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2015年8月31日 星期一

Dongjiang again (再戰東江)

Not having caught the famed sunrise at the Dongjaing (East River)( 東江) the first day, our tour guide decided to give us another try the following morning. This time we had to get up 15 minutes earlier than the previous day because we would be going to two different spots.

The fisherman brought a powerful torch. 

2015年8月29日 星期六

Saturday Fun (星期六趣味)

Just as I was plunged into despair as I witnessed the loss of more and more of what little is left of my dwindling supply of new hair whilst scratching my head on what kind of Saturday fun I should post, help arrived from one of my friends. If not for him, you would never be able to enjoy the delight which may follow on a subject of eternal interest to all men and perhaps to some ladies nowadays as well although for appearances, the latter would never openly admit the same and even if they couldn't help giggling, they would invariably emit some noises ostensibly protesting about how "disgusting" or "revolting" or "gross" or how "naughty" etc. the jokes are, as if somehow they have evolved into a kind of being living in a world where this most natural activity could be completely absent or has become entirely dispensable.

1.  


Signboard outside a prostitute's house:
Married men not allowed. 

We serve the needy, not the greedy.

Experiencing Gaoyi (High Chair) Mountain (體驗高椅嶺)

After the disastrous morning trip to the banks of the East River to photograph what was expected to be the spectacular sunrise there, we were lucky to make the last round of the typical Hunan-style breakfast of rice noodles of fresh mushroom with shredded pork strips with a generous sprinkling of spicy red and green chillies at our  hotel dining hall . It was a delicious consolation.

In the hot afternoon sun, we would experience first hand a sample of what's known as  Danxia landform ( 丹霞地貌), a kind of psuedo-karst landscape consisting typically of steep cliffs and deep and narrow valleys of red sandstones and other conglomerates above a bed of Crustaceious Age (some 80 million years ago) limestones found in southeast, southwest and northwest China. After another 15 million years, the tectonic plate movement then created many faults and later movements in the Himalaya mountains further transformed the shape of the mountains landscape by thrusting them upwards in Guangdong. Then as they become more and more eroded, isolated towers and ridges would form.The danxia landform is named after Mount Danxia in Guangdong. Underneath the hills may be found numerous shallow and isolated caves of various sizes and shapes. In 2010, several danxia landscapes in southern China, with a general name of "China Danxia", were inscribed as World Heritage Sites viz. Human's Mount Langshan  and and Mount Wanfo (湖南崀山 , 萬佛山) Guangdong's Mount Danxia (廣東丹霞山) , Fujian's Taining and Mount Guanzhi (福建泰寧, 冠豸山), Jiangxi's Mount Longhu and Guifeng (江西龍虎山, 龜峰) and Zhejiang 's Fangyan, Mount Jianglang (浙江方岩, 江郎山), and Guizhou's Mount Chishui (貴州赤水). According to internet sources, a total of 790 sites of such landscapes have been identified in 26 Chinese provinces by 2008. 


 



The entrance to the national park of Gaoyi Mountain (高椅嶺)

2015年8月28日 星期五

Photographic Masochism (自虐的剪影)


It's often said that it takes quite a bit of masochism to earn the elusive title of being a "serious photographer". Unlike a serious musician, who would often be treated with respect for the hard work he/she puts into practising a musical instrument to achieve mastery, all my friends subscribe to the  belief that nowadays the DC will do practically everything for its owner and so there can't be any merit in doing so-called "serious photography".  I won't say that my friends are all wrong. The DC does come in with a good many well-researched programmes that will almost automatically produce reasonably good quality photos. But that's only half the story. The other half may consist in blood, sweat and tears. 



It's extremely to difficult to take a good photograph. Quite apart from technical skills, sometimes, you need to be braced to go with rather less sleep than normal.

2015年8月27日 星期四

A Surprise on the way back for Dinner (晚飯前的驚喜)


Photography is  always a fascinating experience.


One of the endless streams of the pains and pleasures of photography is that you really never know what will happen next except in the vaguest way.

2015年8月25日 星期二

Taking time off in Hunan (湖南小休)


I've been busy for quite a while and because of the weather, I didn't feel like being baked by the summer heat in Hong Kong. So I took a short trip to Hunan (湖南), the province closest to the northeastern tip of Quandong Province. Hunan is the province which produced Mao Tsetung and one of the most powerful armies of the Qing Dynasty, the famous Xiāng Jūn (湘軍)  under Zeng Guofan (曾國藩) who took a decisive role in defeating the armies of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (太平天國) (1850-1864). He built up his armies from the existing regional and village militia forces called tuanlian (團練). But  after he took control of Changsha (長沙), Wuchang(武昌) and Hanyang (漢陽) and Anhui (安徽 ), he was made the Viceroy of liangjiang (兩江總督) controlling Jiangxi (江西), Anhui (安徽) and Jiangsu,(江蘇), in control of an army which rivaled those controlled by Manchu generals and was appointed vice-president of the Board of War and eventually in 1863-64 retook control of  Nanjing from the Taiping armies,  after a fierce three-day battle.Then the Xiang Army pillaged and robbed the city, killing 150,000 people and setting it on fire. The city burned until July 26, 1864 but Zeng was made Marquis (of the First Class) Yiyong (毅勇侯). From 1864-1890, nearly half of the viceroys in China came from the Xiang Army. According to our local guide, this tradition continued even after the formation of the People's Liberation Army:  6 of the 10 highest generals were from Hunan and 9 of the 20 highest military leaders are also from Hunan! In addition, during Sino-Japanese War, in the 4 battles in Changsha
from 1938-1944, the Nationalist armies defeated the Japanese armies 3 times but there were heavy casualties from both sides. It's is estimated that more than 100,000 Japanese were either injured or died but Chinese casualties were even higher, amounting to some 130,000, one of the biggest during the war. But the battles substantially delayed the Japanese invasion of China.