Weekly Photo Outing

As much as I like to hear myself talking I’m sure the readers of this column would like a break.. ;o)  One of the great joys of being a photographer based locally in Bangkok is exposure to other great photographers and the relationships you build in the process.  Rob from 1DS.com is a good friend and an accomplished photographer and last week he shared a nice readers submission with his work from the Siracha Tiger Zoo.  I enjoyed his submission so much I asked if there was some way I could talk him into writing and sharing a “Weekly Photo Outing” submission.  Rob really travels and has visited and photographed many interesting places!  Currently he spends a lot of time in Beijing and has had opportunities to photograph the Great Wall.  He agreed to share his experiences and photographs from a Great Wall outing and his work is really good!   Read on and enjoy..

This weekend I decided to head up onto the Great Wall of China for some exercise. Trekking up and down the walls is a great way to get a head of steam going, and to also take in one of the worlds great wonders.
I chose Simatai, a place I've been quite a few times before as it's incredibly beautiful and incredibly challenging for a trek. The day was not too fantastic (photographically speaking) but was "Ok".

A sign on Tower 10

This sign was on Tower 10, after two hours of clunking up and up and up . . . . . . . .
We met a bunch of people coming the other was from Janshaling. This is now on my trekking menu and we'll be heading back there in a few weeks. It seemed that they had gone about two and a half hours or so to meet up with us. 28 Towers and counting. On a nice crisp morning, it'll be a great walk...... Of course we're never in a hurry when walking the wall...... Look right for the Mongol Hordes, look Left for the Emporers Teaming Armies...... Sigh..
As part of the Experience we are hassled all the way along by the Obligatory "Sales Lady" from the Farms around the district. With a few idioms of English they all use, we quickly establish where we come from, where we are going to and the fact that we're not thirsty... yet!! She follows along loyally. Persistence usually scores a sale of a T-Shirt, Book, Drink, Trinket or the likes. For us "Old Timers" is no longer quaint, but we  persevere.
Inside many of the towers there are "Guards" or "Cleaners" or ...... "enter description here" who know the touts and who are generally friendly. Most are sleeping, resting or skulking in the shadows. We met two this day that we in better light and would smile for us.

Great Wall guard lazing around in the shades

This chap was smoking some sort of long pipe (feel free to let me know the name of it) and wanted me to try it. After huffing and puffing all the way up to this point, there was no way a lung full of smoke was going to add value!!! I politely declined and pointed my camera his way. He finally smiled after a few minutes and I got a shot I liked. He disappointed me by making a "give me some money gesture", and I smiled back without acknowledging it. He gave me a "It was worth a try" look.

Pipe smoker

The Pipe Smoker's friend seemed amused that we'd like to take their photos.

The valley

The valley heading into the wall proper is lined with barren slopes. There are no large trees almost anywhere in any direction. I believe this is due to them all being chopped down for wall construction, wall security and for warmth in the winter. It's a fairly tough place to photograph as there is little inherent beauty (apart from the wall) and this alone is barely enough to make a decent picture. Although we try!!

The Great Wall

This is the nice surface. As the wall progresses, 1000 years of Ice, Wind, Rain and walking have taken their toll. It's amazing it lasted this long. No much Architecture these days is designed for the ages...... 20 Years and pull it down and build a new one....

Beautiful curve of the Wall

This is a beautiful curved in the wall. The surface is quite dangerous to walk up, so we walked around this section.

The wall's rough surface

Above is the classic make a photo out of nothing.  The haze is growing (as it does) and the light is flat. I think this image is compelling despite the challenges of the light.

The Wall in the haze

I like the feel of this image. Puts some context on the size of the Wall (although it varies wildly according to the terrain.) and puts a human face on it. It is a treat to walk it like this! 

More images can be found on my site.