Stephen Studd, a very passionate photographer hanging out of helicopters photographing over Angkor Wat & the Maldives, this month will be guest blogger of Manfrotto Imagine More. This week he will talk about the heart of Yangon city..
I have recently come back from a month long photo shoot in Myanmar (Burma) which is perhaps the hottest travel destination at the moment. Having visited the country eight years previously I was anxious to see the changes, as our world changes so rapidly nowadays. Knowing that the main sights such as Schwedagon Paya with its myriad Buddha statues and its jewelled gold stupa would remain the same, I decided to get straight into the heart of the city where I was based in down town Yangon.
It is from walking around and getting into the hidden corners of a city that you really get a feel for them at street level. Walking around and getting lost usually enables you to get those travel shots that cannot be planned in places where few tourists get to.
On my first walk around the city I happened to stumble upon a Chinese ceremony in Chinatown that was totally unexpected. The ceremony snaked its way through tiny back streets for over two hours and the people kept pushing me forward to the front so I could get shots.
The streets of Yangon are a travel photographers dream as pavement space is taken up by pop up markets, tea stalls and street sellers. In fact it almost became addictive searching out the hidden gems, colonial collapse and the vibrant street scenes. Real travel photography to me is exactly this, go get lost and the shots will come to you, you just have to get on your feet.
Of course I also visited the iconic places which are timeless. The biggest changes I saw in the capital were down on the street, where I felt there to be more openness and a slow move towards modernity in the sultry air.