Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Posts tagged ‘central highlands’

Mountain people

“So far away from those tree-lined streets,
Look so neat,
Not for us,
No, fat chance,
We’re the mountain people.”
(Mountain People, Super Furry Animals)

This is my final set of pictures from my July trip to Dalat and the central highlands.

In Dalat

If last week’s post was all about the country, then this week’s is all about the town.  I wrote before about how Dalat doesn’t feel like anywhere else in Vietnam, and I hope that these pictures capture some of that unique character.

Dalat to Ho Lak and back again

One of the things I like best about living in the city is leaving it every now and then to spend a few days in the country.  A week in the central highlands around Dalat gave me the chance to breathe some clean air and try my hand at some landscape photography, neither of which I get to do very often.  I took a couple of motorbike trips with one of the Dalat Easy Riders, Mr. Thanh (aka Joseph), who did a far better job of negotiating hairpin bends and avoiding oncoming trucks than I ever could have.  As a passenger, I could concentrate on looking at one spectacular view after another.  Impressive as those views were, the people we encountered in the villages, fields and markets were even more memorable.  These pictures are taken from those two motorbike trips, and were taken in the area around Dalat, and on the road to Ho Lak (Lak lake).

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.