Beijing and Ulan-Bator

Discussion in 'Travel' started by moi|1, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. Hello guys,
    I will be going to the above cities and surrounding areas next May for about 6 days in each with a D300 and D 70 and a bunch of primes.
    I enjoy shooting lanscapes and buildings.
    Pix of people aren't really my thing but I might make an exception this trip.
    Question I have is:
    Can someone who has been there give me some advice as places to shoot other than the usual tourists sights?
    Thanks for your time....
  2. Are you only visiting the cities? In Ulaanbaatar the usual tourist sights are the main monastery, Gandan, Sukhbaatar square and the parliament building, Zaisan monument, and a huge metal statue of Chingis on his horse some 50km out of town. To be honest all of these are worth going to, rather than avoiding because you will have lots of photo ops en route. If you want pics of people head for the black market area, but watch out for thieves. The town is surrounded by ger districts, where you can catch a glimpse of the harsh realities of life for most Mongols, living in tents with no running water or sewage system. Hop on a bus and see where it takes you, or grab a taxi and head for the outskirts.
    The best option would be spend less time in Beijing, spend longer in Mongolia and arrange a trip to the countryside (lots of tour operators to choose from) where you can head for the Gobi desert in the south or the taiga of the north. Many tours combine both. Have a great time - I had a D70 there for 7 years with no issues. Polariser would be a good thing to take. Regards, Erik
  3. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I was in Beijing last week. Heavy pollution adds a gray veil to landscapes and white skies. A tour guide joked that he had never seen a blue sky until he took a trip to Australia. I doubt if a haze filter will help much but a grad filter might help. The haze can add an ethereal look to the photos. This looks like an early morning shot but it was taken in the afternoon:
  4. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Beijing on a bright afternoon, around 2 PM.
    I managed to bring up some contrast in the sampan photo above but this Beijing photo was unedited except for cropping.
  5. Beijing is often hazy, but there are also blue skies sometimes, especially after rain or snow. This was taken a month ago after a snow storm:
  6. Thanks you all for your help....
    I appreciate it...
  7. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    This photo was taken at Beijing's Olympic Park on March 17, 2013, At 12:54 pm on the afternoon that I left Beijing.
    I believe the snowstorm you spoke of came right after that. I heard mention of it while in Shanghai (which also had pollution).
    They may call it mist but, I was in a large enclosed mall next to the Crown Plaza hotel where I was staying. Looking down a passage that was about 200 feet long I thought I saw smoke at the end. Then I realized that I was seeing the pollution inside the building. One doesn't have mist or fog inside of a warm building. I'm glad that you had blue skies and hope the same for Pascal.
  8. Indeed, the photo I displayed was from March 19th. Here's another one of mine from March 17th, the same day as yours.
    I think the haze in Beijing is complicated, it's a mix of mist, dust and pollution. In the last several years industrial output of Beijing itself has been declining and cars have gotten more modern, but the grasslands to the north west of Beijing have been eroding making dust storms possible and while heavy industry has moved west, the prevailing winds are west to east. Shanghai has a similar industrial load, but the winds usually blow it out to sea.
    Even so, I find that over most weeks I get at least one or two blue sky days, and on the other days the haze doesn't bother me, either photographically or respiratorally. YMMV.
  9. So what can one do in Beijing? There's lots to take photos of --- interesting buildings (from the new landmarks in the Olympic Park, to the famous "underpants" CCTV building, or the nearby "guomao sanqi" the third tower in the China World Center which is the tallest building in Beijing, the new SoHo complex, the Opposite House hotel in Sanlitun, and many more stunning examples of modern architecture), interesting spaces (like Tiananmen Square, but also the many parks and lakes and temples; one of my favorites in the Old Summer Palace), interesting food (whether table-side carved Beijing duck, or street foods), and interesting people (from businessmen to beggars, the crush of people leaving a subway station at the morning rush hour, or elderly people doing tai-chi exercises). Then, of course, there are museums, from famous ones to little known ones, and the art districts like 798 and Songzhuang. I'd also recommend walking around some Beijing hutongs (alleyways), which are emblematic of old Beijing life.
  10. Finally, one strategy for dealing with the haze can be to take night time shots where it is less noticeable. Here's the new Galaxy Soho Building in Chaoyangmen, Beijing.
  11. We just got back from 3 weeks in China - Did 5 days in Beijing - in mid June.
    Weather by Day:
    Arrival day - cloudy rain - storms - overcast
    Day 2 - Summer Palace - beautiful blue skies - no haze or smog until later in the day / afternoon
    Day 3 - Forbidden City - hazy / overcast. Storms in evening
    Day 4 - Great Wall - Crappy Day - Rain, drizzle all day.
    Day 5 - Temple of Heaven - some blue skies and sun - smog in pm.
    Day 6 - departure - did Beihai Park in the morning - sunny skies little smog if any.

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