River tours are becoming ever more popular with tourists in Southeast Asia, with both high-end luxury cruises and many more general options including day trips. The major river in Myanmar is the Ayeyarwady (also/formerly spelled Irrawaddy).
We recently posed some introductory questions to Sven Zika, Sales and Marketing Manager at Pandaw / The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, the first company to offer international tourists river expeditions in Myanmar, from 1995, with a company history going back over 100 years before that (see the history of the company here).
1. Has there been a growth of interest from travellers recently?
Sven: Yes, there has been a huge surge of interest in river cruising, especially as Myanmar has become more widely appreciated as a holiday destination. From two ships in 2013, our fleet has grown to 7 ships in 2014 with one more on the way in 2015.
2. What ages and nationalities of passengers most often come on your cruises?
Sven: At the moment the majority of passengers are 50+ and come mostly from the UK, USA, and Australia, as well as all over Western Europe
3. Why are river tours a good way of seeing Myanmar?
In this second interview, we quiz Marc about some of the practical and technical aspects of working on photography for the Architecture of Buddhism book series…
1. Compared to normal photo projects, what were some of the technical differences and challenges around the Golden Lands project?
I carried a tripod at all times — long exposures inside dark temple interiors were very important.
Stone surfaces and facades can look very dull in bad light so we had to make the most of good light. We often had to visit a site more than twice to get the light falling just right on a feature or exterior so we were running around a lot and I had to keep a careful list of what I needed to do and at what time of day.
Shooting after dark can give the project a very different look so we were often shooting all day and then some!
2. Can you tell us about the camera(s) used and any equipment you found useful?
Nikon D700 (I now have a D800 too); 14-24mm zoom, 24-70mm zoom, 50mm, 105mm, 180mm and 300mm lenses.
A tripod is essential and a head torch for dark interiors to set the camera!
Marc Schlossman is an expert photographer who travelled with Golden Lands author Vikram Lall to capture views of Myanmar (particularly Bagan) as well as many of the other stupa, monastery, and temple photos for the other SE Asian countries in the book.
Here we interview Marc about his work on this Architecture of Buddhism series so far:
1. Which countries did you cover for the Golden Lands photography?
Had you already travelled in these countries?
Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. I had never been to the first two; I had traveled in Thailand a few times but never to Sukhothai or the other temples outside Bangkok.
2. Have you previously or subsequently done photography projects similar to this, focusing on SE Asian historical sites?
I was commissioned to shoot in Singapore and Malaysia for the book Paradise Found: Journeys Through Noble Gardens of Asia, [ISBN 9789833214037] published by Cross Time Matrix in Kuala Lumpur in 2008. It’s a showcase of public gardens in the region and the shooting involved the same skills I needed to shoot the three chapters in Golden Lands. Continue reading Interview with Marc Schlossman, Golden Lands Photographer→
The first ever art historical survey focusing comprehensively on the Architecture of the Buddhist World