Published on: 5th Feb 2015In November 2014 ten photographers joined me on a photo trip to China. This was not your normal travel trip, as all the activities were organised and joined by local photographers from the photography clubs of the towns we visited.
Our first night was just outside Shanghai in a water town near Suzhou, but that is the topic of another article. On the second day we went to the town called Gaoyou (高邮), which, when translated, means "High Post". It is in the Jiangsuprovince, located in the Yangtze River Delta on the north side of the Yangtze River, and next to the Gaoyou lake. The current city dates back to 230 BC, but evidence of rice growing dates back as far as 7000 years! One of the most important things about Gaoyou is the fact that it is next to the Grand Canal (the Grand Canal is a man made structure that stretches from Beijing to Nanjing and is 1,776 km long). From 1375, early in the Ming Dynasty, Gaoyou hosted one of the important post offices next to the Grand Canal.
Because of its location next to the Grand Canal, Gaoyou is also known for its duck and geese farming. And we were there to photograph the ducks and the geese!
Our host, Mr. Xiaomeng Zhang, the president of the Gaoyou Photography Association, is an excellent photographer who has won many medals in international salons. If you attended the South Africa / China exhibitions in the Cape or Johannesburg,you may remember those amazing artistic geese herding photos of his. On the first morning in Gaoyou, we were already on the first geese farm long before sunrise! We were not prepared for the sight that was awaiting us. I did not think that I will ever lay my eyes on a sight of 5000 geese!
Like with all photography, when the subject is new to you, you stick to the basics, make sure you get the right depth of field, the right exposure and look for good traditional compositions. But, because we visited two gees farms and one duck farm on that day, and then went back the next morning to the one farm for another sunrise geese shoot, we had plenty time to get accustomed to this "new" genre of photography, and could start experimenting with more artistic compositions and techniques - obviously not in the same class as Mr Zhang's photos!
(If you have read up to here and did not click on a photo yet, do so to see them in larger format and also to browse through the rest of this gallery)