vietnamese people movers | travel photography

1.25.2013

There are two things which scream "Vietnam" the most to me when it comes to photographic symbols. The conical hat, or Nón lá, and the motor bike. Actually, they are not just Vietnamese, rather "South East Asian", but these symbols just do it for me. I can smell the fumes now.


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dhow | oman landscape photography

1.23.2013


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kl tower

1.21.2013

ha long bay

1.20.2013

Ha Long Bay was on the top of my "to see" list in Vietnam, and it did not disappoint. The government controls the area well, and it shows, with both good and bad aspects, naturally. The good, is the protection... tens of thousands of visitors seek to be amazed by the natural wonder which would be damaged if no regulation was enacted. The bad, is you are forced to take approved cruises which I felt were limited to only a small portion of the area. Our cruise was a 2 day, 1 night parade... we left the harbor at the same time as the other companies, visited the same sites as other boats, and anchored at night sharing the same water. I guess as a photographer I wanted my own little piece of Ha Long Bay just to myself to photograph and control. The cruise is designed to give the maximum activities in the least amount of time, not my idea of good time, but the trip was worth it and the travelers good company.

We almost didn't get to go on the adventure because of the weather, the previous day's trip was canceled. However, God was on our side giving us warm rays and beautiful skies. The first image was photographed using my Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer with a handheld 2-stop hard-step Graduated ND filter. I wanted the clouds to pop and hold the detail in the boat. The second image was taken from the sun deck of our boat with the last touches of light, and no filtration.


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back when i was in nam...

Finally I have gone through a bunch of images from my last trip through Asia with my friend Sarah... and the task continues. What took so long? The easy answer is procrastination. The long answer is I have over 27,000 individual images totaling about 60GB from the 7 week journey. That's a lot to handle, but after upgrading hard drives and software, I can now crunch pixels again, inshallah.

Vietnam was a great experience, and I'd love to visit again. Traveling to Vietnam with a US Passport requires a tourist visa, as do most western passports. The issue for me was there are no Vietnamese consulates or embassies in Oman. The closest being Abu Dhabi. Luckily, it is easy to get the required paperwork in Cambodia at the Vietnamese consulate same or next day. Since Cambodia was on the itinerary already, we would just have to sort out the time to get it all done. It was well worth the effort.

I only wish we had more time to spend traveling to smaller cities. The cities/areas we enjoyed were: Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hanoi, and Halong Bay. All beautiful in their own way, but I'd have to say I least enjoyed Ho Chi Minh City because of the constant threat of camera stealing motorcyclist and the overly persistent pedal taxis. Traveling between all points was by ground, mostly via the train.

Da Nang, once at the forefront of American operations in the 60s and early 70's, is now a charming city without the negative qualities it's larger compatriot cities hold. Tourism isn't huge in downtown Da Nang, in fact most of the industry is geared towards Asian business travelers, so there is not a huge selection of budget and boutique hotels or hostels. But, strolling the streets yearly in the morning, you get the feeling of being a local, rather than Mr. Money Bag Traveler; a nice change of pace for a large city. I have a nice story which I will post in another edition. Most tourists immediately transfer to the neighboring hotspots of Hue and Hoi An, and take up base there, but Da Nang was a perfect launchpad for our adventures. Hoi An and the Marble Mountains is possible by bus very cheaply (if you angrily insist on paying the proper fare and don't give more!), and the local scene is calm and relaxing. Have a stroll on the beach, enjoy a coffee on a street corner, or grab a local Biere Larue at a roof top bar. Ahh.

Below are a few of my favorite images from Vietnam. The top and bottom left are from Hanoi, and the bottom right was taken in the beautiful town of Hoi An. (more images to come)


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