The Tour of Beijing: Part Two The Winners and Losers

The final day of the tour is always a bit special starting on Tiananmen Square and finishing between the Water Cube and the Bird’s Nest in the Olympic Park. It’s big deal for the riders and their family and friends and the weather cooperated with bright blue skies and sunshine.

Rui Costa smiling with team mates at the start line.

Orica Green Edge riders at the start line.

I headed down to Tiananmen and was lucky enough to speak some of the riders including Panda favourite Dan Martin. Along with a couple of friends we cycled up to the Olympic Park after the race started to watch the final sprint and the conclusion of the race.

Luka Mezgec battling it out with Nacer Bouhanni for the final stage of the 2013 Tour of Beijing

So who were the winners of this year’s Tour of Beijing

Stage One: Thor Hushovd

Stage Two: Nacer Bouhanni

Stage Three: Nacer Bouhanni

Stage Four : Benat Intxausti

Stage Five: Luka Mezgec

General Classification

First: Benat Intxausti

Second : Dan Martin

Third:  David Lopez

Team : BMC

KOM : Damiano Caruso

Points : Nacer Bouhanni

Young Rider: Romain Bardet

Chinese Rider: Ji Chen

Panda Jersey Winner: Hayden Roulston

So what about the bigger picture, well Dan Martin now has a big following in Beijing following the Panda Corner antics, but the big winners and losers are cycling fans.

The queen stage of this years Tour with a mountain top finish at Miaofengshan was superb, a great stage and some really exciting racing and the where the red jersey (overall winner of the race) was decided. I have to say I was a bit disappointed that Dan Martin couldn’t quite overtake Intxausti on the final climb but it was a really great spectacle. Dan himself really wanted to win the race and talking to him on Tiananmen square on the final day said he gave it everything and couldn’t even pedal over the line! He just came up a little short.  It was a brilliant stage but it could have been so much better on a weekend with crowds of people.

Having the stage a weekday made for great viewing on Youtube, BTV or any of the other channels that were streaming the race.  But if you want to spark an interest in cycling in China you need to inspire people and get them to be part of the race cheering on the Chinese and the international cyclists. Sadly most of the people watching the tour on the course were policeman and the army, which isn’t exactly conducive for the small numbers of fans who do turn up to try and watch the race only to be told to stand back by the police. I can understand why the police don’t want to be responsible for anything that may happen which could disrupt the race but it’s frustrating to see empty roads and just a few people cheering on the riders.

Even at the final stage in the Olympic park with VIP passes we found it VERY difficult to actually access the race course or even find out where the finish line was. The whole race needs to be spectator friendly and encourage people to watch not just on TV/online but also in person and try and create an excitement around cycling. There are dozens of schools in Beijing and I would have thought it would have been a great chance for some of the school kids to be inspired to see an event and possibly even meet some riders. I’m sure some competitions could have been held and the prize for the winning school to have a day out have photos with the riders and try and recapture the love of bikes and cycling which the Chinese seem to have lost over the last two decades.

For me the lasting memory I’ll have of the race is Panda Corner it was a big win and it’s something that the riders really enjoyed talking to them at the after part at Serk. I think it has the potential, if done properly, to really elevate the interest of cycling and the Tour of Beijing in China. There’s nothing the Chinese love more than the Panda and to have a recognisable symbol for supporting the race is essential if you are going to attract local Chinese fans who may not understand the history or cycling culture that exists in Europe. I think Panda corner will be key to attracting a new generation of cycling fans who will come out and ride to the stages and enjoy a day out watching the Tour of Beijing.

The Tour of Beijing: Part One Panda Corner

I’m a huge cycling fan and photographed the first Tour of Beijing back in 2011. It’s a great event, which takes a bit of a pounding from the European press, but for cycling fans on this side of the world it’s the only chance they get to see some world class cycling.  The field has seen some great riders over the years Tony Martin, Chris Froome, and David Millar. This year was no different with Rui Costa the 2013 World Champion and Dan Martin to name just a few.

I’ve collaborated with Shannon and Liman from Serk (my favourite coffee shop and bike shop in Beijing) on numerous occasions and prior to the Tour we produced Beijing Cycling Stories, a series of 10 videos looking at cycling culture in China. (Keep an eye out for these later this week).

