After trying for nearly two weeks and after being repeatedly washed out by rain, we finally took the Morning in the Alleys tour with Hoi An Photo Walks. It was a great way to spend a morning in Hoi An.
The day started with a mini lecture from our guide Pieter on camera settings such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. In spite of the fact that I pretty much never take my camera off of the auto settings (sacrilege to a professional photographer, and something I need to change, I know), I learned a lot. And, Robert didn’t mind the refresher — besides it reinforced his view that he is always right.
Then, it was off into the alleys to explore and learn about composition and more about camera settings. This is where the day really shined.
First, although this has nothing to do with photography per se, we got to see a side of Hoi An that we hadn’t previously seen, even though we had repeatedly walked within a few feet of these alleys. Sadly, with the recent proliferation of guest houses, I fear this side of Hoi An may soon disappear. But it was wonderful to walk through the alleys and see how people really live. Everyone has their doors and windows wide open — just a tiny bit different than in Chicago!
Second, Pieter helped us get up close and personal with a variety of people in the alleys — hopefully we will both be a bit more confident about doing this in the future (note to self: Vietnamese really don’t mind if you photograph children — in fact, sometimes like today an entire family will help make sure you get the perfect outfit and the perfect pose of their little one and sometimes like today little kids will run right into your shot to make sure you get their photo while their mom watches from the sidelines).
Pieter also spoke to us in the alleys about things such as how to tell a story and how to evoke feelings in your photos, and explained it with photos he took on the spot. Now, if I could just manage to see the things he sees….
And, he also taught Robert numerous technical things, such as exposure compensation.
All in all, we both felt like we learned quite a bit and got some fun photos to boot.
(P.S., in spite of insisting on using auto settings, half these photos are mine…..).