Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Dalat: town and country (potw #35)

I spent last week in and around Dalat, in the central highlands of Vietnam.  It reminded me a little of Hanoi in the autumn – it was hot but not humid, and cool in the evenings – but Dalat doesn’t really resemble anywhere else I’ve been here. Dapper gentlemen wear fedoras or berets, while children wrap up warm in woolly hats or balaclavas. The smell of coffee is everywhere – open-front cafes line the streets, and coffee fields surround the town. Lanes and alleyways meander up and down the hillside before leading you somewhere you weren’t expecting or petering out altogether.  Vietnamese tourists arrive by the busload from Saigon and elsewhere.  The town centre lake and the surrounding mountains give the place an Alpine feel, as if a little bit of Austria had been transplanted to Vietnam a hundred years ago and left to fend for itself.

I decided to test myself a little on this trip by only shooting in black and white.  It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but never really followed through until now.  The change of scene seemed to call for a change of style – black and white landscapes instead of colour portraits.  I’m sure I’ll go back to colour before too long, but I’m hoping that taking black and white pictures for a while will make me think about colour in a different way in future.  I’ve not given up taking portraits – I’ll be posting many from this trip at a later date – but I wanted this first post from Dalat to feature a landscape and a street scene.

More pictures from this trip to follow soon.

9 Responses to “Dalat: town and country (potw #35)”

  1. zehwoua

    I loved both of the photos. They are so beautiful can even put on my wall, with the biggest frame I could possibly get. The first one is favorite though. I thin you should keep taking black and white 4 a while.

  2. memographer

    beautiful scenery. are you taking in mono or converting?
    like it – “a little bit of Austria had been transplanted to Vietnam a hundred years ago and left to fend for itself”.

    • Jon Sanwell

      Thanks. I was shooting in raw, but with the camera set to black and white – so the camera records all the colour information, but the preview images are in black and white. I found that this helped me to ‘think in black and white’ while I was out and about, but I still had raw files to work with when I got home.

  3. Jura

    I look forward to seeing more photos of Dalat – I have been wanting to go – hopefully soon! I could do with a respite from Hanoi’s heat at the moment!

    • Jon Sanwell

      I know exactly what you mean about the heat. The cooler climate was one of the main reasons why I wanted to go.


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