Wednesday, November 25, 2009

June 1, Lunch and Wind Turbine

We stopped by Korla to have a lunch, a small local market, with busy vendors, running kids, it is just a perfect normal day for the local.
Some shots made in the market place, beautiful kids.....
Continue to move on, somehow, I spot a small shop and ask Neo to stop before moving on the highway. I was looking for some Coke Zero, and beleive it or not, even a city as large as Chengdu, I didn't find any. But I have my luck here! I spotted the all-too-familiar black PET bottles in a corner, grap 2 for Pook and myself, and Wanbing and Huangzhen followed, saw what I pick, with sign of curiosity, but did not pick any. The soft drink market in China is very highly diversified. Countless varieties, mostly heathy related, in one way or another. Coke is not nearly as popular as it is in most other countries, in China, it finaly met its rivals. Its rival is not other kids of soft drinks, it is simply not Chinese lifestyle to drink coke, not part of their digest.
Soon Neo is on the highway, he told us this is a route that is so boring, so many drivers tried to speeding to avoid asleeping, but then the government knew enough to place many speed detectors along the way to slow down the cars, resulting that we have to move through this section at a very control path - means slowly. We also started to feel the heat, it is after all June already, and it is also we are nearing Turpan, the hot zone. It is dried, hot, and among the hills and rocks we drove by, seldom we see any plants, it is other-worldly. But I found it to be quite interesting, like taking picture of an foreign planet, and it is so hot, most of the time I use the compact Sigma DP-1, take series exposures, and make them into larger panoramic pictures.
Moving on, the discussion started to focus the reality, how to manage the days left. And also, what will be the best location for the wind turbines.
And we are moving on a utterly dried, lifeless, boring landscape, this is nearby Turpan, one of the driest and hottest area of China. The following images were taken with Sigma DP-1, each of which was stitched of a small sequences of shots.
Boring as it is, we still stop too often to take pictures, and before we knew it, we finally arrive our destination today!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

June 1, Lake Bosten

It is the beginning of a new month, unfortunately it is also toward the end of this great trip. After moving through the beautiful and majestic central Xinjiang landscapes, the snow mountain, the never disappearing TienShan, the lakes, the desert, diversified cultures and people, cold and hot, it is finally come to an end, not yet, and we have started to talk about the next trip already!
After a full night rest, I was into sleep and forgot to make a time-exposure of the lake under the moon light, or may be I skip it to make a reason to come back? Anyway, with a rich breakfast, we are on our way to Turpan area, the lowest and hottest area of China, and we are going to drive thru some of the more boring landscape of this trip, hopefully by sunset, we will be busy photographying the large array of wind turbines, the real green energy!
We quickly came to the lake side, saw some shepherd and the all too common sheep in Xinjiang, taken with Canon G10.This one with Nikon D3X + AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED.A shot by the lake side. Also with D3X.Nearby the lake side is a rich wetland, with birds, ducks...... all shots by Nikon D3X and AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED.
Pook, my lovely wife stand by Neo's Land Cruiser, by the lake.By the time we are about to leave the lake area, over the horizon, on the surface of the lake, a company of birds flying over, bidding goodbye. Nikon D3X and AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED.Time to move on!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

May 31, Overnight nearby Lake Bosten

Back on Neo's Land Cruiser, we are on the way again, heading to the hotel. Neo told us earlier today, we will be stay by the lake, and we all look forward to it, not to mention some fresh fish from the lake.
But of course, our focus is still on getting good images, and we stopped by a farm land on the road, took some pictures.
This one, bundles of straws, taken with Nikon D3.The land around the lake is rich of saline and alkaline, this is an image of my step crack the surface of the soil. Shot with Nikon D3, with AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED.The saline and alkaline does not only leaves its mark on the soil, also on the surface of the steel on the small bridge to the farm.Moving on, we are approaching our lake view hotel. Ok, this may sound too romantic, but it is and it is not. Chinese government did a good job to make sure the decision from the central is strictly followed, so we were really not going to stay in a hotel with a beach front. but then nobody else did. The hotel we stayed over night there, in fact, were among the better ones in this entire trip, and of course a good dinner, it is situated on a small hill and within a very reasonable distance to the vast lake, and now, you really get the idea how big this lake is, with no end in sight. Make no mistake, China is 3rd largest country as far as land mass is concerned, it also stretch over a very dramatic landscape on earth, many leading landscape feature in China is most likely also world class. This image, taken in front of our hotel, a sunset view of Lake Bosten, with some horses and buffalo on the beach. With Nikon D3X + AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED. And what a fantastic way to get relaxed.And some dried land nearby the hotel, still reminds me the Taklamakan Desert. Shot with Nikon D3 + AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED.

May 31, Lake Bosten

On the boat, with Nikon D3X and D3 with me, I tried to get some shots of the lake. To counter the moving boat, the wave of lake, I set both of the Nikon to ISO 320-400, in order to get a reasonable combination of speed, and aperture, so not only to freeze the action, but also a little extra depth of field to get some images. I think about getting some blurring images, but quickly abandoned the idea because the overall contrast of the scenery is not my preference. Some of the images of the day at the lake.
This one, shot with D3X and AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED, of a distant nets. While we were cruising on the surface of the lake, the nets and the reflection form a nice pattern.Few more shots made on the boat. These two images of the birds, also taken with Nikon D3X and AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED.