After seeing a panda running alongside Dan Martin at Liege Baston Liege, someone came up with an idea to try and add a little fun into this year’s tour putting a Chinese spin on the famous Dutch corner at the Tour De France and Panda corner was born. An online call went out to cycling fans and people turned up in panda suits and hats!

On Sunday we all met outside the Olympic park jumped on a bus and headed up the mountain. Time was a little tight due to a few latecomers and the main panda was getting a bit hot and bothered under in his panda suit as the bus driver faced with unfinished roads, donkeys and plenty of back seat drivers. It all worked out in the end after  some frantic phone calls to race organizer Alain Rumpf and the police were informed to allow us onto the course and to head to Panda Corner.

The views were stunning and with the autumn colours more than compensating for the overcast skies.

There were about 30-40 pandas at panda corner and it was a great occasion with Hayden Roulston  the distinguished winner of the Panda of the Mountain competition winning a round of beers for himself and his teammates at Serk. But without doubt the highlight of the day was the Dan Martin leading the peloton around Panda Corner resulting in the panda army going crazy!

The World Champion Rui Costa riding through Panda Corner at the front of the peloton.

It was a great day and I hope Panda corner will become an integral part of the Tour of Beijing with Shannon and his panda army cheering on the riders every year. Cycling has the potential to really grow in China but it needs people working tirelessly to promote bikes, cycling and races like the Tour of Beijing to capture the public’s imagination to try and shake off the negative stereotype surrounding bicycles which seems to have taken hold in the last 15 years in China. I hope that the Tour of Beijing can become a success in the same way the Tour of Britain, in my home country, has gone from strength to strength reflecting the growing popularity of cycling.

 

Stay tuned for Tour of Beijing: Part Two: The winners and losers and Beijing Cycling Stories a series of video stories on cycling in China produced with Shannon and Serk.

Update: Video added Beijing’s first Mao and Tweed Run

I thought I’d update this post with a little video vignette of the event and ride. It was a great day and Geraldine and I had a great time.

Beijing Vintage Ride 2013 from Peter Carney on Vimeo.

I’m a big cycling fan and truly believe a bicycle is the best way to get around Beijing. I’ve photographed cyclists both young and old in Beijing.

A good friend, fellow cyclist and owner of Serk the best coffee shop in Beijing Shannon called me up last week and asked if I could help him shoot a few photos for an upcoming cycling event. I was intrigued and of course agreed.

The shoot turned out to be for a promotion of the upcoming Mao/Tweed Run a cycling event in April where people get dressed up in either Mao era clothes or tweed outfits and ride around Beijing. It’s a clever twist on the very popular “Tweed run” of London which has proven very popular from its inception in 2009. Any event that can get more people out on their bicycles in Beijing is a win for me. I for one can’t wait to dress up in my Mao suit and ride around the city on April 20th.

Beijing's first Mao and Tweed Run

Shannon and Xiao Hu organizers of the first Beijing Mao and Tweed Run

Get your bikes out and suit up for Beijing’s first Mao and Tweed Run on April 20th, 2013

 

To sign up and for more details please visit

English website

Chinese website

Hope to see you all on bikes dressed to the 9′s on April 20th!

 

Snowfall – The future of journalism?

 

Screen shot from NYT website

Screen shot from NYT website

There has been quite a range of reaction to the New York Times multimedia feature Snowfall in the past few months. I thought I’d take the opportunituy to offer my thoughts as I’m teaching multimedia I’m constantly trying to keep up with the developments or should I say lack of developments by newspapers.

Firstly I think the storytelling is great and love the design. It’s clean simple intuitive and adfree something I think that will become important as newspapers see that subscriptions start to over take advertising rates.

I’d like to see more newspapers play around more with design online and tablet and mobile platform. I think design is important for newspapers but done in the correct way. Design should be used to integrate new and premium content for subscribers not just a way of shoveling the newspaper and newswire content into a tablet/mobile platform. If newspapers are to put up paywalls they have to provide content that people are willing to pay for. They can no longer afford to trade on their name and reputation alone.

