Photo Series #01: Monsoons- Under a heavy rain

Today, I want to inaugurate a new initiative that I hope to repeat every week, time permitting. The idea is to publish, once a week a photo series of 10 or 12 frames, on a specific topic, like an online exhibition.

These photographic series will also be posted on my profile Instagram and Twitter, as well as on my main website and any photos from the series can be purchased as a signed print.

The photo series of this week is titled:

Monsoons – Under a heavy rain 

These 12 photographs tell of an afternoon in Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam, at the end of the monsoon season. As I walked, suddenly it broke loose a heavy storm and in these cases, the only thing to do, even to save camera and the equipment, is to find a shelter somewhere.
But rather than being bothered, I turned this situation into an opportunity and I began to observe and photograph, always from the same point of view, what was happening in front of me and how the life of the Vietnamese people, perennially driving a motorbike, was affected by the heavy rainfall.

All the pictures have been taken using a Leica M (typ 262) and a Summicron-M 28mm f2 ASPH lens.

(To purchase signed prints of these photos, please go to my website, here.)

Thanks for watching, I would highly appreciate any comment or criticism to my pictures.

Cheers,
Sabino

Barche vietnamite in Hoi An

Queste tipiche imbarcazioni in legno sono molto fotogeniche, soprattutto se guidate da una donna vietnamita con il tipico cappello conico. Ad Hoi An, lungo il fiume, se ne vedono molte e il momento migliore per fotografarle. è la mattina presto, quando i turisti in giro sono pochi e la luce è morbida e delicata.

Per queste foto ho utilizzato, sulla Leica M typ 262, l’Elmarit 90mm, per isolare meglio il soggetto, eliminando ogni elemento di disturbo intorno. L’acqua del fiume come sfondo, mi dava un senso di pace ed equilibrio alla scena. Inoltre, ero sul di un ponte e quindi non avevo la possibilità di avvicinarmi, ma avevo un punto di vista, dall’alto, molto bello.

 

Vietnamese boats in Hoi An

These traditional wooden boats are very photogenic, especially if guided by a Vietnamese woman with traditional conical hat. In Hoi An, along the river, you can spot many of them, and the best time to photograph. is the early morning, when there are only few tourists around and the light is soft and delicate.

For these photos I mounted, on the Leica M typ 262, the 90mm Elmarit f2.8, to better isolate the subject, eliminating any disturbance around. The green water of the river, as background, gave a sense of peace and balance to the scene. Also, I was on a bridge, and so I had no chance to get closer, but I had a point of view, from above, very nice.

Storia di un ritratto ad una donna vietnamita

Sono in Vietnam, nella splendida cittadina di Hoi An, e ho deciso di prendere una bicicletta per esplorare la campagna e i villaggi lontani dal centro.

Mentre attraverso un piccolo villaggio di pescatori, alla mia sinistra, vedo tre persone sedute davanti la porta di casa intente a riparare una verde lunga rete da pesca. La scena mi sembra subito molto bella, naturale e semplice, ma è la donna al centro quella che subito attira tutta la mia attenzione.

Prima cosa, osservo tutto, comincio a disegnare la foto.

In pochi secondi osservo tutto. Una donna anziana, seduta per terra, ripara una rete da pesca, verde. Ha lineamenti molto dolci e il viso segnato dalle rughe, ma si intravedono i segni di una bellezza che la vecchiaia non può cancellare.

L’anziana donna indossa, con semplicità ed in un certo modo anche eleganza, uno straccio di stoffa abilmente intrecciato sulla testa, aperto sulla fronte, lasciando intravedere i grigi capelli raccolti in maniera ordinata. Indosso, una magliettina leggera e raffinata, di un colore, lilla, che le illumina il viso e da un tocco di colore a tutta la scena. Sullo sfondo, un muro con bella texture chiara e segnata dal tempo, ed una porta marrone. Tutto è cosÌ bello ed equilibrato, nessun elemento di disturbo, per fortuna.

Probabilmente mi trovo davanti al soggetto piú bello che mi sia capitato fino ad ora.
La scena, nell’insieme è gia bellissima.

