too… "Ancientex"! hahah

  34. Silvio Oehme November 12, 2012 at 8:33 am - Reply

    fantastic!

  35. Charles Honan November 12, 2012 at 8:39 am - Reply

    scary

  36. Romeo Elfuerte November 12, 2012 at 8:43 am - Reply

    scary beauty!!!..

  37. Faye Appleyard November 12, 2012 at 8:53 am - Reply

    cool just want to walk in

  38. Pinki Dutta November 12, 2012 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Very nice

  39. Nandan Shah November 12, 2012 at 9:03 am - Reply

    cool! like it….

  40. Valerie Lopez November 12, 2012 at 9:05 am - Reply

    For the love of nature

  41. Anne McKinnell November 12, 2012 at 9:06 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash your image certainly conveys the feeling of being overwhelmed or overtaken by nature. It's kinda creepy in a good way :)

    By the way, I just watched an episode of The Grid where you were a guest and I really enjoyed the discussion on the current state HDR.

  42. Sergio Mercado November 12, 2012 at 9:16 am - Reply

    That's very interesting never seen before

  43. Nerie Ning Escame November 12, 2012 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Lara Croft!!! (sorry that's the first thing that pop in my mind) :P

  44. nanda maciel November 12, 2012 at 9:47 am - Reply

    that is an awsome house or what ever that is i  will so live there :D

  45. Laura Carrigher November 12, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    is that real ?

  46. Jessica Highley November 12, 2012 at 10:06 am - Reply

    totally nature is kicking that places butt

  47. SFWAN ABDUL JALEEL November 12, 2012 at 10:06 am - Reply

    man is ti real

  48. mansoor ahmad November 12, 2012 at 10:06 am - Reply

    nice

  49. maria olea November 12, 2012 at 10:08 am - Reply

    wow!

  50. amr tahtawi November 12, 2012 at 10:11 am - Reply

    mesmerizing scene, i can understand your feeling, well captured and thanks for sharing

  51. Elaine Silva November 12, 2012 at 10:12 am - Reply

    i want to live there

  52. Jessica Highley November 12, 2012 at 10:13 am - Reply

    that would be awesome

  53. yassaman yoohana November 12, 2012 at 10:16 am - Reply

    i want that

  54. Chantelle Jaipargas November 12, 2012 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Wow speechless ;)

  55. Florence Baribeau November 12, 2012 at 10:22 am - Reply

    That is so beautiful and as you say terrifying at the same time!!! I would love to be there it would be so great. I'm happy you enjoyed your trip and thanks to sharing.

  56. Avinash Kozhichirakkal November 12, 2012 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Cool one

  57. Olivia Bailey November 12, 2012 at 10:26 am - Reply

    purrrty

  58. Savannah Blankenship November 12, 2012 at 10:27 am - Reply

    ooh cool!! i wld so live there lol

  59. Lindsay Villano November 12, 2012 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Sooo pretty!! I want to be there, but I don't at the same time.

  60. helen tsiori November 12, 2012 at 10:36 am - Reply

    It's a little scary but beautiful

  61. Luis Ramirez November 12, 2012 at 10:38 am - Reply

    tht look awesome

  62. John Paul Caponigro November 12, 2012 at 10:38 am - Reply

    The wide angle distortion really works in this shot.

  63. Savannah Blankenship November 12, 2012 at 10:43 am - Reply

    yall sound all smartacles when you talk about it lol
    i just think its beautiful..wouldnt be amazing to see that in person?

