In Vietnam there are lots of fascinating people on bikes carrying anything from pigs, chickens, to absolutely unidentifiable goods. When is the most common time to see these wonderful subjects? While driving, of course. This presents some interesting challenges.
While I was visiting I had an entire day of driving in a car for over eight hours. Luckily, I was with a wonderful guide and driver to whom I had to convey what a “drive-by” was. The language barrier made it a bit challenging, but ultimately, I was successful as is evidenced by the fact that a few hours later I heard them call out, “Is this a good drive by?”
As I looked up ahead I saw the back of a motorbike full of very green pomelos with a white duck riding on top. Oh yes, I would say that is a good drive by! As we passed the man on the bike, he turned to look back. Was he making sure his duck was still there? Was the duck a hitchhiker? Whatever was it doing back there? I will always wonder. All I know is that it made me smile then, now, and probably always will.
- Part of it is luck. The side of the vehicle you are on obviously needs to be the same side as your subject.
- Dirty windows. Unless you bring along window cleaner and a paper towel, you are at the mercy of the current state of the windows. If you are in a car you are good – just roll down the windows.
- Watch those reflections – both your own and those of others.
- I use a 24-120mm lens.
- I usually have the camera ready at f/9 as sometimes focusing on exactly what you want while moving can be difficult. I make sure to take a few test shots along the way to confirm that the shutter speed is high enough to get sharp drive-by. I try for 1/500 or higher.
- Shoot in continuous-high mode.
- Don’t get discouraged. I have to fight the little voice in the back of my head telling me that this will never work. It certainly won’t if you do not even try.
- Keep your eyes open and happy shooting!