This online shoebox contains random pictures, notes, whatever. I've been a professional writer-photographer for so many years now. It's a damn good excuse to carry a camera around.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

2) Back to Burma

 August 8, 2013: This land burned itself into my memory five years ago, when I first came here as a media guest. Myanmar was a heady blend of culture and beauty, the likes of which I had never seen. It was exotic and isolated, and in many ways untainted. Quite simply, I fell in love with this place.

02


It took me some time, but I finally made it back. With my pregnant wife in tow, I eagerly got reacquainted with “The Golden Land”.  Myanmar was just as I remembered it – hot and dusty, and brimming with character. At the capital Yangon, we explored the same gilded temples, bustling streets and crumbling colonial buildings I had photographed before. We fed pigeons for good karma at Sule Paya, and greeted sundown at the Shwedagon Pagoda. A few days later in nearby Bago, we shot long lines of Buddhist monks and visited more temples. And we feasted on mohinga, khao hswe and laphet htoke.

 While admittedly we couldn’t go too far and wide (the old-school infrastructure wasn’t the best for babymooning), this whiff of supremely picturesque Burma was intoxicating enough for me. This was but a fleeting trip compared to my epic journey in ’08.

 But dammit I missed this place - and I was just happy (so very happy) to be back :)

And I will be back again – oh, yes I will be – when my PhotoTreks photography tour goes to Myanmar this September. Visit the PhotoTreks website for more details!




1) Why I Became A Photographer



June 17, 2013: Nimalung, Central Bhutan. The colors bewildered. The sights overwhelmed. Not in a long while have I been this fired up about taking pictures. The balconies were packed with people. Monks in their scarlet robes mingled with country folks clad in native attire. Policemen in ceremonial dress watched by the sidelines. All eyes were on the courtyard below, where masked dancers were commemorating the annual tsechu, a four-day festival held in honor of the Buddhist saint, Padmasambhava.


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My senses felt overloaded. There were simply too many things to cover. Panic threatened to set in. Amidst the humming dung chen horns, the spinning prayer wheels, the swirling dancers and the singing women, I struggled to keep my composure. “Remember your training. Think objectively. Shoot for a story”, I reminded myself. Eventually I found my rhythm and things fell into place. The story unfolded. Backstage and onstage, in the stands and at the village outside, my cameras documented this amazing display of Bhutanese culture.

Rarely do they come together, but on this day they were all here. The exotic, the picturesque, and the mind-blowing. The joy of discovery. To capture these all – that is why I became a photographer.

 


... and that is why I still am :) Can't wait to see what happens this year!


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Buddhist monks at the Kyakhatwine Monastery in Bago, Myanmar have lunch together in one big hall:

 

Monk_meal

 

It's their last meal for the day.

 


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Two young stall keepers pose for a portrait in Bago, Myanmar:

 

Burmese

 

 


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

The best photography subjects aren't the prettiest looking ones. The best photography subjects are the ones with the most character. In this regard, Myanmar ranks up there among my favorites.

 

 

Shwedagon Pagoda:

shwedagon

 

Beautiful is nice, but so are dust and grime. Potholes and noise. And the sweat and the smiles of common folks coping with their daily lives.

 

 

Off to work, downtown Bago:

bagotrishaw

 

 

Places like these are fertile grounds for serendipity. And we all know that where serendipity happens, creativity sprouts.

 

 

Lunchtime queue, Kyakhatwine monastery:
kyakhatwine

 

So when you find yourself somewhere scenic and interesting, do not rest. Milk the place for all its worth. Shoot from sunup till sundown, and then shoot some more.

 

 

Downtown Yangon, after the rain:
umbrella



All images shot with a Nikon FG + 28-70mm and 19mm lenses. Films used were Agfa Apx 100 and Efke 25.

 

 

 
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