If you wander around Beijing’s parks and quiet spaces in the morning you will find plenty of people doing their morning exercises. Most are doing a form of Tai Chi Chuan which translates to, “the ultimate.” According to the experts it involves three aspects of the human body, health, meditation and martial arts. Most of the people that you see in the parks are practicing the first two. The martial arts aspect involves much more intense physical training. That said, for a photographer or someone visiting Beijing, one of the best walking tours that you can take is in the early morning. The streets are calmer and there is no telling what you’ll stumble into.
After walking what turns out to be two miles if you just walk straight through the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, you wall out of a small door. If you turn around, you’ll see a huge and tall wall with benches running along the base. This is it. People sit there and rest for either the return trip or a walk to the north. If two miles sounds like a long walk, consider this: most people weave in and out of the city looking at things that interest them. If that’s not enough, the pavement is 500 years old. It is rough. It is uneven. It has big, high stairs. And, you are constantly dodging other tourists. In short, it’s a hike. These folks deserve the rest.
This image reflects one of the sweetest moments I found in Beijing. While I was walking through the Forbidden City, I happen to see a large hill behind the city. It was large in relationship to the area because that part of the city is very flat. The place I “found” is Jing Shan Park, which means Prospect Park. Hmmmm… I came from Brooklyn, NY very near — you guessed it — Prospect Park. My home far away from home. Fortunately, photographing the park was one of the items on my shot list. So, I sent some time wandering through the park. I stumbled up on this scene around lunch time. The square was filled with many couples doing their version of ballroom dancing to music blaring over a very cheap and tinny sounding speaker. the quality of the music didn’t matter to them. They were having fun.
Spell check is going crazy. I guess that it can’t correct Pinyin, which are Western letters used to transliterate Chinese characters.
This picture was made on a walking street near Wangfujing Dajie and across from the world’s largest shopping mall. How large? It stretches the length of two subway stops, so it’s length is close to a mile.
This little walking street is filled with outdoor food stalls, lots of cheap Chinoiserie and plenty of shoppers. It is only a few blocks walk Tiannanmen Square and The Forbidden City. But, not to be confused. Beijing blocks are very, very long. I walked it a number of times. But, I could have easily flagged a taxi and that wouldn’t have been considered odd.
By the way, to see the entire curated collection please go to
That’s what we say, anyway. Everybody is a photographer. In this case, a PLA soldier — that’s People’s Liberation Army – takes my picture as I take his picture. The PLA is the formal name for what China calls their army. I doubt that he was doing any surveillance since he was with his family and we were all standing in Tianannmen Square acting like tourists taking pictures of each other. You never know. But…
Hey Mister. Do you want to buy a pippa? A few years ago I was shooting a Lonely Planet book in Beijing, China when I stumbled upon this guy selling cheap, Chinese musical instruments. Even though I wasn’t interested in the instrument, he did agree to show me his wares so I could photograph him and them. Unlike some of my friends, I don’t have a translator and a fixer. I just smile and gesture if I can’t speak to them because of language barriers.
Although she is shopping at the Ladies Market in Mong Kok, this woman is a classic example of what the Cantonese word tai tai has evolved into. Its root meaning is simply “MRS.” But, today, it means something like “blue haired, wealthy woman who over dresses and usually rides in a car driven by a guy in a back suit and hat.” Although I don’t know this for a fact, the two young women that are slightly behind her and are in better focus then the rest of the crowded, are probably her Filipina helpers.
This is a place for one of the best views of Hong Kong. This is from a coffee shop located on The Peak in one of two shopping areas. The coffee shop is Pacific Coffee which was the forerunner of Starbucks in Hong Kong. There are Pacific Coffee shops in many locations including all the Star Ferry terminals and in SOHO and along Hollywood Road. But, in this case, it’s the view that is truly wonderful. And the seats and tables are free. You can also ride the elevator and escalators from this building to the terrace for the classic view of Hong Kong from the Peak.
I‘ve been casting about, looking for a title of a book I want to do via Blurb on the Chinese neighbor – hoods in Hong Kong. Given that Hong Kong Island and Kowloon are composed of 98% Chinese people, every neighborhood is Chinese. But, some are more old school than others.
The idea for the title came to me while I was doing the post production on this image. I was thinking, “this is everyday life in Hong Kong, you run errands, go to work, take the MTR, run some more errands, maybe eat a meal and…”