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Travel photographer Sam Oakes is no stranger to exploring new and exciting places, and his experience of Laos has left him able to impart some great advice: "Expect the unexpected; recently Laos has become an increasingly popular destination to the foreign traveller as a slice of 'real Asia'. You will find a country steeped in history, with diverse landscapes and fantastic people. Laos will almost certainly spoil you with its abundant photographic opportunities. Enjoy capturing what the land of a million elephants has to offer. and be prepared to haggle for good prices!"
    Sam has been taking photographs as a hobby from a young age, which progressed into a full-time career after studying and working in graphic design. Sam says, "My favorite kind of photography comes from what I love to do most - travel. Spending much of my time outdoors lends itself particularly well to landscape and wildlife photography. There is something deeply satisfying when an image tells a story of a far-off place and captures what it's like to be there. Wildlife and wild environments are anything but predictable, which can lead to even more evocative imagery."
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    As a seasoned travel photographer, Sam doesn't go anywhere without his trusty 17-40mm lens, "I now have quite a few lenses, but one lens you should never leave the house without if you're a landscape photographer is a good wide-angle. I use the EF 17-40mm f4L, which is a fantastic and affordable piece of kit." This lens has been the perfect aid for helping Sam capture some of Laos's greatest delights: "Laos is rich in culture,
colour and texture, so it has much to offer the photographer. I found the north to be particularly impressive, from the beautiful and historic city of Luang Prabang to the remote villages and hidden gems in the dense forest. It can be easy to get off the beaten track in Laos and really explore what the country has to offer, which can be extremely rewarding visually." Check out more of Sam's work at www.samoakes.com

A: Traveling by public bus, Bokeo Province

Using public transport to reach the most remote regions is a great way to get around, despite if sometimes being a tad scary. Young drivers somehow manage to get these big buses packed to the brim with people, luggage and goods, through the most muddy and unfavourable terrain.

Shot Details - Canon EOS 10d with a 24-85mm lens at 30mm and f4, 1/60sec, ISO 200
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Two young children, Muang Ngoi

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The locals in the villages are fantastically friendly and naturally photogenic. Children are inquisitive about the foreign traveller and great fun to interact with.

Shot Details - Canon 10d with a 24-85mm lens at 85mm and f4.5, 1/90sec, ISO 200
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