Tet Celebrations, Hoi An old town, Hanoi, Vietnam. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Monday Memories: Photographing Tet Celebrations in Hoi An

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It was Tet in Hoi An, Vietnam. Tet or Vietnamese New Year is a great time to visit this charming town and we were feeling good about being here for the celebrations. I was particularly excited about the prospecting of photographing Tet in Hoi An.

Because there were midnight fireworks, I had taken my tripod out for the evening and even though I loathe shooting fireworks, I was hoping to get some photos of the beautifully illuminated bridge with the fireworks overhead while photographing Tet.

However, the fireworks were to be set off further down the river making it impossible to get the shot I had in mind. Instead, I decided to hire a cute old lady and her old wooden boat to take us closer to try to capture some dramatic shots from beneath the explosion of fireworks.

With my tripod set up at the front of the boat, Lara and I enjoyed the hour before the fireworks sipping cold beers and wondering why only a couple of other groups of people were out on the water.

Around three minutes to midnight just after our boat captain had suddenly decided to head to shore to pick up some extra life jackets – and her daughter and grandkids – it became apparent just what nature had in store for us when photographing Tet.

Just as the fireworks started erupting, the heavens answered back – with a torrential downpour that had us scrambling to pack our camera gear away. Everything was saturated. We were soaked to the skin. Fortunately, the life jackets came in handy as umbrellas.

The rain suspiciously lasted just as long as the fireworks.

The next morning I emailed my editor. Bad news. No fireworks shots. Good news. Great shots of kids selling candle-lit lanterns

Details: Nikon D700, 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor @ F3.5 @ 1/8th second @ ISO800. Camera was on a tripod and shutter was cable released.

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Terence Carter is an editorial food and travel photographer and infrequent travel writer with a love of photographing people, places and plates of food. After living in the Middle East for a dozen years, he settled in South-East Asia a dozen years ago with his wife, travel and food writer and sometime magazine editor Lara Dunston.

2 thoughts on “Monday Memories: Photographing Tet Celebrations in Hoi An”

  1. What a pretty capture, despite Mother Nature’s mishap!

    I would’ve loved to have celebrated Tet in Hoi An; instead, I think we’d arrived to Phonsavan, Laos by then. There was minimal celebration there – much livelier when I was in Hanoi a few years earlier.

    Where are you off to after Hoi An?

  2. Tet is great here and despite locals telling us everything would be shut the next few days after, many places stayed open, enough to keep the tourists happy.
    We’re still finalising our itinerary – it depends on which magazine/newspaper commissions come through in the next couple of days.



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