If cityscapes are geographies crisscrossed with rivers of movement, there are areas where that energy turns back on itself, and swirls into a pool, an eddy. Sometimes the biggest fish save their energy and prowl the shallows near the reeds. On the street, I find that the brightest photographic opportunities are often outside of the main flow.

I witnessed this recently while traveling in Burma. At pagodas, payas, or stupas, people generally walk in a clockwise direction, along a marked path. In each place, I tried to step off the path, out of the flow, and spent time exploring the surrounding, supporting buildings and areas.

I’d find myself in situations that were unpredictable, often unexplainable, and generally much more fascinating than the glitz of gold domes. I took a sequence of five pictures in a particular eddy at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. I’ve posted three of them here: 1, 2 and 3.

On the far left of the second pic, you can see the foot of the lion that’s in the first pic. I stayed in this particular spot for about fifteen minutes, and the minute one thing stopped happening, someone else wandered over and something else started-up.

As photographers, we can spend a lot of time running around, going here and there trying to make a picture, but sometimes the best stuff happens when you just stop and hang-out and interact with whatever gets caught in the swirl.

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