Myanmar – land of blood, dreams and gold

As a break from skiing, I’m heading for a photography project and thinking of warmer climes to improve the mood;  so I feel very fortunate to be getting to explore the fascinating country of Myanmar / Burma for the next few weeks.

Taking a few notes from Richard Cockett’s excellent book on “The Changing face of Burma“, hints from the Lonely Planet and visual inspiration from the National Geographic I’m fortunate in being shown around by some acclaimed photographers so I hope to be able to share a few reasonable snaps with you in due course!

From the legendary stupas of Bagan, the evocative Road to Mandalay and enormous Schwedagon Paya temple in Yangon through to the peace of Lake Inle (with curious ‘leg rowers’) and the general intrigue of some of the interior still emerging from a period of isolation… a few weeks seems only too short a time.

Image courtesy of :

Planning and gear?

People often ask what I am going to take on a trip and so here’s a few notes to help. As some early prep I have been having a familiar trawl through the Photographers Ephemeris for ideal times and angles for light at the key locations on the route; if you have not made use of this tool, it’s well worth the effort in planning up-front.

I’ve long been a Canon man, so it’s a healthy travel bag of gear to cover a range of options. There are a few compromises for weight and the local airlines having a 7kg hand luggage limit:

  • EOS 5D Mk3 with a mix of lenses: 10-22mm f.3.5, 24-70mm f2.8 and a 70-200mm f2.8 plus 1.4 multiplier ( I couldn’t quite fit a 100-400mm into the list )
  • Gitzo tripod, taking the lightweight Traveller series 2545 (I’m a tall guy so need the height!)
  • A selection of Cokin ND filters for those sunrise / sunset shots (some prefer the Lee series, I’ve not had a problem with Cokin over the years)
  • Handful of Sandisk 32Gb Extreme Pro cards
  • Kingston G2 MobileLite wireless card reader / storage and router – great for hotels with limited wifi plus handy for data transfer to a portable USB hard-drive without needing to fire-up the laptop, and it acts as a portable 4650mAh battery charger
  • MacBook Pro 15″ with Lightroom / Photoshop CC ( you get well over a month of grace for use offline – which also helps battery life
  • …and of course some cleaning gear to cope with the ever present dust ( it is just at the end of a dry season )

For a bit of fun and for those times on the trains, boats and rickshaws, I’m going to squeeze in a GoPro Hero4.




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