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[Photos] Capturing the Unexpected Amid Vietnam’s Mountainous Landscapes

The Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, a smiling lady in a conical hat: human nature practically guarantees that even the most iconic image will eventually turn stale through proliferation. These depictions calcify in our consciousness, reducing entire countries to mere visual cliché. 

In reality, it is both the unexpected and the mundane that create wonder. The ecstasy of travel comes, in part, from the fleeting moments that dangle in front of us before being taken away: the profound surprise of a nighttime firefly; sunset melting through a garden fence; kids playing pirate with discarded beer tops.

The following images, taken amid northern Vietnam's lakes, rivers and mountains, are an attempt to capture these moments of inspiration. Whether through the obscure symmetry of two women walking apart in the fields or the banality of a restaurant carriage meal, a Hoa Binh family waiting by a lake ferry or, on that same lake, a boat finding its half-rhyme in its reflection.

These moments, as you see them now, will never happen again. And it's in these instances that a camera merges with intuition, allowing one to form an archive of, and participate willingly in, life’s unrelenting impermanence.

Have a look below:

Women walking apart beside paddy fields.

A man enjoys a meal in the restaurant carriage of a slow-moving train.

One man takes a break while his friend continues to plow the fields.

A 'call for help' breakdown sign beside the Hoang Lien Son mountain range.

A river crossing along the journey home.

A family waits beside a ferry in Hoa Binh Province.

Dipping toes in the hot mineral water of a hidden hot spring.

A H'mong couple from Sa Pa who know the local secrets.

Local kids play a made-up game in the hills of Moc Chau.

Sunlight rakes across a concrete courtyard.

In a village outside Sa Pa, kids play pirate with discarded beer tops.

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