Yunnan: Winter Light

Posts tagged Kunming


by Marc Nair, 4 February 2018

Yunnan Province is a heady experience. Not least because it averages over 2,000m above sea level, but also for its dazzling landscapes. We were fortunate enough to catch a range of natural wonders in our time there, but let's not forget that the cities also offer quirky 'natural' scenes of human habitation. 

Potatso National Park is a natural beauty at any time of the year, more so during winter when skies are strikingly blue. This photograph looks surreal because it was taken with an Infra-Red modified camera. For an even more otherworldly photograph, see below. 

This was shot with a red filter over the modded IR camera, to white out the greens and darken the sky and water. Something right out of Narnia! 

Three variants of images made from the Tiger Leaping Gorge. One wishes that the power station could be a temple, or something architecturally striking, but in a way, aren't power stations our modern conduits to greater power? 

This is prairie land, acres of space dotted by farms, yak and the occasional horseman. The mountains are ever present, rising up like sentinels everywhere you turn. 

The Mei Li Snow Mountain range, seen at first light, is a gorgeous sight to behold, and makes waking up and walking to the viewing point in -15°C weather worth it. 

The Yi minority village on the road to Shangri-La. We were not allowed to drive into the village so could only stand by the roadside at a designated viewing point high above and snipe photographs. 

The winter light here is striking. It has just the right amount of warmth, and being so high up in the mountains the air is clear and free from pollutants. Enough the heavy trucks that ply the highways aren't numerous enough to belch black smoke to clog the view. 

Potatso National Park purportedly has a load of animals, but these two cuties were the only specimens we were fortunate to catch a glimpse of the morning we were there. 

The Shilin Stone Forest outside of Kunming is a 270 million year old landscape of karst formations. Covering 300 square kilometres, it is indeed otherworldly and majestic in its own way (when one can get away from the organised tour groups with loud hailers!). 

Top Left and Top Right: Lake Changhu, a gentle, quiet and rarely visited lake about 30 minutes drive from the Stone Forest. A much needed respite from the insatiable crowds. 
Bottom left: Wheat ready for the harvest on the road back to Kunming. 
Bottom right: From this distance, the yak are merely specks on the horizon as they graze on the distant shore of Shudu Lake in Potatso National Park.