Mu Cang Chai, Vietnam may be the best kept secret in all of Vietnam. It is untouched by tourism and it's like you step back in time. I had this feeling that I was entering a sacred village that had no contact to the outside world. Every man, woman, and child I encountered seemed so curious and so happy that I was there.
I truly adore this image, and I think it may be my best image I have ever taken. But I worry, what if it blows up and Mu Cang Chai becomes a huge tourist destination. It is a place that is pure Raw Vietnamese Mountain culture, and I wish nothing more than to preserve that. I hope the world loves this image as much as I do, but I hope it still stays our little secret.
TAKEN: June 16, 2016
TECHNIQUE: This was a 3 part image. The first 2 images were almost identical. I chose the first image because I loved the light and the shadows that it created on the rice terraces, the second image the girls were looking directly at the camera and had a much better expression. Because the camera never moved it was easy to mask in the girls with no overlapping problems. Next exposure was a darker one to ensure that the sky was properly exposed and the background mountains were a bit darker. I did this because I wanted to create separation from the rice terraces and the mountain in the background. This was achieved by manually blending in the background with layer masks.
Once the blend was complete it was a very simple task to complete this image. Contrast and an selective Orton Effect was adding using Color Efex Pro. Color correction and some dodging and burning and we are done.
TIPS: Always go out and shoot no matter if you think the weather will cooperate or not. I almost stayed in my apartment and would have never gotten this shot because I was afraid the rain and clouds would never pass. The second I reached this location the heavens opened up. Go the extra mile and fate will do the rest.