Sunsets, sunrises – that’s pretty much what Bagan is, photographically speaking. Don’t get me wrong – there is plenty to do and see around here and I loved my stay. But if you Google “Bagan photos,” the first thing you’ll see are amazing ancient temples emerging from the mist in a pretty magical way. To experience this is not only visually compelling but also spiritual and soul-healing. It’s certainly spectacular, and you can see some of those photos here.
Despite the early wake-up calls and late dinners, this is one of those places where you want to explore non-stop. There is so much beauty, and luckily it is not spoiled by tourism. During the daytime I visited villages and wandered around. Our group was very fortunate to have an awesome guide during the whole Myanmar adventure. He is responsible for the pictures I am sharing today. He mentioned that every day right before sunset, around the temples, villagers would return home driving a herd of cattle. He suggested that this could be a good photo opportunity, but that they don’t always use the same roads so we would need to be on the lookout and act quickly. Of course the group decided to give it a try.
There we were, on in a hot day along a dirt road, surrounded by fascinating mystical stupas and pagodas, patiently watching and waiting. Suddenly we got lucky and the magic happened. I laid my eyes on a thick cloud of dust rising far in the distance; it was approaching fast. Soon enough the herd was passing by. Two women were driving the cattle, and I followed them, at a fast pace, almost running. It went by quickly; as I was shooting I needed to adjust camera settings fast, and as they moved we went through all kinds of lighting situations. I wanted to get a shot badly, and on the spur of moment we were crossing in front of a temple; behind it, sun rays were filtering through the foliage and dirt. This helped me to create the kind of storytelling photo that I was looking for. All of it happened in no more than 10 minutes from the time I pressed the shutter the first time and the last shot.
I am fairly happy with the results. This was one of those moments that will rest in my memory forever. Photography is just an excuse – the medium that allows me to document places and life as it happens in our formidable world. These are memories and situations that I want to last endlessly.
As always, feel free to leave your comments, I appreciate them. For print and licensing information, just click the images.