Friday, November 20, 2009

May 31, Talim, Korla, Lake Bosten

An easy day, began with a small mistake, against a big taboo. Just right outside the hotel we stay last night, each of us go for our own breakfast, Pook and I stop by a small restaurant run by Han, and we ordered our usual Chinese breakfast, bun, oil sticks, soy milks and etc. not particular delicious, but sure will past as a meal. Just about finishing our meal, Huangzhen and Neo came in, and quickly went out, a little odd.
When we all packed up, in the car, moving toward Lake Bosten 博斯騰湖, by way of Korla 庫爾勒. And Huangzhen told us what happened. Remember, this is Xinjiang, a muslin area, and Pook and me did not recognized at all we ordered some pork meat in our breakfast, which Neo can immediately know, and turn his head away (away from the the pork meat, not Poor or me, OK.), not serious, it is simply that pork is not a part of Muslin's digest, and to be honest, Neo gave me several reasons that almost convince me to abandon pork meat, almost.
We stopped by Korla, had a simple lunch, again some Xinjiang noodle, and continue our journey to Lake Bosten.And here we are, the lake is regarded as the largest fresh water lake in China, with surface area aroun 1,000 sq. KM, unless you are flying over it, really, you can't tell how big it is. We entered the scenery check-point, paid the admission - 30 RMB each, arrive at a small dock, hire a motorized boat (when will the electrical powered boat will be available??), then off we are. And come back to my point earlier, yes, we are riding on the lake, between several water path inside a rather dense of overgrown reeds, they are so much and so tall, 3-4 meters above water or more (Lake Bosten is large but quite shallow, its average depth is only around 7m), so we tried our best to try to visually gauge how big it is for this lake, but can only focus to the reeds just breath away, and reeds over the horizon. Good things is occasionally you see water birds, ducks, and some fishes, bad things is that the Yamaha powered motor of our little 6-seat boat really makes a lot of noise. But I guessed for the sheer size of the lake, paddling on the lake is not for us with a time schedule to meet.
There are also lots of lotus and water lily, a sea of them. Mostly small, Neo said we were a bit early to witness their full blossom, and also it is late, nearby sunset. But it is still a good boat ride, an experience.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

May 30, Taklamakan Desert

Finally, time to wake up, carried the cameras, and we set off to the Taklamakan Desert 塔克拉瑪幹沙漠, no, we were in the desert already, but we move on to a spot everyone agree to stop to do some photographs, and we soon found it. Quickly, we all jump off the car, and start our work. Pook, she is the one in this trip ever to step on desert, in fact, she did many things first in this trip!

There are many dried Populus tress still stand on the desert, refuse to accept their fate even after thousand years, beautiful as it is, I don't find the combination of desert and Populus tree here a particular nice composition, so I made some images, mostly without it. Here, I took one picture for Pook (with her G10), before walking into desert to find my view.And some of the shots made in the desert, Nikon D3X with AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED. One note to Nikon here: Please! Even the dusk removing mechanism is not perfect on every other camera system, with something is still better than nothing. I got a big problem after coming back to hotel to find some images were good but useless because of dusts. Yes, Photoshop is a solution, but not a solution to the problem I found. I kept walking, although try to be careful of my bearing, really there is nothing to register in desert, but, with camera on my hand, I continue to move on, while sun is setting, this one, also with Nikon D3X with AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED. And some shots from my pocket camera, Sigma DP-1.This one, shot with Nikon D3X, reminds me it was late in the night, now I have to find my way out.I thought it is easy, but it isn't. I tried to calm down myself, try to find the direction, not panic, and I heard some faint voice calling my name, so I follow the voice, back to join the team, and most importantly, my wife. And it was 10pm already.
And this becomes sort of the routine, get up early, long drive, taking pictures, late dinner. It is almost 10:30pm when we order our dinner, but compare to the days at Bayanbulak, this is not late at all.
Retire to the hotel room, it was late, and while backing up the day's pictures, pleasantly surprised that Pook's Canon G10 captures some nice images of myself, and of course the scenery.My steps? Captured by Pook with her G10.To me, Pook's shot of the day with her Canon G10.

Friday, November 13, 2009

May 30, Tarim & Tarim River

We drove a little while, here we arrive the Tarim, where the famous Tarim River 塔里木河 runs by.

It is the longest in-land river in China, total length 2,030km, but nothing to photograph now, there is just the river bed, totally dried, only in the summer when the melted snow from the Tienshan Mountain, then the river is alive again, and of course bring lives to people who depend on it. Nothing to share here, and in fact we only stop by the river bed for just a few minutes, Neo suggest that may be we should find a hotel, rest awhile, and late in the afternoon to go to the Taklamakan Desert for some shoot. It is a good idea, the weather is getting hard, a nap is a good idea. After a few check ups, we eventually settle in this hotel, here my wife Pook pose in front of the hotel, and Neo's Landscruiser.
Not wanting to nap that early, Pook and myself went out, buy ourselves ice-cream at a small shop nearby the hotel, and went on checking out the street. And while we walk on to the main street, I ask Pook to sit on herself in front of this wall, with some Chinese writing, which no or less says "This is not toilet!"A nice Muslim restaurant nearby the hotel, shot with Nikon D3X. The kids inside the restaurant. Regardless how diversified the people on earth, of varies of cultures, kids all look the same! Shouldn't we all? Capture with Nikon D3X.Continue to walk on the street. This is indeed a very small town, with 2 roles of houses along the highway, probably 500-600 meters each side, beyond theses houses again the endless sand. Economic on this small town is asleep, at it seemed to be, dirty, deserted, you will really see how China was 20 years ago. Not today, but here, still has a long way to go. A series shots all by Nikon D3X with AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED.Pook standing by the door, with the typical Chinese greeting banner, this must be a house for Han Chinese, what the banner says? In short - peach and money. Nikon D3X + AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED.And OK, may be its time to take a nap, and prepare for the late afternoon shoot in Taklamakan Desert 塔克拉瑪幹沙漠 . I snap this picture for Pook, while she cross the highway, background the look of this small town.