“Morning in Bagan” by Bharat Patel

This image was taken while staying in Bagan, Myanmar for a few days of photography among the numerous temples and pagodas.

Myanmar is a fascinating country with ancient history. Unfortunately for many decades it was shunned by the outside world. It was a country I had longed to visit for many years. An opportunity arose in 2013. 

Previously I had chaired international competitions for several years and during that time I had seen many images of Bagan with cattle being herded through the dusty roads between the temples. That was another motivation for me to visit the place. Since July 2019 Bagan is a World Heritage site and there are restrictions to protect the heritage. It is not only a place of sublime beauty, but a place of tremendous historic importance with more than 3500 surviving stupas, temples, and monuments.

To take this morning shot I left the hotel, which was well outside the Old Bagan, at about 4 am. I had hired a moped for the day. I rode in the dark on the dusty path to one of the largest temples from where I had planned to shot the morning glory of Bagan. The day before I had already climbed several temples to look for a good spot. Fortunately, this was a few years back when one could climb the temple steps and move around the outside of the temples at will. I think this is no longer permitted. 

Shooting at dawn is a waiting game. As the sun rose and just appeared over the low grounds there was a beautiful phase when the whole area was light up in orange hue. Just what I was waiting for. And then the balloons started drifting across the land. This was of added interest for the composition of a travel photograph. I had taken many shots during the 2 hours I spent on the temple. Among the many, I chose this one for various competitions.

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

Apart from the natural beauty of the place the two most important features of the photograph are the juxtapositioning of the large temple on the right and the balloon on the right. The orange hue of the early morning sun adds to the atmosphere. Overall it is a balanced composition that has a wow factor.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

To make this photo perhaps a bit better I would like to have taken several balloons in the image. This would be a bit difficult as balloons drift differently and so to get a good composition does not prove to be very easy.

Bharat Patel shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Bharat Patel, Oxford, UK


Equipment and Settings

Canon EOS 6D + EF100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM
ISO 800, 330mm, f/7.1

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Comments (1):

  1. RajM

    September 30, 2020 at 16:33

    Beautiful orange hue and single hot air balloon. The 4:00 am ride must be an adventure in itself.


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