A Month in China

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by wjiang, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    So... after many months, I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures from my trip to China earlier this year.

    The Rural North

    For the first leg of the trip, we went out to a little known stretch of the Great Wall near Chenjiapu Village on a recommendation from a friend. Mr Chen and company (http://greatwallfresh.com) were great - they picked us up from Beijing, cooked really delicious farm fresh food everyday, and even came with us to the Dingling Tombs before dropping us off back in Beijing. Being early spring, it was still pretty cold up in the rural mountains, and much of the vegetation hadn't sprouted yet. The stretch of the wall we climbed is pretty far away from the typical touristy areas - none of it has been rebuilt, and we saw only 3 other groups of people in the 4-5 hours we were up there.

    Morning Sun - Chenjiapu Village (PL25 @ f/2, 1/1250s, ISO200)
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    Rural Ride - Chenjiapu Village (PL25 @ f3.2, 1/400s, ISO200)
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    'Naughty' the Cat - Chenjiapu Village (PL25 @ f/2, 1/250s, ISO200)
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    The Climb - Great Wall, near Chenjiapu Village (7.5 FE @ f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO200)
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    10,000 Li - Great Wall, near Chenjiapu Village (7.5 FE @ f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO200)
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    Distant Watchtower - Great Wall, near Chenjiapu Village (O40-150 @ 40mm, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO200)
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    Young and Old - Dingling Tombs (PL25 @ f/1.4, 1/1600s, ISO200)
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    Imperial City

    Back in Beijing, it was 28°C! As this was my wife's first trip to Beijing (but not to China), we toured the well-known landmarks. We explored at our own pace - even the well known tourist attractions have quiet areas that aren't favoured by the guided tour buses for one reason or another. Getting there in the morning is also good, as the tour buses start arriving after lunch. You can't really avoid the tourist swamp at the Forbidden City though. We both found it pretty repetitive (it's like walking through multiple city blocks), and decided the view of the palace from Jingshan was much more interesting.

    Imperial Courtyard - Forbidden City, Beijing (O12-50 @ 12mm, f/5.6, 1/200s, ISO200)
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    Old and New - View of the Bell and Drum Towers, north of Jingshan Park, Beijing (O40-150 @ 66mm, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO200)
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    The Old City - View from Jingshan Park (7.5 FE @ f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO200)
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    Card Play - Temple of Heaven grounds, Beijing (PL25 @ f/1.4, 1/320s, ISO200)
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    Canon Man - Summer Palace, Beijing (O12-50 @ 50mm, f/6.3, 1/160s, ISO800)
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    Quiet Moment - Summer Palace, Beijing (O12-50 @ 50mm, f/6.3, 1/160s, ISO1600)
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    Yiheyuan - Summer Palace, Beijing (O12-50 @ 12mm, f/5.6, 1/13s, ISO200)
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    Buddha Wall - Summer Palace, Beijing (PL25 @ f/1.4, 1/1000s, ISO200)
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    Peaceful Afternoon - Summer Palace, Beijing (O12-50 @ 12mm, f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO500)
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    Distant Sun - Summer Palace, Beijing (O12-50 @ 12mm, f/5.6, 1/1250s, ISO200)
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    Thinking of Suzhou - Summer Palace, Beijing (O12-50 @ 17mm, f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO250)
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    Waiting for the Flag - Tiananmen Square, Beijing (PL25 @ f/1.4, 1/160s, ISO320)
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    Freaky Food - Donghuamen night market, Beijing (PL25 @ f/1.4, 1/200s, ISO200)
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    Selfies - Donghuamen night market, Beijing (PL25 @ f/2, 1/160s, ISO2500)
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    To be continued...
     
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  2. mievil

    mievil Mu-43 Regular

    190
    May 17, 2013
    San Diego
    It feels crazy to say, but I think the visible pollution in your pics seems less than when we were there in '08.

    Looks like you got a very good section of the Wall to visit.

    Had no idea about JingShan park, either.

    Nice set.
     
  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    And now...

    Home Town

    This is our second trip back to my home town of Nanjing as a couple, and first as a married one. We already did the tourist thing last time round, so this time was a much more relaxed affair. Every time I go back the city is a different place - there are now so many cars, it's a nightmare. Thank goodness for the subway.

