Crossing the street in Hanoi, Vietnam is a skill every person in the city must learn.

To cross the street, you simply step out in traffic, and a whirlwind of cyclos (Hanoi’s version of the rickshaw), mopeds, motorcycles, and cars strategically move around you.

Traveling with a camera can give you a deeper, local experience...

Traveling with a camera can give you a deeper, local experience...

It’s amazing and terrifying at the same time.

We took a group of photographers there in 2016, and by the end of our few days together, we could almost cross any street with confidence.

And here’s what else we could do…

Because we were with instructor Efrain Padro, we could also capture this motion in our cameras. Take a look…

Attendee Terry Granger created this of a moped speeding by:

Traveling with a camera can give you a deeper, local experience...

And member Jennifer Hess got this great light trails shot from our restaurant rooftop:

Traveling with a camera can give you a deeper, local experience...

It’s nice when you can take time to slow down and learn something new in photography.

I’d never experimented with light trails before this workshop. Thank you Efrain and the City of Hanoi for being our muse!

Traveling with a camera around my neck has changed the way I see the world.

No more waiting in long lines to check all the must-see sights off my list. I just head out on foot, with the goal of creating good photos, and see where I end up. It’s such a great way to really get to know a place.

No more listening to boring audio guides or visiting temples during the heat of the day when thousands of other tourists are there. I take advantage of “the golden hour” shortly after sunrise and “the blue hour” just after sunset. It’s the best time for photos… and most other travelers are either still sleeping or they’re hustling over dinner plans.

Traveling like this is fun. It’s exciting. And it gives you a purpose and new way to explore a city.

Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel says most travelers like to hit a different café or restaurant every day they’re traveling, but she does the opposite. She likes to pick one place and make it her own. She goes to the same spot every day and creates a routine on her travels. It helps her notice more, blend in a little, and escape the mad rush of typical tourist travel.

I think a camera does this for you, too.

I know the garden behind Notre Dame incredibly well now because I’ve photographed nearly every flower in it trying to capture something unique of a well-photographed destination.

And the same with Thailand. I can spend hours at the top of Doi Suthep when regular tourists might bore after a single walk through.

My job, my camera, my new way of traveling has changed how I see the world… and I couldn’t be happier.

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