With a wee break during assignments last week and with an itch to make some non-work related images, I decided to grab a ticket up to Central Vietnam for a little outing with friends Etienne & Fred, both long time camera-toting compadres here in ‘Nam.
The mission was to drive to Sa Huynh district in Quang Ngai province, a few hours south of Hoi An to photograph in the salt fields, which I love to do as demonstrated here and here, and maybe throw in a bit of fishing village or the like for good measure too. Well, that was the plan…
Unfortunately, the weather gods had different plans, and rain chased us all the way from Hoi An, only letting us get ahead of it and feel optimistic for a few minutes at a time before coming thundering back down in perfect photo-ruining form! Being too flooded from the past night’s rain, our 430am start in the salt fields turned out to be a big pile of…one photo of a guy walking through to tell us what we already knew! Anyway, with half sleepy, not yet coffee-ed eyes, I clicked this one frame specifically for the purpose of telling the story that there was nothing to shoot! There, done. While we’re all awake now, let’s move on!
Anyhoo, while the sky wasn’t great, it wasn’t pouring, so we turned our lenses on the next best thing , a nearby shipyard where several dozen men were laboring, building new monsters from which to go forth and conquer the sea. Or just to go fishing, if we have to tone down the drama a bit…
As a lover of lines, layers and even a good silhouette, it was definitely not a bad place to be with a camera, so I made the best of it, and within a few minutes, was even really digging it!
Here, everything is done by hand. From moving large slabs of wood with 6 people on each side inch by inch, to the lone guy at the top of the pulley, constantly tugging meters of chain to elevate the next hunk of tree to be transformed into a seafaring vessel.
Wearing flip-flops (with shoes in the car but too busy/lazy to go get them) I carefully made my way around the yard, measuring each next step, hoping that a board would not send me catapulting across the yard or deliver a lovely rusty nail into my foot!
Each piece of wood to be placed on board (pun intended?) will be hand cut, planed and sanded.
With a less than vibrant sky, I started seeing in black and white for the most part, but there were also some nice scenes that I thought lent themselves better to color.
About halfway in, Fred let me borrow a 17mm lens to play with a bit. I’ve never really shot this wide, but it was a lot of fun, and I think I’m gonna pick up the new Sony 12-24 lens pretty soon! It was nice to have a different perspective on things, and in turn made me shoot a bit differently, which is always a good exercise!
You can see what a woody mess the ground is, and thus my extra-careful footing to get around. I’d see a shot I wanted, but have to creep step by step to get there, hoping the action wouldn’t cease before I got in place. In the end, no injuries for anybody! Though I would probably wear shoes next time…
Here’s where I really had fun with the wide lens. Standing about a close to him as I could without a breath mint, I could still get his full arm and a full boat in the frame!
You might think like I did, that fire is the last thing you want in a yard full of lumber and wooden boats, right? I’m still not sure what it’s purpose is, but I venture to guess it’s to warm up the boards to make the pliable to bend to the shape of the hull? Anyone, Bueller, anyone? Did I prove myself a genius or what?
Some work, some puff darts and stare at the ocean. That’s life I guess, eh!
Lines, layers and a little lack of light. Yes, I’ve been watching too much Letterkenny lately and loving it!
Getting in there with the wide lens. He stood there like a champ as I inched closer and closer. I love subjects like that!
This, I guess it what happens if the ships aren’t taken care of well. Again with the 17mm lens, I was just inches in front of it, but able to fit the whole thing in from eye level. Should have seen me smile then!
This one’s actually from another day and place, not far outside Hoi An. The weather and sky were much better, but the shipyard itself wasn’t too much, so I’m happy I shot what I did in Sa Huynh, even with a massive cloudy grey sky.
And finally, a different perspective on the shipyard. Thanks to Fred for letting me play with his Mavic for a bit. Of course it was way to much fun to fly and frame up shots from the air. It will be mine in the coming week I’m pretty sure…:)
That’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed the images as much as I did making them. Until the next adventure…