GalleryI only had a few days to check out Laos, so I wasted no time by being picked up at Luang Prabang airport and headed north to the small riverside town of Nong Khiaw on the bank of the Ou River, along the way I stopped off at Hmong settlements and a lively local market.
Staying in an $8 a night room overlooking the river made me reminisce about my early travel adventures and the simplicity of having a comfortable bed, working fan and some drops of warm water to shake off the Beer Laos from the night before! After I settled in and wandered around town It become apparent that the local people were very open and happy to have the photo taken, so this was one of the first places I began to learn how to interact with my new found models….mostly though body language or through a new array of funny faces I decided to make while peeking out from behind my camera. Sounds odd? Well hopefully the photos look better than my description sounds!
My first morning kicked (or rather floated) off around 5am as a local guide took me by long tail boat to local settlements only accessible by boat, I was warmly welcomed into the villages where there were lots of cheery kids playing bright and early and fisherman departing for their daily duties. I got a real sense of family values as I saw almost all families eating breakfast together & I was humbled to be invited in to one home to sample some sticky rice and spicy fish – a great way to start the day.
I really enjoyed shooting in these remote villages and feel by sharing my photos, that others can get a small glimpse into Laotian life. My road trip back from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang was scattered with stops, the highlights included Kuang Si Waterfalls & stepping into the muddy paddy fields to take some candid portraits of the friendly, but shy local workers.
When I reached Luang Prabang through his generosity to meet a complete stranger and offer some wisdom, I arranged to meet award winning professional photographer, Paul Wager, who agreed to review my photos and offer me some feedback. By this time I had been taking photos seriously for around 6 months, so it was invaluable to get some objective advice. I think from that day and through continued self-study and hitting the streets to practice my photos have continued to get better….and I realize how much more I have to learn.
My final day in Luang Prabang involved another early start to watch one of the wonders of South East Asia, the dawn morning Alms, in which processions of hundreds of monks collecting offerings of rice and gifts from the local community takes place. I also found time to wander around the Mekong River to catch some early morning fisherman in action on the reflective waters.