Heading off to Wuhan

Today’s Post by Ken MacAdams

With the door closed, and coach pressurized, the high-speed train eased out onto the track – destination, Wuhan, a major city about 900 miles south of Xi’an. The miles melted away quickly, but it was still a 4.5 hour ride until the screaming bullet decelerated to a rest at my destination.

Like so many other cities here, Wuhan has a long history. Bronze relics recovered from ancient tombs tell of a history dating back 3500 years. Merchants, from centuries ago through today, ply the mighty Yangtze river, bringing trade and wealth to the region. Numerous lakes also dot the area.  

An acquaintance suggested a walk around one of the lakes would be a great way to unwind after the long train ride. There are over 160 lakes in the area, and East Lake is one of the larger of the lakes. In the grip of autumn, the parks once beautiful flowers were fading, the lotus plants languishing but the walk on the winding pathways was invigorating! Noting the low visibility due to the thick smog, I decided I would come back after sundown, and do some night photography.

Returning after dinner, the smog aided me by acting like a huge diffuser.   Each of the tall skyscrapers, illuminated or outlined by LED’s would lend themselves to great reflection shots. As I walked along the pathways, I captured some great reflections on the water.  

I wasn’t the only one out enjoying the park! I spotted a couple engaged in a private conversation up in a pagoda, while power walkers quietly drifted by on the path below. An elderly couple slowly made their way across an arched bridge, while a short distance away, a group of men and women danced a version of Tai Che. I’m sure for many of these folks, living in the concrete jungle day by day, this is a wonderful respite, a chance to seek out some peace, quiet, and solitude.

The following morning, I took a bus down to the banks of the Yangtze River, then boarded a ferry across the swiftly flowing Yangtze, to the Wuhan bund. The buildings here were Colonial, reflecting back on an era, from the 1800’s to the 1920’s, when Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, and the USA all had budding trade interests in China. I came across the old ‘National City Bank of New York’ building, facing the bund. Further wanderings brought me to Li Huang Pi Lu Street, a walking only street lined with quaint shops, restaurants, studios, and coffee shops.

Stopping at the “Old Times” coffee shop, I selected an open sidewalk table. It was a good excuse to rest my feet, and sip some coffee!   It was also a wonderful opportunity to capture some great people/street photography shots!  

All images with a Panasonic Lumix G85 and Lumix G Vario 12-60mm Power OIS lens. Night shot: ISO 200, tripod, AWB, Manual setting, 20 sec at f/11. Daylight shots: handheld, AWB, Auto ISO (ranging from ISO 200 to ISO 800), Program mode.