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Ricoh Auto Half EF2, 35mm half frame camera. Photograph gallery.

This little Ricoh proved a delight to use, and returned 76 prints from one roll of film! This despite some very awkward and poor lighting conditions. Up in the northernmost provinces of Vietnam in January 2005, close to Sa Pa were these people, who live a rural life in the mountains. It seemed the whole village had turned out to level some ground to start a new building. Having taken the picture, we paid for the honour by helping to move the large rock in the centre of the picture. The building will ultimately compose of wood and bamboo... a likely compromise will be the roof, which may well benefit from some scrounged corrugated paneling.

whole village had turned out to level some ground

children from       the same ethnic group helping out

A couple of the children from the same ethnic group helping out with the construction work. It seems that the girls stick to wearing the traditional dress, even for heavy ground work, whilst the boys have moved towards a more westernised dress. In January the hills around Sa Pa are often shrouded with clouds, resulting in very dim conditions and very short visibility.

The Ricoh has a truly impressive recycle time on it's built in flash, with fresh batteries taking less than a second to become ready. Selecting flash automatically changes the shutter speed to 1/30th second. The focus seems to be optimised for around 15-20ft.

The Ricoh Half was loaded with 100ASA Agfa film on this occasion, which under these condition might be considered a tad slow, however - apart from slightly softer than my usual results, the camera performed faultlessly. For uncomplicated recording of any trip, it's a great companion.

girl from another ethnic group walks on         the outskirts of Sa Pa

A girl from another ethnic group walks on the outskirts of Sa Pa itself. The buildings in Sa Pa are unlike those of the ethnic people, being built of stone, brick and the Vietnamese building material of choice - concrete. They are, likewise, built and inhabited by Vietnamese rather than the local ethnic tribes. Sa Pa is expanding significantly as tourists like me continue to pour in and the tribal people walk up to the town to sell their various textiles to the local dealers and direct to the tourists.

four girls ride around delightedly on their creaking         bicycle

200 miles South East of Sa Pa is the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi where these four girls ride around delightedly on their creaking bicycle. The previous attempt with five of them ended in an unsightly pile of arms and legs.

 

Back in a damp and wet autumnal England, this Birch gamely hangs on the last leaves of 2004, looking strangely comfortable surrounded by concrete and a towering steel gasometer.

towering steel gasometer

Peduang, originally from Burma

The Ricoh half is so wonderfully simple and convenient to use! In December 2005 it was bounced around in a pocket during a five day motorcycle tour of the Golden Triangle in Northern Thailand. This young woman is from a tribe known colloquially as the "Long Necks" although more properly as the Peduang, originally from Burma , as you can see, some of the women (voluntarily) submit to having their necks stretched with rings, she looks pretty happy about it.

 

Right, some of the textiles made on hand looms in the village.

textiles made on hand looms in the village

 

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