ObG Thursdays – Top of the Great Wall

Today’s Oldie-but-Goodie post comes from a year ago this week when I was high up on the Great Wall of China. I was in China for work (lots of photos here) and stayed for a few days to meet up with my friends Mark and Ling in Wuqing, on the south side of Beijing. They were wonderful hosts and on the second day of my visit they hired a car to take us to the Great Wall north of Beijing. The driver got a little lost and ended up taking us to a different section of the wall than we’d intended but we didn’t complain. This mountain pass, known as Juyongguan Pass, had a great ring of wall that went up the north side (Badaling) and back down again, across the valley and then up and down the south side. The climb was steep and grueling.

I had with me the D300s, AF-S 35mm f/1.8, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 and a borrowed AF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 and made good use of them all. The day was extremely hazy and visibility was a lot worse than the photos make it out to seem. When editing I added a huge amount of contrast and saturation to keep them from looking washed out.

The shot below was with the 11-16mm at 11mm 1/125s f/9 ISO200. Although it doesn’t look it, I composed this as a 4-shot high dynamic range (HDR) image. Each of the images that went into it were separated by a 1EV exposure difference. I found that the HDR process brought out a richness of colour that wasn’t there in the individual shots. To add separation between the individual mountain peaks and the foreground I did some dodging and burning with the curves tool and blending duplicate layers with soft light and screen modes. I used added a bit of glow to add an ethereal feel.Great Wall of China