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The Poetic Side of China: Xiapu & Yellow Mountain

$5650.00 / $2,000.00 deposit

20th Nov - 01st Dec, 2021

Bring your camera and join internationally-renowned photographer, Thierry Bornier, on an adventure to Xiapu, one of the world's most photogenic fishing villages, and the breathtaking cliffside walkways that hang over the sea of clouds around the Yellow Mountain.

This workshop will also offer great opportunities for drone photography.

  • Xiapu (Fujian Province)

Xiapu, popularly known as the most charming fishing village in China, is located in the northeast of Fujian province. The village’s surrounding hills provide excellent vantage points from which to compose stunning photographs. 

Against this backdrop, you can recreate in-camera the scenes of traditional Chinese ink paintings of the sun rising or setting whilst fishing boats drift in and out, casting and dragging their nets behind them, and of vast swathes of crab nets strung between tall bamboo poles, hung with the day’s catch.

After the famous Yuanyang Rice Terraces, Xiapu is Thierry’s favorite location to shoot in China. The waters’ natural currents combined with the region’s sunny climate make the village’s mudflats rich in kelp, laver, oysters, and yellow croaker, offering wonderful and varied possibilities for photographers. 

The village is not only a prime location to photograph fishers at work, but also a great place to taste the fresh catch of the day.  Xiapu offers plenty of variety for photographers - low-lying beaches with a stunning sunrise, working fishing communities, and a picturesque old banyan tree forest to mention but a few.

  • Hongcun Village (Anhui Province)

This ancient village is described as one of the Yellow Mountain's must-see areas. It is a village of the ancient Wang clan that was founded about the year 1100. Ingenious use of natural resources - water, trees, gardens, and farmland – have produced a beautiful setting for the Wang clan’s daily life over many generations.

The architecture and carvings of the approximately 150 residences in the village dating back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties are said to be among the best of their kind in China.

Together with Xidi village, Hongcun became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Scenes from the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were filmed on location in Hongcun. Often referred to as “the ancient village in Chinese paintings”, Hongcun is so quiet, peaceful and beautiful that it leaves an impression on visitors that lasts for a lifetime. 

  • Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) 

Huang means “yellow” and shan means “mountain”. An ancient Chinese writer once remarked on the view of the clouds from Huangshan as follows: “To enjoy the magnificence of a mountain, you have to look upwards in most cases. To enjoy Mount Huangshan, however, you’ve got to look downward.” That writer was referring to the Sea of Clouds, which looks exactly as it sounds.

The area also is host to notable lighting effects, and watching the sunrise here is a must when visiting the area. A couple of times a month, a phenomenon known as Buddha’s Light can be witnessed as a halo-effect that gives the mountain a mirage-like aura, which is believed to be a symbol of good fortune. 

The Yellow Mountain is part of a mountain range in southern Anhui Province in Eastern China. It was named Huangshan in 747 AD in recognition of the legendary Huang Di, who was the reputed ancestor of the Chinese people and who supposedly made magic elixirs of immortality here. 

The area is well known for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly-shaped granite peaks, pine trees, hot springs and winter snow. Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of China’s major tourist destinations. Huangshan is also a famous place for Chinese teas of high quality. 

Day 1 - Shanghai-Xiapu

This morning, we will catch a high-speed train from Shanghai to Xiapu (5.5 hrs), then transfer to our hotel for check-in.

Day 2-7 - Xiapu

We will spend these 6 days shooting amidst Xiapu’s quaint fishing village atmosphere at several different locations.

Each morning will start early to catch the village’s fishermen preparing their boats and nets for the day ahead as the sun rises over their backs, their silhouettes against the shimmering waters, taken in from different angles.

October to december is the best time for seaweed here, and each day we will have many opportunities to take advantage of this to create artistic pictures.

After each morning shoot, we will return to the hotel for a full breakfast and a rest. We will then spend the rest of each day exploring Xiapu’s lively fish markets, quiet, rustic corners, creaking wooden docks, and much more. 

Every evening, we will have dinner together, followed by a group discussion about technique and composition, taking inspiration from everyone’s photos.

Day 8 - Xiapu-Hongcun

After a morning shoot in Xiapu, we will catch a high-speed train to Fuzhou (1 hr), where we will stop for lunch. 

In the afternoon, we take a high-speed train from Fuzhou to the Yellow Mountain.

Upon arrival, we will be transferred to our hotel in Hongcun, where we will spend the night.

Day 9 - Hongcun-Yellow Mountain

After our morning photography shoot and breakfast, we will begin our journey to Yellow Mountain, which entails a 1-hour private transfer by minibus, a shuttle hop to the cable car station, a fast cable car ride taking everyone up to the mountain top, and a 45-min hike before we finally arrive at our hotel. 

As we get out of the cable car, there will be porters available for hire to carry our luggage.

Day 10-11 - Yellow Mountain

Each of these 2 days starts before dawn in order to catch the magnificent sunrise. We will then return to the hotel for breakfast and some rest. 

Later in the day, we will be trekking up and down the Yellow Mountain’s many overgrown peaks. Tucked away amidst craggy granite overhangs and pine trees, you can find hidden hot springs and vantage points offering splendid panoramic views of the surrounding peaks that burst and break through the rolling sea of clouds. 

Every evening, we will gather for dinner and group discussion.

Day 12 - Yellow Mountain-Shanghai

After a final morning photoshoot, we bid farewell to the Yellow Mountain, and make our way downhill by cable car, and then a shuttle hop followed by a private transfer to Huangshan North Railway Station to catch a high-speed train back to Shanghai, where the workshop concludes.

We strongly recommend you take out a Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance policy after booking your trip. If you cancel and your place on the workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and your place on the workshop is not then filled, you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the workshop:

More than 90 days before the start date of the workshop: full refund minus $300 service fee.

75 days or more: 75% refund.

60 days or more: 50% refund.

Less than 60 days: no refund.

Refunds will be paid by the same method the original payment was made.