The temperature in Beijing is plummeting the last few days. It was just like yesterday that we just had the hottest summer. However, I was shivering last night sitting outside a café while having a glass of wine with a dear friend. The thought of wearing a sweater never did occur to me. By 9pm, the outside temperature had already plummeted to only 11 degrees and we are currently mid way through autumn. Soon, the cold bitter winter will be upon us again, lasting for the next three months.
Fresh 4 inch deep snow at a remote village at the Miyun County, at the foot of Wuling Mountains in the middle of winter.
Captured in sub zero temperatures while the sun rises over the mountains, casting long interesting shadows over the vast snow covered landscape. Before this, I could only imagine such scenes in my mind yet, here I was, taking it all in before my very eyes.
For someone coming from a hot and perpetually humid country like Malaysia, experiencing the full cycle of the four seasons was truly amazing. When I came in November 2012, I was just in time to see leaves dropping and the winter setting in. It was a cold cold winter last year with Beijing reportedly experiencing the most number of snowfalls in any winter for the last decade or so. I had a taste of winter before in Europe during my business visits there but nothing beats the chilling biting cold that I had in Beijing last year, with temperatures hitting -15 degrees at night where I had to walk my toy poodle.
Taking pictures during winter is not without it's risk. My son and I was walking all over this seemingly frozen path, only to realize later to our shock when we heard the cracking sound of ice beneath our feet that this is actually a totally frozen stream.
But winter was also something I enjoyed despite the cold. As a keen photographer, I had always admired beautiful pictures of white cold winter Christmas. It has always been my dream to be able to stand knee deep in fluffy fresh snow, capturing vast white winter landscapes or frozen streams.
Although I enjoyed looking at the many historical sites in Beijing, the one thing that I really desire was to capture them with snow capped roofs and snow covered pavements and alleys. Somehow, I personally find a sense of romance with winter.
Forbidden City captured in February 2013 towards the end of winter and the start of spring, still with snow on many of her rooftops and ancient pavements. Due to the cold, places like this which are often over crowded are now practically deserted, hence, allowing me to enjoy the peace and tranquility of this ancient structures as they were hundred of years ago.
Snow covered old ancient dwelling places of the hutongs in Beijing.
I was glad that part of my dreams has been realised when I managed to go about taking some winter pictures during my last winter. Seeing The Forbidden City with her ancient roofs and pavements covered with snow, or the old boring hutongs in grey, suddenly coming alive as if time stood still hundred of years ago, or the great wall at Jingshanlin, deserted, looking out towards snow covered ridges, mountains and valleys as far as the eyes could see are still images that have been deeply carved into my mind that no words could possibly described their true beauty and awe.
The Great Wall at Jingshanlin during winter. Deserted without the crowd, she allows herself to be captured in her natural self, peaceful and tranquil, yet majestic and imposing, overlooking every valley from the most vantage points on the sharp mountain ridges. This photography expedition was also exceptional meaningful to me. Seen here is my son, sharing that same passion with me last year.
Captured early spring at Wuling Mountain as the snow and frozen stream began to melt.
With autumn passing, I am gearing up myself for another romantic rendezvous with the coming winter, to immerse in her bitterly cold yet mysteriously mesmerising charm and beauty, to capture her in all her splendour, a living testimony of the awesome greatness of the ONE who presented her to us …..