Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/1250th

I started my day off by spending over an hour backing up images to my LaCie 500gig external hard drive since my macbook pro was down to less than a gig of memory. Due to the time it took to transfer everything I ended up missing my morning shoot of women’s triathlon. Oh darn!

I went to the media center to talk with the boss and see what else there was to shoot. It was a day with not much important stuff going on until the evening so I was given the option of Algeria vs China basketball (I don’t do basketball) or take a half day off and go to the Great Wall of China.

That’s like asking a guy if he’d rather go to a bar with friends or stay home and work on taxes.

So off to the Great Wall I went for an hour long taxi ride out of the city and into the majestic mountains. (for the first two weeks here I didn’t even know there were mountains nearby due to the smog…seriously!)

I got pretty excited as we approached the mountains and I could see the wall winding its way through the hills. Awesome.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 320iso, f5.6, 1/3200th

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 320iso, f5.6, 1/1250th

It was a gorgeous day for the great wall and judging by the insane amount of visitors there I wasn’t the only one thinking about going.

Some things are the same anywhere in the world. I am glad to be a man after seeing the lines for the ladies room.

After waiting in a long line to buy a ticket to enter, I began my climb up the wall to enjoy one of the seven wonders of the world.

My first observations as I walked along the wall was how completely insane it must have been to build the wall. Even by today’s technological standards I would think it would be a huge task to make the structure. To imagine how it was made hundreds of years ago without cranes, trucks and power tools just blew my mind.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/800th

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 250iso, f5.6, 1/3200th

Another thing that amazed me about the wall was how steep it was at some points. Some parts of the wall are stairs at steep enough angles that its almost like climbing a ladder and other parts are really steep but the bricks are laid flat and its really tough to climb the inclines.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 400iso, f6.3, 1/1600th

Here is a self portrait I shot with the camera on timer to show the incline on some of the flat brick parts.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/1250th

As I walked further up the mountain I really began to get tired and like most others on the wall it was a game of walking 20-30ft then stopping for a small break to catch your breath before venturing further up.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 400iso, f5.6, 1/1250th

Finally I threw in the towel as I had seen enough of the wall and got a few cool pictures so I began the trek back down the mountain. I saw countless people slip and fall while heading down the steep slopes. I gotta think there’s thousands of people a year who suffer broken bones from the treacherous wall.

There was a really charismatic artist sitting on the steps of the wall painting pictures. He certainly wasn’t camera shy!

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 250iso, f5.6, 1/3200th

Had to stop again to take a self portrait for my girlfriend back home.

Nikon D3, 14-24mm, 400iso, f6.3, 1/1600th

Finally back at the bottom I fired off a couple more pictures.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm, 250iso, f5.6, 1/8000th

After a few minutes of searching I found a cab and made the hour long ride back to the media center.  Total trip time from media center to great wall, one mile hike, ride back to media center. Less than 4 hours. Total cab charges 400 (about 45 US dollars). Damn good bargain I’d say.

Relaxed for a few hours then went to shoot gymnastics. Judging by the lack of photos you can figure out I was still tired and not very creative.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

Nikon D3, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

Nikon D3, 400mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

Nikon D3, 24-70mm, 3200iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

Posted in China, Olympics   | 3 Comments

3 responses to “Great Wall and ungreat gymnastics”

  1. Hugh says:

    The wall looks super crowded. I went the one month ago and the crowds were nothing like that !

  2. Leonard Hursh says:

    Mark, I’ve really enjoyed following your experiences in Beijing. Last year we drove out past the section of wall you were at and found, with the help of a local, an un-restored section of the wall.


  3. Andrew Bejarano says:

    How do you not like to shoot basketball? I’d think there’d be a lot of cool stuff going on

    Glad to see you got the movie blood off your gray shirt

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