Tree, Vietnam

Tree, Reunification Palace, HCMC, Vietnam 2014

I didn’t visit the Reunification Palace while I lived in Ho Chi Minh City, only seeing it when I returned to the country on a flying visit.

The building has a rather theatrical quality, which makes me think of a film set. The gardens, but contrast, are cool, dark and rather inviting, with lots of shade to hide from the sun in. Unusually for me, I took lots of pictures of the trees which all looked unique and characterful. I liked this one best. It has a monumental quality.

District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2008

Sorry, not really a photo, but I was trying to give the impression of a really busy place with people coming from all directions. And a bit of the contrasting old and new.

I miss walking in Ho Chi Minh City, it has a bustling buzz. People are always doing something and there is always something to see.

Except at Tet, when the busy streets suddenly clear and the road only carries people going to visit relatives.

Bicycle, Vietnam

District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, 2008

Although the centre of Ho Chi Minh City has an increasingly modern skyline, this changes as you move away and it becomes increasingly low-rise and older fashioned. In the same way, although there are increasing numbers of cars and trucks, most vehicles are motorcycles and occasionally bicycles.

Although this feels like a recent picture to me, I know that it actually 12 years old, so it is historic rather than contemporary reportage. That said, I am pretty sure that I could find something like this if I were back in Vietnam today. But Vietnam is a constantly changing place, so I can’t be sure.

I was going though a sneak photography phase, where I shot largely from the hip, with out appearing to look at the screen. I don’t think the man on the tricycle is fooled.

Technical Details: I was using my Fuji FD30, which is quite a small camera – I think big cameras make you far more conspicuous. It fitted inside my palm so you could only really see the lens between my fingers. If I had covered the chrome with tape would that have made it less conspicuous? Maybe.

Bodybuilding Club, Vietnam

Bodybuilding Club, Ho Chi Minh City, 2010

Happy New Year!

My first post of 2020 – is a sign for a bodybuilding club in Ho Chi Minh City!

I like the strong use of colour and text – I’m not sure they’ve got the proportions quite right, although the varying skin tones are quite impressive. I love a good hand-painted sign.

Greek Columns, Ho Chi Minh City

Greek Columns, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 2009

Some cities are about bicycles, some are about cars and others are about motorcycles. Ho Chi Minh City is in this later group. You see whole families balanced on top of one machine, farmers carrying produce to market and sometimes Greek columns – probably for a Greek restaurant- carried on the back of a motorcycle .

There is was a book published on this theme “Bikes of Burden” (by Hans Kemp), but I think it spawned quite a few imitators.

Outside a Cafe, Ho Chi Minh City

Restaurant, Ho Chi Minh City 2009

Vietnam is an extraordinary place, full of vibrant colour and drama. I used to love just wandering around and seeing what was going on. They have a strong craft tradition, with many things which we might buy off the peg, being made individually there.

I’m trying to remember where this place is – I think it is close to the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. It is another place I found by walking by. As you can see in the photo, the pavement is often a place for leaving a scooter or for peddlers to sell things, not so much a palce for walking.

One of the things I miss, being away for South East Asia, is the abundance of coconuts being sold on the street.

Goober Gun at Loreto Fest 2010

Paul Dymott – Lead Guitar

Too many landscapes lately – so I thought I would post from a concert.

One of the nice things about less formal concerts, is that you can get a decent view of the stage, so it is quite easy to take pictures. Technically, concerts are quite difficult, because there isn’t a lot of ambient light and the light there is, is usually from a spot source. I was using a Canon 50D and a 35mm f2 lens, working at 3200 ASA @ f2.8 or so. I’m pleased I caught his hair with what was probably quite a long exposure. Anyway – liked the bouncy hair and the grimace.