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road trip

Photography

“No expectations” is an expectation

We don’t know what to expect on our recent trips, however, we do expect to get something. The drive to perform better, to improve since last capture, is there. Expectations were set high, the bike underwent oil change the day before and the tank was filled. All set, except I had some dodgy sausages the day before. The local supermarket had a promotion and in a spur of the moment I decided to purchase a can of sausages to make hot dogs. I regretted it the whole weekend.

James and I had initially planned to do the Mekong. Getting up early and have a long day out to match our successful trip to Vung Tau. Instead at getting up at 4am, we got ready around 4pm to hit the road. Heavy rain showers had passed and a light drizzle remained. We got on the road to the Mekong without any expectations as the light was completely flat and fading steadily.

First stop was a typical view from the countryside.

View from the road side, outside Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Not really knowing what we could get in such a short time, we had to start looking closely at what we had in front of us in a different way.

Detail from the riverside.

Our little trip took us to an intersection where we found the truck weighing station.

Road sign by the truck weighing station.

After that, the light had gone, but we simply had to stop to capture the plastic can with a light bulb inside, signaling a petrol stop. A few frames were all we managed to get as they cut the power.

Illuminated plastic can signaling a road side petrol service.

Thinking that would be it, we headed back to Saigon, however, we figured out we could use the road side markers as a tripod and do some light trails.

Light trails captured from the road side.

Not only that, we could also do some more road side photography of houses with our newfound “tripods”.

House at night.

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Photography

A spiritual journey is good for the photographic soul

After our first road trip in the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh City, Jamie and I decided to do another. This time we remembered the sunblock and headed out for the road, to Vung Tau and back. All in a day, that was the plan. 200 km on the bike. Doesn’t sound to bad, but then the Vietnamese roads are nothing like the German Autobahn.

Plenty of CF cards, extra batteries, cameras ready and off we went in search of something to capture. It is not the destination that is of importance, but the journey itself and it was indeed true. 14 GB of capture and several image stories to choose between were more than we could have wished for. First story up, a rather spiritual take, as we somehow got drawn to monasteries and road shrines as we travelled along.

Road shrine outside Ho Chi Minh City.

After getting off the Hanoi highway, or xa lo Ha Noi, we were taking what is to be the upgraded road to Vung Tau. In its current state it is more or less 50 km with road works and dust. Full open surgery of the landscape. Despite the changed appearance, Jamie’s local knowledge from one of the hash runs lead us to the “hidden” monastery down a side road.

Statue in front of a monastery, on the way to Vung Tau.

Same statue as above, different angle.

Our next spiritual discovery came when we made a stop to refresh ourselves. The place was under renovation and next to a knocked down bar with a broken pool table there was an outdoor church.

Outdoor church in Long Thanh district.

Opposite to the church was another statue that caught our attention. This is Long Thanh district after all, with LothaMilk.

Broken statue being supported by wooden planks.

Hitting the road again, we picked up pace as the clouds started to gather behind us. Our little outrun did wonders as we encountered the golden light hour with clear blue sky and beautiful sunlight. All we needed was something to photograph and there it was, right by the roadside, a graveyard.

Angel statue at the graveyard.

Onwards we pressed, to make as much of the beautiful light as we could, finally reaching the outskirts of Vung Tau. Plan A was to have a quick bite and then capture a bit more, Plan B happened on a side street as we passed yet another pagoda. Food for the photographic soul instead.

Buddha statue in Vung Tau.

Buddha statue in Vung Tau.

Thus ended the spiritual ride of the day.

Jamie, ready for capture.

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Road trip with Jamie, first stop, Phu My bridge.

Anybody can conceive an idea, only a few realise them. That sums it all up.

Jamie and I have long talked about taking a road trip together, photographing what we would discover along the ride. This year, the celebration of Liberation Day and the First of May made it possible to set aside a day of motorbike riding and really “go with the flow.”

Monday (the first of May) we set out and about and the following images are from one of our many stops, Phu My bridge in District 7 (Phu My Hung).

Phu My bridge, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

However, before entered the bridge, we just had to stop and capture the two guards setting up the own small canteen underneath the bridge.

Guards having lunch under the bridge

The view itself from the top of the bridge. The Saigon river flowing below.

The view from Phu My bridge

Close up of the two boats seen in the above image.

Boats on Saigon river as seen from Phu My bridge

Of course, we needed to include an image of the bridge being used itself by one of the many trucks. According to Vietnam News, 30.000 trucks are passing through everyday and they believe the number will increase to 100.000 per day. The Phu My bridge is quite step, so modern trucks are needed, otherwise they will break down as the older ones do frequently on Saigon Bridge in District 2, causing long queues.

Overloaded trucks with old engines over a bridge often equals overheated engine. Once a vehicle breaks down, it is seldom removed and mechanics will arrive by motorbike to fix it on the spot. (It is worthy of a blog post itself.)

Truck on Phu My bridge

Back to the bridge, here are a few detail images…

Phu My bridge detail

Phu My bridge detail

Phu My bridge detail

… and the nearby scenery.

Nearby landscape

Nearby landscape

A road trip like this is good for the photographic soul, has to be undertaken more frequently, yay!

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