Tag Archive: market

Myanmar: Myitkyina Morning Market

One of the nice things about Myitkyina is its compactness. You can walk a lot of places, and see even more with the help of a bicyle. There are plenty of motorbike taxis if you prefer to be taken places.

The wet market is where fresh produce is sold in the early morning. It’s split into separate areas, and there is plenty of sighs and smells. Some of the produce comes in by small boat, and if you walk through to the back of the market you can watch boats crossing the calm waters of the Irrawaddy.

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I find it very difficult to take photographs of people in markets. I’m always aware they are busy selling their produce, and probably don’t want a lens pointed in their face. In Kengtung I hadn’t taken any market photos at all, which was a shame as it’s the most interesting market I’ve ever been to due to the many different ethnic groups there. I wondered if i was thinking about it too much, so decided this was the time to give it a go.

Inside the market is very dark, so photography is tricky. I cranked up the ISO to 1600, and then to 2000. I probably should have pushed it higher, although my wide aperture lens helped to keep adequate shutters speeds. With the odd exception where i could grab a sneaky shot, i asked if i could photograph. One lady was obviously too shy, but other than that i was given the green light. Most people just carried on working, without interacting with the camera. I noticed that they would be a little uncomfortable if you took too many photos, so if i didn’t get the shot within a couple of frames i would stop shooting and thank them.

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I’m not sure if i’ve described this earlier, but the ladies in Myanmar use a traditional cosmetic named Thanakha, which is to protect their skin and for beauty purpose. Thanakha is made from roots and timber of the Thanakha tree, and is worn by most women and some children. Even though it was very dark in the market, the ladies still tended to wear a good covering of  Thanakha, as can be seen in the photos.

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Myanmar: Myitkyina First Impressions

The plan was to have look around Myitkyina, and then spend a few days taking boats down the Irrawaddy River back to Mandalay. I needed to return to Mandalay to catch the first of my flights home. However,  I felt time was not on my side and, considering i’ve had some pretty special river journeys previously, I decided to spend my last few days of holiday in Myitkyina to relax.

Myitkyina is as far north as a foreigner is allowed in Myanmar without obtaining special permits. It is the capital city of Kachin State, and the northernmost river port in Myanmar. Myitkyina actually means “near the big river” in Burmese,  and the Irradaddy runs very close to the centre of town. Myitkyina is definitely a place to go to experience Myanmar’s multiculturalism including a mix of  Kachin, Shan, Bamar peoples, and some Chinese and Indians. Even though it doesn’t have a wealth of sights, i’m sure there would be enough to keep me happy.

With the exception of an occasional NGO worker, you don’t see many foreigners in town. You feel rather special as you wander the markets and eat at the restaurants overlooking the river. My first day was spend doing only that, as i recovered from the 24 hour train journey that brought me into town early that morning. The photos below show the Hindu temple, and the street market.

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I took a couple of beers at the fantastic ‘River View’ restaurant and beer bar and decided i would get some early morning photographs in the covered market the next day.

Indonesia: Various shots around Jakarta (Canon A1 and Kodak Ektar 100)

I am getting such a kick going back to film. It’s tempting to edit the scans in Photoshop when i see something that can be improved, but if you’re going to do that you may as well shoot digital. One of the things i am really enjoying with emulsion is the challenge to get it right in-camera and not ‘rescue’ images with editing software.

First is a shot out of my hotel window on the 28th floor, looking down at the evening traffic.


The following images were taken over the two days I spent in Jakarta.  I was primarily shooting digital (see preceding posts) so i only got through two films.  But as my confidence grows with the Canon A1 i think i’ll be using it more when i visit again in October and will need to start packing more Ektar. The shots immediately below were taken as i walked the streets of North Jakarta on the Saturday morning.





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The shots below were taken on the Sunday morning as i traipsed the streets. I was trying to find a market that i had read about, which sold unusual produce (to western eyes) such as snakes and birds.  I didn’t find the market i was looking for, but had a good time trying.




Eventually I did find a market, although not the one i was looking for.  I was invited to drink coffee with some locals, and had a bit of a laugh with them. They thought it was very funny to have a bule sitting with with them as they took a break from their stalls.  I was given some unusual food to try; I’m not sure what any of it was but it was very nice.

Take a look at the last photograph, the one of the biggest pile of fireworks i have ever seen.  Can you spot the hazard? 😉



Laos: Moving to the Central Provinces

Moving north from the Bolavan Plateau is tricky if you want to stay on the east side of the country. We got as far as Salavan where the market the uplands tribeswomen come to sell animals and plants from the jungle. Storming in with a camera is normally not appreciated and a few tentative questions led us to believe they would not welcome photography. I would have loved to have photographed them amongst the bags of frogs, snakes and other oddities but it was not to be.  I managed to get the photos below.




There seemed to be a lot of bicycling monks around the place.  Here’s a pic of one zooming past.


There are very few whiteys around Salavan and we wondered how we would get north. There is actually a small tourist information office but the attendant had moved out-of-town for a few days. However, we found out a bus was moving in the morning for Savannaket. Unfortunately, the bus would not start and so we reluctantly made our way back south to Paxse as our only was to get north again up the west side.