Daily Inspiration #185 by John Paskey

I’m not a photographer and I don’t know much about photography. That said, I really have a passion for photography, and in particular travel photography. Sometimes I wonder if I’m travelling to take pictures or taking pictures while travelling. I don’t have a lot of money and don’t use expensive equipment. That is one reason for this submission. I think it needs to be emphasized these days that you don’t need to have the biggest and the best to go out, have fun, and capture some great memories. I’ve never bought a photoshop type program – still using PSE ver 1 that came with my Canon G2 years ago. These shots were from a recent trip to Vietnam. Taken with a Nikon D5000 and 35 1.8 (just in case there is no EXIF – not really sure how to view or attach that).

Although not the smallest camera out there, it was an absolute joy to use and small enough to take anywhere. Using one of Nikons cheapest lenses, I think I did catch a few good moments and definitely some good memories. The great thing about the small, light and fast combo was that I could catch scenes in just about any kind of light. Anywhere. So fun to use. Quick and responsive. One lens and thats it. …I never knew primes could be so fun. Although I will probably never be able to afford that M9 and 50, it really doesn’t matter. The only thing I need or want is a working body and a single normal prime.

A few from the trip:

Hanoi Nights

Fantastic city. Full of life. This is one of the street corners in the Old Quarter on a normal night. Sit back, relax, grab a beer and some “street eats”, and watch the world go by. It’s a fascinating culture and city, full of life and always moving.


From Hoi An, Central Vietnam. Wow. One of my favorite towns I’ve ever visited (along with Debark, Ethiopia & Mut, Egypt). Culture, culture, culture. The Ao Dai, national dress of Vietnam, flowing on and along the streets everywhere. Some of the best, as well as cheapest, food I’ve ever had. Outstanding architecture, not to mention UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect it. This was taken at a corner cafe where again, the streets are full of life and movement.


Another from Hoi An. If you ever get tired of sitting and having the world rotate around you, get up and join. This was taken in the market. A mob of vendors, hawkers, buyers, strollers, and everything and everyone else you could imagine. A sea of conical hats and an area that attacks all the senses. I would take a walk through at least a few times a day. This is a shot I really liked. It really gives me the feel of being back there. No one really paying attention, everyone going about their daily lives.

This was one trip I really enjoyed. Minimal camrea equipment to worry about and carry around. Just trying to get a good “feel” through the viewfinder. It was fun. I think that may an often lost “key” to non-professionals in catching a good photo. If your not enjoying it, why do it?

Thanks and kkep up the great work,



  1. Brilliant pictures and you are absolutely right about not needing expensive gear especially to get on and enjoy photography. Professional equipment is more about build quality, repeatability and redundancy and being able to take certain pictures on the margins but it is your eye that takes the photo and you certainly have that

  2. Amazing work!!! That b/w print of the cyclist is just genius! All the virtues of a great shot!!

  3. Yeah that’s one of the best panning shots i’ve ever seen. The fact that the motion blur was “enhanced” does take away from it slightly, but it the shot execution was great and the post processing is still believable, so kudos. I love it.

  4. Great shots, I’m from Vietnam and you really did a great job capturing the mood and feel of the place.

  5. Very nice shots and I really agree with your philosophy. I am glad that you liked Hoi An, my passion for photography started in Vitnam almost 10 years ago. I think no other place is better for taking great photos than South East Asia. Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, offer impressive monuments, rich culture, great landscapes, wonderful food… Thanks for sharing!

  6. Sorry Rich, you misunderstood me. I’m not saying it’s shopped, I’m saying I can’t believe how good it is the fact that it’s a straight shot. It’s an outstanding photo.

    • I am the one to apologize, DJDLV, as John does state above that he did enhance the image with blur motion. He had me fooled because I though it was a nice panning technique that he had pulled off. Imagine my disappointment….

  7. Steve …thanks for the, well, the ultimate compliment really, by posting my shots on your site. Definitely put a smile on my face when I saw it.

    Stephen, GC – thank you.

    Efix – ther may have been a very slight crop but this was one of those lucky shots that timed perfectly.

    David, DJDLV – the “bicycle” shot was at F/1.8, 1/80th. The background was enhanced with blur motion. Although I do use a ten year old program, I think it can be just as good, or close, to alot of newer programs. The original was also a color version converted in PSE.

    Greg, Garry – thank you.

    Niklas – it’s easier than you think. The more you try and plan and get everything “perfect”, the more you give chance for something to go wrong. Just do it…

    Ross, Will – thank you.

    Jaydee – you are correct, and it is all opinion and all relative. For some the D5000 is very expensive. For others, just trash. Very good point.

    Adam – thank you and yes. Half the battle is just being there also.

    Rich, Rufus – thank you…

  8. Fabulous pictures and a great attitude to photography.

    An excellent reminder that being gear obsessed rarely improves picture taking. When it comes to travel and recording the world around us, once you have a half-decent camera it’s really all about the photographers eye.

    Great work.

  9. I don’t agree with Mr. Shanta or DJDLV on no. 2 which is my favorite not only for the panning that was nailed but that it is black&white, my passion. When I first saw the image all I could think of was congratulating Mr. Paskey for panning perfectly. Most of the time this takes a lot of practice but even newbies to trying it can come away with absolutely perfect images. Well done, John!!

  10. Great photos 🙂 While I agree that we don’t need the best and most expensive gear to shoot great pictures, I wouldn’t really say that the Nikon D5000 is one of those “not expensive” cameras.

  11. Great photos!

    I’ll be in these cities from Jan. 22 – Feb. 1 and just purchased the Panasonic GF-1 with the 20/1.7 kit lens for my travels. Leaving the DSLR at home as it’s too large to travel with.

  12. Lovely pics, John. ‘Bicycle’ is super! Vietnam really is such a wonderful vibrant place. The first remotely good photo’s I ever too were in Hanoi. The subject matter set the benchmark for me. Hoi An is a photographers Mecca.

  13. Great images – same philosophy as myself – it’s purely for self satisfaction -that’s why I keep it a hobby and not my work 🙂

  14. Shot no. 2 is great, and also excellent to see a break from the Leica obsession you see here. You seem very non-gear-centric, and focused on the shots not the cameras, also a refreshing change.

  15. Great shots and I agree and think your philosophy on photograhy is spot on!

    I can’t believe no Photoshop type editing was utilised on no. 2. The bike is amazingly sharp and composed and the linier blur is out of this world!

  16. Great Shots–Thanks for sharing–Love the Women on the bike– Do you remember the shutter speed and aperature you shot it with?

  17. Fantastic pictures! I’m especially impressed with the bike shot. Did you crop it after taking the picture? (The composition looks too perfect …)

  18. Nice shots here. The most important thing is that you enjoy taking photos and you clearly do. Liked the third one the most. Nice rich colours.

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