When I was looking for a theme for today’s post, it was supposed to be a general “water” theme. After opening up the folder for China and beginning to browse through the 1,300+ pictures for Beijing alone we have narrowed down the theme to pictures involving water in Beijing only. Even then there were over 30 pictures that made it through the initial selection process and whittling them down to the final eight was a challenge.
I have been to China many times, mostly for work. In 2003 a friend called and suggested a trip to Beijing over the Christmas and New Year break. He was feeling a little jaded with the tackiness of Christmas in the UK and wanted to be somewhere that didn’t really celebrate. We decided that the city would be the ideal place to avoid everything and accordingly made plans.
What we hadn’t realised, or more correctly hadn’t researched effectively, was just how cold Beijing gets in the winter. Wandering through the parks, gardens and palaces became a bit of a chore at times as the temperatures hovered around -10C or thereabouts. Until I did a winter trip to Chicago and Madison a couple of years later, I don’t think I had been so consistently cold in my life.
One thing that did come out of this all was the slightly strange reddish light of the late afternoons and early evenings, which can clearly be seen in some of the pictures taken on that trip. The other influencing factor when photographing in Beijing has to be the constant smog. We hear a lot about it on the news now, but when you are there it does become debilitating to be constantly breathing in fumes, dust and particles of pollution. Because of this we headed out of the city a couple of times just to get a bit of breathing space, literally!
Getting to explore the city over a couple of personal trips was a real eye-opener. It is a huge bustling metropolis but there are some exquisite things to see and do. And a much greater appreciation for the skill, breadth and depth of the Chinese culture can only be acquired by spending the time looking and learning when you are there to experience the spaces and locations where so much Chinese history happened. Over the years that I went to China it was still regarded as an unusual place to visit but it is a wonderful and fascinating place to spend time in and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is so inclined.
The pictures below are taken from three trips, one made in summer, one in autumn and one in winter. I think it should be clear from the light and the sky which is which.
Click on the pictures below to enjoy the gallery and comments welcome as always