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Saigon City Cinema

Thái Bình Market

Thái Bình Market.

Exploring a vibrant city means observing life and interacting with people. On the other hand your photographs may be better if you don’t interfere and leave people in their state. In street photography a composition of a scene containing people and their environment is essential, so be ready to use a modest wide angle lens in the range of 28-35 mm equivalent FF focal length. Using a wide angle lens causes a significant problem when shooting street. Being close while you must not interfere to the scene. Move in a natural way, not like a hunter. Work fully manual. Manual focus in advance, for example using a wall and learn to get a feeling for the distance, maybe 2 meters. Move smoothly and do not press the shutter in the moment your foot impacts ground. 1/400 s or shorter shutter speed is required. ISO automatic is helpful. Often I use an aperture of f4 or f5.6. For late evening or nighttime shots, f2 or f2.8 and a camera capable of shooting high ISO in acceptable quality is required.

In rural regions of Vietnam many people own a piece of land on which they cultivate crops or hold animals. Essential for city life is delivery and distribution of goods. Int eh streets of Saigon you see many traders that carry their „store“ hung on a wooden stick. As everywhere in the world people search for opportunities to gain their income. Full employment is a by any society seldom reached state. It’s up to each individual to find a way to survive in any city of the world.

Vietnamese trader in Saigon

Vietnamese trader in Saigon.

 

Another female trader in a street scene.

Another female trader in a street scene.

 

As time goes by.

As time goes by

 

Division of work.

Division of work.

 

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Old and new world.

Old and new world.

 

Vietnam is the country of low plastic stools. If you decide to eat at the sidewalk you will find yourself sitting just a bit above ground. Unfortunately I have no pics, how it looks like with my 1,87m. It’s not a perfectly scaled country for tall people. Food always has been delicious and incredibly cheap. People enjoy living. The atmosphere of electric lighting, if any, takes a while to getting used to.

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Many restaurants and small stands serve on the sidewalk.

 

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There is some public transport for sure. The small amount of cars in the city center consists mainly of taxis. Any transport is due to scooters or small motorcycles. Carrying 3-4 people is common. Beer transporter: small motorcycle.

Family transporter.

Family transporter.

 

Beer transporter.

Beer transporter.

 

If one thinks of chaotic traffic, Italy is what comes into ones mind first. I remember well when I went first with my motorcycle through Naples. I decelerated shortly as I have been approaching a red light, but it was no crossing, only a pedestrian cross walk.  Until I realized it, a big yellow and loud public transport bus already had surpassed me. Traffic there is like gas particles in a tube. Vietnam is different. Being also chaotic, anything goes in any direction. Look at the dense crowd. But opposite to Naples, in Vietnam people drive slowly and evenly not trying to max the speed in every short moment. As a European you have to calm down your mind and try not to accelerate and break again and go continuously. Otherwise it will be getting hectic and even frightening.

Crossing in Ho Chi Minh City.

Crossing in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Funeral ceremonies are hold in a serious way in front of the house of the deceased. Prayers are spoken continuously. Look at the beautiful colors.

Funeral

Funeral ceremony.

 

The next scene I nearly would have overseen. And it seems a bit odd as the modern vietnamese society doesn’t seem to be superstitious. In fact it has only be once that I have seen a fortune teller in the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.

Good luck!

Good luck!

 

Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, how it is called today, is really worth a travel. From Germany you can fly Lufthansa direct from Frankfurt. Actually they have tempting offers for East Asia. If your lucky you find a ticket for under 700.- €. Be aware to book a direct flight. Flight times are not the total travel times which may sum up to more than one day. Clean rooms with air condition may be found from 12 $ on. I found the nice family driven Long Hostel in the backpacker district using Hostelworld. The hotel owners will give you directions, how to come by Taxi from the airport to the hostel. They also phoned with my Taxidriver and expected me at a suitable place.