I am a little bit behind in processing photos from China and especially the ones that I select for additional attention. Staying in Beijing for now, this photo comes from the Summer Palace located on the outskirts of the city. I probably liked this location more than the Forbidden City. I liked the open spaces around the Kunming Lake and the little gardens scattered throughout the grounds.
The small gardens attracted my attention because most of the tourists concentrated around the lake and a lot of other areas presented a moments respite from the crowds. This one appealed to me especially with its small pond and a classic bridge across it. There also was a lovely break in the trees just over the bridge where the light came through and provided a natural spotlight for the bridge and the courtyard. Part of the reason why we went to China was its extensive history and being able to see this old style architecture in almost cinematic locations was wonderful.
When looking at this scene in person and also when processing it later, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. I am hoping you will not lose yourselves amongst the contrasting light and a lot of different compositional elements present here. I tried to keep the attention mostly on the bridge and its fine form, then on the courtyard to the right. I also gave the leaves in the foreground water a little bit of prominence to lead the eye in. Once again, I imbued the scene a gentle touch of sepia in post processing to keep a little bit of warmth in the image.
It was the kind of scene that looked right to me for a mono conversion. I also find it easier to work with the light in busy compositions when I have a monochrome concept in mind for the final photo. Knowing that I would hardly have a chance during our trip to take photos during golden and blue hours, I firmly set my mind on working with black and white for most of my potential "artistic" photos. This is also a concept that I wanted to explore for city and travel photography for a while so it was a great opportunity to see whether I could make it work. Whether it does... well, the jury it still out on this one.
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