Mission of Burma

Boy walking along railway path in Myanmar

A boy walking along the tracks, taken from the train between Yangon and Bago.
(1/125, F2.8, ISO800, 17mm)

Of the travels I made the last 2 years around Southeast Asia the one that was probably dearest to me was the week I spent off-the-beaten path in Myanmar.

I know the term ´off-the-beaten´ is used way too often nowadays and even when reading articles about Myanmar all of them point to Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Yangon, which are already flooding with tourists. That´s why me and my friend opted to go by train from Yangon to Bago, an unexplored transport hub. Bago was indeed an amazing little town and an afternoon bike ride thru its surroundings took us to various immense reclining buddhas, beautiful temples, cheering kids and the highest stupa in Myanmar, where we spent sunset all alone.
After sundown we decided to do a bar-hopping return to the only guesthouse in town. Where the Lonely planet stated there was no nightlife what so ever in this town we spent half the night in local bars on a weekday, only to leave the locals to it at around 4am.

Sunset opposite the river from Hpa-an

A burmese farmers hat on a fence opposite the river from Hpa-an
(1/125, F2.8, ISO800, 17mm)

After Bago we jumped in a cab to Hpa-an surrounded by its beautiful limestone mountains, caves and paddy fields.

The oasis behind Saddar cave near Hpa-an, Myanmar

The oasis we found after going thru the Saddar cave near Hpa-an.
This canoe brought us back via an underground river and rice fields full of water lilies to the cave´s entrance.
(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)

A 2 hour boat ride from Hpa-an took us to Mawlamyine, the first Britsh colonial capital in Burma between 1826 and 1852, also hardly visited, although the views over the sea, the islands around, the nightmarket on the boulevard and its friendly locals made it unforgettable.

Looking inside an old colonial house in Yangon, Myanmar

A peak inside an old colonial house in Yangon.
(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)

Here´s to hoping I meet these beautiful people and their country again…

The Hands of Angkor

Hands of Angkor Wat I

(1/125, F2.8, ISO800, 17mm)

 It is about time some of my travel photos turn up here and although it´s been almost 4 months (and several other travels) since visiting the ruined city of Angkor and its famous temples I recall every minute of visiting this magical place.

Apart from the unbelievable atrocities the Khmer Rouge regime brought upon the people of Cambodia, it was also responsible for destroying all images and statues of Buddha they encountered around these temples.
This meant there was hardly a head left on the statues and wall carvings around Angkor. Most hands were also ´cut off´, but I was able to compile some of them that survived and thought they were symbolic for the way the Cambodian people were still surviving their recent history.

Hands of Angkor Wat II

(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)

The widespread area of Angkor´s UNESCO site covers about 400 square meters and therefore makes it easy to skip the crowds and spend some alone time in these amazing structures. We enjoyed sunset on the Terrace of the Elephants on our own the first day and second day we spent hours wandering the magic corridors of Preah Khan before the next visitors arrived.
Those were by far my most special moments in Angkor!

Hands of Angkor Wat III

(1/50, F5.6, ISO400, 30mm)

Bright City Lights

Sunset view over KL

(1/50, F6.3, ISO400, 55mm)

 It has been a long time and several travels thru Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia, but everytime I return home to KL the views from our balconies over the city and its surrounding jungle mountains never stops to amaze me.

Rainbows over KL

(1/100, F4, ISO400, 55mm)

From sunny in the morning til heavy storm clouds and rolling thunder in the afternoon, most times the sun appears just before it sets to give the sky its colors. I just wanted to share these photos before I return to sharing the photos from my travels soon…

Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision

(1/80, F5, ISO1600, 10mm)

This is the only remaining tunnel that leads to the Sultan´s mosque from my previous post.

During the mid-18th century, the Sultan of Yogyakarta (Java, Indonesia), began work on the Taman Sari complex. Comprised of lavish gardens and pools, it also featured a bizarre man-made sea, connected beneath the ground with underwater tunnels and small island buildings.
One of these island structures was used as a mosque, and was only accessible by underwater passage.

Behind These Eyes

Eyes of Semana Santa uno

(1/125, F5.6, ISO200, 220mm)

 When I posted my new avatar and old photo of an eye that peaked thru the pointy hat during the Easter procession in Zaragoza, befriended blogger Ashley suggested to go back to that time when I posted more of these ´portraits´.

It has been almost 3 years since I blogged about it and most followers may never have seen them, so I decided to pick my 3 other favorites.

Eyes of Semana Santa dos

(1/200, F5.6, ISO800, 250mm)

Also because I´m more busy nowadays with photographing, traveling, preparing travels etc, etc…and I don´t do a lot of archiving and postprocessing (did refurbish these just a tiny bit!), it would be a convenient way to show I´m still around (somewhere).

Eyes of Semana Santa tres

(1/160, F5.6, ISO200, 250mm)

Thanks for your memory and idea, Ashley!

Smaller and Smaller

Dirgayahu guitarist

(1/30, F2.8, ISO125, 26mm)

 During recent travels when hopping on small boats, rickshaws, buses and taxis around Southeast Asia, I became more and more aware that for some travels where photography wasn´t the main focus, it would be very handy to have a small camera.

After a lot of research and testing it was obvious that the third version of the Sony RX100 was the best option for me. Although more expensive than some SLR´s, all other compacts fell short in size, quality or possibilities (for manual control).

After the price came down in Malaysia I went for it and been trying it out for over a week now.

Last Saturday was a perfect time to test its handling of low light situations at a gig here in Kuala Lumpur and I must say I am very impressed; it feels very easy, and therefor fast, to adjust aperture and diaphragm with its two rings and all other settings (e.g. ISO, focus and metering mode) are just a button away.

Rock on

(1/100, F4, ISO400, 12mm)

The clarity, sharpness, easy handling and lack of noise (at higher iso) makes this a true winner in my book, although it can never replace my big SLR, but that was never the plan.

This last photo shows the beginning of noise when I put it at iso640, but still very well controlled!

(1/100, F4, ISO400, 12mm)

Although I was busy testing my camera I did enjoy the live concerts from Dirgahayu (first photo) and Reset to Zilch (last two photos) very much…


Pale Blue Eye

(1/125, F5.6, ISO200, 214mm)

This is an eye peeking through its capirote, a cone-shaped hat used during the Easter procession in Zaragoza, Spain.

It seemed appropriate to me to start the year 2015 by changing my gravatar to this photo, because this year I hope to become more serious with my photography and also because it was taken in 2012 at the start of my photographic expat travels.

I will obviously go on with posting here and probably add some backstory and experiences while trying this.

Thanks for all the feedback, support and enthousiasm the last couple of years, hope that will continue…


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,414 other followers