Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Surprise! Surprise!

Photography is fun, exciting and often places you on the “edge”. Everyday shoots can quickly change into something very surprising. Last Monday I decided to shoot some night scenes in Saigon, Vietnam. Here one must be careful to scout your location not only for great images but also for avoiding a snatch and grab of your camera. I once saw a tourist in downtown Saigon with his camera on a tripod in the street while he stood on the curb composing his shot. I approached him and asked him if he spoke English. He answered yes. I told him it was very dangerous to place his camera in the street as thieves on motorbikes will zip by and grab his gear. He looked at me like I was crazy and sarcastically said “I suppose you have personal experience”! I said no, but I live here and know this often happens especially in tourist areas. He acted like I insulted him. Well I tried.

Back to Monday. I set up well back from the road and my wife positioned our motorbike to block anyone from driving by and grabbing our gear. The street behind me was lower and a guard rail further protected my back. Or so I thought. Suddenly my camera was being pulled away! I had my grip on the tripod (as I always do here) and had the strap too. A struggle ensued with me yelling Robber! Robber! in Vietnamese. He was about three feet below me and his grip was slipping. He let go and ran to his waiting accomplices motorbike for a quick get away. The only casualty was my tripod which suffered a bent leg. They were smart and bold. I was not expecting a grab from behind and below. They took advantage of my focus away from them and on my scene. Bold because the man took a big risk being off the motorbike. Thankfully I've learned some Vietnamese to alert those around and put fear in the hearts of the thieves. My wife lost her voice after yelling too.

 And to top it off I did not get one good shot as you can see here......
McDonald's Saigon

Urban photography requires a different set of skills to deal with potential harm. I am thankful to my wife who has taken the time to teach me about life in her country. I am thankful I have not become lax in my attention to my surroundings and to protecting my gear.

I am most thankful to God who protected us and taught me a lesson while reminding me of His love for us.

And yes next time I see someone doing something unwise I can say....Yes it has happened to me, here's my story!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Composition basics

Three more images from Angkor Wat. I'm still working through my shots so stayed tuned for more of Angkor Wat. In the first image the flowers show the use of the rule of thirds. I set them on the left edge and left some space if front to add depth. I used framing in the middle shot to set the scene, add interest and define the edges. The last shot works because the people give it scale, hard to see the size of the ruins without them.

Keep shooting, keep learning, keep up the hard work! Great rewards are a  result of your vision, "eye", and your persistence!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Angkor Wat

Just returned to Saigon after a quick trip to Cambodia. Here are some images from Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom in Siem Reap Cambodia. The first is a black and white silhouette of Angkor Wat. The sun was rising behind making it a good time to shoot this image. Notice the blocks that make up the face, each cut separately and then assembled like a jigsaw puzzle. Amazing!

Angkor Wat

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Urban Scape 2-Night

I find the Bitexco building intriguing. It dominate the Saigon skyline. Should you find yourself lost in Saigon, look for the Bitexco. It can be seen from just about anywhere a wandering tourist my go. Often as I drive in non tourist areas I can still see the Bitexco, I am never far from working my way back to familiar roads.
Last evening I headed out exploring for good vantage points to shoot the Saigon skyline. I stopped here and was quite pleased with the leading lines, traffic blurs and the lit Bitexco in the background.
F20, 15 seconds, ISO 100
Everyday presents a new photo opportunity so keep shooting!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Urban Scapes

I've decided to re-juice my enthusiasm for urban photography. I am starting a new project featuring city-scapes of Saigon Vietnam. Here is my first entry. I shot this HDR image with my Nikon D700, handheld in mid morning sun. I used Photomatix software combining three shots at 0, +2 and -2 exposure. I was quite surprised and pleased with the results. Let me know what you think!
Bitexco Building Saigon, Vietnam

 Everyday presents a new photo opportunity so KEEP shooting!!!