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Alluring Snowy Deserts

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 Alluring Snowy Deserts

 

I am obsessed with deserts in China. Of a dozen or so desert trips, my most unforgettable one was a quick one in a severe winter. Looking back, I doubt if I would be courageous enough to repeat it.
The best time to photograph deserts is September and October, in the comfortable autumn. Rich sunlight can sketch the light and shadow. I decided to experience the desert in the winter.
The Badain Jaran Desert in Inner Mongolia is a desolate world in winter. So many kilometres of desert covered by frozen snow presents a magnificent scene. It can cleanse the soul and purify the mind. During the Spring Festival, local children come home to visit their relatives. Later, they would ride camels through heavy sand dunes to get back to school. On this occasion, my friend said her daughter would be back from Peking University soon, and she thought she would like to show me how she rides a camel through the snow-filled desert. I was moved by this proposition, as the desert is extremely cold at this time (about -200℃) with a piercing wind that chills you to the bone.


Photographing deserts and snow needs perfect timing. If the snow is too thick, you cannot see the sand but without snow, there will be no snowy desert scenes. If the sun is out too long, the snow melts into the sand. That is why we say gather your rose buds while ye may!


I prefer black and white photography for an exhibition, especially under when the subject is snow photography. It gives a sense of purity and dreaminess.
If you plan to go to such a place, don’t forget your warm clothes, and most importantly a warm bag for the camera.
 

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