Lensball photographer Simon Bond

Enlightenment - U-Bein Bridge, Myanmar

Simon Bond

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How Was The Photo Taken?

This is a favourite light painting photo of mine, the process behind taking it was more complicated than for most photos. So do you want to learn how this photo was taken? Let's get into it.

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Framing The Photo

1. The first thing to know is the light painting was produced using a special piece of kit called a Pixelstick, this awesome LED device allows you to program in the light painting pattern you want to take.

2. Arrival at the location early was important, sunsets here draw a large crowd, and ensure you can get in position with the camera is vital.

3. This photo used a long exposure of ten seconds, and of course was set up on a tripod.

4. A long focal length was used to zoom in on a section of the bridge, and to frame the image accordingly.

Taking The Photo

1. Now the next step is to wait until the light is at the right level. Arriving an hour before sunset is good practice, you then need patience to wait for the sky to change. In this photo this is a post sunset sky, but still with all that vivid colour.

2. The long focal distance meant there is a long distance between the subject and the camera. Added to this the camera is setup on the lakeside bank, and the light painting needs to happen on the bridge, which I'd be performing. The distance between subject and camera took several minutes to walk, and I don't have a teleport device!

3. I did have a guide with me for the day though, so I kindly asked him to hit the shutter once I was in position to carry out the light painting.

4. Coordinating with my guide to hit the shutter involved some hand/arm gestures that we'd agreed on. So once I gave him the gesture to hit the shutter, I could begin the light painting.

5. The final element of this photo is the silhouetted monks. Now for this I needed a little bit of luck. I was lucky, and some monks agreed to stand still for me for the time needed to take the photo. They were also curious about what I was doing with the pixelstick!

10. As soon as a lull in the movement of people on this section of the bridge appeared everything was ready for the photo! It was quite literally lights, camera, action!

What's The Background To This Photo?

The magical U-being bridge is one of Asia's most iconic scenes. It's found in Myanmar, not far from the town of Mandalay.

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If you're visiting Myanmar any time soon, this place is a must visit. It does get busy at sunset, but Myanmar currently doesn't have the same level of tourism as other SE Asian destinations.

The bridge is popular among photographers because at sunset the silhouette it produces against the sky is amazing. You'll also be able to silhouette interesting subjects moving along the bridge, perhaps monks as in this photo, but cyclists can also make a nice focus to your image.

The U-bein bridge is famous as it's the worlds largest teak wooden bridge. This bridge spans the Taungthaman Lake near to Amapura, and one end of the bridge sits near to a large monastery complex.

Learn more about light painting

This photo uses light painting to achieve a creative photograph.  If you want to learn more about light painting you can do that with the light painting course called Illuminate.

License this image

This feature is still being implemented, please come back soon or contact me directly to license this image. Use this contact form.

Camera model - Canon 5D MkII

Lens - Canon 70-300mm f4-5.6

Aperture - f11

Shutter speed - 10 seconds

ISO - 100

Focal distance - 300mm

Date taken - 27th January 2017


U-Bein bridge - Myanmar

© Simon Bond 2017