Eye of the storm: Vietnamese photographer sees beauty in nature's violence

Thanh Nien News

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Photos credit: Dang Tuan Trung
Dang Tuan Trung never runs away from a storm. 
The 47-year-old architect is, perhaps, the first known storm chaser in Vietnam, where an average of six to seven typhoons strike every year.
Over the past 12 years, the man has encountered lots of storms, and luckily survived them all without any fatal injuries.
He first took photos of storms in 2003 when he was on a business trip in the central province of Nghe An, Trung told news website VnExpress.
That day a storm was almost right behind his back, so he had to take shelter at a gas station where he killed time by watching how the sky looked during its rage.
He then was "stricken" by the violently beautiful scene, and knew that he must capture that on camera.
Trung said he always tracks weather forecast in order to keep himself informed of when a storm will arrive.
During Vietnam's typhoon season, between July and November, he is always ready to run.
'Feeling alive'
The hobby photographer said it is not easy to "catch" a storm, which is known for its precariousness.
"Twice I watched for storms at Ha Long Bay but left empty-handed, because at one time, a storm changed its course and another time my boat was not allowed to go to the bay," he said.
Trung said the most important thing about taking photos of storms is to find the right place that can shelter him from strong winds, lightnings and flying objects during and after the photography session.
But, at the same time, those places must provide good angles.
The best locations, he said, are bridges, buildings, fields, beaches and gas stations along highways.
Islands are also perfect because there he can always capture storms regardless of its directions, according to Trung.
Even though he has so far been lucky enough to escape serious injuries, his experiences are not all too pleasant.
Once he had to run after his camera which was being swept away by winds for meters, and then another time, he had his worst-ever seasickness on a boat to Ly Son Island off the central province of Quang Ngai's coast.
"I thought I would collapse right at the time I stepped on the wharf, but then seeing the gray sky, I felt alive again."

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