In my opinion one of the biggest areas in which newspapers have failed is innovation. In fact newspapers have been very slow to innovate at all. We have seen niche magazines grow in popularity and I’m surprised to see newspapers not at least attempt to spin of sections of the newspaper to produce independent entities to allow more in-depth and longer form journalism for sections people are interested in. I can see sports, business, food, arts being four sections that could hold their own. On top of that I think you could have an a la carte  pricing plan for sections that you could pay for instead of subscribing to the whole newspaper. My thinking goes back to all the times I bought weekend newspapers. I loved sitting down with a cup of coffee and then reading my favourite sections but I wouldn’t read the whole paper. Why should I have to pay for sections I’m not going to read?

Newspapers have to find how and with what they can become unique in the news sphere. Adding context , investing in top quality journalism and giving people the time to work on interesting projects like snowfall is key to producing an audience. The main issue I have with Snowfall is not in the production it’s the cost and the labour that was required to produce the feature. It is reported that it took a team of 16 plus the main writer 11 months to put the story together.

“The project took six months for John Branch to report. The credits (like I said, it’s more like a textual documentary than a news story) include a graphics and design team of 11, a photographer, three video people, and a researcher.”

Teaching on a multimedia journalism course I’d expect my students to be able to shoot photographs, conduct the video interview and write the text in 4-6 weeks. They would have to work with an editor and technical team to put the website together but I don’t see why these features can’t be done on a regular basis with a team of 3-5 staff members three or four times a year. They would certainly raise the profile of the publication; attract readers as snowfall gained 2.9 million visitors a quarter to a third of which were new to the New York Times.

For the first time subscribers are now generating more income than the advertisers for top publications such as the New York Times and International Herald Tribune.

‘Digital subscriptions will generate $91 million this year, according to Douglas Arthur, an analyst with Evercore Partners. The paywall, by his estimate, will account for 12 percent of total subscription sales, which will top $768.3 million this year. That’s $52.8 million more than advertising. Those figures are for the Times newspaper and the International Herald Tribune, largely considered the European edition of the Times.’

I hope this sends the right signal to editors and owners that people want to see quality well produced ad-free features. If people start to see the value of subscribing to a publication in order to get unique content then I’m sure people will be much more likely to subscribe. I’m not going to hold my breath but I can hope.

Social Media: An Instagram photojournalism debate on Twitter

Social media is becoming more and more an important platform for all journalists and recently I had a little discussion on twitter about the use of Instagram and other photo apps in photojournalism. There has been an ongoing debate as to whether the use of Instagram and other photo apps is appropriate for photojournalism in the last year or so people have criticised Michael Christopher Brown’s work in Libya and also Damon Winter in Afghanistan as gimmicks even though both bodies of work have gained awards and recognition.

Screen shot of the image gallery on the Time website produced by the five instagram photographers

 The debate took another turn as Time magazine commissioned five photographers including Michael Christopher Brown to cover Hurricane Sandy in real time using the Time magazines’ instagram feed. The images have been compiled into a gallery and one of the images was selected as the cover of Time magazine. Perhaps this is the first time that Time has used an iPhone image for its cover and it has re-ignited the debate of smartphone photography and apps with filters and the question do they have a place in modern day photojournalism?

screenshot of Ben Lowy’s tumblr showing the Time cover

Ben lowy, the photographer responsible for the Time cover was an early adopter of using a smartphone in photojournalism. He has produced some excellent work in Libya and is currently working with hipstamatic to produce a filter with minimal processing to appease critics who claim that adding filters and using apps betrays the ethics of photojournalism

I’m particularly interested in the use of apps and smartphones as I teach a smartphone unit on a Photojournalism course and I also lead a workshop in Bangladesh training journalists in rural areas how to produce, shoot, and edit video stories using an iPod touch. I think it’s important that photo/journalists try to use any and all tools possible to try and tell a story. I truly believe it’s not the tools that are important but the story and the content.

I’ve used storify to collate the discussion which took place on twitter and added a few points. Twitter isn’t the best platform to have such a discussion but it was interesting to see how if played out and I look forward to any feedback and will update this post as and when I get any updates from either Joerg or any of the photographers that Time used to create the gallery.

Here is the storify of the discussion with Joerg Collenberg who is founder and creator of Conscientious magazine which is a great resource for fine art photography.


The discussion on smartphones by VII photography is really worth a listen as it covers many areas of change in the photojournalism industry.

Some of the tweets that I felt weren’t relevant to the discussion I’ve omitted. So let me know what you think and I can update the storify with new tweets/facebook posts as and when you add your thoughts.

