Thursday, December 8, 2022

Vietnam Photo Tour: Cao Dai Temple and the Floating Markets

Towards the end of our visit to Vietnam, we made a visit to the Cao Dai Temple. This building is very colorful and is one of the most visited tourist sites in Vietnam. It is the home of the Cao Dai which is a religion that combines Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism and Confucianism. 

We arrived just before noon, in between two ceremonies. They actually have four ceremonies a day, starting from 6am all the way until midnight.

Since the ceremony had yet to start, we walked around the outside of the building to capture the unique architecture. We had to wait outside until the temple was officially opened for visitors (who are restricted to view from the inner doorways).

Once the ceremony began, we had a great view of the amazing inside of the Cao Dai Temple. I decided to use my Canon R5 and Canon RF24-105mm lens for my wide shots. 

The ceremony lasts for quite a long time, giving us ample time to photograph the people and the details of the architecture. I encouraged our tour guests to not only photograph the people, but to try different photography techniques to show this in unique ways. Here I focused on the nearby column, letting the people go out of focus. I used my Canon R6 and Canon RF70-200mm lens for tighter shots like this. 

I really loved the bright colors and repeating patterns inside the Temple.

All the men and women in attendance wore white, and they were segregated to separate sides of the temple. Also, their sitting positions were determined by their levels of spiritual attainment, lower levels in back and higher levels up front.  The priests wore the bright colors. Each of the colors represents a different religion - yellow for Buddhist, blue for Taoist, and red for Confucian. (Thanks to Susie J - one of our guests - for researching this and allowing me to steal that info to share with you all). 

I used selective focus and a narrow aperture to focus primarily on the priests in the back of the ceremony.

After the service, we all walked around the grounds to get more photos. I looked for interesting details that caught my eye.

I always look for teaching moments, and this photo is an example of that. I had some of our guests walking around with me and saw that the sun was just over the temple. I showed them how to change the aperture of the camera, move so that the sun is barely visible, and get a starburst effect like this.

Nearby the Cao Dai Temple was a huge Buddah. I saw this reflection in the water and encouraged everyone to get a shot like this. So cool!

The next day, we visited one of the floating markets and what a photography bonanza that was!

As you may have seen from my previous blog post, we loved photographing the people of Vietnam. Watching them work on the floating market was another chance to capture the people in their unique environment. For this day, I decided to use my Canon R6 and the Canon RF70-200mm lens. I did not need the high resolution of the Canon R5 (since I figured I would not need to crop much) and I figured that the reach of the 70-200mm would be perfect for this excursion. 

This woman was selling meat from her boat. 

This woman was transporting vegetables in front of a floating store. 

The following images show the people of the floating market. I will let the photos do the talking for me...

For those wondering, this is a uniquely carved pineapple. 

This is the final blog post from our Vietnam tour (even though I have so many more images from this amazing trip). The next blog will share images from our next stop, Cambodia!

I hope you get a chance to see and appreciate my view from different parts of the world. If you would like to join us on a photo tour, you can see the upcoming trips here. We do not have another trip planned to Vietnam and Cambodia yet, but let me know if you want to join us in the future, as I promise we will be doing this again soon. We do have a couple of spots available for my favorite trip - Tanzania in February!


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Anonymous said...

Fabulous pictures! You captured our trip perfectly. It was fun working with you.

Anonymous said...

Temple shot: you said

I used selective focus and a narrow aperture to focus primarily on the priests in the back of the ceremony.

Why narrow?