October 1, 2013

Behind the lens – October 2013

Sunset temple silhouette in Bagan (Jilske Photography. All rights reserved)
1/30 sec, f29, 40mm, ISO 320

The Place
Located in central Burma, Bagan is home to over two thousand pagodas and stupas. Some are completely ‘renovated’, others are little more than ruins. While the plains are lush and green during and after rainy season, dust fully takes the reigns in dry season. Bagan is best explored in the morning and evening, not just because of the quality of light, but also because temperatures soar during the day. Truly. Blazing. Hot. It’s a place to take your time and explore at your own pace.

The Story
As mentioned in January‘s post, it helps if you can scout your locations beforehand. We cycled by this temple during the day and I noticed how fairylike the little pirouetted towers looked. When I’m travelling I always bring a notebook with me (leave your underwear at home if you have to, but bring pen and paper). During any downtime (and preferably with a beer) sit down and write about the things you saw that day. How it felt, what it looked like, what seemed different. I doodle, make shotlists and try to think visually of things I should try. Photographing that list is not so important – sitting down and reflecting on things is. So here’s a snapshot of my notes that day I cycled by the temple…


Horrible handwriting I know, it just shows that I made this image before I actually took it.  The typical image of Bagan is rows of temples at sunset – rarely you find that many temples in one area. And I got that image. But I also wanted to try something different. I love negative space, so I doodled, what if I could isolate just ONE temple on the left – and have the sun balancing it out on the other side. Rarely do my doodles ever translate into an exact frame like this – once in a blue moon – but I’m absolutely convinced sitting down and thinking visually helps you see things you otherwise would not.

Full Calendar 2013
This image is part of the 2013 calendar. Follow this link to download the full size version to use as wallpaper on your tablet or desktop.

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