Videos for Global Post

Apologies for the hiatus it’s been too long I know. I’ve recently had a couple of videos published (last month) on the Global Post a online news website in the US.

Click the image to watch the video

The first video was looking at solar power in China and something that’s been in the news a great deal regarding the trade war over solar panels. I decided to take a different angle on the story and focus on one man, Huang Min, who has started a revolution in solar technology in the city of Dezhou in Shandong 500km away from Beijing

Huang Min started off life as a oil engineer working for a state owned company but the birth of his daughter made him rethink his life and he, like any parent wanted a better future for his daughter; few however would go to such extremes.

Huang started to worry about the environment and the future for his daughter and became interested in solar power after reading a book. A few months later he was experimenting and built a prototype solar water heater. Within a couple of years Huang gave up his job as an oil engineer and started to sell water heaters and this business grew and grew to become China’s largest manufacturer of solar water heaters but still Huang wasn’t done.

Huang was set on building a vision for the future and build it he did. It started with the largest solar powered office building in the world, then with the hope of hosting the world solar conference Huang built a solar conference center which was successful in hosting the World Solar conference in 2010. To date Huang’s Solar Valley project now includes, the worlds largest solar office building, a conference centre, a manufacturing plant, a university, several villas, tourist park and apartment complex. The solar valley project has been described as a clean-tech version of Silicon Valley” by the Washing ton Post

It is quite an inspiring place to visit and to me the most interesting and possibly important part of the Solar Valley was the newly built apartment complex. Designed to showcase eco architecture and provide a model plan of green living, I hope it gets repeated throughout China and the world.  However I have my doubts if you look at the recent US presidential race and debates green technology and green energy was barely mentioned and it’s disheartening to think that the opportunity to build green economies are being ignored by the US and Europe.

Click to watch the video

The second of the videos was a look at China’s high-speed rail and it was a very frustrating experience. Weeks and weeks my researcher and I made calls to several companies that were behind the new 500kmh train trying to gain access or even an interview with representative. After weeks of calling and emailing I tried another tact and started it look for universities and ended up interviewing two experts at Beijing Jiaotong university an economist how is critical at the level of investment that China has made in high speed rail and a safety officer who was involved in the 500kmh train.

Sorry for the lack of updates but I’ll be posting I hope on a weekly basis in the future.

 

Back in Dhaka

I’ve been terrible at updating the blog recently so much for my new year’s resolution! My excuse though is that I’ve been busy trying to sort out the backlog of video editing which I’m trying to get through. Part 2 of my Philippines trip will be posted when I finish the video for the lovely people who run a great NGO in Palawan.

Recently I was lucky enough to travel to Bangladesh for some more multimedia workshops. I was there for another round of video training for the RVJN (Rural Visual Journalism Network) using iPod touches. This was the second training session and this time it would be two groups over two weeks, which for me was just long enough in Dhaka! The training went well and despite a few hiccups regarding the iPod holders everything went smoothly. Amin and I were very pleased with the work that was produced given that some of the attendees were not familiar with computers so getting them to plan shoot and edit a short video is something of a challenge! I was yet again amazed at how quickly people can pick things up!

Students on the second ipod multimedia workshop editing footage on their Ipod Touches

Editing video on the iPod Touch

I managed just a day out shooting and to be honest was a little tired after teaching during the day and editing videos in the evening. I still managed to photograph my favourite thing about Dhaka the rickshaws. The sound of the bells, the friendly drivers, the convenience and the fact they are just awesome bicycles makes for some great photos. I tried to photograph them a bit different this time playing around with shutter speeds and panning as I wanted to try and get more of an essence of motion as Dhaka is certainly a place that is constantly moving.

