Article text
Looking for paddy frogs at the Longsheng Rice Terraces! Photo courtesy of Jie Du.
I finally found some time to work on my photos from my recent trip to China. The itinerary mainly focused on some of the major cultural highlights in China. We travelled 4500 km in three weeks from Beijing in the North all the way to Guangzhou in the South. This intensive program presented us with a quick snapshot of China: from vast construction areas were countless skyscrapers were popping up like mushrooms, to tropical rice terraces teaming with insects, amphibians and reptiles.

We travelled - quite uncharacteristic for my wife and I - in an organized group to be able to deal with the language barrier that inevitable would present itself. We were quite surprised with the general laid-backed atmosphere though. People were very friendly overall and curious to foreigners. Even though we did not encounter many english speaking people, folks would often go out of their way to give us an helping hand.

China it's nature and wildlife were not the major focal points of this trip. Nevertheless, we saw quite a lot of wildlife... mostly dead and ready to be consumed. :) Too much of a cliche? I'm afraid not. I was especially shocked by the impact of human activities on some of the landscapes we observed in the North of China. There was hardly a mountain or hill left standing that did not show signs of either new or abandoned industry and agriculture. Erosion especially seemed to be an issue, though I saw several signs explaining programs are being initiated to deal with this problem.

Talking about humans impact on nature... at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding we had to see the world's most adored fluffy mammal with tons of charisma: the Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Aged 8, when I was going from door to door raising money for yet another WWF nature conservation project, I was already familiar with it's looks. Although the panda might still be endangered - though conservation efforts are paying off - it's adorable image + the tons of money it generates at the Chengdu Panda Base alone will surely safeguard its survival. In captivity at least :( Thats wonderful really, but... I sincerely hope the rest of China it's wildlife and landscapes will receive the same amount of attention.

Serious photography in China is more of a challenge then you would imagine. Our schedule obviously paid little detail to the best light of the day. But more importantly: China knows vast numbers of domestic tourists. Standing on or close to an ancient monument you read and heard about since when you were young is very impressive. However, I felt less encouraged to photograph them when hundreds of other people are in the process of doing just that! Better just to enjoy the moment. Luckily, us foreign travelers were an interesting feature to be photographed as well. Hence, I felt a lot more comfortable returning the favor with my own camera.

China is a huge country off course and a mere three weeks of travelling hardly reveals much. We would really like to return one day, especially to the Yunnan and Guangxi provinces in the South. They are some of China's most diverse provinces, and their cultural- and biological diversity are an alluring invitation to see more of it! Off the beaten tracks that is ;)

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this new selection. I'm always curious to find out what people think of my pics so please leave a message at my Facebook page or use the contact form. Cheers!

A farmer preparing his rice paddy surrounded by dragonflies. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 125, handhold.
A farmer preparing his rice paddy surrounded by dragonflies. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 125, handhold.

A section of the famous Great Wall. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/125, f/7.1, iso 100, Cokin Gradual Neutral Grey filter, handheld.
A section of the famous Great Wall. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/125, f/7.1, iso 100, Cokin Gradual Neutral Grey filter, handheld.

A drooling (captive) panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/250, f/5.6, iso 320, handhold.
A drooling (captive) panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/250, f/5.6, iso 320, handhold.

Dried Tokay Gecko's (Gecko gecko) on a traditional medicine market. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/50, f/5.6, iso 100, handheld.
Dried Tokay Gecko's (Gecko gecko) on a traditional medicine market. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/50, f/5.6, iso 100, handheld.

Endless rows of terracotta statues. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/100, f/5.6, iso 1600, handhold.
Endless rows of terracotta statues. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/100, f/5.6, iso 1600, handhold.

An emerging fern leaf. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/30, f/4.5, iso 1600, handheld.
An emerging fern leaf. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/30, f/4.5, iso 1600, handheld.

A domesticated Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata). Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 500, handhold.
A domesticated Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata). Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 500, handhold.

A (captive) young panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) holding on for dear life. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 1250, handhold.
A (captive) young panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) holding on for dear life. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 1250, handhold.

A resting dragonfly. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/60, f/6.3, iso 100, handheld.
A resting dragonfly. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/60, f/6.3, iso 100, handheld.

A farmer tilling her paddy field using an mattock. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 640, handhold.
A farmer tilling her paddy field using an mattock. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 640, handhold.

A man burning some incense at a temple. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/60, f/5.6, iso 100, handheld.
A man burning some incense at a temple. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/60, f/5.6, iso 100, handheld.

Dead scorpions for sale. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/50, f/5.6, iso 100, handheld.
Dead scorpions for sale. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/50, f/5.6, iso 100, handheld.

Endless rice terraces. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 200, handheld.
Endless rice terraces. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 200, handheld.

Two soldiers patiently waiting for centuries. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/80, f/5.6, iso 1600, handhold.
Two soldiers patiently waiting for centuries. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/80, f/5.6, iso 1600, handhold.

Helpful translations at 4500 meters altitude... :) Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/80, f/6.3, iso 100, handheld.
Helpful translations at 4500 meters altitude... :) Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/80, f/6.3, iso 100, handheld.

