Solitude in the Magic Hour at one of Myanmar’s most sacred temples
13 March, 2007 8 Years Ago This Week: This photo is one of my favourites. I took it pretty much by accident. I arrived in the late afternoon with no thought about it being what photographers call the magic hour, when the sunlight starts to burnish everything it touches and nature basically does the work for you. At the time, I don’t think I even knew what the magic hour was back then.
I was still learning photography and was growing intensely frustrated at not being able to capture what I could actually see – or at least an approximation of it. Which made taking this shot of a deserted Schwezigon Paya, one of the most sacred temples in Burma, hugely gratifying because, mostly by accident rather than design, it came out exactly as the scene I saw in front of me.
The other thing this photo makes me think about is solitude – the tiny miracle of having a place like this to yourself. There are usually ways to dodge the crowds at any major attraction if you’re willing to do some research to figure it out beforehand. Doing so pays off hugely – when a place is full of people it’s hard to see the place itself. With a little silence and calm around you, there is space to think about what you are seeing, what it’s doing here and where it came from, the people that built it and why they did so. It stops being mere spectacle and becomes a living memorial to those who created it and the beliefs they held. It’s hard to contemplate any of that when you’re being hit in the back of the head with a selfie stick.
What Is 12 Years Of Travel?I'm publishing a photo each week during 2015 that was taken in the same week sometime in the previous 12 years on my travels. Join me in my journey to combat early senility by trying to remember what the hell I was doing over the last decade.
- Week 1: Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Melbourne
- Week 2: Cannibal Rock, Komodo, Indonesia
- Week 3: Ocean Reflection, Ari Atoll, Maldives
- Week 4: Vertigo Bar Sunset, Banyan Tree Hotel, Bangkok
- Week 5: Talc Alf Sculptures, Flinders Ranges, Australia
- Week 6: After The Tsunami, Khao Lak, Thailand
- Week 7: Drugs Warning, Jakarta Airport, Indonesia
- Week 8: Beng Mealea Temple, Angkor, Cambodia
- Week 9: Failing To Climb Mount Kinabalu, Borneo
- Week 10: Night Diving At Maaya Thila, Maldives
- Week 11: Schwezigon Paya Temple, Bagan, Myanmar
- Week 12: Octopus, Hin Daeng, Thailand
- Week 13: A View With A Room, Bangkok Tree House
- Week 14: Koh Haa, Thailand
- Week 15: Angry Whopper, Singapore
- Week 16: Kuda Gili Shipwreck, Maldives
- Week 17: Model Shoot, Bangkok
- Week 18: Banda Islands, Indonesia
- Week 19: Port Eliot, Cornwall
- Week 20: Exmouth, Australia
- Week 21: Newquay Cliffs, Cornwall