Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Meditative States

Coming from the land of in your face Christianity, it was wonderful to step back and appreciate the tranquility of religion in China. The Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an was a swirl of incense, gardens and silence, wherein a slow stroll fostered introspection.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's Kinda the Same but Beautiful Still

From what I've noticed over the years and from the pictures I've taken, the only possible conclusion is that I have a thing for lamps and shadows. Particularly lit lamps in twilight shadows, like these photos. At the top is a lantern outside the entrance to the Luxembourg Embassy in Beijing and below is a night view of Tianamen Square. I think it's the fickle relationship between my camera and nightscapes that draws me to these particular shots. The transitory potency of the dark poses a challenge that I'm all too willing to take up.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Great Wall is NOT Flat

I've wanted to visit the Great Wall of China ever since I was maybe 7 years old. To touch it, climb it, look out at the mountains, obnoxiously sing Mulan songs while skipping from tower to tower. And yet all of these things I wanted and knew never actually added up to the realization that the Great Wall, isn't flat. The adult, rational me knew the mountain location meant steep hills, not to mention the very phrase "to climb the Great Wall," but for some reason my conscience pushed these logical conclusions aside in favor of a little midwestern girl's imagination who, up until middle school, had never actually seen a mountain with her own eyes. Hill, yes. Mountain, no. Let me tell you my friends, the Great Wall is on the latter of the two. This particular section had me cursing my 7 year old fantasy but by the top, both of my 7 year old and 20-something selves put aside their imaginative differences to take in the sights of a Wall that truly is Great.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hello. Well Come to China

The last two posts about China have been-what are the words? ...exuberant...verbose, but well intentioned-and while it's all well and good, especially when trying to convey an experience, but it tends to get tedious. So here's a photo that, after a brief introduction, does all the talking. Our new, enthusiastic friends, presumably a school field trip to The Great Wall.

"Hello. Well Come to China"

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Forbidden City

Until the Forbidden City, the most of China I had seen was the airport, the highway and my hotel room; and aside from the random signs emblazoned with Chinese characters in said location, there was little to distinguish this country from all the other countries I had visited in the past. That all changed upon getting to the Forbidden City. It was my first real glimpse of both traditional Chinese architecture and life. (I'm a firm believer in the concept that culture's customs are effortlessly captured in doors, windows, pillars and ceilings. This trip, once again, proved this to be true.) It was peaked, it was red, and it was entirely captivating. With my finger glued to the shutter button, I trailed behind our guide, trying to pay attention to the facts but invariably getting distracted by the aesthetics. Historians and professors will shudder but I really don't think dates matter. Exact dates that is, sure it's important to have the time period established but beyond that point, it matters little for the visitor. What matters is the feel, that intrinsic weight each place has. And this City had it in spades. Call me a willing participant in the all too real honeymoon stage of the trip but the mere fact that I couldn't pick just one photo for this post speaks for itself. Here's a corner of photographic bliss.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Peace at the Other Side of the World

I have a legitimate reason for disappearing for as long as I did this time, and it is because I was in China. Yes, that's right, China. The farthest distance and time zone from here I could possibly manage. While the smog is oppressive, the sodium intake swelling, and the masses of people overwhelming at times with both their numbers and curiosity at seeing a westerner, it is an absolutely beautiful country. My small glimpse wasn't nearly enough. Three cities-Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai-and I burned through my 2 gig memory card with ease. The picture above was taken in my second favorite location of the trip, The Summer Palace in Beijing. It's a shame the tour companies rush you through these beautiful places as quickly as they do, I could have spent hours walking the lake (yep, a lake) and meandering the trellised gardens. If I could draw, I would have or if I had my notebook, I would have written but I all I had was my camera. I hope you'll appreciate the snapshots I post in the coming days. It's never as good as being there, surrounded by the hum, air and presence of every detail that makes a photograph worth taking, but it's a start.