Time Frozen in the Ancient Village

Bad Internet Marketing

Because of the popularity of this blog, I get these emails just about every day. It is so crazy… I want any potential “internet marketers” that are reading this site to know that I don’t do paid-blog posts or any of that nonsense.

Companies send me FREE STUFF all the time. You should see my studio – I’ve got piles and piles of crappy stuff… everything from camera equipment to gadgets. I always tell people ahead of time that I only review it if I actually like it. This is because I am super-busy… and people are too busy to read 1000 reviews… so I just stick with the best stuff.

So, of the hundreds of things I have to review, I usually do only about one every two months. Don’t get your hopes up, marketers… and certainly don’t send me lame emails like this one I got a few days ago:

One of our major clients are currently working on making their website more visible in a particular Google search and we have indicated your site as a potential partner in this venture.

What we would like from you is a banner on the homepage and/or an article in the form of a blog post, product review or something similar. Our content is bespoke, tailored for your site and written by one of our professional in-house copy writers; we always ensure that content is relevant to both the client and the hosting site.

Daily Photo – Time Frozen in the Ancient Village

I feel like I’m in a hurry to take photos of all these ancient places before they become homogenized. I worry that in 10 years that every place will look like a typical street corner in Plano, Texas. Know what I mean? There’s nothing horrible about having a Home Depot and an Applebee’s within every five mile pod of super-structure, but it can lose a bit of charm after a while.

This is a famous old village in China where the legend tells of two phoenixes hovered endlessly, transfixed by the beauty they saw below. It’s located in the western part of central China’s Hunan Province. It’s called Feng Huang Cheng (“feng huang” being the Chinese name for the phoenix), and I’m happy I got to spend a few days wandering around its mysterious bits. This is a good overview of the city, and I’ll have many more from the insides coming soon enough.

BTW, if you are wondering how I made this… you may be interested in the textures tutorial.

High Dynamic Range Photo

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Boats in Ancient China

Daily Photo – Boats in Ancient China

This is the spot where I cracked a rib. I’ll tell that story in a moment… This is the ancient village of Feng Huang in distant southern China. I hired a local driver to get me there, and the ride was longer than most plane trips! And a lot less comfortable… Anyway, after arriving, I had a wonderful time exploring. One morning, the old town was covered with thick fog. And it’s that still, wet, timeless fog of China. When you are looking at it, you become convinced it will just never go away. I worked my way down one of the banks to an area where the local rivermen keep the boats to grab this shot. The morning was wet, obviously, and that was the downfall of my mishap. I stepped down onto what looked like damp, dirty concrete. I’ve done this a thousand times. I was carrying my D3X with 14-24mm lens on a tripod on my left hand and holding my D3S with 50mm 1.4 prime in my right hand. It turned out that I was stepping onto that super-slick wet clay. It was razor-thin and slicker than ice. I didn’t stand a chance. I fell right down, both cameras slamming into the ground. The D3X hit extra hard because the tripod gave it some painful torque. I landed on the D3S, it’s body caving in one of ribs… right in the middle of the man-nipple area. It was too bad because I’ve always treasured that area. I made reference to the injury when I was still unsure about it in this Part 2 China Interview.
High Dynamic Range Photography

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Beautiful Feng Huang at night

Daily Photo – Beautiful Feng Huang at night

This was a beautiful and relaxing night for me.

I strolled up and down the banks of this old river-town. All the houses up on stilts were so charming… the little boats motoring around… old ladies still washing clothes deep into the night… young lovers skipping along the opposite bank while I set up for shots…

After a few hours of shooting, I stopped at a small family-run restaurant that overlooked the river. I pulled out my sketch pad and started drawing the scene around me for a few hours while the nice mom inside brought me all kinds of mysterious hot foods, teas, and little cookies. It was a very peaceful and nice night…

High Dynamic Range Photography

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Feng Huang Cheng

Stuck In China Update

From my post yesterday, I’ve gotten all kinds of interesting response – thanks!  It looks like there are a few uber-powerful political types that stop by the blog from time to time and some strings are being pulled.  We’ll see if I can get out of the country in a timely manner!

(NOTE:  Do not ever run at full speed through an embassy.)

Three Days of China

I’ve been in China now for what is approaching a month. It has been a wild and adventurous time! I’ve been so busy shooting, and internet has been so hard to get in places — it has been hard to do regular, timely updates. So, obviously, I’ve been posting some new pieces from other photo adventures, but this is how things generally work around here.

But, for the next three days (including today), I’ll show you some brand new stuff from apart of my trip here!

Daily Photo – Ancient Feng Huang Cheng

As many cities in China quickly leapfrog American cities into one technopolis after another, there are still many old, ancient places across the countryside. So, in an effort to find some of the more unique and classical Chinese places, I had to go pretty deep beyond the major cities.

This is an old place that maintains its classic charm. It’s called Feng Huang, and the old buildings along the river are still up on stilts. They don’t build right along the river, since they know every 50 years or so, a major flood clears everything away. In the meantime, locals go on about their business, going down to the river to wash clothes, prepare food, and the like.

The entire time I was here, I never saw another white person and did not meet anyone that spoke English. I also suffered a fairly significant injury one morning… will talk about that another time. I’m going to hit a hospital here in Beijing to see what exactly happened! But, most importantly, even though my cameras hit the ground pretty hard, they are all in perfect working condition. Sweet Nikon.

HDR Photo

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