“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world” 

Kayci.Lee Jan 2018 with me in Leon, Nicaragua. It’s weird seeing her with clothes on, I know. Bear with me on this. I’ll fix it on the next one.

Honestly, who knows? I mean… dang! Covid has wrecked so many plans for so many people, who can say what they’ll be doing in 3 months, much less the next year. 

BUT… I can tell you I will remain optimistic and plan as smartly and as practically as I can. I remain in Vietnam and aim to stay here for a while longer. The country as started to open up again and the immigration rules are returning to pre-Covid regulations… slowly. 

This month marks 4 years since I set out traveling around the world. How many of you thought I’d be gone this long? I left in January 7th, 2018 accompanied for one month by Kayci.Lee. She and I traveled through 3 countries until she left early February. I spent 9 months in Central America, 9 months in South America, and then I came to Vietnam in Feb 2020 and a global pandemic hit as soon as I got here. 

I have lots to get done here and I have not finished with my photographic goals. Last year was too restrictive to travel around to get the scenic landscape spots I wished for. I respected the government’s recommendations to not travel unless absolutely necessary and I adhered to the lockdown regulations while they were in effect. 

Things are opening back up now, so I want to begin getting outside Hanoi (for a start). I have an apartment here. If the surrounding countries also become easy to move around in, I’d like to use Hanoi as a base and hopscotch around SE Asia. I will wait for things to normalize some more, so that I don’t leave and then for some reason have a problem getting back into Vietnam, while I have an apartment full of my belongings. If all goes well, I’ll jump over to Thailand for a month or so, get some great shots, and then return! And then do the same thing visiting Cambodia.

Kayci.Lee Jan 2018 with me on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Probably the thing I’m interested in most is getting back to shooting film. I don’t have all the answers to doing that just yet, because I am so accustomed to not letting anyone else into my artistic process. I don’t have a darkroom or a scanner. That means I have to let someone else develop and scan my negatives and possible even print them. This is particularly true if I shoot color film. I can process B&W provided I have the facilities. I can’t say the same with color film.

Also, I want to shoot medium format 6×7 this year. Mamiya RZ67 (with the 110mm 2.8 and prism viewfinder) or the Pentax 67 (3rd Gen, 1990 version and 105mm 2.4) to be exact. Neither of those cameras are available here (as far as I can currently tell) and they are as expensive as the rumored Sony a7RV ($3500) that has yet to be announced. Don’t let me get my hands on a Fuji GX617! Man, for only 4 shots a roll, I’ll take one with the 105mm lens. I don’t think I can handle the 90mm. You need that center-weighted ND filter and if you lose it, finding another is damn near impossible. This is another hard to find and $3000+ camera! Lord a-mercy!

Kayci.Lee Jan 2018 with me in Leon, Nicaragua

And truth be told, another reason I want to do medium format film is because the Mark V may be delayed until NEXT Christmas, from what I hear. That’s what sent my mind to film originally. Another challenge is that… I can’t see traveling with either of those film cameras. They are HUGE! It’s one thing that I’m sitting in one spot right now in Vietnam. It’s another ordeal entirely when I’m traveling continuously again. Can I make that sort of investment and then give them up after a year or two of shooting? Maybe I can donate it to an upcoming aspiring film shooter. I’d still have to get the Sony when it becomes available. Maybe I just want too much! As the Sony article states, this could be a year to upgrade skills rather than cameras.