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

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

capturing motion with your camera

It’s amazing and terrifying at the same time.

I was nervous the first time I had to cross the road, but by the end of our few days in Hanoi, I was able to cross the street with confidence. 

This is a vibrant, bustling city where everything is in constant motion. 

Of course, capturing motion with your camera lens isn’t always easy. But with practice (and lots of opportunities to play and experiment), our members on this trip with me here in Vietnam came away with some fun shots that capture the vibe of the city.

Attendee Terry Granger created this nice 3-shot series that captured  the many ways the Vietnamese travel through the streets:

capturing motion with your camera

capturing motion with your camera

capturing motion with your camera

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

capturing motion with your camera

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

I’ve never experimented with light trails before.  Thank you City of Hanoi for being our muse.

Not only did we have pro photographer Efrain Padro by our side on this trip, but we also had city-local, Son Nguyen, who is an expert photographer, too.  

In our free time, he took us up to the rooftop of a local building where we practiced getting light trail photos, like Jennifer’s above.  

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.  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.

Check out the next tip in our series from this Vietnam/Cambodia Expedition: why you should include lead room in your photos. 

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