While shooting sunrise with Maung Maung, we saw the balloons float into the rising sun. Wow, we thought, we’ll be  up there tomorrow. We were not disappointed.


Shooting sunrise in Bagan

If you recall, in our post Magical Sunrise and Sunset, the golden hours showcase a magical golden-pink light. Combine that with the thousands of temple spires, and then add a little altitude and one has a whole other world of amazing.


Golden light of sunrise


The mist and spires of Bagan

As we rose above the landscape, we could here Cat Stevens singing, “I’m being followed by a balloon shadow, balloon shadow, balloon shadow”…


Rising in our balloon, before sunrise, we could see across to the Irrawaddy River and the mountains in the distance.  According to Donna, our balloon pilot, there is a current battle between the local government and national aviation organization  in terms of what is permissible altitude for flying. One says the balloons must travel below 500 feet and the other above 500 feet… so we flew on the line at about 500 feet. Definitely a bird’s eye view. Heck, I wouldn’t want to be any higher. The photography from this height was perfect.


Early morning light on the temples of Bagan


Balloons over Bagan

NIKON D800E, f5.6, 1/100”, ISO 200, 80mm, AUTO1

Enjoying the morning ride

There was also great play of light and shadows and interesting lines.


Shadows and spires and textured landscape

NIKON D800E, f5.6, 1/500”, ISO 400, 112mm, AUTO1

Lines and shadows create interesting patterns


Lines and patterns above us

And of course, a birds eye view of life in the local village

NIKON D800E, f5.6, 1/640”, ISO 400, 116mm, AUTO1

Commuting to work with the team of oxen


A view into everyday life…

The morning light proved to be wonderful … and you know it’s all about the light.