At the end of 2010 I had the opportunity to do a job that is still one of the most unique, strangest, and most feel-good I've ever had the fortune to be asked to do. A friend of mine put me in touch with a friend of his who was bringing his girlfriend to Vietnam to propose to her. He wanted photos taken of the proposal, secretly, to surprise her with at their wedding in 2011. He planned to pop the question on The Huc Bridge, which leads across the waters of Hoan Kiem Lake to the Ngoc Son Pagoda. I scouted the area a few days before to work out the best angles and find a good place to conceal myself.

We weren't able to meet in person beforehand so all of the planning took place by email. I seem to have mislaid the blueprints of the mission, but they looked exactly as you'd imagine; photos taken from several angles of the bridge and my hiding place, shaky arrows pointing to circles drawn in red around key points, notes such as this - "stand on this side, facing this way, NOT HERE" and "I will be inside this bush". Exciting it was. The day arrived and I think I was as nervous as the boyfriend. So many things could go wrong. I put on green clothes, drove to the lake and hid in the bush. I crouched. I waited. I got a text telling me they were on their way. I waited. I got another telling me they'd stopped for a coffee. I sweated. Tourists inside the pagoda who could see me from the back stopped and stared at me. Thinking that, envious of my view of the bridge, they might climb over the wall and crouch beside me with their cameras, I looked back at them in the most unhinged way I could manage. I got a text saying "we're on the bridge". I turned and there they were, wearing the clothes they were supposed to be. They stopped in the centre and took photos of each other. The girlfriend started to wander out of the red circle I'd drawn on the plans and towards the temple. The boyfriend skilfully and successfully shepherded her back in place. He distracted her and rummaged slowly behind him in his bag. I started taking photographs.

So, congratulations Michael and Hanna!