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General Stuff, Photographs

Living in Saigon #1


I love walking around in Saigon. It’s crazy, chaotic…bordering on insane, at times…but always fun. It’s a great place for a photographer to live. Walking around here, the photo opportunities are plenty! The city being so full of life and energy, Saigon is a fantastic place to capture some candid street shots, among other things. Walking around the little alleys, you discovering new things, new places, and new things to shoot…every day. Yeah, this place is quite different from any other place that I’ve been to.

Sure, there are many things you could shoot, apart from street life – the architecture is beautiful, anyone would love shooting the buildings here…the food is great, and different, so taking food shots would be an interesting experience…and not far out of Saigon, there are some pretty places in terms of landscape that are great to shoot. But in this post, I’ve stuck to the sights and sounds of Saigon, and it’s awesome little streets. I’ve been living here a while, and got quite a stash of shots in my archives, but I’ll try to keep it to the few best ones – but even then I might have to split this into two posts. You’ve probably seen some of these shots in my gallery/500px etc, but anyway…here goes:

Ah, the traffic…the rickshaws…the chaos. This is all part of this city. It takes a while to get used to, definitely. This shot was taken around District 1…downtown Saigon. The rickshaw guy has just stopped and taken a break, knowing that no one cares he’s parked on the traffic-area of the road…cars n bikes whizzing past him, no problem

The little square in front of the Saigon Opera House – – it holds a little outdoor art museum, if you could call it that…a simple row of photographs from parts of Vietnamese history (mostly War related stuff) – beyond it, you should be able to make out the Opera House itself…which you can see better in my next shot. I love this place for some reason…and this shot turned out rather well!

Yeah, this is the famous Opera House…built and designed by the French (it certainly looks French, does it not?) in 1897, this is one of the examples of architecture that I mentioned earlier…this city is full of this sort of French-influenced building…even in smaller, less prominent areas of the city…it can be a lot of fun wandering about and stumbling across one of them

Another example of the French-style buildings – this one was torn down in 2011, not long after I shot this. Run down as it is, I wish they hadn’t. Some fancy shopping mall is coming up in its place. This is one of my favorite shots of buildings, actually…the sky was pretty dramatic that day, and kinda helped form this shot

Here’s one the city’s most famous landmarks…Duc Ba (Vietnamese) or Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica – yeah, that’s what they named it here too. Built and designed by the French, who even had the materials shipped over from France, it was completed in 1880…and looks absolutely amazing. Great building to photograph, I’ve come here during many times of the day to get different colored sky, different shadow…all kinds of stuff…and I think this is one shot that I really like

One of the little streets I was talking about…complete with the large bundles of telephone (and electric?!) cables running all over the streets that are any photographer’s nightmare. I guess I got lucky with the timing of this shot…I fired 3 shots and this one was the best…someone once called it the Vietnamese Abbey Road. Ha. Oh, and note all the motorbikes lining even the little streets…you find that everywhere in this city

Again, large numbers of motorbikes breezing past on the street…this is one of my best street shots that I have captured here, I think. The scene is pretty messy in the back…bustling, busy, chaotic as ever… but the girl seems to be dancing in her own world, quite carefree and oblivious to everything else

This was taken at Binh Quoi (I’d like to hear you try pronounce it), a ‘tourist village’ of sorts, around 30min from central Saigon (depending on traffic) – a super peaceful, beautiful place, with a great restaurant area (the food is seriously amazing) – you could spend long hours here with your camera. This miniature river winds through most of the ‘village’, and yeah…people like to float along in a canoe. This picture feels so calm, peaceful…serene…doesn’t it? That’s what it’s like in this place…and just a half hour from the bustle of the big city, it is a wonderful (and quick) change

This shot is taken at Binh Quoi too…again, on the river…where some people prefer to sit around and quietly fish, instead of taking the slightly less (?) peaceful canoe. Nothing much more to add here, but I really like this shot too

This series wouldn’t be complete without a shot of one of the little street food stalls. It’s one of the best things of this city, it really is. Simply amazing street food, Saigon is often called one of the best places in the world to eat on the streets. This is one shot that I think turned out really well…nothing fancy, just a straight on shot from across the street of this little stall selling…some stuff that I don’t remember. But it worked well. And again…remember, the street food is amazing. If you’re ever in Vietnam, eat on the streets, not in your hotel

Ok, that’s ten shots…or nine…I bet you didn’t count either. But yes…that’s a quick look at Saigon, and what it’s like being over here. I hope you get a sense of the chaos, the excitement, and whatever else I feel when I step out on the streets of this unique city. It’s seriously unlike any other place I’ve visited, and that’s always a good thing. Sure, there are times when this place drives me crazy and I feel absolutely fed up with it, but those feelings are always temporary, and the city always wins me back


Here I’ve managed to simply cover some of the bigger landmarks, a few small street areas, and some cool-looking buildings – not much, when I look up and think about it – but that’s about all I feel I should put in here without risking losing your interest with an image overload! I’ll continue in from here in the next post, where I’ll try to cover more of this city, but even then I doubt I’ll be able to cover ‘everything’…that’s impossible! I’ll try, anyway. I’ll leave it here for now and get back to the other half in my next post. I hope you had fun viewing this! Please leave a comment or two if you have any thoughts. You can also subscribe, or Like pixelogist.me on Facebook! Until next time

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By Heshan Jayakody
All content in this post is my own. Some of these images, plus others, are available for sale on my 500px store

Discussion

14 Responses to “Living in Saigon #1”

  1. Great shots. Love the one of the two crossing the street.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Bill Chance | April 16, 2012, 23:12
  2. Great work ! Keep it UP buddy !! 🙂

    Posted by Nguyễn Thanh Hải | April 17, 2012, 00:16
  3. Hey. Via your shots, i can understand more about Sai Gon. Thanks for this

    Posted by Chirpy | April 18, 2012, 13:11
  4. Amazing shots. Loved the street food shot with the red highlights.

    Posted by Winn | April 19, 2012, 22:29
  5. you truly catch real picture of Saigon, very nice 🙂

    Posted by Ho chi minh serviced apartments | May 25, 2012, 19:25
  6. u make me see a different perspective in Saigon.

    Posted by suong | April 4, 2013, 12:27

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