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Home » Travel Photography

Winter photography in Sapa | Vietnam in the clouds

Submitted by on 14/03/2011 – 10:12 amNo Comment

Minority villagers at the market Sapa Vietnam |

Sapa in Vietnam has some stunning scenery, the town sits on a hillside overlooking the tallest peaks in Indochina and rice terraces that sink into the valleys where ethnic minority villages lie. We’ve been before to Sapa, but in the summer time, when there were no clouds in the sky and the views lasted for what felt like forever. Recently we went back… But this time it was just at the beginning of spring (March) and we didn’t get a glimpse of those views even once. What felt like thick fog surrounding us was in fact clouds.

So what to do in a town that’s all about “THE view” when “THE view” is nowhere to be seen… Nothing, just sit at the bar and get extraordinarily drunk… Well, not really… At least not the whole time. We set out regardless to see the various hill tribe people that trek up the valley into Sapa town everyday to flog their wares and hit up[ the market.

What seemed at first to be a complete wash out made for some great scenes and now were armed up with a shiny new camera (Canon 550d), we were keen as mustard to capture them.

Woman from the Red Zao minority in Sapa Vietnam

Around 5pm when the market was beginning to close and Sapa town was starting to empty we bumped into a group of women from the Red Zao minority, getting some grub down them before heading off home.

Man in conical hat walks up the stairs in Sapa Vietnam

Making one last purchase before closing…

As we turned to head down into Sapa market we were faced with these H’Mong women, heading back into town to sell they’re bags and jewellery.

Hill tribe woman waits in the fog Sapa Vietnam

The clouds/fog was so thick visibility was down to 8-10 metres tops! This woman was waiting on the main road for some passing trade.

Hill tribe baby on the back Sapa Vietnam

This was taken earlier in the day at a small market 2 hours from Sapa called Muong Khuong. The women carry their children in slings made from blackets, occassionally throwing some fruit or sweets over their shoulder to keep the little ones amused.

 Happy little hilltribe girl waits for sugar cane Sapa Vietnam

Another scene from Muong Khuong market, a crowd of women gathers when a moto comes riding through with a pile of freshly cut sugar cane on board.

Minority men smoking my smokes Sapa Vietnam

While the women at Muong Khuong market are shopping/gossiping the men are all smoking MY cigarettes, I always find that a pack of smokes is a universal currency and most people open up with the offer of one… Sometimes though they also call all they’re friends over for one too…

Hill tribe boy getting some sweets Sapa

Showing baby how to roll her first joint… JOKE!!!!!!! The little chap is over the moon because his mum has hooked him up with some sweets. Again at Muong Khuong market.

Hilltribe market Sapa, Vietnam |

Most of the hill-tribe women carry these woven baskets on their backs, the straps are made from Horse hair and some weigh more than my backpack ever does!

Hilltribe fabric Sapa, Vietnam |

The colourful textiles that make the hill-tribes so distinctive and great to photograph.

All these photos were taken on the Canon 550d with a 50mm 1.8 prime lens (Prime means one that doesn’t zoom – it’s fixed at 50mm). Also since we’ve had the eBook “Transcending travel” from Digital Photography School we’ve been able to take much better pictures and understand how to get into the right situations.

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Aaron Bradford has written 663 articles. +Aaron Bradford is the leader, mentor and chief geek of HappyTimeblog. He put together the crack team of writers known by codename “The Firm“. He's a permanent traveller and a lifestyle hacker. Wanna know more? Check out my Bucket List or my About page... I'm here to show you how to live a Life Less Ordinary

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