Swarms of tourists are usually bad in a scenic area, but at least in this very case, it shows how well the Emerald Valley is maintained.
There is a good reason why the Emerald (or Jade) Valley is called like that: there are hundreds of different shades of greens all around, including the ponds themselves.
China has a system to rank scenic areas, which takes capacity, beauty, historical importance etc. into account. The AAAAA spots, like Huangshan, are the nicest, largest, most crowded places in China, because everyone hears about them. Regardless of this they are usually still worthy of visiting.
The AAAA category, on the other hand, are lesser known, quieter places, which still have a lot to offer. The Emerald (or Jade) Valley is one of these. It was delevoped soon after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, because it was one of the filming locations, but in the 20 years since the movie, the area certainly had a drop in the mass of tourists. Despite all of that, it was still impossible to get pictures without people in it, so in 2019, in China, I gave up: I started taking my photos by calculating with the humans in the landscape and tried to make the best of it.
I took this picture with a fairly hollow depth of field, just to try something different out in landscapes. I have mixed feelings about the outcome, but considering I selected and uploaded it, I lean towards the positive.
Our 2019 visit to China was the first time ever that even with patient waiting it was impossible to get a view of the scenery without people. So I kept the people. At least they make the steepness of Huangshan is visible.
The deeper you go into the rear valley, the wilder, the more alien the landscape becomes in Huangshan.
These mountains with the flowers and the spectacular pines are worthy of being the topic of so many chinese landscape paintings.
A view of the rear valley from the scenic route of Huangshan.
A view of the front valley from the scenic route of Huangshan.
It's nearly impossible to properly capture landscape with "deep shadows and brilliant highlights", but I tried to do my best. Non-HDR, multi picture panorama put together with Huggin.
Huangshan is a unique place. It's also vast, surprisingly long to walk, and even after the Golden Week it's still packed with people. Regardless of that it's beautiful.
Tangkoucun ( 汤口村 ) is the small town at the feet of Huangshan mountains - this is where the bus to the scenic area takes you to. If you get here in dark, it's certainly not one of the most welcoming looking places, but it gets a lot nicer in light.
The West Lake itself is a big, open water, but around it, especially in the corners, there are wonderful, smaller areas, filled with lush greens, and sprouting lotus.
The West Lake in Hangzhou is probably one of the most visited tourist spots in the whole of China. Apparently it's true beauty only appears when there's mist and fog around - having had a clear night when we were there, it seems fairly true. Without the mystical cover, it's a merely large, although very nice lake with a bright, and modern view.
Taken at Yunxi Zhujing, Hangzou.
Yunxi Zhujing is one of the less visited, smaller attractions of Hangzhou. It's easy and possible to get there by bus from the West Lake, and it's a nice escape from the swarm of tourists at the big highlights around.
On my attempt to re-create a photo I mistakenly shoot as video - and therefore only have it in a small resolution1 - I got up early on my second day during our visit to Stara Wieś as well.
No rain, no sleet, lovely sunshine. And cold. And wavy water surfaces. As a result I wasn't able to re-shot the image, but at least I found another perspective to show the surroundings of the tea house.
Along the previous picture, this is another perspective on tea house and the sauna building at Dojo Stara Wieś, with a lot of sunshine at a dazzlingly cold morning.
Before saying goodbye to Stara Wieś, I wanted to make an image of the whole little village. This should have been made either earlier in the morning, or much later, at sunset, but when you go there to train, one can't simply run and leave the class to take a panorama; especially when the classes are up in the big building on the left, at the top of the hill.
When you expect the same weather one year apart on the same spot in Central Europe, it usually doesn't work. I deliberately got up 5am to make use of the incredible water surfaces next to the houses at Dojo Stara Wieś, only to realize that this time my companions are sleet, cold, and grey misery.
The truth is, the place is still beautiful, even if you're shivering in your bones.
Same morning as the previous image1 about the lovely dojo at Stara Wieś, with it's curving roads across the fantasy Japanese village.
A year later to our previous visit1 we repeated our Spring Retreat with Pa-Kua2 to the magnificent dojo at Stara Wieś. On the contrary to last year's glorious ~23°C, the first morning was gloomy, with sleet and snow. At least it was different...
Galtelli, the old capital of Sardinia has extremely narrow and quite steep streets, with adorable places to stay at; this is one of them.
One of the nicest little beaches on Sardinia, which we got to by a little walk, across the dunes.
Spikes, dry dirt, heat - although it's a bit of an illusion. This was next to a stream, on an area which only gets wet during spring, but it was right next to fresh water.
Gorropu Gorge is gigantic, peaceful, quiet, and quite steep to get to when walking. There are signs up at the top of the hill before starting to descent that it's no a light walk, and I have to admit, it's a decent climb down and then up, but it's worth it.
Due to the size of the gorge, it's hard to show and represent it in photos, so I decided for trying to capture the colours that surround you when touring through it.
That piece of driftwood genuinely scared me when I spotted it through the rocks. The moment you move or zoom closer, the illusion disappears.
This little fellow was staring at me after a rain at Sardinia, in a small forest of olive trees, covering ancient ruins of disturbingly sharply designed sacred wells1.
This is a deceptive image: from all I know, this should be in Ireland. Reality says this is on the semi-island of Sardinia, below Tharros.
There are a couple of abandoned mines in Sardinia - this one was turned into a museum, which would have required hours and guided tour to see inside. We were not that interested to inside, but the view certainly had stereotypical lost wild west feeling to it.