In Focus



Shanghai, December 2016

The Wall

Great Wall of China, facing Mutianyu

Shanghai in Black & White



This photograph of Shanghai is one of my favourites from a recent trip to China. Not because it stands out through sensational lighting, dramatic clouds or an immensely captivation scene.

No – it’s because I feel the image illustrates the progress I have a made as a photographer in 2016. Why? Well, first of all this was a day as dull as it gets. Imagine the most boring, grey & flat light ever!

In the past I would have been disheartened, losing any interest in photography encountering this type of conditions. However in 2016 I really learned to embrace – in fact love – those grey, dull days.

Why? They challenge me as a photographer!

Those days are not about being at the right time at the right place, i.e. at the top of the mountain half an hour before sunset. No, it’s so much more about creativity…. you know, I feel days like this lend themselves perfectly to try new things, to imagine, to think big…. or simply shoot something a bit more “arty”.

And that’s what I wanted to achieve on this particular morning when I went out in Shanghai. I dreamed big – literally! The idea in my had was a huge , atmospheric panorama in black and white – give some sense to the dramatic scale of this mega city.

Looking at the photograph – which is actually four images stitched together to one panorama (ISO 100, F11, 1/50s) – I feel like I fulfilled the vision. And that is another point: imagining, visualising & creating, not merely taking a photo. Something I’m still learning to get better at.

Forbidden City



The sun pushes through thick clouds to lighten up the majestic Forbidden City in Beijing on a wintry December day.

Real Beijing



The real Beijing happens aside of all the beautiful temples, gardens, western like shopping malls and roast ducks in touristy restaurants.

It happens in the small lanes and alleys behind the big roads. Where life slows down, people go about their business, streets smell of delicious spices and herbs…

What love about this image – probably my favourite of all I took last week here – it shows how those real people – the ones who keep the city alive – come back home after  their day in the big office buildings lurking behind them in the background through the smog in the The old man standing there, smoking a fag; he has seen it all oh so often before.

The Shanghai View


What I came for to see (& shoot) in Shanghai – the famous Bund view when the day is out and the lights are on! 

Vastness Beijing



From Wanchun Pavilion at Jingshan Park, the highest point of Beijing, you can make out the vastness of this monster of a city – December 2016

The Great Wall



Conquering the Great Wall – the most exciting, exhilarating, breathtaking, tough, dangerous, nerve wrecking, exhausting thing I’ve ever done.

Literally climbing sheer rock walls, hanging in the air with feet nowhere to go other than to slide down the drain… but that’s only the beginning.

Once finally up at the actual thing, the wall offers challenges to overcome called “Eagle Flies Facing Upward” and “Sky Stair”. Brutal, frighting but so enormously rewarding at the same time!

Flag Drill at Tiananmen Square



Beijing, December 2016