Tag: culture

A Taste of Burma: My Adventures as a Photographer in Myanmar

If you asked most people to locate Burma (Myanmar) on a map they wouldn’t be able to. I fit into this category and visiting this country had never even crossed my mind. I knew nothing about the country, culture or what to even expect. This all changed when two of my friends who are currently learning Burmese asked if I wanted to join them for a week to visit the countries capital, Yangon. I immediately booked the ticket without even doing any prior research. Little did I know it would become one of my favorite places that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting in Asia.

The Atmosphere

When visiting most major cities you can immediately sense the influence of western culture. You can see how it affects the way people dress, the way people act and their food. It’s almost like many cultures have lost a sense of their own identity as a result of the far-reaching effects of western influences.

When I landed in Yangon, I was expecting to see this right after I landed at the airport. To my surprise, I didn’t. The way people dressed, the food and the way the people acted impressed on my mind that they were, in fact, a unique people.  A people that still had an understanding of who they were apart from the rest of the world.


The first thing that stands out is the way they dress. Both the men and women wear a traditional type of clothing called a Longyi. They come in a variety of different materials and patterns. It is a very respectful yet beautiful style in my opinion, especially on the women. Both men and women dress in this manner even when they are spending leisure time with their families or doing normal daily tasks.

As an example, I took a local 3-hour train ride that went through the countryside. The train was mainly filled with farmers and monks but most of them still seemed to be dressed as if they were on their way to a special occasion. We would stop at a random farmers market in the middle of nowhere and they would still be dressed like this. It seems to be standard procedure.


The next thing that stood out to me was the food. It was beautiful blend of Indian and Asian flavors. Around every corner, you could smell something that would make you hungry, even if you’ve already eaten. As a general rule of them, even if you know nothing about the area, find a place that’s packed with locals and you’ll be in for a treat.

How to Photograph People in Burma

People in foreign countries usually love it when a foreigner puts in the effort to learn their local language. Usually, it will end up in them wanted to give you some pointers or in some instances them wanting to actually give you food or a gift of some sort. The goal is to show respect and to try and elicit a smile. Once you’ve got these two things you’re golden.

With that being said, the first thing I learned in Burmese was, “Can I take your picture?” I would walk up to people, smile, show them my camera and repeat the phrase until they could understand me.

Most of the time they would smile and laugh as if what I was asking was some sort of privilege for them. Sometimes they would even grab their friends or ask someone for advice on how they can pose. After a photo was taken I would usually show them the photo. It was almost a way to say thank you and they always seemed to appreciate it.



Thinking back, I think I only got turned down twice the entire week I was there. I can’t state it enough, the people are so incredibly kind. Their kindness comes across even without speaking to them, it’s quite amazing.

If you’re looking for more candid natural expressions, one method that gets consistent results is using your flip out LCD on your camera if you have one. Find a very crowded area where you won’t stand out. Keep your camera below your face and look down at your LCD screen and just shoot as people pass by. No one seems to mind or even notice you. They think you’re either looking at your camera settings or photographing something else.


If you ever get a chance to travel to this part of the world don’t hesitate! Get out there and try to soak up as much as you can from this wonderful and interesting place known as Burma.

Keep learning and have fun!


A Photographic Journey around San Felipe, Mexico

I have had the opportunity the past four months to live and photograph around San Felipe, Mexico. San Felipe is located in the Baja California and located about 2-3 hours south of the border along the side of The Sea of Cortes. San Felipe is filled with color, culture, great food, and beautiful desert land. Pack all of the correct gear for your travels and take an adventure to gather some great photographs. San Felipe SignOn your way to downtown San Felipe, you will first spot The Arches, a very popular monument of San Felipe. They call the arches “The Gateway To The Sea” The arches offers many angles. However, the only problem photographing the arches are all of the distractions around such as signs and wires, which you can Photoshop out later. Around and past the arches you will also find a hillside where you can explore to gather some more cultural photographs of the areas. This area is where you will find all of the best authentic food with local taquerias and is always a great photo op in itself by practicing your food photography. Down at the end of San Felipe is The Malecon, which sits next to The Sea of Cortes. The Malecon is lined with restaurants, shopping, and with a great view of the sea. This is where all of the events happen in towns such as food festivals, music festivals, and parades. This is a great place to take some iPhone street photography. San Felipe ArchesSan Felipe Culture

San Felipe Food Truck

San Felipe TacosSan Felipe TortaSan Felipe DowntownSan Felipe MaleconSan Felipe MaleconSan Felipe Shrimp FestivalSan Felipe is also a great place to gather some night photography. One of the best spots for night photography is down at The Shipyard, which you will find at the end of The Malecon. The Shipyard used to be a marina but was flooded, and they could not move the ships, so they are left there are part of a San Felipe gem. Up on a hill, you will find a building, The Boom Boom Room, a place that has also been abandoned and a very interesting location to photograph during the day or evening. Up on a mountain, you will find a little yellow chapel that looks over the town of San Felipe and right next to it is the lighthouse, which you can shoot from ground level or up at the top where the prayer building is. This is a great place to work with your angles. If you are in town during the full moon make sure to catch the moon rise over The Sea of Cortes: I was there for supermoon, and it was an incredible experience and a really good opportunity to try my moon photography skills and also work with some post editing. San Felipe Tampico ShipSan Felipe BoomBoom RoomSan Felipe MexicoSan Felipe ChapelSupermoon in MexicoThere are many smaller day trips you can take from San Felipe for some great opportunities including more water and desert land. On a note of transportation, you will need some form of 4-wheel drive out in the desert. It is a famous landmark in the area is The Valley of The Giants and a photo opportunity you will not want to miss. The valley holds cardon cacti that stand nearly 50 feet high. You can also drive further south to Percebu where you will find a little more surf in the water and also a great location to find treasures along the beach. Along the way, you will find more abounded buildings and interesting homes and land to photograph. The desert land has a lot of beauty to offer, and San Felipe is surrounded by beautiful desert land. You can take a drive out west closer to the mountains for some more variety in your desert landscape. The desert also offers some interesting finds such as bones, rocks, and maybe even a carcass or two. If you are going out in the middle of the day, you will have problems with harsh lighting in your landscapes, but you can always enhance your lighting in post production with landscape Photoshop actions or Lightroom Presets and Brushes. Valley of the GiantsValley of the GiantsPercebuSan Feipe DesertSan Felipe Mexico DesertSan Felipe Mexico DesertI hope you have the opportunity to visit San Felipe in your future travels or even Baja California to discover color, culture, and beautiful desert land by the sea or ocean side. As they say in the Baja “No Bad Days!”