  64. Gladys Volz November 12, 2012 at 10:46 am - Reply

    Very interesting

  65. Gerard Jones November 12, 2012 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Wonders from nature

  66. Elaine Wotherspoon November 12, 2012 at 11:00 am - Reply

    Mad it looks like lara croft should be coming out of it x

  67. jada english November 12, 2012 at 11:08 am - Reply

    looks scary

  68. jaslin matos November 12, 2012 at 11:31 am - Reply

    nice lol <3

  69. Mary M. Hanna November 12, 2012 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Looks like something from a fairytale

  70. simmi farhad November 12, 2012 at 11:41 am - Reply

    The reality of universe which human has to understand that they can't win from nature!if nature want it can destroy the whole world like a straw of nest after disaster

  71. Ciara Ward November 12, 2012 at 11:46 am - Reply

    that is so amazing and beautiful =)

  72. amy campbell November 12, 2012 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Mother nature added some embellishment to the man made structure. She has something else in mind for this space.

  73. James Krueger November 12, 2012 at 11:57 am - Reply

    what is that?????Cool!!!?!?!?!

  74. Khinpwong Lay November 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    oh,, this is really awesome place i guess ::P

  75. Emily Cabrera November 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    This reminds me of the app Temple Run lol

  76. Kam Sheth November 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Can I ask what camera you used, or is that a secret? lol

  77. Kevin Murphy November 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    What a great image.

  78. joel cleare November 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Thanks for feeding the beast

  79. Apimol Kornfeld November 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Is it Cambodia? Nice! I had been there..

  80. Ayah Jiha November 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    that tree wants a bigger home i can see

  81. Sylwia Brzostowska November 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Mysterious

  82. Louise Leamen November 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    I totally agree with you. If you can have your own private tour guide and can take Amazon photos such as this new then it is so worth it.

  83. charlotte kaufmann November 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    wow that is prity

  84. imani staples November 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    wow that is something

  85. charlotte kaufmann November 12, 2012 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    reminds me of the lord of the  rings

  86. Larissa Ladner November 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    whoa. same here. reminds me alot about the lord of thr rings

  87. kayla smith November 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    fantasy paradise

  88. Joseph Sliger November 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Nicely done mate!  I want to see the rest from your trip soon.

  89. Robert SKREINER November 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Great photo and work! +Brian Matiash 
    Selected as ►TOP Photo on Google+◄ for the daily photo theme:
    #10000photographersaroundtheworld by +Robert SKREINER
    and shared at the page: +10000 PHOTOGRAPHERS around the World

  90. Elizabeth Mechkov November 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    :o I would love to go there xD

  91. Yukiko Yamazaki November 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    ok. ill admit i would b kinda scared to go there alone. it looks like its from a movie…

  92. maine alatorrie November 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    cute

  93. Shiela Lingo November 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Look nice that made before war II?

  94. linda meas November 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    i miss this place

  95. Anna Cowles November 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    looks like something in narnia

  96. Pelzom peza November 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    woo beautiful

  97. Didit Mehta Pariadi November 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    Amazing detail and texture for such a simple gate… I've seen alot of great photo on this temple, but this one is really a keeper…

  98. ella simpson November 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    looks creepy

  99. Tehseen Shaikh November 12, 2012 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    waow!!

  100. Kate Mao November 13, 2012 at 5:29 am - Reply

    cool

  101. Michael Murphy November 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Dude, this is an awesome scene; nicely captured.

  102. Amy Heiden November 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    You really nailed this one +Brian Matiash. Awesome freaking shot. 

    I often feel so spoiled when shooting abandoned places because working around 1-2 other photographers is really quite easy when you communicate with one another. Shooting around dozens of photographers is tricky enough, but add tourists into the mix and it's like a game of Frogger.

  103. Elizabeth Mechkov November 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    :o I want to go there… xD Like seriously i REALLY REALLLLLLLLLLLLY DO !!!!!! :o

  104. Lindsay Villano November 19, 2012 at 8:08 am - Reply

    I want to be there, but I also dont. It looks kind of "creepy-cool"

  105. anjali singh November 29, 2012 at 2:18 am - Reply

    Hi I have similar pictures from Andoman, India and I call them " The Web of Life'. I'm Anjali, a doctor by profession but my heart is in photography.

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