Hanoi | Vietnam in Focus

On the morning of our anniversary, I got up at 4:30 am to go on a photography tour with Vietnam in Focus. We went to numerous spots that all focused around telling the story of "life on the tracks." I had a great time and learned a lot! For the first time, all of my camera settings were on manual.

We started at the Long Bien Bridge where we captured the sunrise and the early morning commuters. I was using a Prime lens so Colm, our teacher and guide, taught me how to get the most bang for my buck since I couldn't zoom in or out. 

On our way to where the train passes through a narrow residential area, we walked through a back alley that was full of tiny shops. I was little apprehensive about taking pictures of people, but most didn't mine. One woman, who appears to have blackened teeth, was super friendly and even welcomed us to take photos of her.

I was so excited to check out the "tracks neighborhood," as I call it! It was something on my original Hanoi "bucket list," but I didn't think it was real. People Photoshop stuff all the time, amiright?! 

Even as we were walking down the tracks, I couldn't believe that they are still in use! Twice a day, people have to pull in their motor bikes and lawn decorations just to be sure they don't get swept away by a train... crazy!!

To continue telling a story, I attempted to capture the busy streets of Hanoi and the gentlemen enjoying his lunch in a lawn chair on the train tracks. In theory, it would have been an amazing picture, but in reality it was REALLY hard to capture. Everything had to be in the right place at the right time. I had fun trying, nonetheless.

By the end of the story, I attempted to capture a "day in the life," type of photo. These two were my best representations of that! The little girl was so very sweet and was carrying around her snacks, per the usual. Then, the two guys enjoying their lunch right next to the train tracks as if it were totally normal. So interesting!

After we were done taking photos, Colm took us to get some breakfast (chocolate pancakes!!) and review our photos. Unfortunately, my memory card was nearly full before we even started and I hadn't thought to bring along an extra one. That meant that I had to do some deleting along the way, which wasn't the end of the world, but I would have liked to see all the photos on my computer before deleting them. Lesson learned!

Bonus picture of me working on capturing pictures with shadows + harsh lighting

This was such a unique thing for me to do on a vacation. I typically stick with the few camera setting that I know and do the touring myself, but it was a great adventure! Because Colm spoke Vietnamese, the whole morning was more personal that it ever could have been had it just been me.

If you're looking for an interesting way to see a lot, do a lot, and capture the moments on your camera then this is the trip for you. Not to mention that I was back to our hotel before Mark even finished getting ready for the day! Happy Anniversary to me!

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