Photography and the Life of a Dedicated Traveler

Photography came into my life in a natural way that I needed to keep memories of the trips taken with school. Back then, it was only automatic film camera.

 

A barber shop at Tho Ha Village
A barber shop at Tho Ha Village

 When I grew up, travel became my profession and the first compact digital camera did help me a lot in having sharp images on my journeys. Sometimes, I just like doing nothing but sipping hot coffee and reviewing the photos I took. Beautiful moments of my life start going back slowly through my mind...

It was a nice summer day and I had a few days off in between tours. Staying at home made me feel restless, I hopped onto a local bus heading to Tho Ha, a well-preserved traditional village in northern Vietnam. It was my first visit to the village and was lost a bit on arrival. There were so many narrow paths in the village that I had no idea where to proceed next. Then, a barber at work came into view. There were trees and a trellis which made it a perfect natural frame for the photo.

The Incense Bowl Islet
The Incense Bowl Islet

 Another summer day on a cruise with a big group. Everyone was so excited when we started cruising in the island-fest area of Halong Bay. A guy in the group came over and asked me about the names of different islets that we were cruising past.

The Fighting Cocks Islet
The Fighting Cocks Islet

It was in the early afternoon of a spring day when sunlight was soft and Halong Bay was shrouded in haze. The boat driver took us close to the twin boulder called Fighting Cock Islet by locals. 

On one of my travel photography trips to Sapa, a little mountain town in the North West of Vietnam. I was practicing with a new telephoto lens without IS/VR. It was spring time and the town was more or less dry than the other times of the year. Ethnic people were flocking to town for the weekend market. The town was full of atmosphere.

a Black Hmong girl on phone
A Black Hmong girl on phone in Sapa

I was walking back to town from a restaurant on the outskirt on the first day in Sapa. Two Black Hmong girls were walking side by side against me. One girl was talking on the phone paying no attention to the traffic around her, the other was looking at me.

A sad looking old Black Hmong Lady
A sad looking old Black Hmong Lady

Then an old lady attracted my attention. She looked a bit lost. I got a feeling that she was worried about making a living and she was not sure what to do next. She only walked back and forth holding a few brocade items in her arms. I felt sad for her. 

A Black Hmong little girl in Sapa
A Black Hmong little girl in Sapa

At a quiet corner at the end of the street, a little girl was standing next to her mother who was tearing hemp into threads. The little girl looked tired holding a rain poncho in one arm and an umbrella in the other. The two must have got up early this morning to come to town in time for the weekend market. She was so gorgeous and I was so sorry she looked sad! 

A sleeping Red Dzao Lady in Sapa
A sleeping Red Dzao Lady in Sapa

It was a bit over mid day of the second day on the trip. I had just finished a workshop and was walking back to the hotel. There were many Red Zdao ladies sitting by the roadside near the stadium. Everyone was busy doing something, most were embroidering their own brocade. Their costumes made the street so colorful and atmospheric. An old lady was sitting leaning against the wall having a snooze. She looked just calm and carefree! Her counternance to me was just like to say "Who care!".