Dalla visione alla realizzazione della foto

Scendo dalla bici e cammino verso di lei, ma avverto un po di ansia perchè ho paura di rompere l’equilibrio di quel momento di vita, di interrompere la naturalezza e la spontaneità. Voglio esserci, ma allo stesso tempo vorrei essere invisibile.

Cosi, tornando razionale, so di avere a disposizione pochissimi minuti, dopodichè, tutto svanirà per sempre, perchè la fotografia di strada non è replicabile, non aspetta, il momento è unico.

Devo velocemente decidere quale lente da usare, non posso star li a cambiare focale rischiando di rovinare tutto e perdere l’attimo. Ne devo usare solo una. Voglio un ritratto della donna, devo decidere tra il 50mm e il 90mm. Il suo viso e’ bellissimo, ma non posso avvicinarmi troppo, con il 50mm potrei essere troppo distante, cosi decido di montare il Leica Elmarit 90mm f 2.8

Non sono ancora sulla scena, non mi hanno ancora visto. La prima cosa che faccio, per avere subito consapevolezza dello stato della mia macchina fotografica, è scattare una foto a vuoto. La guardo, la uso come punto di partenza e comincio inconsciamente ad elaborare tutti i valori e le combinazioni. Voglio avere lei a fuoco e lo sfondo sfuocato, cosi imposto il diaframma tra f4 e f5.6. Vorrei scendere a 2.8, ma avendo poco tempo ho paura di perdere il fuoco.

Ecco, sono sulla scena, ma prima di concentrarmi sul ritratto della donna, voglio fotografare tutto l’insieme, per contestualizzare i soggetti. Cavolo, ho il 90mm, sono un po’ stretto, devo farla prima di avvicinarmi. Mi fermo sul marciapiede, mi abbasso e, click, click, scatto un paio di foto e mi rendo conto che i tempi di scatto sono troppo bassi, ho bisogno di tempi piu’ alti, ho bisogno di piu’ luce.

Alzo gli ISO da 400 a 800, tutto in un attimo, mentre scatto. Non devo perdere tempo, è il momento di fotografare la donna. Faccio un passo di lato per fare prima un ritratto a figura intera, dato che sono gia alla giusta distanza. La donna mi guarda e mi sorride, ma continua a lavorare alla rete.

Ancora tre passi avanti

Bene, non ho interrotto il momento, per fortuna, ma devo fare in fretta, più tempo sono li, più alta è la possibilità che tutto cambi. É il momento piu’ importante, faccio 3 passi avanti e mi avvicino alla donna, nel cuore della scena, sperando che non si sposti o non cambi il suo stato d’animo o, peggio, la sua posizione.

Sono emozionatissimo e pieno di adrenalina.

Vedo solo lei nel mirino della mia Leica, ora siamo solo io e lei, e “vedo” la foto che poco prima mi ero costruito in testa. Mi concentro sul telemetro, giro lentamente la ghiera della lente, le due immagini sono ancora sdoppiate, altro mezzo giro e, si, ora combaciano, ecco, adesso è a fuoco, ma non è ancora il momento, voglio il contatto visivo.

Non posso chiederglielo, deve essere tutto naturale, ma la imploro nella mia testa… guardami, ora, ti prego.

Lei mi guarda, un attimo, con un piccolo sorriso che le illumina quel viso dai lineamenti orientali, gli occhi appena aperti, la luce è perfetta. Scatto. Click! Click!

Gia che ci sono, ne faccio una in orizzontale e una in verticale, ne vorrei altre, vorrei star li a fotografare ancora, ma sento che il momento è finito, la mia adrenalina si è scaricata del tutto, sento di aver ottenuto quello che volevo e che non posso avere di più.

La fotografia è la medicina dell’anima.

Sono strafelice, la ringrazio a mani giunte, una, due, tre volte, lei ricambia con altri sorrisi e riprende a lavorare alla sua rete.
Mi rimetto sulla bici e continuo a pedalare, sentendomi fotograficamente appagato. Non riguardo le foto, ho troppa paura di averla sbagliata, anche se dentro di me so di averla presa. Ma voglio continuare a godermi il momento, rivedere tutto nei miei freschi ricordi. Poi guardo la mia macchina fotografica, e con uno sguardo la ringrazio e la rimetto nella borsa, come fosse il più prezioso dei diamanti da custodire.

