Thursday, July 23, 2009

May 28 Destination - Bayabulak 巴音布魯克草原

After a good night rest, we have a rare late wake up in the morning. After a good breakfast, we have some time to retire back to our room to prepare our gears, memory cards, and took some time working on the computer to organize those images took earlier in the trip, and to back up them to a removable hard drive.
I have never been to Bayanbulak, but from the varies pictures, I gathered what it is like. And from where we stay, it is around 2.5 hours away from the viewpoint. We have decided to leave around 3pm, and may be we should have a late lunch, because by the time pf sunset and to drive all the way back to hotel, the dinner will be midnight again, and so we all took a little nap, wake up to lunch, 3pm, it is time to go.
The weather looks good, but we are expecting to also have some clouds to reflect the last light of the sun to capture more dramatic reflection on the winding river. We hope! Moving toward Bayanbulak, we started to comprehend how beautiful it is, we drove thru this area last night in total darkness, so the view along the highway to view point is a pleasure ride, and long ride, because we stop so often.
An image took by using tiny but mighty Canon G10.These two, with Nikon D3X and AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED. A shephard on horse tends his sheep.Continue to move on the highway cut thru the beautiful grassland, we took more picture along the way, while a little worry brew in our mind as we can see the clouds reappear again after 2 days clear sky, but on the other hand, the sky might as well reflect the color from the setting sun to bring more vibrancy to our sunset shot. Leave such worry for now, with Nikon D3, few more images here.Nikon D3 and AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED, clouds.Snow starts to fall in nearby mountain, Nikon D3.Vista, Nikon D3 again with AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED.Imminent snow storm?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Midnight, May 27, Bayanulak

Nobody in the car as happy as Wanbing 萬兵, after all, Bayanbulak is for him the highlight of the entire trip, and against all odds, we finally made it here and just finished a short session of shoot. Driving in almost total darkness heading to hotel, the plan for tomorrow is finally set - we will have a good ight rest, easy morning so that Neo can get a maintenance for his car, we charge up ourselves, cameras and computers or whatever, then we will go to Bayanbulak for sunset shot. It is a clear night, discussion moved to what we wish tomorrow weather will be, and hope for the best. And I suggested to Wanbing may be to do some shooting for star, to test the Nikon D3 for long time exposure, as well as Wanbing's Canon 5D2.
We arrived at the hotel at midnight, while Huang Zheng, Neo and Pook went to restaurant to order our dinner, Wanbing and I gather our gear and ran to the roof of the 4 storey hotel building to set up our cameras for the stars. We will leave the camera expose and run to restaurant for dinner, I use the shutter released cable to lock shutter B, take a look at my watch, and go to dinner.
On our dinner table, I found the lavish dishes, and a bottle of white wine contributed fromWanbing, finally here in Bayanbulak, we congratulate ourselves, cheer to each other. Pook told me while waiting for the dish and Wanbing and myself to return to table, Neo gave her a tutorial of what we have journey so far and what we will be going to, and using the Canon G10 to record our route.

Between dinner and removing bags to hotel room, and preparing the gear for tomorrow shoot, I made a ew exposures of the night sky, uisng variest set up to try to get the best night image. It was cold, battery drains quickly. I made a succession of captures using Nikon D3 and AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED and AF-S 14-24/2.8G ED, between around 15-30 minutes. Some pictures here for reference, strong wind and the cooking smoke or turbine steam from the hotel we stay and probably the other restaurant clound the sky, not as clear as I hope it will be, but it is late and I ran thru 2 batteies, it was almost 2am and I told myself, time to go to bed!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

May 27 Frist glance of Bayanbulak 巴音布魯克草原

If the definition of "photo-graphy" is painting or draw by light, then the photographer is the one who chases light, and it is exact what we do. However in Xinjiang, chasing light means you drive to the location and find your own spot, and in this early summer, and with Chinese time, the sunset is very well around 10pm, and still that base on how long we want to stay over afer sunset to try to get the last glimpse light over the horizon. But, often you have to deal with yet another long ride back to the resting point, and sometimes it means hours, and it is exactly like that in Bayanbuak. So the best advise: go to Xinjiang, you need a good guide and better to be a good guy, and a good car, he will take you to where you want to go, but most important, take you back safely, no matter how late, or how early, because for us the photographer, waiting for sunset is one kep subject, waiting for sunrise is yet another key subject.....and Neo, succeeded and went beyond the scope of what you would expect from a good guide and driver.
Hours of driving across the grand mountain faces, we finally on the highway moving toward Bayanbulak, and just about sun about to set, we came to this spot, and make some of last pictures we will take for today, and what a beautiful end of of day - at least to us. For Neo, it is yet another 2-3 hours drive to our hotel, in total darkness.
This one taken with a Nikon D3X with AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED, Wanbing is in this picture making his mater piece.This one, by my beautiful wife, Pook, with a Canon G10. A good example of how much a small camera can do. Tip: Don't leave home without one.This one also with Canon G10, a panoramic image stitched of 4 captures, original size 10,119X2,871 pixelsThis one, with Nikon D3X and AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED.D3 with AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED.It was freezing cold and time to go, Neo still have more than 2 hours driving to reach our hotel, besides, everyone started to feel a little hungry, and it was 10pm already!