City lights in China

City lights in China

With so many gigantic cities, most of them looking and feeling like permanent construction sites, China may leave your photographic eye a little frustrated. You do have to go a long way to find those amazing and picturesque landscapes the brochure guides made you dream about.

But China has a lot to offer on the street side. A few minutes of walking along the streets of any Chinese city will make you feel very overwhelmed: crowd, movement, speed, smells, and a myriad of visual contrasts. But street photography is not an easy exercise, especially if, like me, and unlike the Chinese, you feel self conscious at the idea of pointing your phone or camera to people’s faces and on-going activities.

Summer night on a street of Beijing vs winter summer night in Shenyang

Summer night on a street of Beijing vs winter summer night in Shenyang

So here is a little thought for you if you come to visit the Middle Kingdom. Step out in the city at night. I do it regularly with my favourite Hipstamatic Lenses, because the filters add to the magic of the street lights.

Both above and under ground, electric lights and LED

Both above and under ground, electric lights and LED

Chinese lights will bring you all sorts of sights. You can follow a gritty trail, or step into scenes that will, no doubt, remind you of Blade Runner.

Of course, in this category, few places beat Kowloon in Hong Kong. But in a city that hardly sleeps, your shots will retain more life, more activity, and may bring less of the extreme and surreal contrast of bright lights and emptiness of the 2nd Tier cities for instance.

Street vendor in winter in North China

Street vendor in winter in North China

Late night street view in Hong Kong

Late night street view in Hong Kong

 

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