The Boy From Tonlé Sap Lake, Cambodia
This photo was taken around a floating village and water dwellings on Tonlé Sap Lake in Cambodia, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and an ecological hotspot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere. The Tonlé Sap is unusual for two reasons: because its flow changes direction twice a year and because the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia's dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. In June, however, when the year's heavy rains begin, the Tonlé Sap backs up to form an enormous lake. For most of the year the lake is fairly small, around one meter deep and with an area of 2,700 square km. During the monsoon season, however, the Tonle Sap river which connects the lake with the Mekong river reverses its flow. Water is pushed up from the Mekong into the lake, increasing its area to 16,000 square km and its depth to up to nine meters, flooding nearby fields and forests.