Credit: Brown W. Cannon III

The Assignment: Shot Hanoi, Saigon, and Hue in 12 days (“Ultimate Food Guide to Vietnam”)

Trip Time: It took 30 hours—including a transpacific leg and layovers in Seoul and Singapore—to get to Hanoi, but I was invigorated upon arrival. Just stepping out to explore the city was energizing.

Lake Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

The Scene: Early morning rites.

Why This Moment: The park was full of people, but everyone was exercising in their own way—walking, lifting weights, jogging, doing tai chi. No one was checking out their neighbors; they kept to themselves. This image brings out the quiet of the place.

How I Got That Shot: I prefer not to use a motor drive, meaning I can’t do rapid-fire, 10-snaps-a-second shooting. So it becomes a question of waiting for the elements to fall into place before pressing the shutter button, which is what I did here: I framed first—then photographed.

The Key Here Was... Timing. A split second later and the man walking on the right would be hidden by the tree; an instant earlier and that lamppost would have been sprouting from the woman’s head.