Warning! Gratuitous sunrise and nón lá (conical hat) imagery below…
Last weekend I co-led a photo tour and workshop around Central Vietnam with friend and colleague Etienne Bossot, who has run tours in this area for a number of years now. If you find yourself in Hoi An with a camera, look him and and join a tour. He’ll take you to some spots you’d probably not otherwise be able to find yourself in, and great images should ensue!
Though a number of these places were new to me, I actually didn’t shoot a whole lot, only about 650 frames over a few days, as I wanted to make sure our students had all the attention and help they needed, but I did sneak a few frames here and there, and though I’d share a handful of the ones I most like here.
Our first stop was the fishing village of Duy Hai, just few minutes boat ride from Hoi An, but a spot very few tourists are able to find themselves (thankfully!)
Each morning, the early hours see boats coming back with their catch and women on the shore vying to get the best product for the best price.
Back on the Hoi An side of the water, a quick stroll through the market led me right into the path of this warm and welcoming young lady. (Yes, I’m a sucker for smoking shots…)
In another village later this same afternoon, I came across a few youngsters hanging out on a bridge, seemingly with nothing better to do than be subjects for me.
I told you there were a lot of hats coming! A woman harvests sesame plants in the late afternoon sun.
Back to color for a few frames, more hats, more amazing faces. This woman had just finished shoveling sand into a truck, and probably did it faster and with much less sweating than I could have ever even though about.
Back in Hoi An once again just as dusk was falling, we worked on panning shots for a few minutes, and lucky me, I actually got one that’s pretty sharp, and even comes with all the cliches of Vietnam all rolled into one!
As night falls, Hoi An becomes aglow with hundreds of paper lanterns, some hanging in shops and restaurants, and smaller, candle powered versions, peddled by the town’s cutest kids. You’re supposed to buy one for about 25 cents, and then release it down the river, though I’m still not sure what happens to them all in the morning. There must be a massive pile of them somewhere!
Just as I was about done with night shooting, I found myself in front of this young chap, and just had to grab a few frames.
The next morning saw us wake with the sun again, in what was supposed to be a spot full of boat life, but unfortunately, we didn’t see much, so our own boat driver became the subject, a long with the beautiful colors only found this time of morning of course!
When the boats were a bit of a bust, we turned our own boat toward a local market and spent an hour or so turning our lenses on the characters and light we found there.
Just as we were about on the way out, I crossed paths with a lady selling loose leaf tobacco and even rolling a cigar up for you when asked nicely…As I said above, I’m a sucker for smoking shots, so I just had to fire off a few rectangles…
After a romp through the market, we were done with the Hoi An area, and boarded the bus and headed over the Hai Van Pass, which crosses between Danang and Hue Provinces. One of our first stops was the Lang Co Lagoon where I met this lady and her daughter digging on the beach. She became emotional when telling me she has ten children, some of whom are supposed to start school two days later, yet she does not have money for their books or uniforms. She and her children spend several hours each day digging for shells and snails, which sell in the market for about $1.50 per kilo; not much for all the hard work it takes to find them. I felt for her situation, and understanding how important education is, especially for young girls, I gave her some small funds that hopefully went toward keeping this daughter and her other children in school.
We stayed in a town a little further up the road, and rose again with the sun to catch the early morning life on the water.
A family who lives on a fishing boat prepare themselves for the day after a long night out fishing.
And finally, one of my favorite captures of the tour I think, blends a beautiful palette of sunrise colors with a little humanity, as a boy unloads baskets of fish onto the shore.
A big thanks to those that joined us! It was a blast to work and travel with you all. Keep shooting and working and hope to see you guys again soon somewhere!
There are a few more images in the archived gallery and prints are also possible from any of these images. If you’re interested, just drop me a line for more info, or you can click through and purchase any number of sizes directly from my website.