Hanoi by dawn
Visit Long Bien - the most bustling market
From midnight, crowds of people, motorbikes and trucks gather at the market till after dawn
Be picked up at 4:45 am and travel to Long Bien market – the most bustling market in town and one of the busiest markets in South East Asia, an excellent place for travel photography practice. Here, we will see into using different modes and settings for our camera. Master the ISO techniques, and learn to master different camera modes.
From a vantage point, explore the market through your lens and capture hundreds of local shifting cargoes, either by pulling cart or carrying on shoulders, from one point to the next. Different stalls are lit up by small light bulbs with different colors of cargoes.
We will walk into the market and be a part of this incredible traffic. Once you’re in it, the market becomes an organized chaos, ruled by carts, bamboo baskets, racing cargoes carriers and loud voices.
Later on, walk in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and see a different city at the start of the day. Our walking routes will get us through the different streets of the Old Quarter while capture the daily life of the local with your camera.
We end the tour with a bowl of traditional Vietnamese Pho, coffee and review the photos you have taken with advice from Momentlives photographer.
Lens: A lens of 85 mm or less (if your camera is full frame) or 50mm or less (if your camera is cropped) will be practical.
Dress: Comfortably. Walking shoes are suggested.
Think: That you are depicting life in Hanoi with your camera. This might just be some good photos to show friends, or to keep your memory. So learn to do it more properly, thus the photos are more intriguing. Don’t pressure yourself, since it’s not that easy to shoot a multi million dollars photo.
Long Bien market is the largest fresh vegetables and fruits market in Hanoi. It lies to the North-East of Hanoi’s famed Old Quarter, where most of the hotels, restaurants and bars are located.
This market, unlike any other in town, rises when the Hanoians are mostly asleep. Huge flow of traffic with big and small trucks making way into the market’s only one gate connecting to the outside road, accompanied by 200,000 scooters or what look like, all eager to get in as if the flood of the Red river is behind themselves.
Photographing the market is a task of extreme fun, since there’s a clear tendency of capturing everything within one photo, but you just simply can’t.
Well, the market is the largest and busiest, and it feeds a large portion of the city’s 7.5 million people who are keen on fresh products. Looking for one peaceful square feet to shoot photos is a challenge.
And things are constantly moving rapidly in the dark. You will need a good lens with wide aperture to make this happen. Crowds of people seem to be running frantically for something uncertain. The only language is shouting, since one has to beat the sounds of engines to get the message traveled. Photographing the whole is a daunting experience. One can only select a good piece of it to capture.
Fruits and veges are unloaded from trucks, and here the battle begins. Some 30 people fight to buy the cargoes. Then each nearby scooter will load a hill of fruits or veges to dart out of the market. During this time, a crowd of hawkers, each with a 2 bamboo baskets hanging on their shoulders, increase the sound frequency since they want to have their portion, too. From here, they would walk to the Old Quarter to resell, making a living. Finding yourself amidst these people is a thrill, and taking photos of this scene is a true photography experience.
Well, it would be a miss not to mention the Long Bien bridge, overpassing the market. Being rustically old, the bridge is a symbol of the city, and it appears in photographs demonstration the city’s icons. Luckily, there’s a pedestrian line on the bridge, where you can go up to breath some fresher air, hopefully. From here, you can photograph the market from above, or simply framing a smaller action, without having cart pusher in your face.
As the sun rises above the old bridge, the market becomes calmer, as the daily battle has reached an end. People have been making way out of the gate. Out there, Hanoians start their day by the morning exercise in one of the parks, or simply sit on the road side sipping a cup of tea from one of the many small tea stalls. Why not end your morning photography with a walk in the Old Quarter, seeing how the local start their day?