Tuesday, May 29, 2012

China Trip: The very big city of Shanghai (day and night)

After spending 6 days in Xi'an, it was time to make the 2 hour flight to Shanghai. I arrived in this massive city on Saturday afternoon, checked into my hotel, and then less than an hour later I was in a cab to see this city for the first time. As it turns out, my cousin's son has lived in Shanghai for the last 6 months (a little different from New Jersey, where he is from) and so we met up and he showed me around.

It had been a while since we had seen each other, so we spent a couple of hours walking around Zhongshan Park, getting caught up (and taking photos of course).

 I really enjoyed seeing Chris again, and capturing the colors of the foliage.

After walking around the park, we made a stop at Chris' apartment, which was really fun. For someone who only sees hotel rooms and other tourist areas, it is always fun to see how people live in a strange country. Near Chris' place, we passed some of the street vendors and I stopped to grab some more shots. I really liked the colors and textures in these Chinese ingredients.

Later that evening, we came across this cool fountain and I set up the tripod to get a shot. At first I was glad that there was nobody in the shot, so that I could get a clean shot of the fountain without any distractions. But after looking at the images on the back of the camera, I realized that this shot needed a subject to complete the image. Just then a little girl went up to the fountain and started playing with the water. Perfect! So I waited for her to be in a good position and shot this image. (Photographer tip: I did not want to add any additional light to this image with my flash, so I shot this using only the ambient light. In order to highlight the little girl and make her more noticeable, I used the adjustment brush in Adobe Camera Raw to brush in 1 stop of light to her clothing.)

Wanting to show some images of the nightlife in downtown Shanghai, I set up and shot some images of the passers-by. 
I used a slow shutter on this shot to create blur in the vehicles. I waited for a taxi to come into frame (since it has all the standard headlights and tail lights, but also a green light on top) so that it would add some color and interest to the bottom of the frame.

I did the same technique with this shot, but this time I waited for a bus to come by. Using a 4 second exposure, I got the trailing lights from the bus, but also had the shutter open long enough to have the Temple visible in the background. 

We ended walking from Zhongshan Park all the way to East Nanjing Road, which is one of the busiest shopping areas in Shanghai. It was a really long day of walking but a lot of fun. I ended the evening with this shot of the busy shopping street.

On Sunday I started the day with another good friend (and co-worker), Joyce, who was born and raised in Shanghai. She gave me the grand tour. As we walked passed this one street, I saw all the people riding by on bikes and thought that this would be a perfect chance to grab another motion pan shot. (Photographer tip: I shot this photo at 1/15 sec which allowed me to pan and freeze the subject but blur the background slightly. I did not want blur the background too much, since I wanted to show the Chinese architecture. If I had blurred this too much, the viewer would not know see any details of the buildings behind the bike rider.)

When visiting Shanghai, you need to make sure to see some of the older Temples which are scattered throughout the city.
At one point, we were walking through an upscale restaurant district and I saw this Olympic torch from the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, which was encased in glass. I had to shoot an image of this, since this has so much meaning to me. The 2008 Beijing Olympics was my first Olympic experience and has since changed my life in so many ways. Some people might just see this as a torch, but I see this as a reminder of being a part of that amazing event and many more to come.

We went across the river to the area called The Bund, which is a really interesting place with European architecture and an amazing view of downtown Shanghai. As always in China, I was forced to shoot daytime images with a dreary polluted sky, but made the most of it anyways. I saw this patch of flowers, got down low to the ground and shot this. (Photographer's note: So many people take photos in this spot, and it is good to try to shoot something different. In places like this, look for interesting foregrounds to make your images stand out from the rest.)

A much closer look at downtown from The Bund.

As I mentioned in the previous photographer's note, it is a great idea to use interesting foregrounds in your images. For this image, I found this nicely curved walkway and got down low to the wall to have it included in the bottom third of my shot. Notice how the curved wall directs you eye to the downtown skyline.

This is a shot of the Shanghai World Financial Center which is one of the tallest buildings in the world. At 1614 feet high, it also has the tallest observation deck in the world.

We went to the top of the building, which was really amazing. Unfortunately, we timed it wrong and the sun was shining right into us as we faced downtown and the river. If you ever visit this observation deck and want a great view in this direction, go in the morning. :)

Here is a picture of me on the top level of the observation deck. There are even windowed floors, so you can look straight down from this level.

After having some dinner, we ventured back across the river to The Bund so that I could take some night shots of Shanghai. 

After looking back at my images from this location, I think that my favorite night shot was not of downtown Shanghai, but this one of The Bund. Not only does it show the European architecture but it also shows how many people were there on this particular Sunday evening. The other thing that I like about this shot, is the way that the street lights curve off into the distance, giving the photo some movement and direction.

The next blog entry will be the last from this trip to China, but includes some of my favorite shots overall. I had an amazing visit to Zhouzhuang, which is a small water town, sometimes referred to as "The Venice of China". Look for that in the days to come.

1 comment:

Shelly Schmidt said...

Just found your blog- we just returned from Shanghai and Beijing.....! We purchased a new camera before we left- and just learned the basics to use it. I love your blog and love that you tell how you changed the settings on your canmera. Your pictures are wonderful- especially the bike shot and the pictures of the Bund at night. We saw a wedding on a boat down at the bund (ka-ching, ka-ching)!!!