A huge bronze statue of Ho Chi Minh, painted in silver, dominates the waterfront of Can Tho. At night it becomes a beacon that can be seen from blocks away. I made this photograph from the window of my hotel room. Many travel photographers enjoy making pictures at night, using tripods, small apertures and long time exposures. To make such images expressive, however, there needs to be some degree of abstraction, incongruity, or human values present. In this image, the fact that Ho Chi Minh is silver – an unusual color for a public statue – makes it incongruous. The lights on the roofs of the buildings in the distance add context and Vietnamese atmosphere to the scene. Since I do not carry a tripod on my travels, and had to make use of the windowsill for stability, I could not use a small aperture and long time exposure for this image. Instead, I used my zoom lens at its widest aperture, selected my full telephoto reach of 420mm, and employed a slow, but not long, shutter speed of 1/8th of a second. There is still enough depth of focus here to include both Ho Chi Minh, who was a block away, and the buildings well behind him.
After making this photo, I made some experimental photographs of light in motion, zooming my lens while the shutter was open. To see the result, click on the thumbnail below.