Pic of the Week_Huangshan_A Road to Nowhere

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens @ 28mm. Exposure Details: 1/160 second @ f11 ISO 100.Wow! Did I get a workout on Huangshan? This most beautiful mountain in Eastern China had been a must destination of mine for many years. I finally got to visit and photograph in late January 2011. The intention of this trip was to recon the mountain for consideration as part of a photographic tour I'm planning to run in China during January 2012 (next year). I've done the hard work, traveling alone, checking out the sites, accommodation and making the necessary contacts. I'm extremely pleased with what I've achieved and am confident I can offer my photography friends a truly great experience with wonderful photographic opportunities. As there's still a fair amount of organisation that needs to be done, much of it after I return home to Australia in 1 months time, I'II describe next years tour on this site towards the end of March 2011.

Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) is a sublime location for photography. I couldn't believe its beauty and caught myself laughing out loud on several occasions. I covered a lot of ground in 3 short days. I was out there at the edges of the day, for the first and last light. Sadly, my efforts were not rewarded and I witnessed no incredible sunrises or sunsets. But I did experience breathtaking natural beauty, wonderfully clean air and a subtlety of light that was quite exquisite to behold. In many cases the world around me was almost without color, basically monochromatic. Pathways and supporting stone structures were often the only color, albeit subdued, within this extraordinary luminous world. I only glimpsed a tinge of blue sky for a few short minutes early one morning. Much of the time the near distance was little more than a pea soup. Heavy mist and fog swirled around but, when I showed enough patience, suddenly parted and presented magical 'Tolkienisque' views. That was my reward, serendipity and what I'm always searching for: windows into other worlds.

The above image features one of the many icy pathways along the top of the mountain. Rock and tree, heavily carpeted in snow gives way, temporarily, to the recently swept pathway which inevitably begins to yield to the onset of fresh ice.

I'm hardly in great physical shape. I did find some of the trek difficult, but mainly because I was carrying 15+ kilos of gear and clothing for much of the trip. On tour I would arrange for participants to have their gear carted directly to the appropriate hotels on route. I will personally tip the carriers generously for this service. This will allow participants to determine what they'd like to carry for themselves (e.g. small daypack with a DSLR and zoom). Most of the serious photography will be done during relatively short walks (15-20 minutes) from the hotels we'd stay at. But which paths to tread? That's where I come in. Not exactly local knowledge, but someone who knows the kind of places photographers, particularly those from Western countries, want to see and understands how long they need to spend at each location. Like-minded people with similar goals having their needs catered for within a supportive environment. Perhaps you might be interested in joining me on the next adventure to China's Yellow Mountain and beyond?

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru     

Glenn Guy