Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Posts tagged ‘panning’

More from the Mekong

Water isn’t really my element – I can barely swim – but there’s no getting away from the stuff in the Mekong Delta.  I went on a few boat trips during my week there, but taking pictures from a moving boat isn’t easy, especially if you’re a big wuss who’s worried about falling in. The problem with water, a wise man once said, is that it’s wet and it moves around.

The area might be best known for its floating markets, but back on dry land there are plenty of street markets to visit.  Wandering around the market in Chau Doc early one morning, I thought to myself, “I could spend all day taking pictures here.”  So I did.

My trip coincided with the build-up to the Tet holiday (the Lunar new year, which is the most important holiday in the calendar for Vietnamese people).  With two weeks off work, I spent one week travelling through the delta, before taking a boat upriver from Chau Doc into Cambodia for another week.  Although I was out of Vietnam for the holiday itself, for weeks before the streets were full of symbols of Tet; red and gold decorations, yellow and orange flowers, and kumquat trees were everywhere.

When I first saw this picture, I thought that a pesky cyclist had ruined a good panning shot. When I saw it again on the big screen, I decided I quite liked it. I’ll just have to pretend that I had it all planned.

Rush hour in Chau Doc is a little quieter than what I’ve become used to in Saigon.

And to finish, a sunset.

(Coming soon: a post or two on Cambodia.)

Second Impressions of Saigon

I’ve been in Saigon for two months now, and it feels like time to take stock.  I was going to write about the differences between Saigon (as Ho Chi Minh City is still commonly called) and Hanoi, but it feels too early to do that just yet.  I need to feel more settled here before I can make a proper comparison.

I lived in Hanoi for two and a half years and felt very comfortable there, but I always thought that I took my best pictures when I left the city.  My favourite shots from that time were taken in Sapa, Bac Ha, Hoi An, Cambodia, even the outskirts of Hanoi, rather than the centre.  Perhaps there’s something about familiarity with a place which makes it harder for me to take good pictures there.

These pictures of Saigon were all taken in the last couple of months.  I can’t really call them first impressions, as I spent a fair amount of time here before coming here to live.  So these are second impressions – some of the scenes, people and details that have caught my eye.  How will my pictures of Saigon change as I become more familiar with the city?  Time will tell.