Ci saranno altri soggetti e altre foto da fare, altre emozioni da vivere, ma nessuna sarà mai uguale all’altra, e questo è quello che mi fa amare follemente la fotografia.

Ritratto di una donna vietnamita
(Leica M typ 262 con Elmarit 90mm f2.8)


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Story of a portrait of a Vietnamese woman

Vietnam, in the ancient town of Hoi An, it’s a new day of my trip and I decided to take a bike to explore the countryside and the villages far away from the city.

While cycling through a small fishing village, to my left, I see three people sitting in front of the front door, intent on repairing a long green fishing net. The scene seems just very nice, natural and simple, but is the woman at the centre that immediately catches my full attention.

First, I look around, starting to draw the photo.

Within seconds, I observe everything. An elderly woman, sitting on the floor, repairing a green fishing net. She has a very sweet face and  wrinkled, but there are signs of a beauty that old age cannot erase.

The older woman wears, simply and in a way also elegance, a skillfully woven cloth rag on her head, opened on the forehead, revealing grey hair, collected in an orderly manner. Wearing a light and refined t-shirt, in a colour, lilac, that illuminates the face and gives a touch of colour to the whole scene. In the background, a wall with a nice texture marked by time, and a brown door. Everything is so beautiful and well balanced, no disturbance, fortunately.

Probably, I am in front of the most photogenic portrait I’ve ever had, until now.
The scene, as a whole, is already beautiful.

From vision to realisation of the picture

I get off the bike and walk toward her, but I feel a bit of anxiety because I’m afraid of upsetting the balance of that time of life, and influence the naturalness and spontaneity. I want to be there, but at the same time, I would like to be invisible.

So, returning to be rational, I know I have only a few minutes, then everything will vanish forever because street photography is not replicable, does not wait and that time is unique.

I have to quickly decide which lens to use, I can not change focal while i’m in the action, with the risk to ruin everything and miss the moment. I must use only one. I want a portrait of the woman, I have to decide between 50mm and 90mm. I like her face, but if i use the 50mm, I can not get too close, so I decided to mount the Leica Elmarit 90mm f2.8

I’m not yet on the scene, they have not seen me yet. The first thing I do, to have awareness of the state of my camera, is taking a random picture. Then I look at it and I use it as a starting point. Unconsciously, I begin to process all the values and combinations. I want her to be in focus and blurred background, so i set the aperture value between f4 and f5.6. I would go down to f2.8, but as i have very short time, I’m afraid to lose focus.

Here I am, now on the scene, but before focusing on the woman’s portrait, I want to photograph the whole scene, so to frame all the subjects. Damn, I have the 90mm, I-m a bit too tight, I have to take the picture before getting too close. So I stop on the sidewalk, get down on my legs, and, click, click, I snap a few pictures but I realise that the shutter speed is too low, I need faster time, I need more light.

I raise the ISO from 400 to 800, all in an instant, while shooting. I must not lose time, it’s time to shoot the woman. I step to the side to get first a full portrait since I’m already at the right distance. The woman looks at me and smiles, but continues to work on the net.

Three more steps forward

Well, I have not ruined the scene, thank goodness, but I have to hurry, the longer I stay, the higher the possibility that everything changes. This is the most important moment, I do three steps forward and I approach the woman, in the heart of the scene, hoping she does not move or change her mood or, worse, her position.

I’m so excited and full of adrenaline.

I only see her through the viewfinder of my Leica, now it is just me and her, and finally I “see” the photo that just before I had built in my head. I focus on the rangefinder, slowly turn the lens focus ring, the two images are still split, another little turn and, yes, now they fit together, she is in focus… but it is not yet time… I want to have eye contact…

I can not ask her, it must be all natural, but I implore her in my head … look at me, now, please.

Yes, now she looks at me, for an instant, with a small smile that lights up her beautiful oriental face, eyes barely open, the light is perfect. I shoot. Click! Click!

