Saturday, August 29, 2009

May 28, Bayanbulak 巴音布魯克

Finally reach our destination, one of the highlight of this trip - Bayanbulak 巴音布魯克. Our ultimate goal , the sunset shot over the winding rivers 九曲十八灣. After a few days of poor weather, we arrived Bayanbulak city last night, along the way witnessed greatly improved weather, beautiful sky, and of course lots of pictures.
We left our hotel early afternoon, saw the clear sky, and the formation of clouds starts to worry us again. Debates begun as our location, where we projected the sun will set, the clouds, uncertainty develped in our mind if we will get the sunset shot we want, or more specifically, Wanbing 萬兵 wanted, this will be where he produce his master piece, as he planed.
We won't know until we get there! And we won't know when sunset eventually happened!
Wondering, our minds still struggle between doubts of the sunset Wanbing dreamed about, and we all wish it to come true; but the beautiful scenery appears in front our eye, one after another, still caught us and too often we stop and take pictures.
While planning the shot with Huang Zhen, my lovely wife took this picture for us from the other spot, by the cliff, with a compact Canon G10. I am the one in the front, closer to the cliff, with Huang Zhen behind me. I was training the Nikon D3X with AF-S 24-70/2.8G ED, on my shoulder was the D3 + AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G. And this is the shot took one hour later, a little further away, using a Nikon D3X with AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED, original file size is 10,975X2,775pixels, stitched of 4 captures, using Photoshop CS4 photomerge. During this Xinjiang trip I made use lots of CS4 photomerge for my panoramic works. In comparison to my medium format camera, P45+, although it produced larger and sharper image file, but still, a single shot of 39-million pixels image still cannot compare to the impact of multiple-shot stitch panoramic image using camera such as Nikon D3X.

And shooting sunset picture in Xinjiang is a great pleasure for photographers, big challenge for the drivers, and tiring wait for those who travel with the photographers, in this case, my wife, but luckily, she does enjoy great view, and the process of creativity. Shooting in late May for sunset in Xinjiang, and in Banyanbulak where the spot we are shooting is away from the nearest city hotel we stayed about 2.5 hours. Considering we are waiting for the last light of day, we are well into 10pm of the day, and our dinner time well past 12. Nevertheless, a great image worth every second of getting it done.
This one shot with D3X, with AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED.
And this one a 7-shot stitch by Nikon D3X + PC-E Macro 45/2.8.
From the other side of vintage point, with D3X + AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED.
Observing the mounting snow storm, Nikon D3X + AF-S VR 70-200/2.8G IF-ED.
And the sunset shot, D3X with PC-E Nikkor 45/2.8ED
And this one, took by my wife while I was training the camera, my beloved Contax 645 and Phase One P45+, mounted with the beautiful Carl Zeiss Super-APO TPP 300/2.8. One of my rare picture.
And this one, the image I was taking while the image above was taken. With the Carl Zeiss Super-APO TPP 300/2.8, with Contax 645 using MAM-1 adapter, Phase One P45+.
Perhaps not the best sunset view today, but we cannot say we were unlucky. We had great time watching the beautiful sunset over the beautiful winding river, may be not picture perfect, but it really does not matter, at least it is to me. We are the last group left the hill, Neo still have 2 hours ride to take us back to the hotel, it is already 10pm, another late dinner. We did not realize how hungry we were, the joyfulness still keep our focus around the show the great nature just presented to us a moment ago. Huangzhen reminded us the Xinjiang bread kept in the car, a small highlight in the journey back to hotel, through darkness.
It was almost 1am when we arrived at our hotel, settled ourselves on the dinner table to realize it is Dragon Boat Festival 端午節, we all enjoy some Zongzi 粽子, a tradition for all Chinese dated back to 278 BC, in memory of Qu Yuan, a poet and stateman of the Chu Kingdom during the Warring States period - tens of years before China became an empire, the Qin Dynasty.
Enough of history, and we have ourselves a nice feast. By what we all agreed during the ride back, we are going to have an early wake up, go back to the location we stopped the first evening in, for possible sunrise pictures, and we better rest soon!