Temple of Heaven Fire Baskets

Favorite Historical Sites

If I had to pick between the big three UNESCO sites in and around Beijing my preference, BY FAR would likely be with the Temple of Heaven. While in antiquity this was a temple for the Emperor of China, today its is an expansive and exquisitely beautiful park near the heart of Beijing. There is a majesty in walking up the path reserved for only the emperor. There is a grandeur and elegance that masks (along with modern perception) the religous rites preformed here to bring a good harvest. If for some reason you have to choose between The Temple of Heaven, The Forbidden City and The Great Wall, I would chose in that order.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 6 September, 2016
  • Focal length: 31mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/1000s
  • Title: Temple of Heaven Fire Baskets

The Forbidden City Roof Details

Plans Already Defined

When you visit Beijing for the first time, or go with someone who is going for the first time, your itinerary is almost designated for you by the historical and cultural significance of the region. You have to see:

  1. The Great Wall
  2. The Temple of Heaven
  3. The Forbidden City

All three are UNESCO World Heritage sites and all three are AMAZING! It’s honestly a wonder The Forbidden City wasn’t destroyed during the cultural revolution in China, but lucky for all the world, it is still very much waiting for your visit!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 5 September, 2016
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s
  • Title: The Forbidden City Roof Details

Badaling Section of The Great Wall

7 Wonders

With our most recent trip to China, I realize I have now seen three of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Here is the completely list:

  • Christ Redeemer: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Great Wall of China: China
  • Machu Picchu: Peru
  • Petra: Jordan
  • Pyramid at Chichén Itzá: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
  • Roman Colosseum: Rome, Italy
  • Taj Mahal: Agra, India

Of course technically the wall is really multiple walls, and I only saw one very touristy section. It was very well restored, but personally I think I tend to like the less populated and more rugged hiking that might be involved in visiting one of the less visited sections. Here are a few tips, bring a hat, sunscreen, water and snacks! If you plan on going to Badaling (one of the “easier” sections to get to from Beijing) bring patience. There are over 1.35 billion people in china and I think about 1 billion visit the Badaling section of the wall each day (this maybe an exaggeration). Keep in mind despite not being “rugged hiking” it is a VERY steep climb!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 5 September, 2016
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 250
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s
  • Title: Badaling Section of The Great Wall

Instagram Favorites May – September 2016

Less, but Longer Travels

With the demise of some of my favorite travel schemes, I find myself in unknown territory as of late. In years past, I would have had to make a HUGE number of these instagram favorites posts, but this year I have only been on three international trips. I realize to many thing sounds like a LOT, but when you are used to doing six to ten, three is peanuts! The future for me seems to involve less loyalty to one airline (they seem to no longer care about this as a business decision) and less frequent, but longer trips. As always things change so maybe a new scheme will soon present itself to me! Pamela and I just returned from Beijing, China so here are a few of my favorite photos!

Tea Leaves for Inspection in Shanghai, China

Smelling Tea

The thing I have learned though Pamela’s love (some might say obsession) with tea is the joy of tea is much the same as the joy of wine. The terrior, the growing season, how the tea is harvested, the method to refine the tea for drinking, even the sampling methods are reminiscent of wine. How do the flavors hit the palate, what flavors are apparent and perhaps a surprise because of some of the above mentioned conditions. It is honestly quite fascinating. This bowl of (I belive) oolong was set out at one of the very first places in Tea City, where Pamela and I stopped to sample tea. I think I have never seen her so overwhelmed with joy, shyness and perhaps an equal part reverence that that first visit to Tea City.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 30 June, 2015
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 3200
  • Shutter speed: 1/125s
  • Title: Tea Leaves for Inspection in Shanghai, China

Waiting for a Train in Shanghai


I enjoy spending time in places of transit. I know others find the airports and train stations stressful and tedious (and they can be), but almost always I find them relaxing. There is a part of me that just lets go when I enter one of these spaces. Often I have a bit better access than the general traveler. I know some inside “secrets” and tend to use then as frequently as I can, but even when I am someplace without the greater comforts, I still am able to exhale and settle in. Often I take photos, when they are allowed, as with this one waiting for our train to Hangzhou.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 30 June, 2015
  • Focal length: 31mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s
  • Title: Wating for a Train in Shanghai

The Best Spicy Peanut Noodles in Shanghai

Chinese Comfort Food

I have eaten some spectacular food throughout my travels. New flavors, exotic smells, weird dishes…all are an essential part of world travel, today’s photo is one of those. This plate of Spicy Sesame Noodles has all the trappings of “Comfort Food”. I was told the menu on the wall has been there since the 1970’s. They list things as “Out” that they no longer even make. The staff rushes out other patrons out so you can sit down; Chinese Fast Food. There is a gruff lady who takes your money, she speaks no English, for this is a place of locals. The bottles of soy sauce are old plastic, reclaimed for a purpose they are not intended. All matters little, once you have a bite you will know this is some of the best Peanut Noodles in all the World.

Photo Technical Info

Buddhist Wall in China

Haunting Sculptures

There are so many great artistic works created in the name of religion. I don’t know the significance of this sculpture, but it is almost as maddening a work as La Sagrada Familia‘s Nativity Facade. There are so many carvings within carvings and around carvings it’s hard to know what is happening.

I took a HUGE bit of creative license as the room was dimly lit in places. There colors are all mine, but the madness is all Buddhist artists!

Photo Technical Info

Bricks of Chinese Pu-erh Tea


I am surprised Pamela didn’t collapse when we entered Tea City. We have been so many amazing places in the world, and I don’t quite recall anywhere bringing her to such a hushed awe. This shelf was completely full of pu-erh tea bricks. I am sure Pamela would have loved to ship the whole stall home!

Photo Technical Info

Yuyuan Garden Walkway Design Detail

What’s Underfoot

You cant miss this river stone walkway. The moment you step foot on it, you notice the irregularity…its more natural feel. You notice the uneven-ness of nature, but you also know it is anything but natural. This fits perfectly with the way I feel about Chinese gardens in general. It always seems to me the Chinese are looking for some harmony and connection with nature (in their gardens), but it’s always seems a more “perfected” nature, taking the good, discarding the bad…molding to find a perfect form. This is neither good nor bad, and only my interpretation which is course is always changed itself.

Photo Technical Info