Seeking the Sky

Every now and then I get depressed viewing other people’s photos of China. It’s not because I miss living there, but rather because they always seem to have beautiful skies surrounding tourist destinations. It makes me think that the photographer waited in the same place for weeks on end to capture that perfect shot. Usually these photos have high clouds framing the shot, which just adds to the beauty.

The grey sky in Xi'an was indicative of my travels in China
The grey sky in Xi’an was indicative of my travels in China

It’s not that I didn’t have the patience to capture those moments of beauty; I just didn’t have the time or cosmic fortune. I mostly saw grey skies wherever I went. Of course, I lived in China in the years leading up to the Beijing Olympics, which meant that there was a rush to develop as quickly as possible before environmental restrictions set in. I’ve heard stories that there are significantly more blue sky days in Shenzhen and Beijing today than when I was there.

Heavenly Lake, Xinjiang
Heavenly Lake, Xinjiang

The first instance of what I would consider beautiful weather was on my trip to Xinjiang Province. The weather was to be expected in a less developed area of China–being a desert also helped. I managed to get a few photos of the mountains around Heavenly Lake (天池) engulfed by the bright blue sky. After spending almost a year in Shenzhen, the sun was a welcome sight–I grew accustomed to seeing grey skies because of the rain or pollution.

Other than those few days, I had one great day on my second trip to Beijing–a sunny day spent at the Temple of Heaven (天坛). But even that day didn’t have the picture-perfect sky of the photos so many people seem to take. I did manage to get a few nice shots with the clouds passing overhead though.templeHeaven7

Fortunately, on my travels outside of China I encountered much more picturesque weather to enhance my photos.

Does anyone else get jealous of other travelers for having better pictures of the same destinations?

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