2004 – 2012
The Huang Shan, or Yellow Mountains, are located in the Anhui Province and part of the UNESCO Patrimony since 1990. At an average height of 1800m, the contrast between sharp needle formations and small valleys is striking with the clouds playing hide and seek, thus modifying the landscape all day long.
How a Swiss photographer living next to the highest mountain range in Europe would apprehend these Chinese mountains? How his perception would interpret these historical holy mountains that have been depicted in the Chinese iconography for more than 3000 years? I decided to use a panoramic camera and shoot mainly in vertical format. It proved well suited over the years.
FEELINGS AND EXPERIENCE
To reach the mountains is already a long process, and the path to the hotel is a 4000 steps climb. Upon reaching the top, I would learn there was a lift… However, it proved to be a small feat in view of what was to come.
First, consider the weather. Rarely sunny, often cloudy, rainy 300 days per year, it is a challenge. When the rain prevents to go out for days, the challenge becomes acute. But through mist and rain, with a few clear moments, I walked, climbed for hours up and down on the various stairs carved in the granitic mountains. Days start at 4:30AM, finish at 8:00PM, with an average of 15000-20000 steps per day. Added to the scarcity of the food, I would lose about 1kg per day, another challenge. This environment calls for the right equipment and a capacity of full autarchy. Patience is a must, I learned. Just imagine climbing up and down for three hours to reach a place to shoot a few photos, and having to wait 2 hours for the rain to stop, for a few minutes… My Ba Yin Niao image is the perfect example. And not to forget the same walk on the way back…
Unlike most people who would stay a day or two, I always managed to bring back images from my 10-day trips.
My first stay in Huang Shan was only part of a trip in China and I used the Hasselblad XPan. All subsequent photos of the Mountain were made with the Fuji GX617. I only used Fuji Acros 100 films exposed at 50 ASA.
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