An unknown species of butterfly. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/125, f/9, iso 100, handheld.
An unknown species of butterfly. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/125, f/9, iso 100, handheld.

A (captive) young panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) it's 'thumb'. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/7.1, iso 1600, handhold.
A (captive) young panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) it's 'thumb'. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/7.1, iso 1600, handhold.

A farmer and his horse plowing paddy fields. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/100, f/8, iso 100, handheld.
A farmer and his horse plowing paddy fields. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/100, f/8, iso 100, handheld.

An old door knocker in the shape of a lion. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/40, f/5, iso 100, handheld.
An old door knocker in the shape of a lion. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/40, f/5, iso 100, handheld.

Fishing using electricity. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/320, f/5.6, iso 1600, handhold.
Fishing using electricity. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/320, f/5.6, iso 1600, handhold.

A detail in the Forbidden City. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/60, f/6.3, iso 100, handheld.
A detail in the Forbidden City. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/60, f/6.3, iso 100, handheld.

Bags of shed snake skin. Dead scorpions for sale. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/80, f/7.1, iso 100, handheld.
Bags of shed snake skin. Dead scorpions for sale. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/80, f/7.1, iso 100, handheld.

A (captive) young panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) sitting on it's tush. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/7.1, iso 1600, handhold.
A (captive) young panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) sitting on it's tush. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/7.1, iso 1600, handhold.

Turtle shells for sale on the foreground. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/30, f/3.5, iso 200, handheld.
Turtle shells for sale on the foreground. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/30, f/3.5, iso 200, handheld.

Hard work for both. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 800, handheld.
Hard work for both. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 800, handheld.

Parking directions toward the three pagodas :) Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/160, f/10, iso 100, handheld.
Parking directions toward the three pagodas :) Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/160, f/10, iso 100, handheld.

A detail of a bamboo shoot. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/60, f/5, iso 100, handheld.
A detail of a bamboo shoot. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/60, f/5, iso 100, handheld.

Detail of a terracotta soldiers face. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/80, f/5.6, iso 1600, handhold.
Detail of a terracotta soldiers face. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/80, f/5.6, iso 1600, handhold.

A (captive) panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) chewing bamboo. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 1000, handhold.
A (captive) panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) chewing bamboo. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 1000, handhold.

Dried deer penis surely has its use... Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/40, f/4.5, iso 100, handheld.
Dried deer penis surely has its use... Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/40, f/4.5, iso 100, handheld.

Panoramic overview of Ping An rice terraces. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/200, f/10, iso 100, handhold, stitched image.
Panoramic overview of Ping An rice terraces. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/200, f/10, iso 100, handhold, stitched image.

An unknown species of lizard lost its tail. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/100, f/8, iso 100, handheld.
An unknown species of lizard lost its tail. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/100, f/8, iso 100, handheld.

Awaiting the endless hordes of tourists. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/100, f/6.3, iso 100, handheld.
Awaiting the endless hordes of tourists. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/100, f/6.3, iso 100, handheld.

A somewhat crumpled (captive) red panda (Ailurus fulgens). Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/200, f/5.6, iso 1600, handhold.
A somewhat crumpled (captive) red panda (Ailurus fulgens). Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/200, f/5.6, iso 1600, handhold.

Detail within the Summer Palace. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/30, f/4.5, iso 200, handheld.
Detail within the Summer Palace. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/30, f/4.5, iso 200, handheld.

Panorama of a farmer and his water buffalo. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/320, f/6.3, iso 1600, handhold, stitched image.
Panorama of a farmer and his water buffalo. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/320, f/6.3, iso 1600, handhold, stitched image.

Two edible Chinese Edible Frog (Hoplobatrachus rugulosus) awaiting an buyer. Canon Powershot S100, 1/40, f/4, iso 80, handheld.
Two edible Chinese Edible Frog (Hoplobatrachus rugulosus) awaiting an buyer. Canon Powershot S100, 1/40, f/4, iso 80, handheld.

Two (captive) panda's (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) enjoying breakfast. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 1250, handhold.
Two (captive) panda's (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) enjoying breakfast. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 1250, handhold.

A small snail close to the biggest buddha on the planet. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/40, f/5, iso 100, handheld.
A small snail close to the biggest buddha on the planet. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/40, f/5, iso 100, handheld.

Detail of Qianxun Pagoda. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 400, handhold.
Detail of Qianxun Pagoda. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/500, f/8, iso 400, handhold.

A spider dangling over a stream. A farmer preparing his rice paddy surrounded by dragonflies. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/640, f/8, iso 1000, handhold.
A spider dangling over a stream. A farmer preparing his rice paddy surrounded by dragonflies. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/640, f/8, iso 1000, handhold.

The glacier at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/1200, f/11, iso 100, handheld, stitched image.
The glacier at Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, 1/1200, f/11, iso 100, handheld, stitched image.
 


As a bonus I included some footage I shot of Cormorant fishing on a tributary of the Li river:

This video was shot using the Canon Powershot S100.


New photos: China