Getting ready for China

In a few days I’m off to China, this time with Lamya and two other couples. This is a two and a half week trip that will have us bouncing all over China – with five internal flights and two half-day road trips, we have once again tried to cram a lot in. Still, when will be back in China? We start off in Beijing, then travel to Datong, Pingyao, Xian, Lijang, Dali, Guillin and Shanghai.

Obviously, I am really looking forward to the photography, but I expect this will be different to Italy in a lot of ways.

The light in Italy was fantastic – even when overcast and stormy, the air was clear and the light was warm. I’m expecting very different conditions in China – at least in the cities. Smog can be a real disappointment when you have hopes of brightly light, colorful scenes. But what it means is that you need to adjust to the conditions and focus on different kinds of photos – close-ups, maybe black and white, etc.

In Italy I was on my own and could modify my itinerary to get the shots I wanted. It’s the difference between taking the best photos you can at the time you happen to be there, as opposed to making sure you’re there at the best time to take photos. If I push the photography priority too much in China, I’ll probably be hitchhiking. However, I do plan to get up early in the morning before everyone else and then also wander off on my own in the evenings to shoot at night. I guess I’ll be the guy snoring in the back of the van during the day.

As far as equipment, it’s virtually identical to what I took to Italy, and described in an earlier blog. I was pretty happy with it and used everything in the bag at least once.

So, yes, my photography might be a bit more constrained, but that will be more than made up for by having good friends along. And you don’t want to eat in Chinese restaurants alone, where sampling tons of different dishes is the best part.

I’m not sure that I’ll get much time to blog along the way (based on the shooting schedule described above) but I will try to post some photos soon after we get back. (I might leave the blogging to others in the party.)