Mekong River Photography Gem: Chau Doc, Vietnam
The reason I returned to Chau Doc, Vietnam was to take a boat ride to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
I could have crossed the Cambodian border at Ha Tien as well but I have taken many bus trips already (and many more are waiting for me) also I had a great time touring the Mekong River on a motorboat while staying in Can Tho, Vietnam.
Due to some gloomy days black and white photos were more appropriate for my last post from Chau Doc but this time the weather was more sunny so this set of pictures can be shown in color.
The first photo of the kid with curious eyes on the top of of this post was taken because of the invitation of the boy’s father. As I was walking down the long dirt road alongside the Mekong River a man waived towards me, asking me to photograph his son.
I took two photos, showed them the pictures and said good bye, the whole interaction lasting less than 30 seconds; but I happen to like the photo very much. Sometimes good images result from little or no setup. I could have changed background or angles but most likely the prolonged “session” would have made the boy uncomfortable and the photos loosing the feel of spontaneity.
A sleeping boy and a baby in a red hammock is a great find any day.
I signaled to the parents asking for permission, climbed up onto the porch and took about 25 photos; why so many? Because the kids were not moving and jumping around (another rarity adding to the great find) and this scene was a true gem so I wished to secure at lest a few good photos:
Cute kids, good light and a slice of life from the Mekong Delta. I could also call this photo the human stroller, I just realized I probably have not seen one baby stroller in Vietnam (I am sure there are some); this keeps many kids from a very early age busy throughout the day while carrying their younger siblings:
The boy’s mother signaled towards me to take her son’s picture but as soon as my camera was lifted there were signs of tears in the boy’s eyes.
The way we (mother and I) managed to take this photo was if he stayed close to her; the little guy did good and only lost it after a couple of pictures:
Not all kids enjoy their pictures taken, I love the “who the heck are you?” look in the eyes of this boy:
Sometimes staged photos are unavoidable and often the other family members are already instructing the kids even before I lift my camera.
When this happens I can hardly ever get any decent pictures or to give any natural feel to the photos. In this case hands on hip were the grandmother’s instructions and even though she meant well it made the photo too posed:
The look on the face of the girl in the background says it all: kids constantly stick their heads in front of the camera (taking me by surprise) often “ruining” very good shots; for fun I decided to use the faces this time:
An impromptu performance by a couple of kids:
Westerners would not find the Mekong River sanitary for any reason but in Vietnam people was their hair, body, clothes and dishes in the river, definitely different standards; but afterall the river is all they have:
A quiet moment along the Mekong River:
Nice smile and great colors; a girl greeting me from her balcony:
Older brother carrying his sibling back home climbing some pretty high steps with the added weight:
Ingredients for a fun; a red balloon and a strange looking foreigner with a camera:
The silly girl in the red dress loved the camera and appeared in many of my photos from that day by simply following me and jumping in the pictures all the time:
An example of the evil wide angle trick which is quite effective to to put people at ease; the kids had no idea they are in the picture, the camera was clearly pointed at the house only:
When I showed a monk this photo he called the boy half-monk; I took many more and better shots of the boy which are too good to post here:
These two girls were acting shy and sneaky while following me on a parallel dirt road but after awhile decided to approach me for this snapshot:
Always great to photograph different generations next to each other; they were a little bewildered by my presence so I took one picture from the road while they could remain in “safe distance”:
This photo has a simple premise – flawless beauty:
A slice of life in the Mekong Delta: