Dawn of Another Day [explored]
I've gone to this particular photographic well before, having posted a couple of other shots of my morning shoot with the Cormorant Fishermen on the Li River in Guilin China. Not super original, but still among my favorites both for the fascinating subject and exotic landscape and because it was a magical morning and one of my favorite all time photographic experiences. Here the first sunrise tones are just reflecting low on the river backlighting the fisherman.
This was a bit of a crazy adventure, and definitely took me outside of my comfort zone. At the tail end of a working trip to China I had saved a day before my midnight flight back to the US. I was originally considering a side trip to see Wulingyuan National Park with its famous "Avatar"-like Karsts, but after some research realized that a) this would be more than a one day undertaking, and b) that there was an equal if not better Karst environment around Guilin and much more accessible.
I'd arranged for a local guide to pick me up early in the morning and drive me to meet with the Cormorant fisherman before dawn, so after just a couple hours of sleep I was up again and heading out in to the back country up river with a little bit of apprehension. While I've never felt in any physical danger in China, there are still plenty of scams and people ready to take your money and/or things, and it isn't that hard to find yourself suddenly in uncomfortable circumstances (been there, done that!). However, I'd booked the guide through a reputable company and figured the risk was minimal.
Indeed, we arrived at a small fishing village after a longish drive without any hiccups at all. The humid tropical smells hit me immediately and woke me up. Morning is my favorite time under normal circumstances, and on this day I was very excited; every sense really felt alive, and I was thoroughly engaged and in the moment. The surroundings were exotic, the skies just beginning to reveal the cloud structure in the early morning darkness and I could see a lot of cloud but not an unbroken gloom. I was introduced to the fisherman and he paddled us out to a little dock and then floated off on his bamboo raft and lit his small lantern. Later, once the dawn broke fully he took out his net and set his cormorants to work, demonstrating this ancient working relationship between these wonderful birds and their handlers.
After a couple of hours on the river, we packed up and headed out to take some other landscape photos throughout the day, including a couple of tough climbs up to the peak of some of the Karsts to get a better view of this amazing area. Finally just after sunset it was time to leave, and after a bit of a delay and a small panic I made it back to Shanghai in time to catch my flight to the US. An extremely tiring but incredibly rewarding experience. That feeling of total immersion in a moment of time was truly priceless and is my favorite thing about this hobby.
I would very much like to go back to Guilin and spend much more time appreciating this spectacular location. Hit up my album for China if you're interested in seeing other pics from Guilin.