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

So where do I start? After my wifey's surprise Maldives treat and the Bangkok assignment in January, a few other things happened on the way to today:

There was the run to Phuket and Sukhothai where I covered King Ramkamhaeng's birthday, among other things:

Q1

Then it was off to Myanmar where I photographed Yangon and Inle:
Q2

Afterwards, I headed off with my PhotoTrekkers to Bhutan where we shot the Punakha Dromche:
Q3

Not bad for the first half of the year, I tell ya:
Q4

Then without further ado, I hied off to Kuala Lumpur to shoot Islamic architecture and hang with Hainanese old-timers:
Q5

A few weeks of rest followed, then I promptly boarded at plane to Hanoi, where I hopped aboard the night train to Sapa Valley:
Q6

... and then I found myself back in Myanmar - whopeee - for the year's second PhotoTrek!
Q7

Philippines next - this time to Coron and Calauit Island:
Q8

Which happened back-to-back with an excursion down south to meet the Manobo tribespeople of Butuan:
Q9

Afterwards I stayed home to spend the Singapore Jubilee weekend with my wife and daughter:
Q10

Needless to say I'm happy with how this year is going.
Q11
 

A little tired, but yes - very happy :)


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

I'm not really used to having myself get splashed all over a newspaper front page, but it's nice to get the chance to tell some stories I've never told :

MBulletin
 

You can read the entire web version in the Manila Bulletin online :)


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

Thimphu, Bhutan - A Buddhist monk emerges from behind a colorful wall at the heart of downtown.

dragonmonk
 


 
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.


01


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

Some pictures of the happiest people on earth.

 

Buddhist Monk, Paro:

 

B01

Farmer, Punakha:

B30

 

Truckers, Dochula:
B18

 

Enlightened Master, Paro:
B04

The last guy is holding a wooden penis.....


 


 
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