Sunday, July 31, 2011


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Going Offline

Dad and I are headed up north tomorrow to farmlands. Probably won't have access to the internet for about a week.


These pictures don't show how busy the streets of Vietnam gets, but I'd say it covers the main modes of transportation. There's also taxis (cars) which are often white here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe

I need your help again. Which version of the above image do you prefer (and why)?

Went to sleep at 6pm, woke up at 6am. Its rain season here and because motor bikes are the primary medium of transportation, many plans get canceled. But the rain here's much different than the rainstorms in The States. It stays sunny during most of the storms here and the air stays pretty warm. During the really big storms kids storm the streets and dance in the rain -- a break from the everyday lets-take-a-nap heat.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I believe these are shot at f/32, 30" sec, iso 1600. There's probably a 5 min difference in time between the two shots.Woke up at 4am, swam in the sea for an hour, got out and went to work. (I've been pretty ill lately so I haven't been going through my pictures, but here's the first 2 from my trip to the sea.)


WoW. err... I mean LoL. My cousin here played League of Legends (LoL) here from 7am - 12pm and all of last night.

Got my film back yesterday! I have no idea what to do with it... No where to scan it in and I was too cheap to get the images printed or on a CD. Prints here are 52.5 cents USD each...

(Edit: Woops. I was thinking about this on the back of the motorbike today. It's only 5.25 cents a print. I just take sooo many photos so it added up to a lot.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Saigon Photo

Just discovered a store called Saigon photo here. I dropped off 6 rolls of 35mm color negative film and 5 rolls of 120mm color negative film. $20 to develop all of it at a pro* lab :) They also develop 4x5!

*I suspect pro labs here might not be to as high a standard as in Europe or The States, but I think its the best that's available here. AND ITS SOO CHEAP!

Also, I just found a place selling 5-in-1 110cm Light reflectors for less than $20!! This post probably doesn't mean much to most people, but its super exciting news.


Finally got out of the bed today! I was quickly reminded of the horrors of the passenger seat of the motorbike...

(Above is a picture of nice farmland-themed restaurant in Saigon.)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Street

Here's my road right outside my house. I didn't have a tripod, so upon closer examination this photo is pretty choppy. I took two pictures -- one exposed for the sky and one for the street and just slapped them together.

Still running a fever. I'm taking like 8-10 pills and two shots every day. The pharmacies sell smaller pills here (cause people are smaller) and so I have to double up on most things. Including the shots.


I'm back! Sort of. I took a ~9 hour bus ride up to Nhà Trần a few days back. The speed limits here are really low, but also the bus drives below the speed limit to pick up more passengers (and collect more money) along the way. We ended up staying at a hotel literally across the street from the beach. It was wonderful. Woke up at 4am two days in a row to go swimming and watch the sunrise. I just got back to Sớm Mới (home) this morning at 5am after a ~9 hour train ride. I then greeted my cousins with two fevers and a day in bed.

So the dog above is the family pet! I'm not sure how you actually spell her name, but they call her Ki-Ki. She's the one that eats rice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vietnam vs. Paris

I asked my older sister* Chi Vun within a culture where one has sooo many siblings, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and cousins in general, what is the role of a [biologically unrelated] friend?

She responded that one always hangout with family first. When they are gone/busy/not-in-need-of-help, then you hang out with friends. This doesn't mean that friends and family can't mix, but I couldn't help thinking how different this large-family culture was from my Parisian experience.

*My older sister is actually my younger cousin, but in Vietnamese, I address her as older sister cause her parents, who are my parents' siblings, are older. Confusing, I know. Every form of address recognizes maternal/paternal lineage, hierarchy, and formality. And you'll see a picture of Chi Vun soon enough. But for next couple days, I'm off to the ocean :)

Oh, top picture is a man selling eggs via moped and the bottom pic is the opening/closing of the padlock (of the front door).

The Crosswalk

Like other road markings, the crosswalk is just for decorative purposes. However, I can't decide of crossing the street is scarier or driving in traffic (err.. being a passenger during traffic). To date, I've had two collisions here already, neither of which were [particularly] serious. Apparently these are really common and are to be expected. The first time someone turned their steering wheel into my arm as we zoomed by them, and the second time the opposing motorcycle was knocked over. There were cops near by when this happened, but they just pointed and laughed. I wasn't really sure what was going to happen. I've heard lots of stories of brawls of rage breaking out in these situations from family members... To my surprise, the other person didn't say anything. They just got up, got back on their bike, and drove away.

