In the spirit of the end of year review (nothing like waiting until the 31st!), I’ve gone and collected a few of my favorite frames from this year into one super convenient location, and you’re already here = awesome! I’m gonna try my best not get too wordy, but I’ll just throw out a quick recap and let the pictures and/or the previous posts I did do the talking.
I hope you dig!
PS: Any of these images can be purchased in print form, and I’m offering 20% off until the end of January! Just click through on the images you like and use the code 2015favoriteframes at checkout for the discount!
Dragon Dancer practice for Tet, Vietnam’s Lunar New Year, which typically comes in January or February. So yea, living in Vietnam we get two New Year celebrations, for better or worse…
Playin’ in the Studio
I bought a new set of Profoto studio lights late last year, and lucky me, I have a beautiful subject to try them out on! We rented a studio for a day and just did some messing about. Check it out here.
In February we took a little day trip to some of the salt harvesting fields a bit outside of Saigon and found a few frames I quite like. Check out a few more if you wanna get hot and sweaty just watching the hard work!
A Funeral Way Too Soon
I was traveling in Hue with a friend when we stopped at the driver’s house for a drink. While chatting, it came out that there was a funeral for a young boy next door who had just drowned that morning as his parents were fishing. Tragic and sad as to be sure, but my photojournalistic instinct kicked in and I asked to visit with them. I sat with them for some time, offered my condolences, shared their grief and made just a few images. It’s times like these that really make us realize how fragile life can be. Let’s make sure we live 2016 to the fullest we can…
In March, I joined a group of young Vietnamese students on a trip to do some social work in a leprosy village in northern Vietnam. It was to help of course, but also as part of my ongoing project ‘The Ex-Patients‘ You can see and read more on the blog here.
Following the trip to Van Mon, we had a few extra days in the north and decided to drive a motorbike a few hours west to find Moc Chau, a mountainous collection of beautiful tea and rice fields in Son La Province.. We didn’t necessarily anticipate 8 hours in the rain and fog it would take it actually get there, but it turned out to be worth it, as most things usually are, and a few frames for the archive were made…
Later in March upon returning to Saigon, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and photograph Tran To Nga, a French-Vietamese woman with a heart of gold and steel, who’s the first successful plaintiff to sue bastards Monsanto over their past involvement (creation of) in Dioxin aka Agent Orange that’s so poisoned Vietnam’s land and lives since the war. Here, she prays in a temple built by her ancestors in Dong Nai Province, just outside of HCMC. Please stay tuned to the case and wish her luck, and check out more of my on going project called “I Am Now” here.
May also found me taking another trip on assignment, this time to Nam Du Island, which lies off the Western Coast of Vietnam. It’s a very naturally beautiful place, if not very local to say the least. I was there on a cool project for Sony Mobile and of course built in a few other days to hang out and shoot for myself. Here are a handful more images and words.
I was so excited to finally make it to Bali this summer! I went to attend the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop, and built in an extra week for traveling with my lovely love. Oh, and we got engaged there too! I made a number of frames that I really like, which I never actually managed to blog about, so a handful of them are below. And here’s a link to the project I did at the workshop on Balinese funerals and cremations.
I did a few pre-wedding shoots this year as well, and accidentally made a few frames I really love 🙂 If you or someone you know is getting married or engaged in the upcoming year, give us a shout to find out about our services and packages!
The Switch to Sony
It’s an idea I had been toying with for a while; making the switch from a traditional Canon DSLR to the new Sony Mirrorless A7 series cameras which have recently been on the market. I’ve had an original A7 since last year, using it mostly for personal stuff, but I really loved the idea of using a smaller, and in my opinion, much more functional system for my client work. When the new Sony A7RII was announced, I was giddy for weeks like the rest of the photo geek world I think, and read everything I could find to see if it would be the right fit for what I needed. One weekend in late August, I found one here in Saigon for rent and took it out for a test run. It wasn’t but a week later that my Canon gear was sold and I was using the A7RII full on. In short, I love it to pieces and have absolutely no regrets on making the jump! If you have questions about switching, feel free to give me a shout to ask! These images were made on a quick trip to the coast to test it out.
The Great North
October saw my parents finally come visit me in Vietnam, and I knew I had to take them to see some of the real parts of the country, well beyond the cities or the tourist trail, though we did follow that a bit too. Admittedly, I chose the places I wanted to go, but they were happy to follow. Here’s a few frames from Yen Bai Province, where we visited Thac Ba Lake and Mu Cang Chai, which are definitely (or at least used to be) hidden gems in Vietnam’s crown of spectacular locales. We were a bit late for the peak of the rice harvesting season, but nonetheless, there was action in the fields and beautiful light, so what more do you need! Check out more of my ongoing series “Under Great Northern Skies” here.
Hanoi On Assignment
At the end of the wonderful and carefree travels with my family, it was time to get back to work. I was home in Saigon for a day and then on a plane right back up to Hanoi on a few assignments. First up, a 10 day assignment for Booking.com (seriously, I had 10 days = so awesome), then home again for a few days before getting a call to head up there again on assignment for The Washington Post. I’m sure I spent more time in Hanoi this fall than I did Saigon, but with the cooling weather, it was very much enjoyed! Here are a few of my favorite frames from these gigs.
Toward the end of November I took a trip with a few friends to Soc Trang province, which lies in the heart of the Mekong Delta Region, to check out the annual Boat Racing Festival, and a bit of general exploration. I’m very glad I did, as I made this frame below of a novice monk, that I believe is one of my favorite frames of the year!
Of My Muse
And finally ( I know it got a bit long!), a few parting shots of my full time muse and near future wife, Ngan. We make a good team in that, firstly, she’s beautiful and I can make decent photos :), so when we find nice light or cool locations, we drop everything for a few minutes and go straight into photographer / model mode 🙂
These last two were shot at Alma Oasis resort, which is where we’re going to hold our wedding next summer. More on that to come soon!