Posts tagged “Beijing Photography

[Photos] Beijing Railway Station at Sunset

Upon leaving for my latest thirteen hour train ride over to Dalian in Liaoning Province, I took some time to snap away some scenes from Beijing railway station: the oldest station in Beijing that’s been around for almost sixty years. Since my train was to leave at night and it was during China’s labor day three-day weekend, you could see a lot of people rushing in to catch their trains.  Beijing railway station to me is a special place since my first trip to Beijing couple years back started from this station. I had no idea I would be back working here but it was nice to look around and take some photos here during sunset. I think the photos can do most of the talking but I wanted to show some movement in these photos.

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[Photo Essay] Beijing Snap Shots: One Week of Spring

If you've lived long enough in Beijing, there's one season that we all look forward to and that is Spring. Beijing in my opinion only has two seasons: Summer and Winter. Spring and fall add up to a minimal 2-3 weeks out of the year. So when Spring arrives this city becomes much more active and people enjoy this season as much as they can. This photo essay was my attempt to capture as much as the city as I could during different times of the day. From the central business district to the hutongs in Gulou: I hope that you can feel the energy level of this city in one of the best times of the year.

1. A group of men pass by a public art at the Art District in Pinguo near Shuangjing. You can see Guomao, the central business district of Beijing, in the back ground to the north-west.

2. Heading north towards Guomao is Jianwai SOHO. The white buildings are noticeable from the south end of Guomao. Jianwai SOHO has commercial, residential, and office spaces along its 18 towers and is a popular destination for workers in the area for lunch and dinner.

3. Going west from Guomao is Qianmen, one of the major shopping areas in Beijing. This photo was taken at Qianmen Street: one of Beijing's oldest commercial area that has recently been renovated.

4. A woman walks by a group of pots at one of the side streets from Qianmen Shopping Street. QIanmen is home to some of the oldest restaurants in Beijing and serves a collection of famous Chinese dishes from all over China.

5. Families enjoy a nice weekend on Qianmen shopping street.

6. The National Museum. Photo taken from the Tiananmen Square. The museum was recently re-opened after its long renovation was completed.

7. Visitors exit the forbidden city and head south towards Tiananmen Square.

8. This Underground pass connects the Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City entrance.

9. Chinese tourists take a rest together besides the Forbidden City.

10. Chinese tourists are easy to spot with their identical caps.

11. Visitors enjoy the nice weather at the Forbidden City.

12. At the north end of the Forbidden City is the flower garden blooming with colorful flowers as you exit out.

13. Visitors glance over the Forbidden City from the top of Jingshan Park, located directly north of the Forbidden City. You can overlook most of the city of Beijing from this park.

14. Crowds gather at a local music performance at Tiantan Park, near the Temple of Heaven.

15. An Old man teaches how to dance with sticks to anyone who is interested at Tiantan Park.

16. As the weather gets warmer, more and more people can be seen at the park dancing and singing. I met people who were over ninety years old who wanted to exercise and keep healthy.

17. At Beihai Park, one of the largest imperial gardens in China on a sunny afternoon.

18. Taijiquan sessions take place daily from early morning to dawn at Beihai Park.

19. Students are walking home at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

20. A group of local high school students eat Stinky tofu together near the Drum Tower in Dongcheng District.

21. A vendor prepares pineapples to be sold by Drum Tower. You can find all sorts of fruits and small snacks in this area around the Drum Tower.

22. A hot pot restaurant attempts to attract customers as they sing songs and welcome people walking by.

23. A vendor takes a break from work. Photo taken near Nanluoguxiang.

24. Workers along Gulou Da Jie.

25. A family takes a rest in front of the Bell Tower.

26. Pedestrians make room for a car driving through the narrow commercial hutong of Nanluoguxiang.

27. Bikers and pedestrians await the green light at an intersection in Wangjing, the Korean Town of Beijing.

28. Residents of Dongcheng district enjoy a game of ping-pong. They are always looking for new contenders and they practice every day.

29. A mountain besides the Jingshanling Great Wall(located in the outskirts of Beijing) reads "Praise Chairman Mao" in white characters.

30. People rush out of Beijing heading east at Sihui during sunset. Guomao is in the background.

31. People crossing the overpass bridge at Shuangjing during sunset.

32. The dancing continues at night-time at Shuangjing bridge.


[Photos] Getting Lost in Gulou

One of my favorite locations in Beijing is Gulou in Dongcheng District. I enjoy walking along the hutong’s observing the interaction of local people and the close community that they live in. I really don’t mind getting lost at all but this past weekend, I was heading for the Drum Tower and got lost in the hutong’s around Gulou. You’d think that it’s a straight road leading to this tower from the photo below but I ran into constant dead ends and had to rely on local people to tell me which way to go.

