China September 1-14, 2012 Day 4

Day 4 of the trip brought us to Xi’an, China – best know for the Terracotta Warriors.  The Warriors need no introduction.

But, let me tell you about a few things we came away with from our days in Beijing.  First, we had AWESOME weather with blue skies every day of our stay in Beijing and the area.  Blue skies and mild weather (read no pollution, haze, or gunk in the sky) is almost unheard of in Beijing.  As you saw from our Great Wall shots the blue skies made capturing awesome images easier.  Second, we made it out of Beijing without Ron Wyatt (www.ronwyattphotos.com) needing to visit McDonald’s because he was hungry.  Ron ate everything we put in front of him AND even tried Beijing Duck.  Third, our group – most of whom dislike crowds – like most photographers – were happy to get out of Beijing even though they enjoyed our photo opportunities there – especially the Great Wall and The Ming Tombs.  Beijing is a must stop for any trip to China but with millions and millions of people it can cramp a photographers style.  The last event in Beijing was some fun at the airport as we went to board our flight to Xi’an.  As we went through security the officers pulled Mike G aside and went through his bags and left nothing untouched.  They wanded (handheld metal detector) him three times!  They then made him sit in a chair, take his socks off and wanded his feet, removed his shoe inserts and wanded his shoes, AND swabbed him/them with an explosives patch!  All this while the group stood and watched their tour leader undergo this severe scrutiny.  Welcome to China and thanks for leaving Beijing.  Needless to say it was an adventure and we made our flight just fine.

So, we make it to Xi’an and enjoy The Terracotta Warriors and an evening cultural show shoot.  Here are 6 images from the day.

I could spend all day shooting the Terracotta Warriors.  Today I focused on a few aspects of the Warriors – the colors that some have in their clay and the detailed work of their faces, hair, eyes, mouth – everything.  In this first shot the pink hues of the clay and the way the side light illuminated it made this shot a must for me.

Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 @ 97mm, 1/80, f/4.5, ISO 800 Lexar Digital Media, Clik Elite Pro Express Backpack, BlackRapid Sport Strap

The following shot presented an attentive, dutiful mood of a full “legion” of Warriors on the march.  The shadows, highlights, and mood transported me to a  time and place that helped me experience the sacred duty of the Warriors.  At M&M we say “You don’t just take a photograph, you experience it!”

Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 @ 157mm, 1/64, f/4, ISO 800 Lexar Digital Media, Clik Elite Pro Express Backpack, BlackRapid Sport Strap

This last shot of the Warriors combined the elements and emotions of the both of the above images.  The pink hues and other colors manifested in this shot along with the varied detail in the Warriors brings one right into the middle of history and the duty the Warriors were created to fulfill.  They are truly one of the wonders of the world and a must see for anyone traveling to China and for every photographer.

Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 @ 200mm, 1/100, f/4, ISO 800 Lexar Digital Media, Clik Elite Pro Express Backpack, BlachRapid Sport Strap

After we enjoyed the Warriors we took in a nice cultural event in downtown Xi’an.  The show tells several stories of ancient China and gives our groups a nice break in the action and an opportunity to learn about China AND still enjoy some fine photographic opportunities.  Our group was extremely pleased with the day and thoroughly enjoyed the cultural show.

For this shoot I put my Canon 5D Mark III through its paces for the purported low light/high ISO image abilities.  Hope you enjoy the shots – I (Mike G) am not a Photoshop expert and did very little editing to these JPEG images.  I will work on the RAW files later but always try to shoot RAW+JPEG specifically to make our Blog, Facebook, and Tweets easier.  What I have presented here are shots including yellows, greens, reds, movements, and costumes with plenty of detail to put the 5D Mark III to the test.

Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 @ 97mm, 1/640, f/4.5, ISO 3200 Lexar Digital Media, Clik Elite Pro Express Backpack, BlackRapid Sport Strap

Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 @ 70mm, 1/640, f/3.5, ISO 2500 Lexar Digital Media, Clik Elite Pro Express Backpack, BlackRapid Sport Strap

Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 @ 70mm, 1/640, f/4, ISO 3200 Lexar Digital Media, Clik Elite Pro Express Backpack, BlackRapid Sport Strap

I am very pleased with the performance of the 5D Mark III and look forward to working with the RAW files and bringing out even more details, colors, and clarity in my images.  As photographers keep pushing the limits and demanding more of our gear we unlock many creative possibilities which when done correctly can bring images to our audiences that even a few months ago were not totally possible.

Hope you enjoy.  Look for Day 5 images soon.

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