China’s Unknown Landscapes 2013 Trip Report

By Darrell Gulin on Nov 08, 2013

My very first trip to China was this September 2013 leading the China’s Unknown Landscapes photo safari, along with Michael, our excellent local guide. I have traveled the world but—I’ll admit it—I have fallen in love with China. The country “got to me” in a really good way and I cannot wait to return next year!

Take a look at the accompanying slide show and you will see just a sample of the wonderful photo opportunities that await. Traveling in China was first rate, the people were great, the food was good and sometimes outstanding, and the large cities were so very modern, while the rural areas were still so very exotic.

We began in Shanghai where we photographed the grand cityscapes—and the hidden gardens. We then jetted away to the Wulingyuan district and the Hallelujah Mountains, the otherworldly landscape familiar from the movie, Avatar. Here, we photographed and explored many of the over 3,000 spires rising spectacularly from the valley floor. Our lodging high in the mountains allowed us to be in the right locations for the best light for morning and evening photography—without any tourist crowds!

We stayed in Kunming at a comfortable 5-star hotel on the Green Lake before driving into the Red Lands of Dongchuan. The Red Lands! Put simply, this was four days of a landscape photographer’s delight! Words can only begin to describe what images can convey—a stunning agricultural landscape where contour, color and texture converge in unbelievable graphic patterns. In addition, we visited two local markets and photographed the farmers working in and around the colorful hillside fields.

On return to Kunming, a visit to the Ethnic Minorities Village Park was another of many highlights. A particularly special memory was waking on the last day of the trip for an early morning photographic shoot around the city’s Green Lake with its photogenic pagodas.

Come along with me in May of 2014 on my next fantastic photographic adventure in China. On the 2014 Essential China trip, we will explore not-to-be-missed icons and photograph masterpiece Li River and Yellow Mountain landscapes.