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hmong tribe girl at dawn above mu cang chai 800px © Hamish Scott-Brown

Hmong tribe girl at dawn, Mu Cang Chai. Vietnam

Fuji XT2, 50-140mm f2.8

A Hmong tribe girl descends the mountain above her village near Mu Cang Chai in early dawn light carrying wood.

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

High in the mountains a days train ride form Hanoi and above Mu Cang Chai, surrounded by the most amazing rice terraces, you’ll find ‘photographic heaven’.

The early morning light drifts across the hills and reflects off the water in the paddies with insects and flies catching the shadows as you shoot into the light.   This area in the NW corner of Vietnam has been a forgotten gem but you’ll meet the most amazing people, share humbling moments that will remain with you forever and have opportunities to photograph the landscape, capture the culture and charm of this quiet corner and explore with us just what makes NW Vietnam and the areas around Mu Cang Chai an enviable Photographic Journey.


This was a chance moment I managed to capture while driving north with my guides Dinh Thien Than and Quynh Luong from the village at Nghia Lo. We had left the homestay well before sun up in order to catch that first light. Taking a breakfast of noodles in the village of Tu Let in the beautiful province of Tp Yen Bai we then kept heading north and skywards. The girls were scrambling down a bank from the forests above bringing wood back to the road and then down to their homes and houses.


The light was perfectly placed and it was just a case of choosing a long lens and getting the exposures right shooting directly into the low sun. Fuji X series are particularly good at this quick type of travel shooting… allowing you see in the OVF pretty much what is captured without doing complex calculations as well as the XF series lenses  which are amazing in reducing flare and ghosting. Small lightweight perfectly balanced little cameras that shoot sharp, fast and are perfect for travel work.


This area offers truly amazing photographic opportunities and we’re returning there in October 2017 with a small group to witness and capture the rice harvest in the paddies and villages of Tp Yen Bai province.

Like all our trips, places are limited and on this occasion the group size will be no greater than 8 persons.

Full details of the Hmong Tribe, Hanoi and Ha Long bay photography workshop can be found here

NW Vietnam Tour
Photographic Journeys

Worldwide Photographic Tours & Holidays with Hamish Scott-Brown