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

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!

Door Accent in the Forbidden City Beijing China

Blessings of Wind

Each time I visit China, I am reminded of the blessings of the elements. Wind is most usually the element that occupies my thoughts. The air in China is something out another time. I have always had trouble deciding if it is America’s own industrial past or some dystopian version of the future. As we recovered our lung health, so too must the Chinese. The culture is wonderful and mesmerizing to be so hampered by environmental degradation. I am also thankful, despite the choking pollen, to come home to a part of the country that has moderately clean natural resources. Oh how previous these are and we have to fight to keep them clean and available for all people to use freely!

Photo Technical Info

Forbidden City Railing, Beijing China

Sans Tourists

The Forbidden City in Beijing is PACKED with throngs of tourists. Despite this, there tends to be peak areas of concentration where the masses congregate in places as truly sprawling as The Forbidden City. Sometimes you are lucky (especially if you are early enough) to find open courtyards almost completely devoid of people! Always have you camera at ready, you never know when these opportunities will be disrupted by an ill placed tour group. I only had to remove about 5 people in photoshop for this shot and they were far off in the shot, making them really easy to remove.

Photo Technical Info

Temple of Heaven Tile Details

Construction Materials

The Temple of Heaven is a massive site…one that can easily take a day of your time. It is also one of the preordained visits you have to make on your first visit to Beijing (though I have yet to visit The Great Wall…sacrilege, I know). Personally I enjoyed the Forbidden City more, but the Temple of Heaven honestly is like no historic site I have ever visited before. Today’s photo is one of the small exquisite details. I have so many more to share…

Photo Technical Info

Global Digital Pandemic

Merry Christmas!

I find today’s photo both amusing and sad, all at the same time. It was a cold and rainy morning and I had gotten up early to see the flag raising ceremony in Tienanmen Square. I unfortunately didn’t get up early enough. Lines were long and security was VERY tight. There were hoards of proud Chinese waiting to see the ceremonial raising of their countries flag, and despite hearing the Chinese National Anthem, I couldn’t see a thing behind the sea or people.

What struck me was the number of people with some sort of device to capture the event. I travel to capture things but I constantly remind myself to stop and experience the wonderful things around me. Too many people never look up, only seeing the world on a screen. I call it the Global Digital Pandemic. It seems to be effecting every culture and at an alarming rate.

My Christmas wish for all of you is to enjoy your time with your family. Focus on them, not a screen. Absolutely take photos, but don’t lose real emotion. That screen can be an emotional separator between you and the one’s you love. Try to stop ever so often and take it all in…life is the truest of blessings.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 23 September, 2014
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 3200
  • Shutter speed: 1/60s
  • Title: Global Digital Pandemic

Fire Cauldron in The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Form and Function

Beauty has its place. Function is evident all around us. Perhaps that is why I so enjoy the ideas of Pop Art (sometimes the execution was lacking). Finding beauty in the form and function of every day items. Perhaps this giant cauldron in the Forbidden City of Beijing, China isn’t exactly an every day item (they are gold guided after all) but they are an expression of both ideals.

This process is an experimental combination of things. The idea isn’t original, but then all art is derivative right? The execution is all my own. Enjoy the beauty in the world, it is all around, just waiting to be explored! Perhaps if you but look, you too can find a whimsical joy in the world.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 21 September, 2014
  • Focal length: 28mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 39° 54.941′ 0″ N 116° 23.4213′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s
  • Title: Fire Cauldron in The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Forbidden City Artwork

Ancient Outdoor Artwork

The thing that struck me while wandering The Forbidden City (after ALL THE PEOPLE) was the vast amount of ancient artwork with was around the palace exposed to the elements. This slab is one of those amazing examples. They do have it carefully blocked off so tourists don’t walk down the delicate stairs, but I found myself wondering about the preservation of truly priceless cultural and artistic treasures that were designed to live outdoors. Does it effect the beauty of something when it is removed from its purpose and placed in a museum? Does its purpose inform it’s value to society? I’m not sure I know that answer. What I do know is these carvings in The Forbidden City are wonderful.

Photo Technical Info

Traditional Chinese Dress in the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

People on Vacation

I almost never include people in my photos. I tend to focus on the history of a place, it’s details and what it feels like, but I generally exclude people. I couldn’t help myself on this one. This girl was having a really fun time playing dress-up in The Forbidden City costume shop, and got completely decked out in a traditional costume. She only posed for a second, but I caught the most wonderful hand gesture she made while in full regalia.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 21 September, 2014
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 39° 55.0093′ 0″ N 116° 23.3948′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s
  • Title: Traditional Chinese Dress in the Forbidden City, Beijing, China