Dhaka is a massive city  with a population of around 16 million people. Thats big enough already but it’s growing rapidly, according to Wikipedia it will reach 25 million by 2025. It’s a great place for street photography as there is so much life and colour there it’s a little overwhelming at first and I kind of wish Id had more down time to just head out with a camera but the heat and my editing in the evenings meant I didn’t have much time to photograph. I did manage to shoot a few personal video projects which I’m editing and will hopefully be finished in the next couple of weeks so watch this space. It was also a great time to be in Dhaka as the Asian Cricket Cup tournament was on and Bangladesh did very well on home soil. Against all odds they defeated Sri Lanka, and India only to lose in the final by just a couple of runs against Pakistan

Cricket fever during the Asian cup at Pathshala

Cricket fans gather around shops with TV's to watch the Asian Cup

Cricket fans go wild as Bangladesh defeat India in the Asian Cup

Rickshaws congregate on Mirpur Road outside New Market in Dhaka

A rickshaw Driver takes a break outside New Market, Dhaka

A CNG taxi driver looks ahead whilst driving on Mirpur Road

Tea Time in Dhaka

A shoe repair man waits for customers on Mirpur Road

I find old people fascinating ( old town China portrait series) and this guy was no exception. He was kind enough to join me for a cup of tea and with the help of a passerby we had a broken conversation trying to find out about each other. Its these fleeting moment and meeting this people that I really treasure when travelling and living in a foreign country.

I was lucky enough to have a cup of tea with this man and share some stories

Im not sure when I’ll be back in Bangladesh but I should have another couple of posts for the blog when I manage to fit in finishing of the video projects.Its such a great place to visit hopefully next time I’ll have a bit more time and the trip will be a bit more relaxed and I can delve a little deeper into Dhaka and Bangladesh.

Multimedia workshops, lost suitcases and sunny climes! Part 1

I’ve been back again to the Philippines for another multimedia workshop and the last training session for the Davao Project.

Multimedia Workshop Davao

Multimedia Workshop Davao

Multimedia Workshop Davao

It went well and all the students managed to produce a short 2-3 minute video. Not bad considering before the week some of them had never even attempted shooting any form of video. Unfortunately yet again I didn’t really get to see much of Davao. On my day off I was preparing teaching materials for an online photojournalism course at ACFJ. Although not seeing the city was the least of my problems, my connecting flight from Hong Kong to Manila was very tight and understandable my luggage didn’t make it. I can assure you a flannel shirt and cords are not the ideal attire for 30C tropical weather. At least the hotel was air-conditioned and so it wasn’t too much of a problem. I’m really looking forward to what the students start producing and hopefully some great multimedia and video stories will showcase some of the social issues in Mindanao. The project is working with local NGO’s and not for profits to highlight issues in the region and has been funded by World Press Photo.
From my last trip I finally got round to editing a short video to show the students what you could achieve in one day shooting and then one day editing (more if subtitles are involved) Its not the most exciting of stories but its short reasonable concise and demonstrates the sort of template we are looking for 3 minutes an interview and then b-role.

Multimedia workshops and Journalist Massacres

I’ve been lucky enough to escape the freezing weather of Beijing for the Philippines specifically, Davao the main city of Mindanao in the south of the country. I’m here to teach a multimedia workshop at Ateneo one of the top universities in the Philippines as part of a World Press Photo sponsored project that will be launched shortly.

Ateneo de Davao

I’m here to train of photojournalists to start producing stories for multiple media platforms. So one journalist could in theory create a video for broadcast and online use, photos for print or online galleries/slideshows and a short print article. We are getting the photojournalists to work together with local NGO’s and a media partner to try and get more Mindanao issues into the mainstream media in the Philippines.  This trip I was training the photographers who would be running the project.

Alex and BJ working hard editing their footage

It went well and we even managed to produce a short video about tricyboats. Small three wheel tricycles powered by out board motor engines kind of crazy but interesting. I should have an edited video once the interviews have been translated later on in the week so watch this space!

Roger the mechanic and Tricyboat builder

Our Tricyboat driver who was kind enough to show us around Davao

Whilst making the short video for the Tricyboats we stumbled upon a huge mansion just outside Davao city which we were told by the driver belonged to the Ampatuan family.

Ampatuan Mansion on the outskirts of Davao

That not mean much to you but they are supposedly responsible for the Manguindanao massace. Which if you still don’t know about you should. In 2009, 58 people were killed including 34 journalist which according to the CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) is the worst single attack on the press since records began in 1992.

The killings occurred as two powerful political families feuded as one family  dared to register in an election to stand against a member of the Ampatuan family which controlled Maguindanao. He ended up losing his wife two sisters aides and lawyers. I knew politics was dirty but not this bad.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the massacre

“The Maguindanao massacre, also known as the Ampatuan massacre after the town where the mass graves were found,[2] occurred on the morning of November 23, 2009, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. While the victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town, they were kidnapped and brutally killed. Mangudadatu was challenging Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr., in the forthcoming Maguindanao gubernatorial election,[3] part of the national elections in 2010. The 58 people killed included Mangudadatu’s wife, his two sisters, journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the convoy.
 
