Adding a technical camera to my bag was the next step. The team at Digital Transitions in New York City was instrumental in pairing me with the right equipment to fit my needs and provided me with hands on training, both at the showroom and on call as needed, to get me up to speed. Doug Peterson and Lance Schad both took the time to meet with me to review and compare the different options for technical cameras. The technical skill and knowledge that Doug has of the equipment is impressive. I ended up choosing the Cambo and have paired it with the Phase One IQ4 150mp back and Rodenstock lenses. Digital Transitions continues to be my go-to dealer for both purchasing equipment as well as for ongoing support.
In addition to the sunrise capture above at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the bridges in and around Da Nang Vietnam are extraordinary. The combination of the Cambo with the IQ4 150 MP back was phenomenal in capturing these images. A quick insider’s tip on catching Angkor Wat at sunrise: get there as early as is humanly possible! This will require you to be resourceful. As you can see from the picture below, it is a very popular site to watch the sun rise and the small area behind the pond fills up quickly. When we arrived around 4 am there where only about 10 of us. At 6 am I turned around to see 100’s of people behind me. Believe it or not, the capture that made the cut was taken well after everyone else had put their equipment away. A lesson learned: keep clicking and be patient to the end.
The IQ4 150 MP back was as exquisite for street shooting in Vietnam and Cambodia as it was for capturing the bridges shown above. Hanoi Vietnam is a very interesting place. Tourism and an economic resurgence have definitely impacted parts of the city, with high end shops and boutique hotels establishing themselves in the heart of the city. The Old Quarter has maintained its charm with the old shops mixed in with the new. The street markets are bustling and vibrant and it seems there is a café nearly every 50 feet, including on Train Street where there are train track cafes! They literally move the tables and chairs off the track when the train comes through a couple times a day. There is a train schedule; however, the accuracy of it is questionable.
We had a couple of rainy days in Hanoi and one afternoon stood on a balcony overlooking a busy intersection. It was mesmerizing watching the flow of scooters, bikes, motorcycles, and cars navigating this intersection without any traffic control at all. I had a 240mm Schneider Kreuznach lens on the Phase and was shooting hand held vignettes of the controlled chaos below. I captured some interesting images, but 3 that work particularly well together and created the Hanoi Bike Series.
To show the versatility of that lens, I also used it at night to capture the Tran Thi Ly Bridge in Da Nang. We were there to shoot the Dragon Bridge and packing up to go when I noticed the bridge behind us displaying a spectacular light show. I captured it in monotone pink with the 240 mm. Always pays to look behind you!
You can still find the weathered faces and working farmers just outside the cities and it is worth the trip. Hoi An has become a tourist mecca with busses dropping off hundreds of passengers for day trips, but just outside of the chaos, are the real people of Vietnam. They are holding on to their traditions and still do everything by hand, the old way. Friendships endure and people help each other.
In Cambodia, the local culture is still very prevalent, and a single paved road runs from the airport out to Siem Reap. Within the city, you are immersed in crowded open-air markets and auto rickshaws are the preferred mode of transportation. It is a spiritual place and you’ll see monks not only in temples and traditional settings, but also doing everyday errands like shopping at the market. Walking the streets with the Phase is anything but inconspicuous, but more often than not, the people I encounter are gracious, like the woman in the doorway who greeted me by placing her hands in prayer. What a lovely gesture!
Overall, I am very happy with the system that I’ve chosen, the support that I have received, and the images that I have captured. I am looking forward to the next adventure-the South Island of New Zealand in July. Stay tuned!