Rice Harvest

I have had the luxury of spending this Sunday afternoon editing and processing my images from Viet Nam. Something about this moment and this trip, and I am relishing each moment with these images in a way that I haven’t in a while. I have slowed down, taking my time, experimenting, and reliving the experiences of being there. There is such a variety from gritty Hanoi street photography, market scenes, life in the hill towns, and even a few landscapes. 

One of the thrills of this trip, was that we were smack-dab in the middle of the rice harvest. Long treks up hills and through valleys were rewarded by being able to spend time in the field with the families harvesting their rice.

The top image shows many stages of the rice harvest, a corn field, and even a small vegetable garden. The yellow areas of this field, are ripe, ready-to-harvest rice. The family is cutting the rice and laying it down in large bunches on top of the cut stalks. After a couple of days, it will be dry enough to collect and thresh. In this field, there are large patches that have been completely harvested, patches that look to have been cut a few days ago, patches in the process of being cut, and patches not cut at all. The area of green around the little storage hut is probably a patch of sticky rice. We were told that leaves of the sticky rice plant grow taller than the rice stalks, so even if it were ripe, the yellow rice grains would not be visible. With regular rice, it is the opposite.

The little hut in the image is used for storage and is raised to keep anything in there from getting wet. Behind the hut is a patch of corn. Feed-corn is grown for the animals: water buffalo, pigs, and chickens. I think that the fenced in area is a small vegetable garden. These hill town inhabitants are nearly fully self-sustaining. The rice, corn, and animals are for their family alone and there is only one rice crop per year in this area.

It was not uncommon to see mostly women in the fields doing the harvesting, with one or two men to do the heaviest lifting once a large amount of rice or rice stalks have been collected. We spent quite some time with these folks watching them work the fields.

#riceharvest #hilltowns #northernvietnam #vietnam #withintheframeadventures#inancyimages #nancylehrer⁣ #lifehappensincolor#documentaryphotography ⁣⁣⁣⁣#streetphotography #photostreet #storyofthestreet #streets_storytelling #storytelling #lensculturestreets #travel #streetmarkets #streetphotographymag #streetphotographymagazine #streetfinder 

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What’s coming up the road?

On the road to our first market stop in Can Can, we spent some time with these two women and their boy (not exactly sure whose boy this is). I was trying a new lens combination, a manual focus Zeiss 50mm f/2 – which is equivalent to a 100mm on my Oly.  I didn’t realize how shallow of a depth of field I would get and I have an entire series of this trio with the women perfectly sharp, but the boy just out of focus. When I realized this, I stopped down a bit but they had already tuned us out so I was able to get this more candid shot. These women are, I think, from the Flower H’Mong minority group. 

#cancau #flowerhmong #vietnam #withintheframeadventures #hilltownmarkets#inancyimages #nancylehrer⁣ #lifehappensincolor#documentaryphotography ⁣⁣⁣⁣#streetphotography #photostreet #storyofthestreet #streets_storytelling #storytelling #lensculturestreets #travel #streetmarkets #streetphotographymag #streetphotographymagazine #streetfinder 

Ya Got Trouble – With a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool*

Enough water buffalo for now (there will be more).

After a long, hard, hot, 3-hour trek up, down, and across the hills, valleys, and rice patties in the Sa Pa region in northern Viet Nam, we stopped at a small store for some cold drinks and snacks. We were with our trusty guide, Thao, and Lei Wa, a nice lady from the Red Dao minority who followed us from the start to finish of our trek (more on her later).

After spending some time looking out at the country-side that we had just crossed, two boys came out of the back of the store and started playing pool. I don’t often shoot with a long lens, but given how strenuous our hikes were, I was carrying just one Oly with a 12mm-100mm f/4 (full-frame equivalent of 24mm-200mm) zoom. When I saw the boys playing pool, I didn’t want to perturb the situation, so I used the zoom and bright background to get this image.

*If you don’t recognized the title of this post, it is a song from The Music Man – look it up.

⁣#vietnam #hilltownmarket #pool #lifehappensincolor ⁣⁣#withintheframeadventures #inancyimages #nancylehrer⁣

#documentaryphotography ⁣⁣⁣⁣#streetphotography #photostreet #storyofthestreet #streets_storytelling #storytelling #lensculturestreets #travel #streetmarkets #streetphotographymag #streetphotographymagazine #streetfinder

Another Sunday, Another Water Buffalo for Sale

It seemed like every town had a big Sunday market, and Bac Ha had one of the largest we visited. People would travel from their remote houses in the surrounding hills to sell their produce, poultry, livestock, clothing, and housewares. There was everything imaginable. I found the areas where people were selling their water buffalo to be the most fascinating and dynamic. Mostly men, but a few women would also be there in their traditional outfits.

⁣#vietnam #hilltownmarket #waterbuffalo #lifehappensincolor ⁣⁣#withintheframeadventures #inancyimages #nancylehrer⁣#documentaryphotography ⁣⁣⁣⁣#streetphotography #photostreet #storyofthestreet #streets_storytelling #storytelling #lensculturestreets #travel #streetmarkets #streetphotographymag #streetphotographymagazine #streetfinder 

For Sale – Water Buffalo

Tribes of Vietnam Within The Frame Photographic Adventures September 2019

Have you ever been to a market where you could buy everything from clothing, to produce, to fish and meat, to knives, to water buffalo? This was the standard array (and more) at the Sunday markets in northern Viet Nam. This lady was in her traditional tribe clothing, which they make themselves. Using umbrellas to shade themselves is also common practice. I will need to ask our guide, Trinh Dinh Thao, which tribe she was from.

#vietnam #hilltownmarket #waterbuffalo #lifehappensincolor ⁣⁣#withintheframeadventures #inancyimages #nancylehrer⁣

At Top of the World

Three of our days in Viet Nam were spent on long treks (hikes) up, down, and across the hillsides and valleys, among the rice fields, farm lands, and homes of the minority groups in the northern-most areas of the country. This was the only way to really meet the people, encounter them at work in the fields, and see share some rice wine in their homes.

Since I’m not much of a landscape photographer, and only passably in shape as a hiker, when we would get to the top of a picturesque valley, I rarely succeeded in taking an adequate representation of the specific terrain we had just crossed. I can only tell you, that each time, it felt like we were on the top of the world. In full transparency, these two images, were taken when we hopped out of our van on the road between Bac Ha (our first night’s stop in the north) to Topas (our second nights stop in the north). You will just have to believe me when I say that we hiked several valleys just like this one.

Four Corners

A simple study of one area of Hanoi as seen from the train tracks before they cross the Red River going north. Looking down I show you four views of Hanoi life that I discovered in my short stay there.

#lifehappensincolor #inancyimages #nancylehrer #withintheframeadventures #hanoi #vietnam #streetphotography #viewfromabove