In November 2013, I was fortunate enough to backpack through Southeast Asia with my partner. We visited some incredible places, met some of the nicest people and experienced many amazing moments along the way, but the place that is most memorable for me would be the quiet town of Hoi An, in Vietnam. It is located on the coast of the East Sea in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam.

The thing that convinced me to travel SE Asia was definitely the change of lifestyle from western society and, of course, their culture. I have always been fascinated by the diversity of different cultural lifestyles. Everywhere you look in Asia, especially around the cities and busy little towns there are photo opportunities waiting to be captured. Sometimes the action is difficult to keep up with when you are standing in the middle the bustling streets with people scattered everywhere. Taking a steady shot is impossible when so much spontaneous movement is going on around you.

This is when the cinematic technique comes into play—namely: panning. This works a treat for some unique and fun images. I spent most days walking the streets with my camera hanging from my shoulder, ready for moments like these to come by, and the majority of my photos from Hoi An were of local people riding their bicycles and scooters through town.

This image is of two young Vietnamese boys riding a bicycle through Central Market. I stopped my aperture down to F16 and shot a low ISO of 50 to eliminate as much ambient light reaching my sensor. This gave me an exposure of 1/4 sec: quick enough to pick up definition in the subject, but slow enough capture motion blur. I locked my auto focus onto the boys as they approached and fired continuously while panning my camera with them as they rode past. I ended up with a dozen shots, but this was my favorite.

The photo was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and Sigma 35mm F1.4 at F16, ISO 50, and 1/4 sec shutter speed.


Drew Hopper is a freelance documentary photographer from NSW, Australia, working on long-term projects whilst exploring the visual literacy of the still image. You can find more of his work on his website, or by following him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.