I take the chance and I make a landscape and portrait picture, and I would like to continue for hours, but I feel that the time is up, my adrenaline is gone,, I feel I have got what I wanted and I can not have more.

Photography is the medicine of the soul.

I am extremely happy, I thank the lady with folded hands, once, twice, three times, she returns with more smiles and keeps working on the fishing net.
I get back on the bike and keep cycling, feeling photographically satisfied. I don’t check the photos on my camera, I’m too scared to have it wrong, although inside I know of have them right. But I want to continue to enjoy the moment, by reviewing everything in my fresh memories fresh.

There will be other subjects and other photo opportunities, other emotions to live, but none will ever be alike, and this is what makes me madly love photography.

Portrait of a Vietnamese woman
(Leica M typ 262 with Elmarit 90mm f2.8)


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Vietnam – Day 9 – Sapa by motorbike, unforgettable moments and sadness goodbye.

The best way to explore the province of Sapa, admire the landscapes and learn about their tribes, it is with the motorbike, although the roads are in poor condition and full of stones, potholes, buffalo, dogs and chickens. All this, however, makes the guide fun and allows you to reach more villages in a day.

Refueling in Sapa

Before starting the scooter riding, we went from our village to the town of Sapa, to fill up with petrol. But to reach it, we have taken so cold, drizzle and fog, and a path not so easy because of the many holes also. Arrived at the station, there was obviously a ragged line of scooters served in turn by a man and, with 30.000VND, I’ve had fully refilled my scooter.

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Province of Ban Ho, rice fields, waterfalls and children

Finally, come out of the freezing cold and chaotic Sapa, our guide and now friend, Zi, has led us to Ban Ho, to discovery the Tay minorities. In addition to beautiful scenery covered with rice fields terraces, we treated ourselves to a short trek on foot along the river bed, to admire a small waterfall.

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The most fun and exciting part, however, came when Zi took us to a couple of elementary schools. So we played with the kids, first shy, then friendly and overwhelming, drawn doodles on the blackboard, attended classes in mathematics and English. When I find myself in these situations, I am literally hypnotized by the eyes and the smiles of the children and I want to stay all the time with them.

Then, when it’s time to go away, they look at you deeply, with those big eyes, a little happy, a little sad, as if they’re trying to tell you “do not go, stay with us a little longer.”

In fact, I go always with a touch of melancholy and sadness, because I know I’ll never see them again, and I rather greedily stole their emotions to show them to the world.

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Goodbye Sapa, goodbye Zi, with tears in my heart

It was tough to leave Sapa, even tougher greet the small and strong Zi, little mother of three children, but only 23 years. Zi, introduced us to Sapa, introduced and welcomed us into her family, took us around and told her country in a complicated English, almost cartoonish. Every day, at the end of the tour, she left us to our homestay, and then go home on foot, through the mountains, through a journey longer than an hour!

Before departure, she brought us yet to another school, one of her sons. It seemed to want us to see as much as possible in the last minute.

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Zi, then, she come with us in Sapa, to accompany us to the bus to Lao Cai. Before taking the bus, we showed us where to eat something, like a grasshopper hopped on the steps or on the streets, preceding our slow, tired and melancholy steps.

Upon boarding the small local bus, surprisingly, with a tender shyness, she pulled out from her pocket, two small metal bracelets, hinting a few words and saying it was her gift to us. Her gesture has sunk me literally, I hugged her, feeling her body so small and seemingly fragile. I sat on the bus and she was still there, on the other side of the glass, to look and smile at us, like a mother, indeed.

A final farewell, the bus started, in the cold darkness of Sapa.

Thanks, great little Zi. I have stolen your smiles and those of your beautiful people, but in return you took our hearts. I know that we will never see each other again, but I wish you all the good of this world!

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Back to Hanoi, within the King Express night train, VIP cabin

Arrived in Lao Cai, after a pleasant dinner with a nice Indian boy met on the bus, we got on the night train that would take us to Hanoi, arriving at 4:30 the next morning.

