Monk on a walk at Huating Temple, Kunming, China

by China

Therese captured this photo of a monk on a walk at Huating Temple during a visit to Dragon Gate near Kunming, China. Read how she composed and captured the photo.

Kunming, in the far southwestern Yunnan Province of China, has innumerable temples, including Huating Temple – what Chinese city doesn’t? From Buddhist to Taoist, to ones in the hills and on the cliffs at Dragon Gate in the Western Hills Park to serene escapes in the city (e.g. Yuantong), you could spend many years visiting them all.

There is a limit to temple photos one can take. Yes, they are jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring, but walls, candles, bells and etchings are just so … stationery. Sometimes, you just need people in a photo. But at a temple it’s not always possible since often the monks are behind closed doors, in prayer, or don’t want to be photographed.

The subject: The Huating Temple in Kunming’s Western Hills Xishan Park, on the road to Dragon Gate. The temple as it appears today was built in 1320 and, in contrast to most temples, it faces east not south. In the courtyard is a large pool of water – the Eight Merit Pool – with a bridge crossing over one part of it.

The inspiration: On our daylong adventure to get to Dragon Gate, we climbed steep stairs and ventured into caves and small temples – what a worthwhile trek! At our last stop at the end of the day at Huating Temple, I ambled silently around the pond. It was very quiet, I felt peaceful, and no tourists were in sight since it was only minutes before 5 p.m. when the gates would close. Suddenly, I spied a monk doing a couple of laps around the pond – clutching his prayer beads behind his back with his athletic shoes peeping out under his pants. I was not in the best position and he wasn’t exactly waiting for me to get into one. I scrambled to get two shots before he rounded the bend. I waited, hoping he’d take another lap, but no such luck. He was gone. Fortunately, both shots weren’t bad, with this one being the best.

Artist’s tools: My Nikon D90 served me well for many an adventure (though I am a Sony Pro photographer these days), as did the 18-105mm lens f/3.5-5.6, both of which I got when I returned to photography after about 25 years! What I like about this focal length on a lens is its ability to capture almost everything for me without fiddling with changing lens or being draped with several cameras with different lenses. I’m a simple photographer like that. I was set at a 1/160th of second at f/13 with a focal length of 105mm. I also try to avoid over-processing so this has only the simplest of touches; in this case, however, my meandering Huating Temple monk hit a perfect spot but there was a stone bench behind him. That had to go, as you can see in the original, totally untouched photo below. This was taken in April 2016.

 

 

Get your copy of 18 tips to take amazing travel photos for free

18 Tips To Take Amazing Travel Photos

Want a copy of “18 tips to take amazing travel photos” for FREE?

Start by becoming a member of our Subscriber Club. With only an email, you can activate a FREE subscription to our HI Travels Tales Newsletter to begin receiving premium stories, photography and tips that do not appear on our website. And you’ll become part of a fun travel community. To receive your FREE ebook, you only need to click on any premium content page and you will be invited to take advantage of 7 days of FREE unlimited access to our premium content, granting you full access to our full premium travel and recipe library. Just cancel before 7 days and you will owe us nothing. And as a thank you, once you've activated your subscription, send us an email with "send me 18 tips to take amazing travel photos" and we’ll send you a link to download your ebook. No strings attached. 

Our-Photo-Gallery-Gifts-Ad

Our award-winning photos make a perfect gift – to yourself, a friend, or a family member. Prints for a wall, on a desk, as greeting cards, cozy fleece blankets, ornaments, fridge magnets, coffee mugs, luggage tags, coasters, mouse pads and puzzles. Subscriber Club members get 25% off any order

You might also be interested in reading:

0 Comments


As an affiliate for Get Your Guide, Amazon.com, iVisa, Global Rescue, Think Tank, 5.11, Kuhl, Adorama, and others, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you should you choose to purchase through the links in our posts. It is essential to mention that we only endorse products we believe in and personally use. Your support for HI Travel Tales through these purchases allows us to maintain a sustainable platform for creating valuable and relevant content for you. 


Advertisement

Are you protected IF a travel emergency happens?

Global Rescue Travel Insurance Rescue Banner