The story of my several months-long trip around SE Asia could not be told without the missed photo opportunities. There were a few of those over the months, but none sting more than Bagan.
Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my three days in Bagan, and would rank it among the top five destinations of my whole trip. But, photographically speaking, I just couldn’t get the results I was expecting. The missed photo opportunities were sometimes due to my own lack of planning, and the slightly devil-may-care attitude with which I faced this long trip. Sometimes I just encountered far from ideal weather or light conditions.
As far as Bagan goes, I visited at the end of the dry season, and there wasn’t much I could do about the atmospheric conditions I found. At that time of the year, the Bagan plain is a rather hot and dusty place. And the thousands of tourists roaming the dirt tracks all day long make for extremely hazy skies by the end of the day, as you can tell from this photo.
Back then, I didn’t realize the conditions might be better at sunrise. While I never slept in during my stay in Bagan (I was always out and about before 8 a.m.), by the time I hit the road the sun was too high in the sky for the kind of images I was hoping to capture.
This image here was one of my best attempts at sunset, and it could have been far better if the sun had not completely disappeared behind those clouds, barely two minutes after I took this shot.
On the left hand side of the photo you can see the silhouettes of two of Bagan’s most important temples, built in the 12th century: Sulamani temple and behind, slightly to its left, Dhammayangyi temple, the largest one in Bagan. The two temples are about 700 metres away as the crow flies, but here they look much closer due to the long focal distance I used.