It is not about the destination, but the journey

3개월 전

These are words I have heard often as a child and until today I am a firm believer in them. As a photographer, this philosophy has proven to create some great photo opportunities in the past.

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In April this year, we visited Fuzhou to give a lecture on landscape photography on invitation by the President of the Fujian Province's Photographic Society, Mr Pan Chaoyang. He is also a director of the China Photographers Association and a very busy man. (My friend Qiu Taijian, a member of the board of directors of the Fujian Photographic Society, was the actual instigator of this invitation.)

We met briefly before the lecture for dinner where he also introduced us to his father, a photographer in his own right.

Early the next morning, I received a phone call from Qiu Taijian inviting us, on behalf of Mr Pan, to join them on a day visit to Mr Pan's home town, Zhangliang, about 2 hours drive to the east of Fuzhou, where he had some business to attend to.

I will never say no to such an opportunity.

In the car, he told us that Shangliang is his family's home town for the past 700 years!

The village is nestled on the foothills of a mountain range with a river snaking through the village.

He also told us that it is very well known for its annual dragon boat festival and many dragon boat enthusiasts from towns and villages close by and far away, participate every year, in, what is most likely one of the most fierce dragon boat races in China. I am planning to visit this festival as soon as festivals are allowed again...

The village itself is quite modern with only some of the old bridges giving a glimpse of its heritage.

I noticed some old buildings on the slopes of the mountain and was told that that is an old temple and worth a visit.

So we set off on our journey to the temple

About a hundred meters on the very overgrown footpath we came across some huge boulders. What made these boulders special, was the stone carvings in the rocks.

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To me, they looked like guardians to the temple.

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Walking around the boulders we found, what was looking like the entrance to a cave. With more stone carvings.

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It was not really a cave, but rather just a footpath carved out of the boulders to make climbing up the mountain easier (and much more interesting).

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It felt like these carved figures were forming a guard of honour for the visitors to the temple.

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I do not know if they are imaginary figures, or if they were carved in memory of the previous priests of the temple, or even of the inhabitants of the village below, but I do know that they made a lasting impression on me.

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Once we cleared the boulder area, we were back in the forest. After about one kilometre, on the outskirts of the temple, we found a beautiful carving of a giant buddha.

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The scene was very peaceful. I spent quite some time taking it all in and trying to find the correct angle to capture the mood of this buddha.

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And finally, we arrived at the temple. The journey definitely put us in the right mood to visit the temple.

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After about an hour at the temple, this goat showed us the way back to the village.

Footnote: These photos were taken with my infrared Fujifilm X-T3 camera with a custom white balance. I always photograph in RAW and JPG but mostly use the JPG files only as a colour reference when I do the RAW conversion. In this case, as it sometimes happens, I just could not replicate in the raw converter the look I managed to get with my custom white balance and other JPG tweaks and eventually gave up and just used the JPG files.

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