The Way I See It

Archive for the ‘Yunnan’ Category

Happy New Year! Tashi Delek!

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Ringha Prayer Flags

Ringha Prayer Flags

Happy New Year, everyone! The Tibetans have a greeting, “Tashi Delek”. It means auspiciousness and wellness. I wish you many Tashi Deleks. May 2012 bring you much laughter, prosperity and health.

Photog Notes
1/10 second, f/27, ISO 400. I made this image at the Ringha Monastery, one of the most sacred places that I’ve ever been to. We arrived in the late afternoon. It was deafeningly silent, save for the gentle whispering of the wind in the trees and the flapping of the prayer flags, as they released their messages to the heavens. To help convey the feeling of the place, I decided to try to capture the motion and whirls of colors about me.

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Written by xinapray

December 31, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Gyalthang

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Stupa

Stupa

Gyalthang, also known as Zhongdian or Shangri-la, sits in the ancient Kingdaon of Kham, on the Tibetan Plateau. Geographically, it is located in northern Yunnan province, almost on the border with Sichuan. Although under Chinese rule, the region is predominantly Tibetan, with a small population of Han Chinese and other ethnic minorities.

Had things gone according to plan, I would have spent today flying home from a visit to Gyalthang. But the trip was canceled at the last minute and I ended up being able to spend Thanksgiving at home, something that I am extremely thankful for. These images are from September, on a prior trip.

Pilgrims

Pilgrims

Photog Notes
I made these images under some pretty difficult lighting conditions. Stupa was taken in the afternoon, under a bright blue sky with puffy white clouds and strong directional light. The shot was made in the shadow-strewn square, resulting in a bright sky and dark architectural details. In processing, I applied a generous amount of lightening to bring out the beauty in the colors and decorative details. Pilgrims, on the other hand, was shot under a gray, overcast sky right after an afternoon storm. The dull lighting resulted in a rather flat image. To counter this, I applied a teeny bit of Orton effect to give the tones a kick as well as to add a bit of depth. Overall, both images took a bit of work but I’m pretty pleased with the results. They help reflect the colorfulness and vibrancy of life in Gyalthang.

 

Written by xinapray

November 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Pilgrimage

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Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage

Sitting amidst a high-country pine forest on the Tibetan Plateau, the Temple of the Five Wisdom Buddhas is regarded as one of the most sacred of locations for Kham Tibetans. The temple dates back seven hundred years. Devotees come from throughout the region to pray for good health and to be blessed with children. To raise their karma, they release chickens and other animals previously slated for slaughter and afterward, they walk clockwise around the grounds in meditation.

We got to Ringha late in the afternoon. As we made our way in, the wind whispered amidst the trees and stupas as the flags that seemed to adorn everything flapped gently in the wind, releasing their mantras and prayers to the heavens. In the waning sunshine, we made our way around the hill, stopping now and then to take in the view but mainly, we walked in silence, in awe of the sacredness of the place.

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Written by xinapray

July 10, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Goddess and Guardians

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Goddess

Goddess

I made these images at the Jade Water Village (玉水寨) outside of Lijiang (Yunnan province, China). The Village houses the Dongba cultural center of the Naxi, one of the indiginous peoples of the region. This goddess greets visitors at the entrance of the cultural center, while the line of guardians stands ever so vigilantly at the entrance to Dongba Shilou Temple, which sits on a hillside on the same grounds. Why is it that deities in this part of the world are almost always gold in color?

Standing Guard

Standing Guard

 

 

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July 6, 2011 at 12:38 am

Just a Boy and His Trike

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We have probably all seen the strangely-wonderful images of people and their overloaded tricycles from from such exotic places as Hanoi, Bangalore, Phnom Pehn and what-have-you. But with the introduction of motorization, the Chinese manufacturers seem to have taken this workhorse to a new level (and understandly so – faster, further, more – what’s there not to like in the pursuit of progress for a hypersonically-industrializing nation?)

I made this images during my last trip.

The first is of a construction entrepreneur (I think his name was Yang), zipping along the countryside on his scooter-trike. The thing was faster and more manueverable that we were in our Ford 4×4.

Just a Boy and His Trike, I

Just a Boy and His Trike, I

This second image was made on the major highway out of Zhongdian. We had stopped, in an odd sort of coincidence, to check out tricycle features and prices. A fair bit of tire-kicking took place but no, we did not buy one 😉

Just a Boy and His Trike, II and II

Just a Boy and His Trike, II and II

 

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June 30, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Springtime on the Plateau

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We’d spent a great deal of the afternoon exploring. This time of year, the sun stays high in the sky for a long time, making for unflattering flat light and short, harsh shadows (and an easy burn for unprotected skin!). Not the best for photography. But towards the end of our adventure, as we were traversing this meadow, the spring blooms and foliage were lit just right. This is what we saw…

Springtime Meadow

Springtime Meadow

 

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June 19, 2011 at 1:38 am

Symbols

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Here are a couple of characters that I ran across while wandering around Shangri-la. This first one is the word “da” or “large”. It stands on the side of a new establishment in new town, waiting to be fastened into place.

Living Large

Living Large

I found this second character painted on the mud wall of a traditional Tibetan building in old town. It is a stylized version of the word “zhong” – medium or middle. In this context, I think it symbolizes the zhong in “zhong guo” (i.e., the middle kingdom, aka China). Or perhaps the zhong in “zhongdian”, the former/Chinese name for Shangri-la.

Zhong

Zhong

Written by xinapray

June 18, 2011 at 12:40 am

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