I should have looked at the street signs that clearly says "Dead-end ahead"

Most Dogs in Beijing are usually unleashed.


[Photos] Perspectives from 2010

Here are some stuff that I didn’t get to post in 2010. In 2010 I was able to see bits of Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and distinct locations within China.

Photo taken at Lama Temple in Beijing, China

Photo taken at Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong on a misty day.

Photo taken at Seoul Tower at Sunset in Seoul, South Korea.(Click on photo to see more photos from Seoul)

Photo taken at the China Pavilion of the Shanghai Expo.(Click on photo to see more photos from the Shanghai Expo).

Photo taken at Ordos, Inner Mongolia. (Click on photo to see my photo essays from 2010).

Photo taken at Summer Palace in Beijing.

 


[Air Quality] Today at 3pm vs Two weeks ago at 3pm

Every morning when I wake up in Beijing, the very first thing I do is to open the blinds to see how the air quality is outside. Two seconds later I’m either in an extremely good mood or I close the blinds immediately and fall back to sleep for a couple more minutes or so. On a lucky week, Beijing does get its share of blue sky’s but when its really polluted, I can’t walk outside without a mask.  The Air Quality Index does a pretty good job measuring the air quality in Beijing as I have noted in my previous post. For reference, Air Quality Index (AQI) of 470 on a scale of 500 looks like this:

On the other hand,  two weeks ago at the same time at a AQI of 100 looked like this:

As you can see, it’s quite a difference. The lesson here is to be thankful when you have a blue sky and don’t take it for granted. I think these visual comparisons make it easy to understand and I’ll be coming up with more comparisons in the future.

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Photo Essay] TedxBeijing: Uncovering Innovation

On 11/13/2010, Beijing had a treat as the 2nd Annual TedxBeijing conference was held. TEDxBeijing is one of hundreds of independently organized conferences around the globe inspired and licensed by the United States-based non-profit TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. With the theme 'Uncovering Innovation', 12 key speakers with industry specialization of science, technology, entertainment, and design and over 200 audiences combined each others experience, knowledge and ideas throughout the day to answer key questions like 'Where does innovation come from?' and 'How do we implement these ideas?'. This photo essay is a review of some of the key speakers from the event and their inspiring ideas.

The event kicked off early at 9:00AM as the audience enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and accompany from a mix of local and international innovators. I must say the speakers were inspiring and we learned so much from their expertise and ideas but for me meeting so many innovative thinkers and individuals who really want to make change happen from Beijing re-assured me of how great this city is and how much potential it holds for the future.

The first speaker Martin Barnes, a Beijing-based artist, videographer and creative director talked about his inspiring project with Blind Photographers. As a student of photography myself, I was inspired by this idea. Often times the disabled are left in the darkness especially in China, people do not know how to tolerate them. But during his presentation he illustrated the importance of ‘non visual photographers’  and how organization of different combination of ideas creates great ideas. For the how to implement this idea he said that it comes from being free, having an authentic idea, including everyone and keeping it obvious and simple.

Adam Kidron, a serial entrepreneur and former music producer based in New York spoke on behalf of Music Piracy in China. He emphasized how the internet has changed the way we purchase music and that today 95% of music is being shared online with this statistic excluding China. He questions how today, the creator’s do not get enough loyalties for their work and how there needs to be a universal music library where the original creator gets the credit and the user pays for the cost of usage.

Sam Flemming, pioneer of Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) in China and provides extraordinary insight into the Chinese netizen community by systematically analyzing the millions of BBS and blog posts they exchange to each other. He emphasized how brands listen to what consumers are saying and that the internet community is a great way to see trends and how social media influences their purchasing decision. I took away from his talk that with the internet, small groups of people can really do great things. He illustrated how in China, car buyers will organize a group purchase event online to get great discounts and how China was way ahead of US/EU in terms of social media and online communities.

Dr. Guangming Xie inspired us with his innovation in robotics. His new cut innovation of Robotic Fish could one day guide real organisms away from an oil spill to prevent further extinction of species. It was interesting to see his videos where his robotic fish and a real fish interacted as the real fish showed interest and followed the robotic fish joined by other real fish.