This time, out of curiosity, and to be able to rest without thoughts, I booked a private VIPcabin for two on King Express train. Certainly more touristy and expensive solution, but sometimes It is fun to try. The King Express, however, unlike the excellent Fanxipan, turned out to be a real disappointment: bad and very poor service!

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About my photography

This has been a day of outdoor portraits, especially of children. To catch it while making lesson or as they played, I used the Leica 28mm f2 Summicron, while to photograph their faces, I mainly used the Leica Elmarit 90mm with an aperture between 2 and 2.8, in order to detach them from the background.

I hope I’ve been able to capture all the emotions I felt in this busy day.

Usefull information

  • Repairing a flat tire costs only 10.000VND  ( happened to us too!)
  • From Sapa to Lao Cai, take the local bus, yellow and red, from the main square, near the church: it costs only 28,000 VND! Runs every hour with last run at 18:30
  • Night train to Hanoi: avoid the King Express, chose, if you can, thr Fanxipan!

The day in pictures

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Vietnam – Day 9 – Sapa in motorino, momenti indimenticabil e la tristezza di un addio.

Il modo migliore per esplorare la provincia di Sapa, ammirarne i paesaggi e conoscere le sue tribù, è con la moto, nonostante le strade siano in pessime condizioni e piene di sassi, buche, bufali, cani e galline. Tutto questo però, rende la guida divertentissima e permette di raggiungere più villaggi in una giornata.

Rifornimento a Sapa

Prima di cominciare il giro in scooter, siamo andati dal nostro villaggio alla cittadina di Sapa, per fare il pieno di benzina. Per raggiungerla però, ci siamo presi tanto freddo, pioggerellina e nebbia, un percorso non proprio semplice a causa anche delle tantissime buche. Arrivati al distributore, c’era ovviamente una fila disordinata di motorini serviti a turno da un benzinaio e, con 30.000VND, ho fatto il pieno al mio motorino.

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Provincia di Ban Ho, risaie, cascate e bambini

Finalmente, usciti dalla freddissima e caotica Sapa, la nostra guida e ormai amica Zi, ci ha guidati verso Ban Ho, alla scoperta delle minoranze Tay. Oltre agli splendidi paesaggi ricoperti da risaie a terrazza, ci siamo concessi un breve trekking a piedi lungo il letto del fiume per ammirare una piccola cascata.

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La parte più divertente ed emozionante però, è arrivata quando Zi ci ha portati in un paio di scuole elementari. Abbiamo così giocato con i bambini, prima timidi, poi travolgenti, disegnato scarabocchi sulla lavagna, assistito a lezioni di matematica ed inglese. Quando mi ritrovo in queste situazioni, vengo letteralmente ipnotizzato dagli occhi e dai sorrisi dei bambini e vorrei restare tutto il tempo con loro.

Poi quando è il momento di andare via, loro ti guardano immobili, con quegli occhioni profondi, un pò allegri, un pò tristi, come se cercassero di dirti ” non andare, resta con noi ancora un pò”.

E infatti, me ne vado sempre con un pizzico di malinconia e tristezza, perché so che non li rivedrò mai più e che ho invece avidamente rubato le loro emozioni e i loro sguardi per mostrarli al mondo.

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Goodbye Sapa, addio Zi, con le lacrime nel cuore

È stata dura lasciare Sapa, ancor più dura salutare la piccola e forte Zi, ragazza madre di tre bambini ma di soli 23 anni. Zi, ci ha fatto conoscere Sapa, ci ha presentato e accolto nella sua famiglia, ci ha portato in giro e raccontato del suo paese in un inglese complicato, quasi cartoonesco. Ogni giorno alla fine del giro, ci lasciava al nostro homestay, per poi tornarsene a casa a piedi, tra le montagne, attraverso un percorso lungo più di un’ora!

Prima della partenza ci ha portato ancora ad un altra scuola, quella dei suoi figli. Sembrava volerci far vedere quanto più possibile negli ultimi minuti.

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Zi, è venuta poi in moto con noi a Sapa, per accompagnarci fino al bus per Lao Cai. Prima di prendere il bus, ci ha fatto vedere dove mangiare qualcosa, come una cavalletta saltellava sugli scalini o tra le strade, precedendo i nostri passi lenti, stanchi e malinconici.

