Many photographs of picturesque Li Jiang (the River Jiang that is, not Lijiang the town) have been posted to Trek Earth, but most were taken during the day and often against skies that were quite washed out. This is because the tourist boats, that leave Guilin at 9.00 am in the morning, get to the most picturesque part of Li Jiang between 12 noon and 1.00 pm when the light is worst for photography. A ticket on one of the big double-decker tourist boats costs 500 yuan (about US$65), and it takes five hours to travel from Guilin to Yangshuo, or you can hire a private motorboat - which can comfortably take three passengers (or four at a squeeze) - for 1,200 yuan (for the boat and driver) for the same trip. I took the latter option and left Guilin at 3.00pm so I reached the most scenic part of Li Jiang around sunset. This means you have to travel that last 40 minutes or so in the dark, which is a bit hair-raising as the boats don’t have any lights, but the boatmen seem to know where they are going.
I STRONGLY recommend to any photographers who may be making their ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to Guilin to avoid the tourist boats and charter your own motor boat. For the little extra money you get to go where you want, stop when you want, at the time you want.
I took about 50 photographs of Li Jiang around sunset, and it was hard to choose one to post, but I selected this one because it had some foreground interest with these locals paddling their bamboo raft down the river. Note the two cormorants riding on the back of the raft which are used to catch fish. The orange sky is caused by some smoke haze that was hanging around. It made the sky very drab during the day but created some nice colour as the sun started to go down.
At this time of the day, this stretch of Li Jiang is very peaceful – a big contrast to about an hour earlier when there is a procession of 40-50 tourist boats heading back upstream to Guilin to prepare for another load of tourists the next morning. When the water levels are low (as they were when I was there) there is only room for one large boat at a time on the river, so the boats follow each other one behind the other – an impressive sight in itself.
If you are staying in Yangshuo, you can take a taxi or ride a bike to one of many places along Li Jiang or Yulong He where you can hire a bamboo raft for a twilight ‘cruise’ – a very relaxing way to spend the evening. (When I took this photograph, I actually thought these were tourists on the bamboo raft, but when I examined the photograph more closely I realised they were locals because the big straw basket in the middle of the raft is full of kitchen utensils).
Critiques | Translate
Moustique (389) 2006-01-11 9:20
Voici assurement un endroit d'une grande beauté et d'un grand calme que tu as su immortaliser.
La lumière est douce, tout semble très zen...
Bravo pour ce cliché
andante (7092) 2006-01-11 9:37
Love to see the whole series, do you have a web site?
Thanks for sharing,
katsuhiro (479) 2006-01-11 9:42
Very nice, shame I didn't manage to get any quite as nice as this one when I was in the region (all of mine a much more misty). I particularly like the small barge in the foreground.
dodic (708) 2006-01-11 9:44
Amazing shot David,
Wonderful place captured at perfect moment.
Thanks for sharing,
boulet83 (85) 2006-01-11 9:44
A great shot, a great note. Thanks.
jjcordier (79297) 2006-01-11 9:50
Cet endroit célèbre est parfaitement photographié ici. La lumière douce contraste avec les rochers aux formes tourmentées. Très belle image
Guenther (10915) 2006-01-11 9:50
Hi David, this is quite a scenary for a sunset! POV and time seem perfectly chosen, the boat add a lot of interest to the shot ... great, rich note, also technically, a perfect example how a TE note should be ... great job!
fbauer (361) 2006-01-11 9:53
This area in China looks great at every time of day.I like the mood coming out of the image.
gaby (19819) 2006-01-11 10:00
David bonsoir - perfect and lovely sunset - the compo and the tones are gorgeous - bravo - in my favorites
recepyuksel (17808) 2006-01-11 10:00
i like the man drinkin water from bottle and birds
riclopes (35577) 2006-01-11 10:27
It seems that you chosed very well! The lighting on the river is great and that boat with the tourists add a plus to the scene. I love the detail of the sun reflected in the water, just between the tourists and the padle man. This photo reminds me of one similar one I took around Lijiang when cycling in the outskirts.
You are right about the best time for this trip. I took the 9:00a.m. tourist boat you talk about and the photos didn't get so nice.
Well done and very good note as well!
Thanks for sharing,
capthaddock (28790) 2006-01-11 10:41
Hi David - easily one of the best Li Jiang photos I've seen, the pergfect example of being at the right place at the right time, simply awesome.
ahmet54 (3177) 2006-01-11 15:12
beautiful scenery captured at the right time of day. Great composition with the float in the foreground. Your pic bring back a lot of memories.
Thanks for sharing it.
sarju (5324) 2006-01-11 15:31
very good photo indeed, I do agree with you that the setting sun adds a very good character to this photo.
