Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Made in China

I've just returned from a business trip to China, where I was lucky enough to spend a weekend out with my boss - who is also a keen photographer.  This meant that he was very patient and understanding when I wanted to stop and take photos of things from a dozen different angles, experimenting with flash or natural light, or long exposures on the tripod. It also meant that he (having lived in China for 8 years or so) was able to take me to some interesting locations.

I stayed in Suzhou, which is an old walled city (about 2 hours inland from Shanghai), that also has a lot of canals - it is known as 'The Venice of the East'.  Beyond the city walls, the Suzhou Industrial Park has grown and expanded in the last 10 years, bringing business (and about 10 million people) to the area.

It is a place of huge contrasts, with the old city and the new commercial area with ultra modern buildings, as well as the wealthy and the poor, and the traditional ways of living sitting right next to vast arrays of apartment blocks.
Here are a few pictures of a traditional fisherman I found, in one of the canals around the old city, using cormorants to catch his fish. This way of fishing has been around for many hundreds of years, but it was interesting to see it still happening today, against a backdrop of elevated concrete roadways threading between towering apartment blocks (very carefully and tastefully excluded, so as not to spoil the ambiance of the pictures ;-D ).

The cormorants wear tight collars that prevent them from swallowing any fish they catch, and the fisherman then scoops them out of the water, retrieves the fish from their throat, and sends them back out for more.  At the end of the day, I guess the birds are fed, in order to keep them happy in their work.

I'll post some more from China soon, but until then...
Happy Snappin'

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