PICSPIRATION SUNDAY: Myanmar is a fantastic country for photography. Here are images from one of the most photographed sites, U Bein bridge in Mandalay.
I am back from a ten days trip to Myanmar (formerly Burma). For a photographer it is an amazing country to travel in – and the trip was a great inspiration for me.
I will share some of the photos in five Picspiration Sunday articles over the next weeks. This is the first article. So stay tuned!
Early stage of tourism
Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in Asia – and only recently has tourism started to grow in parallel with the country slowly opening up politically. The infrastructure is still poor and visitors cannot expect the same luxury as in neighboring countries.
Yet a visit to Myanmar is very rewarding – and it has some of the most beautiful sites I have ever visited. I strongly recommend a visit to this country before the big masses of tourists discover it.
U Bein bridge in Mandalay
One of the most well know sites is the U Bein bridge in Mandalay. I am sure you must have seen photos of this bridge before.
The 1,2 kilometer bridge was built around 1850 and is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. It crosses the Taungthaman lake south of Mandalay and consists of more than 1000 pillars.
The most popular among tourists is to come at sunset. The bridge is very busy at this time – with monks and others walking across the lake after a day´s hard work.
As many others I rented a small boat to take me out on the lake. It was well worth the 10 dollars it set me back and gave me a chance to change positions frequently.
The challenge when taking photos at U Bein was to catch the moments with the most interesting persons (silhouettes) walking across the bridge and to make sure none of the people in my frame were covered behind the pillars. I tried to switch between frames where you see the full height of the bridge (main photo in this article) and more close-ups, as below. All in all I took several hundred exposures.
I decided to come back early next morning for sunrise. I must say I enjoyed it even more. There are not many tourists at this time of the day – and the whole atmosphere is more quiet. It is also fascinating to observe the bridge come alive as a new day emerges.
I started with taking a photo of the bridge from the nearby shore before the sunrise (see below). This is an HDR photo with quite long exposures.
Then I decided to rent a boat again and go out on the lake for the actual sunrise. My boat driver was very experienced and skillfully led me to the places where he thought I might get the best images.
A good part of going to U Bein for sunrise is that you also get to see the many local fishers picking up their catch from the night. Many of them were husband and wife teams working quietly together in their small boats.
Article 1 of 5 about photography in Myanmar
This article is part of a series of five about photography in Myanmar.
- Photography in Myanmar, article 1: Meeting the sun at U Bein bridge
- Photography in Myanmar, article 2: Marvelling at the temples in Bagan
- Photography in Myanmar, article 3: A quiet evening at Shwedagon Pagoda
- Photography in Myanmar, article 4: The fishers at Inle Lake
- Photography in Myanmar, article 5: 50 faces of Myanmar