Al momento di salire sul piccolo bus locale, a sorpresa, con una tenerissima timidezza, ha tirato fuori dal taschino due piccoli braccialetti metallici, accennando due paroline e dicendo che era un suo regalo per noi.

Il suo gesto mi ha affondato letteralmente, l’ho abbracciata sentendo il suo corpo così minuto e apparentemente fragile. Mi sono seduto sul bus e lei era ancora li, dall’altra parte del vetro, a guardarci e sorriderci, come una mamma.

Un ultimo saluto, il bus è partito, nel freddo buio di Sapa.

Grazie piccola grande Zi, ho rubato i tuoi sorrisi e quelli della tua splendida gente, ma in cambio ti sei presa il nostro cuore. So che non ci rivedremo mai più, ma ti auguro tutto il bene di questo mondo!

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Ritorno ad Hanoi con treno notturno King Express

Arrivati a Lao Cai, dopo una piacevole cena con un simpatico ragazzo indiano conosciuto sul bus, siamo saliti sul treno notturno che ci avrebbe portati ad Hanoi, con arrivo alle 4:30 della mattina seguente.

Questa volta, per curiosità, e per poter riposare senza pensieri, ho prenotato la cabina privata VIP, per due, sul King Express. Soluzione certamente più turistica e costosa, ma ogni tanto si può fare. Il King Express però, a differenza dell’ottimo Fanxipan preso all’andata, si è rivelato un’autentica delusione: servizio pessimo e scadente!

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La mia fotografia

Giornata di ritratti, soprattutto di bambini. Per catturarli mentre facevano lezione o mentre giocavano, ho utilizzato il summicron 28mm f2, mentre per fotografare i loro volti mentre mi fissavano immobili, ho utilizzato soprattutto l’Elmarit 90mm ad una apertura tra i 2 e 2.8, in modo da staccarli dallo sfondo. Spero di essere riuscito a catturare tutte le emozioni che ho provato in questa intensa giornata.

Informazioni utili

  • Riparare una ruota bucata costa solamente 10.000VND (Ci è successo anche questo!)
  • Da Sapa a Lao Cai, prendete il bus locale giallo e rosso, parte dalla piazza principale, vicino la chiesa e costa solamente 28.000 VND! Parte ogni ora con ultima corsa alla 18:30
  • Treno notturno: evitate King Express, scegliete, se potete, il Fanxipan!

La giornata in immagini

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Vietnam – Day 7 – Sapa and the Can Cau local market

 

The long night along the railways in northern Vietnam has gone very well, the comfortable cabin and pleasant conversations with our new Polish friends have relaxed to the point of having slept the whole time.

Lao Cai, arrival at the station

Once at this small station, we realized how touristic is this destination: just got off the train we were continuously bothered by people who wanted us to take a taxi or minibus to Sapa, an hour’s drive from here. Large groups of tourists driven on command by tour guides. All caged. Fortunately we had found a local guide, the gorgeous Zi, which together with the driver and the cousin, Thao, took us up to Can Cau Market, less known and truest of the famous Bac Ha. But we had to drve four hours more.

Can Cau market and the buffalo sale

Arriving in this market, we were the only tourists, and this immediately made me happy. As always happens to me, in these chaotic places full of photo opportunities, I took first a little ‘time to acclimate and to understand its dynamics. This allows me to take pictures with much more tranquility and quality. In the past, i start shooting right away, taken by the excitement and euphoria, but then I made disasters.

Every new place has to be breathed in and savored before taking the first pictures

In addition to classic products, from fruit to meat or fish, clothes, shoes and accessories, the most beautiful and most exciting part, photographically speaking, was definitely the buy and sale of buffalos. The view from the top was fantastic: the valley was full of these mammals and men, creating an almost surreal landscape.

In addition to the buffalo, then they were sellers of dogs, pigs, chickens, goats and scenes that had appeared before my eyes were beautiful, so real and so strange.

