Friday, September 17, 2010

A visit to Nanshe Village, an ancient village in mainland China

A couple of days ago, we had a chance to visit the ancient Nanshe village located about an hour drive from central Dongguan. This village dates back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties and is surrounded by a fortified wall.

This is the view that you see when you first enter in to the village. This is one of the three bridges in the village.

As I entered the village, I was surprised to see motor traffic cruising through. I was expecting an old preserved village, preserved for tourists. This was not the case at all. It turns out that we were the only foreigners there and we really stuck out. :) As I ventured around this small village I also realized that many people were living in the buildings.

Some of the buildings were restored more than others, but I was drawn more to the older unfinished structures. I really liked this one which had a lot of character. You can see the incense bowl on the old table, where people must still hang out.

This is the doorway of the same structure as the picture above. I loved that way that the bowl seemed to stand out amongst the overgrowing foliage.

A close-up shot of one of the incense bowls in one of the restored temple rooms. I really liked the lines and the colors of this shot.

There is so much color and detail in the architecture here, it is hard not to shoot every rooftop.

As we first entered the village at approximately 4pm, I saw a group of 8 old men who were sitting under the big tree in the middle of the village. I was hoping to find a good subject amongst these guys, and I did. I made sure to ask for permission to shoot there pictures (using hand gestures) and eventually got their approval. Funny enough, this guy was one who did not want his picture taken. It wasn't until I showed him the back of my camera to see what I was taking of the other men, that he let me shoot some portraits of him.

It was so cool to take these images of this guy at the perfect time of day. You can see that he is lit by the golden light at the end of the day. Great character in that face! Normally I would have asked if he had an email so that I could send the image to him, but I am not sure if any of these guys knew that the Internet even existed. :)

Cruising through the village, it is not uncommon to see 3 or 4 people on a motorbike. I liked this shot of, what looks like, multiple generations heading home. (Yes, that is a sticker on the little boy's forehead.)

We really wanted to get a shot from above the village, but were not sure how to get to that vantage point. If you know me, you know that I will try anything to get a good photo. So...I found a four story building in the village and, pointing to my camera and then to the fourth floor deck, asked the old man if I could enter his home and shoot. He obliged and I made the quick climb to the roof deck for a bunch of rooftop shots.

When exploring the back alleys of the village I happened to stumble across a couple of dogs and cats. I turned a corner and saw this cat sitting in the last remaining light of the day and I shot off 4 or 5 images before he scampered off.

And then the sun dropped away for the night and we got ready to head back to the hotel. Our driver was very patient with us as he waited for 3 hours while we shot these photos. The poor guy.

This last shot is an HDR shot of the village. For those of you who do not know what that means, it is a combination of 4 images (capturing the same scene with 4 different exposures) and then combining them. This allows me to show the scene as the human eye would see it, even though the camera can not expose the sky and the buildings in one shot.

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puja said...
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