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dawn light silhoettes a fisherman on inle lake, shan state myanmar © Hamish Scott-Brown

Photographic Journeys Myanmar Blue Hour at Inle Lake, Myanmar

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

Photographic Journeys catch the first blue dawn light at Nyaung Shwe, grab a photographer’s breakfast on foot and then take the train north to Kalaw .

We left the hotel in Nuyaungshwe early to catch the train to Kalaw at the station, which is some 10 miles away. My local guide, Aung, said we had time for a short detour to Tharzi Pond, a small cutaway from the Inle Lake. The light was perfect as we shared a flask of hot green tea in the blue hour – that time just at dawn with the blue light strong, the mist just rising above the flat still water, and the dark silhouettes of the trees reflecting in the pond. In the distance I saw this single lone fisherman paddling his small kayak from the far bank off to tend his nets along our bank.



I hastily prepared myself for the right shot as he approached quickly setting my Fuji XT2 with a 50-140 f2.8 mm lens and waited, and waited. Snap, I sighed relief. Nothing is more satisfying than capturing the perfect moment, with excellent equipment, at the perfect time to capture something so naturally beautiful and poetic. The XT2 provides real clarity and contrast, and with a little bit of sharpening in post prod and a slight increase in colour curve shot in artificially cold blue tungsten balanced WB helps create a mood that has seen this image make it to publication in both The Telegraph and The Guardian.

A fisherman tends his nets as dawn light rises over Inle Lake, Shan State , Myanmar © Hamish Scott-Brown
A fisherman tended his nets as dawn light rose over Inle Lake, Shan State , Myanmar

The 07.30 from Shwen yaung to Kalaw beckoned and Aung grew nervous that we might miss it.

We finished our green tea, fired off 12 more frames and dragged ourselves away, as the early shift arrived by foot, bicycle and bull cart to work the day in the fields.

dawn sunlight through trees and pond in central myanmar © Hamish Scott-Brown
Sunlight poured through the trees as I sat sipping my strong hot coffee waiting for the 0730 to Kalaw from Shwe Nyaung Station

These are the scenes that make Myanmar such a perfect destination for photographers wanting to capture life in a world that is likely to disappear as the Starbucks, McDonalds and Western mass tourism approach and offer the promises of tourism for the masses.


For now, Myanmar still remains one the best and most natural settings for a photography holiday capturing true a Photographic Journey and giving you back a lifetime of digital memories on your Fuji, Nikon, Leica or Canon.


The beauty of travelling with such small groups in Photographic Journeys is that we are truly able to take time in the most perfect of locations. The dawn mist was rising and the light was changing fast from blue to orange.

amber light at Shwe Nyaung rail station at dawn © Hamish Scott-Brown
The tiny single track platform at Shwe Nyaung is lit by the now amber, early morning light.
Life begins to wake up in this sleepy little old fashioned village full of photographic journey treasures

The little village at the foot of the mountain, where the narrow gauge train climbs up north to Kalaw lent itself to the most beautiful dawn light,  and in a future post I’ll talk about the amazing local train trip train trip we take to Kalaw and the photographer’s Shangri La of Shan State, Myanmar. 

No true photographers adventure is complete without taking a local train and completing your ‘Journey’ with a small discreet camera, possibly a 28mm lens and a sense of adventure of what could happen and who you might meet.


Just to spend time that morning waiting for the train and sitting gazing through the dawn mist, sipping a hot coffee tea from the local station chai stall was a very simple but hugely enjoyable moment and time to reflect on why these simple pleasures can be so rewarding to photographers and travellers.

myanmar photography tour 2019
Photographic Journeys

Worldwide Photographic Tours & Holidays with Hamish Scott-Brown