Night at Zizi homestay in the village of Hau Thau

With the eyes and camera full of unforgettable images, we put back on the road to reach the house (called homestay) of the family with whom we will sleep in the small village of Hau Thau. In between, a stop for a local lunch and a ride to the small but staggering Sapa market. Disconcerting because, for the first time in my life, I have seen on a counter, the dog meat and a dog’s cut head.

Obviously, I respect all cultures and obviously I will not post any pictures of it. Bad scene for us europeans.

Arrived by Zizi, they accommodated in a very basic and humid room. In the afternoon we had a taste of the surrounding countryside and villages. Mountains covered by rice fields, children everywhere, beauty at every turn. Already I could not wait to begin the long trek of tomorrow.

Later on, we had a nice dinner with the family and other guests, all travelers, who for two weeks, some for months. It is impressive to see how many more people decide to drop everything off, to begin to tr the world.


About my photography

Well, that is, the Can Cau market experience will always remain among my favorites. I love the markets, and this is, for sure, one of the most beautiful and spectacular I’ve ever seen. Even here, I have used most of the time, the Summicron 28mm f2, magnificent when it comes to capturing street scenes.

For the first time, however, I held onto the Voigtlander Skopar 21mm f4, from the moment I wanted to capture the valley full of buffalo and people. This lens is really high quality, and I enjoyed using it in the market where they sold animals, to capture the whole atmosphere of the place.

Details with 90mm Elmarit

At one point, trying to change the style of the pictures, I decided to put up the Elmarit 90mm to try to describe the place even through the details. The hands of the elderly ladies, the decorations of the Hmong clothes, feet and special shoes, hands through the baskets of vegetables or while they exchange the money. I must say, it was a great idea.

when you have no more inspiration, the best thing to do is to change the focal length and see the world with a new vision.


Useful information

  • From Lao Cai to Sapa, if you have not arranged a pickup, don’t surrend to the drivers in the station. Look for a lot cheaper and peaceful Local Bus, yellow and red colors. It only costs 28.000VND!
  • Sapa is pretty ugly, I do not recommend taking an accommodation there. Go to the villages around, you will enjoy a very different atmosphere and landscape.
  • Homestay Near Sapa, Hau Thau. Just search on google “Zizi Mekhoo homestay”, it’s two different ho,estays actually and they are both excellent, Mekhoo is a little bit cleaner and cozy tha Zi Zi and her house is just below it.

 


The day in pictures (iphone 6s)

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Vietnam – Day 8 – Trekking between rice paddies and Zhao tribes

Finally, this morning, we woke up with the sun and the blue sky’ and the scenery in front of us was just womderful: green mountains covered by rice fields, clouds blocked by the high peaks.

15km trekking, among the rice paddies and the Zhao minority tribes

The trek was long but very funny. During the walk, was alternating stunning landscape and local tribes, in a relaxed atmosphere, typical Sunday. We even attended a religious celebration in the church of one of these villages.

I really enjoyed photographing children, carrying with me some red air balloons that swelled and give away as presents along the way. Most of them are very shy and reserved, but when you get close and try to play with them, then they show you a wonderful smile.

Photo shoot at the Zi family

At the end of the trail, we had a wonderful surprise. The day before, I had photographed my guide, Zi, and then printed the photo with the Fuji Instax SP-1, in the little polaroid format.

Zi, he liked it so much that he asked me to do the same with his children. So, we went to the house of the mother and, in a fun and surreal athnosphere, I began to photograph all the family members and then print a copy for each.

This is where I took the most beautiful pictures of this trip. I sat on the ground and suddendly all children have surrounded me with their smiles and their overwhelming joy.


About my photography

During the trek we saw mostly landscapes and people. For landscapes, trying to always include the human element, I used the wide angle Skopar Voigtlander 21mm f4.

For the many portraits, today I finally used a lot, the Summicron 50mm f2, always trying to tighten on the subject but showing a bit of the background.

For the first time I have never used the Summicron 28 F2: this lens now, I feel perfect for streetphotography, where something happens and when I want to capture a moment of life.


The day in pictures

Vietnam – Day 8 – Trekking among the rice fields Sapa

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