Entering the Forbidden City

Hi to Gernot!

It’s such a small world! I was standing at this very spot below when my friend Gernot walked up and said hello! I first met Gernot at my workshop in Tokyo, and he had flown in from Shanghai. He’s an Austrian that’s been living and working in China for the past few years. In fact, besides other things, he’s just started giving motorcycle sidecar tours of the city. He’s trying to convince me to do it here in Beijing… and I’m not sure i have the time but will try!

You can see a video about the motorcycle sidecar service at http://www.vimeo.com/3569937. Looks kinda fun, eh?

Daily Photo – Entering the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City sits in the middle of Beijing along an imaginary line called “The Central Axis”. Many of the important buildings, temples, and monuments are along this line. It might seem convenient just to walk along this line to see everything you need to see, but this idea only works if you have the mobility of the Genghis Khan cavalry.

I had a delightful tea inside the Forbidden City at a secluded and secret tea house with my contacts. It all sounds somewhat cloak & dagger, doesn’t it? But this ancient tea house was so hard to find that Google Maps street view would have just shown a black starfield instead. There was a tiny and old looking building in an aged arched alleyway that had a long line of antique windows. Upon pushing on one of the windows in a certain direction, you would suddenly discover it was a door that would open into another set of richly decorated rooms. There were rich wood surfaces everywhere, each full of antiques, ornate bowls, delicate tea service, and Chinese women clad in traditional garb running about whilst preparing tea in the old way.

After spending a few hours in here getting lost and having tea, I emerged around sunset to move around the fortress area. Arriving at the corner tower just in time (and with my slight Chinese assistant buckling under the pressure of my Lowepro), I snapped off this HDR of the setting sun.

HDR Photo

  • casusan

    Oh wow! This is lovely Trey – looks like a painting – beautiful sunset and clouds! Can’t wait to see more of these China shots – you are on quite an adventure again!

  • What a stunning place – not only that, they serve my favourite hot beverage as well! Did the tea live up to the beauty of the location i ask? Those colours in the clouds are so vivid. Great work!

  • Ah, that’s the incredible awesomeness we all love from stuckincustoms!

  • Patrick Ahles

    I love the colors in this one!

  • Dan Henderson

    Awesome composition. I love how you can still see the big city in the distance in contrast with the great old temple. Great shot!

  • I was luckily enough to spend 5 months out of the last year up in Beijing. Although the winter was ghastly I had a fantastic time trying to get to grips with the language. The best part I found about the ancient city were all the patterns in the buildings. You can check out some of my photos here – http://benlee.squarespace.com/asia/beijing-china.

    I hope you manage to get to the Summer Palace on a non polluted day- there are some really cool shooting opportunities there!

  • Gail in Montana

    I agree with Henrik!! Beautiful photo, love all the colors you brought out in the sky, sunset, water, and the building, trees, and the wall surrounding it!! Thanks for sharing your adventures. Good luck on finding places to stay in New Zealand ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mike

    What’s happened to your iPad HD wallpaper page? It’s been missing for a few days now.

  • Sometimes I envy your wandering ways. Lovely example. Do I detect a bit of Topaz Adjust on the building?

  • Thanks!

    Andy, yes the tea was great- and unique in every way !

    Ben – thanks for the link !

    Mike- that page is working for me and the support team – what link are you talking about? Maybe we have a bad link somewhere? – TR

    William – yes just a tad – hehe

  • Trey, this is a wonderful image, China is one those places that I’d love to go.

  • Mike

    If I click on the iPad Wallpapers square on the right hand side menu (next to “All About HDR”) I get taken to http://www.stuckincustoms.com/ipad-wallpapers/ which appears to be a totally blank page in Firefox on PC and Mac and Safari on Mac

  • Woo

    OMG I think that slight little one was me…

    Do like really look slight?

  • Mike: I clicked on your link to check. It works fine for me on IE with Windows XP. However, I just get a blank page when I tried it on my iPad.

  • Mike

    William – I should have added that it doesn’t work on my iPad as well. I’ve just tried IE7 (!!) on my wife’s PC and I get “The website cannot display the page” and the title shows 500 Internal Server Error.

    It did work on Firefox on my work PC a week or so ago and now when I decided to actually buy the wallpaper I now can’t see the page

    BTW – sorry to hijack this thread. I did try a tweet to TR but got no response

  • Mike

    Ah! The text link further down the right hand side links to ipad-wallpaper and works OK, the graphic link higher up links to ipad-wallpapers (with an s on the end) and doesn’t work for me

  • Very lovely image. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wonderful capture Trey. Just amazed by the processing touch you add to any image… Simply beautiful…

  • Hey Trey! Awesome shot as always. I took on one over the weekend that made me think of you – http://www.flickr.com/photos/skunkworksphotographic/5049002769/

    Take care!

  • Well – I checked that link and it works okay – will do some more testing!

    My Twitter is not working in China (you know) — so I cannot see tweets for about a week more I am afraid ! ๐Ÿ™

  • I love the glow you always seem to get, Trey. Do you ever use Color Efex? I find using their Glamour Glow (made for portraits I think) makes a lovely glow on landscapes. Of course, blended-in with Photoshop ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Great people tips. So you never made it to Barcelona? What a shame. Maybe next year I hope. China is so, well, big!

  • Gernot

    hehe, what a coincidence and the world is just a village ๐Ÿ˜‰

    excellent shot, Trey!

  • Deron

    Late comment, but this is one of your best so far!

  • Dave

    I’m headed to Beijing in 3 weeks…can you provide some extra clues to location of that fabulous sounding teahouse?

  • Wayne Sun

    So beautifully taken this one! Beijing’s my home town and I was brought up under the walls of Forbidden City. It’s been years since my last stay in Beijing and your pictures surely brings me to tears. Next time you visit Beijing, I hope to be your guide. I know loads of secluded and mysterious places in this ancient city which you may find interesting.

  • I’m heading to Beijing in 2 weeks, and I’d also love to know where I could find that amazing teahouse!

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  • Love the sky in this shot Trey, looks great!

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