Like any respectable city, Yangon has its own great Chinatown. Head to 19th street, Yangon to get some atmospheric photographs of food and vendors and while you’re there, eat some delicious barbecue food at BBQ Alley.
The Nitty Gritty
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19th Street Yangon
We headed out to Yangon’s Chinatown for dinner at around 5.30 in the evening. The streets are lined with vendors selling a variety of colorful food and vegetables.
At 5.30, the lights are getting pretty low, so you want to take a fast lens if you have it or you’ll end up with blurry shots.
Below is a paan serving being made with betel leaves, arecca nut and tobacco.
I’m Indian so I’ve tried it before when I visit India. But I think my mom (who is my paan dealer) always gets the “sweet”, tobacco-less kind.
This stuff, on the other hand, felt like it was flavored with a splash of Drano – ugh.
Try to zoom in on details to get interesting shots. I always like shots with hands in them because there’s such a human connection when you see someone’s hands.
As it was late evening and my lens wasn’t that fast, I had to use a rather high ISO of 3200 to shoot. God, I remember the days when ISO 3200 would result in a pile of mud for a photo. Definitely helps to have a newer sensor!
If that comment made no sense – learn more about how high ISO affects your shot.
Night Market Photography
Night markets are great places for photography with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We were only in Yangon for a short time and I was really glad this was where we went in that short time.
If you are there for longer, check out this great guide on Yangon for more ideas on things to do.
Back to the market – when you shoot the vendors, be a little sensitive of whether they mind or not. If they indicate no, I don’t shoot, it’s good to always respect people. I do wish I was better at getting to know people to be able to shoot them but it’s something I want to work on for sure.
I thought this young women was beautiful among all her fish.
Watch out for colors and patterns that stand out among the busy stalls and vendors. These feet were striking against the pale skin of the chickens.
It’s easy to get excited with the colors, but watch the composition as well.
Think about the juxtaposition of circles, squares and the lines drawing your eye.
Yangon’s BBQ St is located at 19th and Maha Bandula road. As the evening darkens, the lights go on and the smoke from the BBQs adds to the atmosphere. It’s a must visit if you want to capture Yangon
Try to find a view with some lit street signs to add interest to the lighting.
I know you want to use a tripod but it’s much too busy to bust out a three-legged tripping hazard – you’ll need a steady hand here. Or really excellent IS.
Definitely take the shot before you down some beers. By the way, important tip – Myanmar beer. Not that you’ll miss it, it’s EVERYWHERE.
The shot below was at 1/100s which is fine to hand-hold but I was losing light quickly!
I was shooting with my Canon 70D but since then I’ve switched to a Panasonic GX-85. With it’s 5 axis IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization), I could have handheld for much longer.
To end the night, we grabbed some bbq food and of course, Myanmar beer, both of which were delicious.
I wish I’d taken more (and better) shots of the food but I was too busy chowing down. But consider that your mission, get some food shots to make me proud.
Hope you get a chance to visit 19th street, Yangon to explore Chinatown and BBQ St.
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