Travel photography in Myanmar
Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, offers a wealth of subject matter for travel photographers.
Over the past couple of years travellers have flocked to explore a country that was once widely regarded as off limits, due to protests against the military government’s human rights record. To avoid any problems I was told that it’s best to avoid pointing your camera in the direction of members of the police or military. I followed that advice and experienced no problems while underway.
Word is quickly spreading about the photogenic nature of Myanmar and the warmth of its people. River cruises along the Ayeyarwady River — still sometimes known as the Irrawady, the waterway’s former name — are one of Myanmar’s more exclusive modes of transport. The boats’ decks provide observation platforms ideal for photographing life along the riverbanks and into the rolling hillsides above Mandalay.
f you’re out and about in urban areas at dusk and dawn day then why not try talking to locals and make an effort to capture portraits in the soft light of the golden hour? The country is a great destination for street photography. Generally speaking, people are approachable and are often willing to be photographed.
Balloon flights over the dusty landscape around Bagan, which is the home to more than 3,000 temples, provide interesting opportunities to capture airborne images without the reflection of the porthole glass that you get in the cabin of an aircraft.
For photography enthusiasts the balloons offer great subject matter as they drift over pagodas and semi-silhouetted stupas in the sunset.
Remember to shoot RAW files (you can simultaneously shoot JPEGs too if you want, so that you have easily accessible files for review). RAW files maximise the amount of data you have available to manipulate images once you are home. Capturing them will allow you to tweak the colour temperature of your files and alter the contrast and saturation of your images.
Varying your perspective can be a great way of capturing interesting shots. Try photographing upwards from a low perspective. Using the live view mode that’s available on many cameras is a way of working around the fact you might not be able to look through the viewfinder.
As the trickle or tourists visiting Myanmar develops into a torrent, change is likely. Longstanding traditions may be abandoned during modernisation. Now is as good a time as any to grab your camera and explore Yangon, Bagan and other destinations in Myanmar.
Getting to Myanmar
Singapore Airlines flies four times daily from London Heathrow and daily from Manchester to Singapore for onward connections to Myanmar. Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, its regional sister carrier, jointly fly 16 times per week to Yangon, while a further two daily flights operate to Mandalay. For the latest promotional fares and to book, visit www.singaporeair.com.
Premier Holidays (www.premierholidays.co.uk; tel. 08444 937 531) offer tailor made tours of Myanmar, providing opportunities to view highlights such as Inle Lake, Bagan, Yangon and Mandalay.
About the author
The writer, Stuart Forster, is a professional photographer and features writer who has lived in India, Germany and Portugal. He was named Journalist of the Year at the 2015 and 2016 Holland Press Awards, and shortlisted for the 2013 National Geographic Traveller Photographer of the Year award. He regularly blogs about travel and food on, www.go-eat-do.com. His photography website is www.whyeyephotography.com.
© Stuart Forster / www.whyeyephotography.com