Mandalay: an afternoon in a street market

Throughout Asia, markets are a big part of daily life in a way very different from our malls.  I romanticize them a bit when I’m touring through my memories of trips to and living in Thailand, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Myanmar.   However, every time I return, I head straight for the nearest night market, food bazaar, or whatever to get a feel for the place and the people.  Just about a year ago, I was in Mandalay in central Myanmar and in a bid to escape the afternoon heat, I lingered in this corridor set off to the side of a very large market in the city.

Just a really cool spot to spend a couple of hours.  The kids were a ton of fun but pretty elusive – they welcomed me to take their picture but weren’t interested in staying still for even a fraction of a second.  No worries, we shared some laughs and I had some really good tea from the lady with the pink food (but I didn’t give that one a try).

13 responses

  1. These photos are absolutely incredible! So evocative. I write a lot about markets but wish I had your photos to illustrate the experience. If you require more incentive to come to India than you’ve received from other comments, perhaps this will help excite you about the local color! Let us know if you are coming!

    November 29, 2011 at 5:17 am

  2. Val Erde

    Chris, these are both fascinating and (excuse the pun) a feast for the eyes. Are they ‘straight photos’ or did you adjust them in photoshop or something? Just so good!

    February 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    • Hi Val,

      Thanks for commenting. I shoot RAW files so some level of post processing is required as the images look flat and dull straight out of the camera. I use Lightroom for most of my post processing and I like the look I get with Topaz Adjust as well. However, it is easy to get carried away with Adjust, so I try to use it with a soft touch. In this series, “A corridor in the shade” needed an increase in brightness as I was trying to keep a fast enough shutter to avoid too much blur in the people walking past which resulted in an image about 1/2 a stop darker than I wanted. To that I opened up the shadows in the blue arches to allow the detail to be seen. I increased the saturation slightly to present the true color of the arches, columns and vegetables. If you look at the tomatoes, they are the right color, that is what I used to base my color adjustment on. “Lunch in the open” was brightened and highlights were recovered after the increase in exposure. “Behind the baskets” was brightened as I missed the correct exposure with the mix of brightnesses in the scene. One of the advantages of RAW is the ability to recover a certain amount of the highlights and shadows without the distortion you get in Jpeg files. “One option for getting home” – in the RAW file the wall behind the bicycle is blown out as I was exposing for the bike. In Adjust I was able to recover the highlights in the wall and pull out that great detail in there.



      February 28, 2011 at 11:36 am

  3. I love street markets. Great pictures.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:08 am

  4. SWK

    The colors are so vibrant!

    February 25, 2011 at 6:09 am

  5. Incredible, absolutely. Everything drips personality.

    February 25, 2011 at 5:04 am

  6. fantastic pictures!!!

    February 25, 2011 at 4:21 am

  7. Michael Fox

    Hey Chris, Nice photos of Burma. Reminds me of my time there as well. You will absolutely love India. Not a moment will go by that you won’t see something to photograph!

    February 25, 2011 at 1:44 am

    • Hey Mike,

      Great to hear from you.
      Another vote for India – I’m convinced!
      Enjoy the 7’s in HK – that will be a very good time.



      February 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm

  8. Hiro

    Great photos! so lively.

    February 25, 2011 at 12:08 am

  9. Very nice! 🙂

    You should come to India. We have some really cool markets! Markets in Chennai especially are found around temples. Vendors sell flowers (a riot of colours and fragrances!), glass bangles(that look stunning at night,their colours and sheen accentuated by the light from lanterns and brass lamps) and coconuts(to be offered to the deity in the temple), among other things. Fascinating.

    I love your blog! Keep posting. 🙂

    February 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    • Hello Ashwini,

      India is the country I am trying very hard to get to. Your descriptions are building that fire. I would love to visit Chennai, Varanasi, Ranthambore National Park, Bandhavgarh NP and so many more. I think I will have to bring my family so we can stay for a long while – there is so much I already want to photograph. I can only imagine what else I will find when I finally get there.

      Thank you for following the blog and for your comments.



      February 25, 2011 at 12:24 am

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