China through the Eyes of Ken MacAdams – Part One

Ken is currently wending his way through China and shares news and images from his travels here on Succssful-Photographer.

The 12 + hour flight to China will tweek your psychological time clock, not matter how you cut it.  We welcomed deplaning in Beijing, and getting our feet back on the ground.  Flying from the USA, we’d crossed the International Date Line, so lost a day.   After breezing through immigration, we stepped out into the terminal, into the face of new smells and sights.  Like the reality of the time difference, once you step off the gateway, you know you’re not in Kansas.

Ken MacAdams china photo

Forbidden City gate with the modern city in the background.  Smog is often present – and many people wear face masks when walking about. All Images in this post © Ken MacAdams 2018 All Rights Reserved

Personal Photography Project

This marks my 5th sojourn in China, and each visit is an enriching experience.  My visits now are part of a personal photography project, in which I’m documenting the tremendous changes going on in this vast land.  China has often been ‘off limits’ to foreigners, and in recent times it wasn’t until the late 1980’s that foreigners could obtain visas to travel here.  My first visit was in 2000.  Already changes were happening as the ‘New China’ came out from under the repression of the Cultural Revolution – an era that almost put China back into the Dark Ages.
Ken MacAdams china photoWoman dancing to music with a banner flag in one of the many parks.
We’d planned only a short sojourn in Beijing, but wanted to experience a different section of the Great Wall, and see some of the changes around the city since our first visit here.  A teacher I’d met last year picked us up at the airport and shuttled us to a motel near his apartment.  Foreigners must stay only at State approved hotels, as Big Brother keeps a close eye on affairs here.  I’m not intimidated by it,  just aware that as I travel about, my every move is documented and tracked.  My wife is with me, and we’re here on 10 year multiple entry tourist visas, with a maximum stay of 60 days per visit.
Ken MacAdams china photoHiking on the Great Wall from one watchtower looking back down the mountainside.
Ken MacAdams china photoThis view of the Wall gives you a perspective of just how much hiking you have ahead of you!! 

The Great Wall

Our friend had arranged for a driver to shuttle us out to the Matianyu section of the Wall.  Luck presented us with one of the sunniest days I’ve ever experienced in this area, with brilliant blue cloudless skies.  This section of the Wall climbs over 3,400 ft. as it clings to the spine of the rugged mountains.  A modern gondola whisked us part way up the mountainside, and then it was time to hike!  We logged over 3 miles of semi-strenuous hiking during our visit, poking around watchtowers, savoring the grand vistas, and marveling at the thought of those who labored so hard to build this Wonder of the World.  Originally constructed to prevent fierce raiding tribesmen from the north from plundering the city states to the south, the wall stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the east, several thousand miles inland.
Ken has always loved to travel, so when he made a common connection with the fact that either a long day pounding the streets of some foreign city, or shooting the last dance at a wedding,  a good part of his physical ken macadams head shotweariness came from lugging around his big heavy DSLR. That’s when he started looking at alternatives – and ended up selecting Panasonic Lumix Micro Four Thirds gear.
Ken is rarely without a camera, and the next great photo travel experience – whether local or abroad – is always in the back of his mind!  A longtime resident of the Four Corners, and when he’s not out on the road, he enjoys some of the great outdoor opportunities found there – mountain biking, hiking, and Jeeping.

Ken shares his travel photography and stories here on Successful-Photographer. Ken’s camera of choice is Panasonic’s flagship stills camera the Lumix G9 with the Leica DG Vario-ELMARIT Professional Lens, 12-60MM, F2.8-4.0