Thanks for sharing this incredible view from the incredible country and also for the very inormative note on the technical as well as the physical aspects of the photo
cheers ... sarju
kensimage (8565) 2006-01-11 23:38
1,200 yuan, that's not cheap! (Isn't a yuan about 1/8 of a US dollar?) But I think it was worth it, for this shot. It's very beautiful, one of those times when haze helps. The light is so soft, and the raft is perfectly placed in the frame. The boatman's reflection adds a nice touch. That was a trip you'll remember, particularly with photos like this! Regards, Ken.
aloyho (6798) 2006-01-12 1:28
This is really fantastic and your planning for this trip is certainly fruitful not to say the enjoyment and satisfaction that you get. You have captured the sun at its best position as it provided good lighting for the people on the raft. I love the tonal varieties and the depth it created. It is a very successful shot. Congratulations!! Regards and thanks for the wonderful note.
richtersl (3546) 2006-01-12 8:08
This is a beautiful capture, David. It was definitely worth the trip in the smaller boat. The peach-colored sky is amazing and so are the reflections on the water. This photo has a very peaceful ambiance to it.
fireflyz (2097) 2006-01-12 20:56
Really a nice sunset photo with human element. Indeed a peaceful place and you captured it well! lovely colors and composition.
mpb001 (4602) 2006-01-12 21:43
Absolutely stunning shot, David. You have a classic composition here with beautiful, soft color tones. Very well placed boat in the frame and the sun is caught perfectly.
ChrisJ (112259) 2006-01-13 6:49
A marvellous sunset from south China. Good inclusion of the silhouetted cormorants. Fantastic color, & the Dr Seuss landscape adds a surrealistic element.
PixelTerror (0) 2006-01-13 14:21
Thanks to TE this place became familiar to me and I love your version of it, the sunset and its soft warm colors adds to the magical dimension of these raising structures, the passing boat and the panoramic framing are other points that complement well your composition, I like it !
Have a nice day,
jbweasle (9393) 2006-01-13 14:37
Hello David, I have to say this is one of the best shots I have seen of the Li Jiang. Wonderful composition and great colour. The inclusion of the boat in the foreground is just perfect. When I was there all I saw was fog!
Stepan (27210) 2006-01-15 3:38
I imagine this place must be a great and impressive one.
You composed it great : sunset, boat, perspective, light... Evrything is OK here.
mjdundee (4663) 2006-01-15 10:20
Perfect poster. The only thing that disturbs my eye is the redwhiteblur plastic bac on the boat - but you definitelly could not do better work. TFS Thomas
Pjulin (400) 2006-01-16 7:28
This foto is really fantastic, i really like the atmosphere. Perfect shot.
Cormac (26565) 2006-01-18 10:51
Amazing shot! This one is so beautiful it just jumps out at me. The lighting is good, and the haze gives a great sense of distance and depth when looking at the far away hills. You had the perfect timing also, cathcing the sun just as it is setting. Well done!
Luan (12971) 2006-01-19 8:00
it is just fantastic and awesome landscape, the sunset over this perfect wonder of nature is great. A very nice catch, the pano format emphazises the greatness of the place.
tinamunk3 (6408) 2006-01-22 4:41
An absolutly beautiful shot from this lovely place. And you are so right - everybody (including myself) take the morning boat and don't get the right light but you sure choose the right time.
You write that it's tourists that are beeing paddled in the small bamboo "boat" but for me it looks like some local who are on skarv-fishing.....or I don't know the name of the bird - you can see them sitting in the back of the boat. You know - the bird will take the fish and bring it up to the boat.
The light and the limestone mountains just looks amazing.
keribar (43841) 2006-11-19 10:40
Too bad I read your tips only today, but even if I had read them before I doubt I would able to go on my own or with some photographer friends who were in the same package tour. These tours are very tightly compressed and my absence can really become a disaster for the rest of the group.
This picture is almost what I was after, with the cormorant fisherman and his raft, and the pretty formations. I say almost because I always thought that the best ones should be taken at dawn when the sea is calm, and way before the sun rises. Many thanks and friendly regards - Izzet
colinbrenchley (6431) 2007-02-16 7:58
I am one of those who have posted a "daytime" shot. Your capture of sunset is superb and must have been most enjoyable to see.
goutero (1313) 2009-02-26 11:43
gedul56 (158) 2010-03-27 9:44
Hi David. This is really a wonderful picture. The compo of rocks, boat, sundown and specialy the reflection of it in the water. Good work and TFS. Gerrit
Charrua (146) 2016-05-15 3:24
This is an amazing photo David. The contrast in the background of the grey mountains against the yellow sky is great. The shot was taken at the right moment to allow the reflection of the sun on the river.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2005-09-10
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f/4G ED, UV
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/800 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Blogger slideshow [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2006-01-11 9:15
- Favorites: 5 [view]