    Waiting - Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station (O45 @ f/1.8, 1/160s, ISO2500)
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    The Commute - Shanghai Metro (O12-50 @ 12mm, f/3.5, 1/125s, ISO3200)
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    Xinjiekou Station - Nanjing (7.5 FE @ f/4?, 1/125s, ISO1000)
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    Keeping Fit - Nanjing (PL25 @ f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO640)
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    Ducks Blood and Vermicelli Soup - Nanjing (PL25 @ f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO2000)
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    Stinky Tofu! - Nanjing (PL25 @ f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO3200)
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    City Wall - Nanjing (O12-50 @ 19mm, f/4.4, 1/125s, ISO3200)
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    Xuanwu Park - Nanjing (O12-50 @ 12mm, f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO1600)
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    Water and Gardens

    The final leg was a visit south to the famous cities of Hangzhou and Suzhou. My Dad's side of the family are actually from Hangzhou/Tangxi, so it was nice to visit the roots so to speak. We didn't get much time in Suzhou unfortunately, but did manage a visit to the neighbouring canal village of Tongli. Despite being pretty touristy now, Tongli has preserved some of its old flavour and charm. I definitely recommend a visit, it takes about an hour from Suzhou or Shanghai by bus.

    West Lake - Hangzhou (7.5 FE @ f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO200)
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    Lakeside Tour - Hangzhou (O12-50 @ 40mm, f/5.8, 1/160s, ISO200)
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    Still Water - Hangzhou (O12-50 @ 12mm, f/5.6, 1/200s, ISO200)
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    Progress - Hangzhou (O12-50 @ 44mm, f/6, 1/4000s, ISO160)
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    Across the Lake - View from the famous Louwailou Restaurant, Hangzhou (PL25 @ f/4, 1/160s, ISO320)
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    Fancy Fish - Tangxi (PL25 @ f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO640)
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    Administrator's Garden - Suzhou (O12-50 @ 12mm, f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO320)
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    Guqin - Suzhou (O12-50 @ 27mm, f/5.2, 1/50s, ISO3200)
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    Make a Wish - Tongli (O12-50 @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO500)
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    Stage Roof - Tongli (7.5 FE @ f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO320)
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    Doorways - Tongli (O12-50 @ 17mm, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO400)
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    Balcony - Tongli (O45 @ f/1.8, 1/640s, ISO200)
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    Canal Cruise - Tongli (O12-50 @ 12mm, f/4, 1/160s, ISO1250)
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    Fishing Bird - Tongli (O40-150 @ 150mm, f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO2500)
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    Rickshaw Ride - Tongli (7.5 FE, f/?, 1/500s, ISO200)
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    Concluding Thoughts

    I think m4/3 is a perfect travel kit for me - the whole kit performed admirably. I had my whole lens kit, plus a Slik Sprint Mini II tripod, all in a normal backpack with room for lunch, water, and other bits and pieces. Changing lenses was a bit of a hassle while travelling, so the zooms got a lot of use. Even though I'm pretty fast now, it still takes about 20 seconds from conceiving a shot to swap lenses, take the shot, and swap back. Dynamic range on the E-M5 is awesome, never needed to do HDR. Never ran out of batteries - but did need 2/3 batteries on many days, and this is with access to charging every night. Polarisers on my 12-50 and 40-150 worked wonders for the less than ideal atmospheric conditions! The fish-eye saw a lot of use (with a lot of reprojecting done in Hugin), but I kind of regret not doing at least one high resolution stitch panorama. This was also my first time using a Camera Raw workflow rather than OV3 - big re-learning but I now much prefer Camera Raw.
     
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  4. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Thanks.

    We were expecting the worst when it came to pollution but it wasn't too bad, I think it helped that the weather was cooperative. I think the government have taken some steps to improve the situation as well. Still, it doesn't compare to the blue skies and clean air out at the Great Wall, where you can see the stars at night.
     
  5. BLX

    BLX Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2012
    Denmark
    Morten
    Fantastic images - thanks a lot for sharing these
     
  6. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    :D it's been on my to-do list for months!
     
  7. rhe

    rhe Mu-43 Veteran

    231
    Jun 18, 2014
    Toronto, Canada
    Lloyd M.
    Thank you for sharing your excellent pictures and for your thoughtful comments!