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history.[4] At least 34 journalists are known to have died in the massacre.[5] In a statement, CPJ executive director Joel Simon noted that the killings, “appears to be single deadliest event for the press since 1992, when CPJ began keeping detailed records on journalist deaths.”[4] The CPJ further noted that, “Even as we tally the dead in this horrific massacre, our initial research indicates that this is the deadliest single attack on the press ever documented by CPJ” 
 

It’s a scary thought that people believe themselves to be above the law to that extent ordering mass executions and believe there will be no repercussions. That is exactly what happen though and to this day they have been no convictions in the case and the trial is still ongoing and doesn’t seem to be moving very quickly.

Entrance gate to the Ampatuan Mansion located just outside Davao City

The mansions looked a little run down and I tried to get a look into the place and found a little gap just tall enough to stick my camera underneath the gate and get a few shots before making a hasty retreat these aren’t the kind of people to mess around with and I didn’t want to be caught photographing their properties.

Weeds cover the entrance to the Ampatuan Mansion located just outside Davao City

Luckily according to our driver there is only a caretaker who lives there and we weren’t spotted. After reading up on the trial, I was disappointed to hear that no convictions have been made since 2009, and the trial is still ongoing with the victims families losing confidence in the legal system’s ability to deliver justice.  Its such a shame and I can’t begin to understand how the victim’s families must be feeling after two years with no closure.

A Cyclist passes by the Ampatuan Mansion on the outskirts of Davao City

I’ll be heading back to Davao next month so hopefully will be able to explore the place a bit more as I only saw the hotel, the university and a few places whilst shooting the video. Hopefully next time I’ll make it to the beach. Keep checking the blog as I’ll have a new post soon about a little boxing project I have going in Manila.

Tricycle driver,Davao City

Jiuzhaigou China’s Wintery Wonder

It’s been a long time since I updated the blog and one of my new years resolutions will be to blog once a week. We’ll see how that goes, but hopefully I can stick to it. 2011 was a good year and so far 2012 has been equally good. For the first week of the year I headed to Jiuzhaigou National Park, located in Northern Sichuan Province high up on the Tibetan Plateau.

Sun breaking through the clouds, Jiuzhaigou, National Park

So my first job in 2011 was to photograph Jiuzhaigou National Park, with a number of other photographers in China. (thanks Jonah) We were there to photograph Jiuzhaigou National Park in Northern Sichuan, a beautiful place high up on the Tibetan plateau. I managed ok with the altitude just feeling a little fuzzy headed and a little short of breath when walking up slopes but I was blown away at how pristine the landscapes were. I’ve always seen beautiful places in China on film or in pictures but never really seen it first hand.I’ve travelled to many provinces but nothing comes close to the natural beauty of this place.

Ice and water in Jiuzhaigou, National Park

We were tasked with photographing the landscape which is not really my strength but it was an easy place to shoot as the scenery was stunning everywhere you looked.

Reflections on mirror lake, Jiuzhaigou, National Park

Trees above and below the water, Mirror Lake, Jiuzhaigou, National Park

Despite being located in Sichuan on the Tibetan plateau (the airport is 3500m above sea level) Tibetan culture and influence was everywhere to be seen as lets face it it brings in the tourist dollar. At the opening of the festival Tibetan culture was present with Tibetan dancers, costumes and monks.

A Miss Jiuzhaigou contestant

Dancers in Tibetan Costumes at the opening ceremony of the Frozen Waterfal Festival

According to our guide all the Tibetan people living in the villages are rich and happy and when we did eventually visit a village they looked nice enough but we were not far from Aba where monks are setting themselves on fire and protesting. This nagging issue was always at the back of my mind when photographing there and was the only taint on the spectacular setting.

Fresh snow on a tree in Jiuzhaigou, National Park

Despite the cold weather -5/6C and the altitude Jiuzhaigou was stunning and I will definitely come back during a different season to photograph and walk. I think I’ll avoid the summer though as the National Park receives around 20-30,000 people a day which is not my idea of fun!