Potain – Annual Report Photography For Vietnam Project

In December, right before i went to America for a month, I shot a commercial job for the crane and heavy machine company, Potain. They wanted me to shoot the Son La Dam and the cranes from their company for their annual report. They told me that they had 8 Cranes on site, which was more than any other job site in the world for them. They also wanted the photos to only contain their cranes and not cranes from other companies. Fair enough right? That was what i thought.

At the time i thought that this would be a fun job, little did i know there were 20 operational cranes at the job site and that the Son La dam is a OSHA nightmare. As you can imagine, it is dirty and wet, very very dirty and very very wet. There were fine particles of soot everywhere you walked and when mixed with water (they are building a dam, so there is lots of water) became a super slippery substance. If you haven’t been to the dam, this place is HUGE. To get from one place to another was all done with hand made 1 bar rebar ladders bridges. Let me tell you, slippery mud and 1 bar rebar ladders, is not a good time. (see the first photo below)

Before the shoot, I was informed by the advertising company that hired me, London Based SE10 , that i would have a full day to shoot at the location. I thought this was great! I would shoot from 6AM until 6PM and have lots of time to go everywhere on the site.

Unfortunately, when i got in to the van full of advertising and sales execs to go to Son La (7 hours away), I was told I would only have a few hours to shoot the job as the execs i was traveling with were on a tight schedule and had to catch a plane to China.

No problem.

So what did i do, I shook loose my handler (It is a Vietnamese Government dam, every foreigner gets one) and shot the shit out of that dam. It was DAM fun (sorry I had to say it). I knew i needed about 25 solid photos for the client, so once i got those i had some time to take a few shots of the workers on the site. Here are some of my photos for the client and of the workers at the dam.

All in all, even with the time pressure, I am so happy to have done this job. My client was super happy writing me, “Best photos we have had in years.”

I love it when everyone is happy.

Tired and orange – Hanoi flower market during Tet

While this is my 4th Tet in Hanoi, I still enjoy going out to the night flower market just before the New Year. It is usually full of life and action, but this year it had a very different feeling. It was very dark and dirty and the flower sellers all looked very tired. Some of them said that it was a bad year to sell flowers as Hanoi had a hot flash for about 2 weeks before Tet which made most of the flowers bloom prematurely. For a flower seller in Hanoi, this is very bad as their Hanoian customers want their flowers to open up on the first day of Tet as it is considered an omen of good luck for the year. I feel bad for all the flower sellers, when their fight is strong they can haggle you to death, they just didn’t have that spirit in them this year. I missed it.

Keep your chin up all you flower sellers out there, next year will be here before you know it and with a little good luck the weather will be on your side.

5D Mark II & Bhaya Cruises TVC

In September, the agency that represents me, Noi Pictures, contacted me about a new contract they got from Bhaya Cruise. The contract was to produce a TVC type film in 5 languages to promote their cruises.

When i first thought about this project I instantly thought that i should use my 5D Mark II to make it. I had used the camera to make a short video for Blue Dragon and i really liked the results and image quality. Now, keep in mind, there are many issues with using this camera, but i found (after a lot of research) a lot if not all the solutions to fixing these. With those issues in mind, me and Francois (my super agent) set out to shoot the most beautiful TVC we could do in 3 days.

I did have some great talent, Ruth and Issak who made my life so easy as i didn’t have to direct them too much. Surprisingly enough they had read the script (like actors are supposed to do) and knew what i was looking for. Thank god for them and for them being professional at their job.

A lot of people have asked me what equipment did i use to shoot this? Well i did not use much. I used my dolly and boom that i bought as well as a trusty tripod. Besides that, i used the motion of the boat to my advantage to get some nice shots and stuck to my storyboard.

Also, if you look carefully the sunset it is a time-lapse i shot with the camera. These are all still photos connected together to create a time-lapse shot. I think there were 1000 something photos to make this. I don’t recommend this to everyone as it reduces the life of your shutter, but for me it is worth it.

If anyone has any other questions about this shoot i am happy to answer them.

-Ehrin