Mountains in Yunnan

Dali, Yunnan, China 2015

This is another photo from my trip to Yunnan in 2015. Yes, I have this as my banner, but thought I would write about it.

The path the photo was taken from led to a large lake. In the foreground, you can see paddies which were in cultivation. In the background, you can the mountains which surround Dali, casting shadows, which when mixed with a little dust make interesting patterns of light.

This all came about because we could see the lake and naively believed “it couldn’t be that far away”. Well, it could. It could be a good 2 1/2 hour walk, with the sun slowly setting behind us as we arrived. I remember thinking, “It’s a bit cold now”. And then it was night…..

Technical info. This photo is a composite of 3 pictures from the X100. It looks like a fairly faithful rendering of the view from the road. Perhaps next year, my New Year’s Resolution will be to carry a studio tripod with me (like one of those people who say: My sharpest lens is a tripod). Might not make it to make the next lot of resolutions!

On The Bund, Shanghai

The Bund, Shanghai, China 2018

The title really should be “View from the Bund” because all the tall buildings you can see are on the other side of the Huangpu River. As you can see, there is a wide path for people to walk by the river, which is pleasant when there is a gentle breeze (perhaps with an ice cream in hand). On this day, although it was overcast and cloudy, you could feel yourself being burned by the UV!

Lynx, Shanghai

Lynx, Shanghai Zoo, China 2020

I went to Shanghai Zoo to see the red pandas, but on the way, I looked in on the big cats. The leopards had their backs turned, as they often do, but here as you see, the lynx was quietly cleaning itself oblivious to passers by (including me).

On this occasion, I was testing out a Canon Powershot S100, which is a premium compact camera from a few years ago. Although it has a fairly small sensor, here it has produced detailed image.

Two Cigars, China

Two Cigars, Sanlitun, China 2011

I like pictures which pose questions- “Why did they throw away two almost unsmoked cigars?”. Perhaps they were getting into a car?

Background info – Sanlitun is a very smart part of Beijing, where there a lots of designer shops and a number of countries’ embassies are based. Every day, armies of gardeners groom the neighbourhood trees and bushes and everything looks unnaturally neat and tidy. You will note that the cigars are the only things in the ashtray!

What do you think?

Roxette Concert, Beijing

Roxette, Beijing 2012

Last post of the year.

I was sorry to read of Marie Fredriksson’s passing on the 10th December. Apart from their chart hits (which aren’t always a real reflection of a band) I didn’t know much about Fredriksson or Roxette.

My wife however, who is younger than me, is a big fan. So when I heard that they were doing a tour including China, I got some tickets for the Beijing show.

In my mind’s eye, I imagined a nice cozy venue, but it turned out to be a huge stadium, which was absolutely full. With a long lens, this was as close as I could get. Anyway, it was a good evening, as they went through their songbook – and my wife was able to sing along to all of them (which was unexpected).

Twilight, Shanghai

Florist, Shanghai November 2019

I like twilight, the time of day, not the overwrought movie. photographically, it mutes colours, but the deeper shadows help to subdue annoying street clutter. The snag of twilight, is that there is less sunlight to work with. As you can see in this picture, here I was mostly working with light coming from the shop itself. On this occasion, I was using film, so another concern was colour temperature. But here, because of the white outside, I was able to correct it fairly easily. In days of yore, photographers had to use filters to correct for this sort of thing.

How do you feel about twilight?

View from the Park, Li Jiang

Bridge and Mountain, Li Jiang, China 2015

One of the things I love about China, is its varied landscapes. Here, it makes me think of a giant watercolour painting, with its reflections of the trees and bridge. As I look at it now, I’m wondering, if the point of view had been higher or lower, could I have got a reflection of the mountain?

As I recall it, this part of China is quite high altitude, with fairly hard light, which can make for striking landscapes. It can also give terrible sunburn: I can remember feeling my skin sizzle at the end of the day when I put on the “after sun”. During the day, it was quite warm, but at night it was very cold.

This was taken on a trip I took to Yunnan. This area was renamed Shangri-La, referencing James Hinton’s novel “Lost Horizon”. It certainly has mountains, monasteries and vivid blue skies.

Some technical details. For this (I think) month long trip, I just took my FujiFilm X100. Most of the time it took lovely photos, which were quite easy to edit later. Nice colours too.

Spring Festival, Hangzhou

Spring Festival, Hangzhou 2011

Hangzhou is a large town located a couple of hours (by fast train) from Shanghai. It is popular because of its large lakes and attractive green scenery.

On this occasion, I visited during the Spring Festival and it was very busy. Never the less, I had a nice time. It was lovely to sit by the lake and watch groups of people flow by.

I believe I was using an NEX5n with the little 18-55mm lens, which I think did a nice job with little fuss. As I look at it now, I wonder what a tighter crop with just the ox and bridge would have looked like.

Riding a Bicycle in Bejing

Riding In Bejing, 2011

Thanks to Katie Melua, most people tend to think of Beijing as a place with lots bicycles and 30 years ago, that was probably true. No so much now. Mostly cars.

But, there is lots of street life, which I was trying to show a little bit here. And there is a bicycle.

Sometimes, when I look at my photos I try to imagine a narrative about what I can see. In this case, I imagine that it is a mother and son, coming home from dinner. And they seem happy, which I like.

I’m afraid it isn’t perfectly asharp. A few years before I did a session with Gavin Goff (a noted travel photographer), who became known for a while for doing sharp panning shots of street life. To make it really work you need a fast wide-angle lens, be quite close and use a slowish shutter speed. Done just right you get a sharp figure moving through blurred surroundings – which looks good.

From the Oriental Pearl Tower

View from Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai 2018

I’m absolutely terrified of heights, but some reason, I like taking pictures from tall buildings.

The Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai has a fine view of the Bund and the riverside area. In this case, I felt that everything below had a toy like quality, partly because everything looked frozen and unmoving (I believe the exposure was F8 @1/250).