(Click to enlarge.) I took these pictures cause I thought they had some cultural significance. I asked around, and apparently its just so the pet dogs don't dig them up. Interesting things I did learn was:
1) Dogs eat rice here. Meat's too expensive. (Cutting down on the carbon pollution! ..Although I wonder if the dogs here have adapted to such a diet.)
2) When someone passes away, you cover 'their tree' (e.g. a tree they planted or bought or gifted) with a white cloth or else their tree will also pass away.
3) You cover the tops of trees with paint if you don't want it to grow taller.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Never Turn Left

I expected lots of traffic and lots of motorcycles. I expected loose obedience to traffic laws and an omnipresent white noise of traffic horns. I did not expect The Left Turn. So pretty quickly I learned it's normal to be less than 2.54 cm (an inch) away from motorcycles around you. Slam on the gas, slam on the breaks -- that seems to be the driving philosophy here. And road markings are seems to serve decorative purposes. When turning left, one turns into oncoming traffic (its impossible to turn otherwise), weaves through traffic, then eventually merges back onto the right side of the road. And when the death-defying traffic becomes monotonous, you just merge back into oncoming traffic for the trill of it. Well, that's how my dad drives at least.

(Here's one of my cousin, Ti!)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

27 Hours Later

 After 27 hours spent in airports and airplanes, I'm now in Vietnam. And to my surprise, the cousins with whom I am staying just got cable internet!

I met Johnathan, President of Rise Above Adversity Publications, yesterday on my 15 hour plane ride from Chicago to Seoul. Among many other things (e.g. philosophy and contact info), we exchanged words of encouragement from one aspiring artist to another.

Friday, July 15, 2011

JoeG and J.D.

You've seen both these guys just this last week. You've also met Joe a few other times to (e.g.07.10.1106.12.11). 
Leaving for the airport at 5:30am today. That means I for sure won't be posting tomorrow and my guess is that I'll be posting a couple times a week from now on.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Colors of Sunset II

Here are some of the sunset pictures from the Plan B post a couple days ago. The color difference in the pictures above versus the pictures below was just a matter of a couple minutes.

Packing my final check-in luggage today. Right now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Colors of Sunset I

First thing's first: FREE PUNCH PIZZA TONIGHT!! ( I forgot what else I was going to say cause I'm soo excited :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Plan B

A couple friends and I planned on going to a play, but our reservations didn't go through and they filled up by the time we got there. Two of us then went to the lake and watched the sunset while the third finished his Spanish homework at Plan B in uptown.

Also saw Tree of Life yesterday -- the movie that people are walking out on demanding their money back. I loved it. I'm sure my interpretation is wrong, but I like my interpretation and in my book that's a good movie :) 

Monday, July 11, 2011


So I love my medium format camera, but it doesn't have a built in meter like the Minolta 35mm. So I can't decide which camera I prefer to bring around. Everything just looks soo nice through the medium format viewfinder. I don't know if its the glass or just the square format, but it looks gorgeous!

...Vietnam in less than a week! Not looking forward to the loooooong hours in the air though...

Sunday, July 10, 2011


About twice a week JoeG picks me up for morning coffee at Caribou. We were suppose to today, but he slept through his alarm and then had to go to work.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


One of my mom's coworkers wanted some portraits to send home to her mom in Vietnam. So here's just a classic set-up. One soft-box camera left, one snooted kicker light camera right, and one bare light to the backdrop with a blue gel. All of which was done while fending off relentless mosquitoes.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Mrs. Mary Nguyen (Mom) making dessert in Ohio.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Studio Lights

These pics were just quick test shots to see if my lights worked. Well... they work! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rooftop Movie

What started as a group of 4 at Solera's rooftop movie night became a party of 15 filled with CUT boys, Carls, and a handful of high-school friends. The movie is Grown Ups. 8:30 at Solera. Join the party if you want!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


After lots of txts and phone calls between friends, we made plans to go to the casino, grilling, and stone arch bridge fireworks. We ended up getting drinks and mexican food, missing the fireworks, and watching some amateur 10-second videos at The Soap Factory's Film Festival.

Here are some pictures from beneath the new I-35W bridge. Recently I've been shooting solely on my f1.8 50mm prime because its just a nice, small, compact lens.