Huangshan Mountains, China by Bill Sisson

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Picture Story

The Huangshan Mountains in China are famous for their steep granite ridges, bonsai-like trees, and cloud formations. My wife and I visited these mountains mostly because I have long admired traditional Chinese landscape paintings, which often used layers of landscape such as mountain ridges to help achieve the illusion of three-dimensional depth. Many of these landscape paintings were inspired by the Huangshan Mountains. These paintings have also influenced my landscape photography. My wife and I hiked steep trails in these mountains for three days.

While we were there, the lighting and cloud formations were constantly changing around the ridges as well as above and below the mountains. One afternoon while climbing up a steep trail cut into the side of a cliff, I paused to take some photos of clouds and mist flowing around this ridge on the other side a narrow, deep valley. This was the best image of the series that I took, although the lighting beneath an overcast sky was very flat. In processing this image I increased the contrast between the ridges and clouds just above to heighten the layers of ridges and clouds, much as in traditional Chinese landscape paintings.

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