Camera in Motion

I moved the camera at the same time I pushed the button that opens the shutter allowing the sensor to capture the image. On the one hand, I think looking at the picture makes it rather obvious that I moved the camera, whether intentionally or otherwise. On the other hand, to the viewer, I don’t think it matters all that much what I did with the camera. Either you like what you see, or you don’t, or you look and give the pic a mental shoulder shrug. Whatever, in this age of way too much information whether you want or need it or not, moving the camera has its own name – intentional camera movement. Who knew? And what would a name be without an acronym – ICM – compelling curious non-photographers (and some photographers like me) to fire up a search engine to sate their curiosity, and in the process, collect yet another virtually useless piece of information. There is a Wikipedia entry for ICM as well. Just to dot the final i.

Final Market Day Before Tết, Hoi An

The Bà Lê market is close to my home; I do much of my shopping along this market street. Tomorrow is the lunar new year’s eve, and today was the final day to shop before the big holiday. By late morning when this shot was taken, the crowd had already begun to thin out, and by mid-afternoon most of the vendors would be closed up. Tomorrow, there will be a few stands selling their wares at much higher prices than usual, but most of the shops and stands will be closed, in this market, in Hoi An, and for that matter, throughout Vietnam. Tết is definitely holiday number one in Vietnam.

Today, the street was lined with people selling flowers, both various kinds of cut flowers, and some flowering plants in pots. These flowers are beautiful, but not purchased as decoration. They are part of the worship that will take place on the first day of the new year (this Saturday) and at other times during the holiday. My partner, Minh, uses the English word “worship” to describe the activities of Vietnamese families on the first day of Tết. In fact, this day is one of the occasions when families pay respects to their ancestors. In Vietnamese, the expression is cúng tổ tiên. The word “cúng” can certainly be translated “worship,” but the English word comes loaded down with considerable Judeo-Christian baggage that has little to do with Vietnamese practices. I personally prefer “pay respects to” or “honor” ancestors to describe what Vietnamese do on Tết and at other times of the year, though I have no doubt there are people who will disagree with this interpretation.

In any case, many of the market’s transactions consisted of the sales of flowers.

Not everything was flowers. This man is loading his cart with coconuts for delivery to a seller who will make coconut milk drinks for shoppers.

Finally, I am guessing this woman is done with her shopping and thinking, “Let me out of here.” That is certainly what I was thinking by the time I took this shot.

Hoi An Homestead

I love how the sensor of my Fujifilm X-T30 renders light and color. This late afternoon shot of a ramshackle home that backs into a small tributary of Thu Bon River is a good example. I made slight adjustments to exposure and contrast, but that was it for post-processing. My Nikon D750 would also produce an appealing rendition of the light and color in this scene, but it would be qualitatively different than the X-T30 image presented here. I must start taking both cameras on my photo trips in the days to come, so I can take some comparison shots.

I bought the X-T30 a couple of years ago, and recently have been trying once again to figure out the user-unfriendly, erratic software interface that comes with the camera. Although it is a beautiful piece of equipment, it has proven frustratingly difficult to use this little mirrorless camera, and it has spent a good deal of the time I have owned it sitting in a closet.

Floating Market in the Mekong Delta

Long Xuyên is a city of some 400,000 people located on the banks of the Hau River (Sông Hậu). The Hau is part of the massive Mekong River delta system of rivers. Long Xuyen is 140km upriver from the coast where the Mekong and its tributaries spill into the East Sea. Even at that distance from the sea, the Hau River is not a small river on its own, but the delta’s main channel, the Mekong River itself, is still larger as it flows by about 20km to the north and east of Long Xuyen.

Long Xuyen is home to a floating market where sellers of local fruits and vegetables meet with buyers on boats in the middle of the Hau River. The man standing on top of the larger boat in the photo above is weighing large bunches of bananas to sell to the man in the smaller boat. He will transport the bananas he buys to the Long Xuyen shore of the river where the bananas will be cut into smaller bunches and be sold to retail buyers in a local wet market.

The floating market opens early and continues to 10 or so in the morning seven days a week. When my brother visited Vietnam in 2018, we made a brief stop in Long Xuyen and took a boat tour through the market. There were a number of boats on the river, though the market area was hardly crowded. We arrived at about 7:30 am on a Sunday morning, and it is very possible Sunday is a slow day.

The friendly young woman in the foreground of the photo below is going from boat to boat in the market selling bowls of noodle soup for breakfast to customers and sellers.

The woman in the next image is making her way to the market area with a selection of drinks for sale.

Hoa My Hung Island sits in the middle of the Hau River, dividing the river into two narrow channels that come together just as the river flows past Long Xuyen. Houses on stilts stand in the water near the river banks. Some households are engaged in fishing, and in addition to having flat bottom fishing boats, some river dwellers use ingenious arrangements of nets deployed below the house to catch or, in some cases, farm fish. Trapdoors in the porches of the houses make both the nets and the catch accessible. I assume most of the people living in these homes depend on the river in one way or another for their livelihoods. Other families may be involved in growing fruits and vegetables on Hoa My Hung Island.

Some houses have satellite dishes providing residents with television and, I presume, internet service.

In the picture below, a family is out fishing. It is Sunday morning so it makes sense that the boy is helping his mom and dad on the weekend. But let’s hope he is able to go to school come Monday morning.

Man and His Dog, Maribor, Slovenia

It’s 7:40 in the morning. This man and his beautiful best friend are taking a break on their morning walk.

A population of around 100,000 makes Maribor the second largest city in Slovenia. Located in hill country in the east of the country, Maribor is a quiet, charming small city. Among other things, a local restaurant served up the best pizza I ate during my 24 days in Europe. Reason enough to consider a return visit.