You may be highly experienced, or still wearing an ‘L’ plate, in travel photography terms but if you’re not used to taking photographs in tropical conditions then Burma can present a few particular problems.
Many visitors to these climes are surprised by the speed of sunrise and sunset at these latitudes; dawn and dusk can last barely 30 minutes and that ‘magic hour’ beloved by photographers may well be reduced to a ‘magic 15 minutes’.
This means that forethought, planning and advance information is especially useful. You won’t have too much time to move around from site to site to get your shots, so you’ll have to pick one, (or at least a couple of adjacent options), and stick to it. If it doesn’t work out you’ll have to wait until the next day to try another spot.
On the other hand, sunrise and sunset only vary by a maximum of an hour or so throughout the year and the duration doesn’t change by much either. There are no long summer evenings or short winter days in these climes but at least the times remain relatively, consistent year round.
Light conditions in Burma can be a challenge to those accustomed to shooting in European or North American daylight. You shouldn’t expect the same light diffusion during daylight shooting times, or those soft pastel shades you’re used to for morning or late afternoon landscapes.
The light in Burma tends to be much harsher and contrasts between shade and light more highly pronounced. Take care with shadows on your portraits or street shots or you may be looking at some lengthy editing work. Here in particular, early and late hours are vital and the glare and haze of the mid part of the day can make your efforts at that time futile. Do as the locals do; rise early and find somewhere in the shade to chill out later on.
Finally bear in mind that advice on the ‘best spot’ for sightseeing may not necessarily apply for photography, and that following tips from regular guidebooks mean there’ll inevitably be a lot of other visitors following the same advice and crowding out your shot! For that reason we’ve included a number of sections on “off the beaten path” photography destinations where you’ll find enough space to capture the perfect spot.
But most of all, enjoy your trip and happy shooting!