One of the most interesting activities on our Yangtze River cruise was a visit to the Three Gorges Tribe and its wonderful scenic location. Hidden along one of the side streams in the Xiling Gorge, near the city of Yichang, the area abounds in natural beauty and history. Along the stream you can see staged moments from the history and culture of the local people. It really took us back in time and left a lasting impression.
Fishing has been one of the main activities that the tribe lived off for many centuries and along the way you find old boats with wide spread fishing nets that represent that part of the heritage. The day was overcast which created a mystic darkness in the valley surrounding the stream. The atmosphere was completely calm as the stream was well shielded from any wind. The light coming from over us illuminated the nets beautifully and gave them a wonderful glow amongst the darkness. That caught my attention immediately and I started to look for a good composition.
We visited the area early in the morning and that meant that while our side of the stream was crowded with people, the other side was completely empty and quiet. This allowed me to retain that mystic unspoiled feeling in some of the images that I took on the day. There was just something totally mesmerising when looking at the scene in this photograph. Yes, these days it is created mostly for commercial purposes and it is completely staged, however, if you can just detach yourself mentally from the crowds around you, you can indeed appreciate the culture and history of these people and be completely enchanted at least for a moment.
My mono vision for this image was to maximise the glowing light falling on the nets and resulting reflection in the water, while minimising any other distractions surrounding the main subject. I kept the little bright log on the left of the scene as it filled the space where the nets and reflections were diverging. There are actually four cormorant birds sitting on the log. You may be able to spot them depending on the brightness setting of your screen (on my calibrated screen at home the come through fine).
When I get through my monochrome phase, I will will post a colour photo from this location. I really like the result of my mono processing and it actually did not require too much post work, mostly just tweaking contrast and intensity of shadows and highlights. However, this location also looked wonderful with its lush vegetation and great deep murky green tones, so I am looking forward to show some of that atmosphere in the future as well.
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