Saïgon Mass Transport
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/60s, ISO 200
I spent a week in Southern Vietnam over the winter holidays. The first thing that strikes you in Ho Chi Minh Ville (still called Saïgon by its inhabitants) is the teeming mass of scooters with unreasonable numbers of passengers. Of course, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to try my panned shot skills. This isn’t the best one technically (the framing is odd and it’s ever so slightly blurred) but five on a scooter and a winning smile ? I couldn’t let that pass.
The Jugged Hare
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/60s, ISO 500
This is one of those times when I wished I’d had the 28mm converter for the x100s. I always argued that I didn’t see enough difference between 35mm and 28mm to justify buying it, but in this case it would clearly have helped. My back was to the wall, I couldn’t frame any better. Still, I kind of liked it, not just because of the brick façade but because the biker is so off center it makes for an unusual composition.
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 1250
I’ve always had this fascination for the really deep escalators of the London Tube. Every time I go there I try to capture the steep ride, this is my most recent attempt. I remember being even more impressed by the Moscow underground escalators when I went there 15 years ago. I didn’t do much photography back then, sadly. I’ll have to head back there, I guess.
The New Recruit
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/8, 1/60s, ISO 640
When I was in London for work a couple of weeks ago I decided to do most of my traveling by foot: it wasn’t raining, the distances weren’t massive (the most I walked between two meetings was an hour) and it felt healthy. As long as I was close to the river, in the area where most buildings are brick, there were a ton of photo opportunities like this one. I don’t know what it is about brick buildings that gives them so much photographic appeal, but it’s a reality. As soon as I moved into the posher areas, photo opportunities just died down it seems…
The Good Shot
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/60s, ISO 400
As I was walking towards Westminster Cathedral, with little in the way of good light, I asked myself whether I would even be able to make a decent shot. It turns out that as long as you’re shooting the other photographers, you’re good.
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/8, 1/60s, ISO 800
I guess there was a time when street photography shots of people on their phones were new and different. Now the challenge is to shoot people not on their phones. Still, once in a while it works, maybe not as original, but as interesting nonetheless. I think that’s the case in this London moment, edited with XeL 2.0.
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 2000
It’s that Yangshuo food market again. You never realize the incredible variety of vegetables in the world until you visit a food market on another continent. The number of unknown vegetables you’ll see is astonishing. Things that you have never seen, have no idea what they’re called, and most of all no idea what they taste like. There’s a French charity here in Shanghai called APM that released a number of trilingual cook books (French/English/Chinese) to raise money. Their next project is a book on local fruit and vegetables and how to prepare them. I can’t wait to read that!
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/8, 1/60s, ISO 3200
If there’s one minor quibble I have with the Fuji x100s it’s that the in-built ND filter stays on after you shut the camera off. So when you finish a shoot with the ND on and forget to switch if off then, you start the next shoot with the ND filter on. And since the auto-ISO pumps up the ISO when you have insufficient light, you end up shooting at 3200 ISO in daylight. But the power of the x100s engine is such that even then you get a workable photo, as demonstrated here. There’s many countries in the world now where you could shoot people speaking on mobile phones all day long. It’s certainly the case here, and this one is tame compared to some of the guys driving scooters with cumbersome lateral cargo and still talking on their mobile phone. That’ll be for next time.
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 640
While in Yangshuo we went to a food market. I love open air (or, in this case, covered) markets, they teem with life and tell us more about how people live than many other sights in a city. This was a massive hall with lots of fruit and vegetable sellers (there were meat sellers in a different section, I’ll cover that later). We saw all kinds of odd vegetables, some of which we didn’t even have names for. We also noticed that you could buy garlic either as nature intended or pre-peeled. This guy was passing the time peeling his garlic…
Cycling the Streets
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/5.6, 1/450s, ISO 200
Many people have a fantasy view of Shanghai (or China in general for that matter) with bicycles everywhere. Sadly, while this may have been a real sight at the time The Blue Lotus was drawn, and still true when I first came to China in 1995, it no longer is. Electric scooters have replaced bicycles. Still, occasionally you see old people going down the streets on bikes, so it’s not all lost to modernity.