Lijia Zhang, a journalist spoke on behalf of her memoir and hardships growing up in a factory in Nanjing. She made a connection with how the factory that she lived in was a communist state itself as she had no freedom and no personal life with nowhere to escape. Her metaphor of herself being a 'Frog trapped in a well' came up several times in her presentation. She explained that her passion to want to make a change in her life and to be different convinced her to learn English. She said everyone was afraid to be different as her metaphor of the 'First bird that fly out of the cage gets shot first' shows exactly that. It was nice to hear her overcome her fear and hardship as her storyline inspired us to think about hardships and how to overcome them to make change.

The audience experienced a new world through the art of dance as Gaoyan Jinzi, artistic director of the Beijing Modern Dance Company's dancers show cased their innovative stance in the form of dance.

The Majin Buu drum club, showcase their energy and western African style music as they pump up the audience with new sounds and original art.

Wen Fang uses art to make social change in China. Her latest project, Art against Poverty brings her around China helping to make change from the grassroots level by using the power of art to help rural women find sustainable livelihoods. The rural women were already skilled in making crafts and with their creativity and passion makes great art for change.

The event was broadcasted live on Tudou and a live satellite viewing location. Overall, it was well-organized and if you are in Beijing next year around this time of the year it’s an event that you don’t want to miss.

Bonus: if you are wondering where you can get the intro music from Beijing’s very own DJ Slide, you can get it here.

© All images copyrighted. Please use only with permission.

[Photo] Autumn Tree at Xuanwumen, Beijing

It's been really cold in Beijing the past couple days. I think winter is already here. Stay tuned for my next Photo Essay from the TedxBeijing event I attended over the weekend. This picture was taken at Xuanwumen on 11/13/2010.

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Photo Essay] Disney is Too Far, Please Come To Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park

Since 1986, with its' old slogan "Disney is too far please come to Shijingshan", Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park has brought dreams to the heart of Beijingers who cannot afford to make it out to Hong Kong Disneyland. In 2007, international media took up this park labeling it 'Fake Disney' for the state-owned park using familiar Japanese and US characters with attractions similar to that of Disney World. Copyright infringement controversies resulted in the park being tucked away at the west end of Beijing Subway Line 1. Currently under renovations and Disneyland Shanghai scheduled for its grand-open in 2014, Shijingshan amusement park faces a new question on which direction it should pursue. This photo essay is a close up look of some of the attractions this Shijingshan Amusement Park has to offer.

During renovations, Sunday afternoon at the park experienced small number of visitors. Entrance fee was 10 rmb, about $1.5USD.

Renovations welcomed us as we came through the gate.

Most of the characters that raised controversy for copyright infringement were all taken down. We could only see this rabbit character within the park.

The main attractions were kept the way they were. This one had similar resemblances to Thunder Mountain from Disney World

Most of the rides were out-of-order such as this roller coaster attraction.

Didn't see too many kids within the park, mostly teens.

Not Quite the Happiest Place on Earth

One of their most famous attraction called "Dragon Wind".

Schrek?

Nice to see guns where kids are supposed to experience a magical harmonious world.

Epcot Center? America Adventure in the back. Epcot center look-alike building was used as a cinema.

I could tell that the park already got rid of most of their Disney look-a like products but there were a handful of stuffed toys like this one being sold.

© All images copyrighted. Please use only with permission.


[Beijing Lifestlye] Count Down to November 15th

Since the 1950’s November 15th has been a day that every one in Beijing has been looking forward to. This day is not a national holiday nor it is a date with historical significance. November 15th is the day when the city officials flick on the switch to turn on the capital’s centrally controlled heating system supplying warmth to most of the 22 million residents.
I recently just found out about this since temperature in Beijing has been getting much colder these past couple weeks. On October 16th I think the temperature was about  44 degrees and I was freezing. So pretty much until this date everyone, rich or poor, gets no heat in this city. Since the 1950s from November 15th to March 15th Beijing’s coal pumps have kept busy providing heat to city apartments and this schedule has rarely changed over the years. But there are some exceptions to this rule, and if it snows (like last year) before this date, government officials have promised to install heat accordingly. But until then we all  freeze! Oh the beauty of collective living. I just think the person in charge of flicking on the giant switch to generate heat across the city has such a cool job. The countdown begins and we’re 2 weeks away!

Beijingers keep warm by wearing warm jackets and bundling up in blankets before November 15th comes around.

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Quick Update] Heading for Ordos, Inner Mongolia for the Weekend

Ordos, Inner Mongolia? Never heard of it? I will be here. It’s my first time into Inner Mongolia and it should be about a ten hour over night train ride from Beijing. According to TIME Magazine Ordos is the Modern Ghost Town so it should be perfect for Halloween. I will be back with more updates on Monday.