on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Yellow Mountains

Paul talks about his latest trip

Paul Gallagher

Paul Gallagher is recognised as one of the most accomplished landscape photographers and workshop leaders in the UK today. He has been a writer and lecturer in photography for over thirty years and runs both field and printing workshop nationally and internationally.


In early 2016 I began liaising with friends I know in China to create a trip to somewhere I had never been before, which actually resulted in me visiting many places I had never even heard of. As much as I love to visit and photograph locations I am familiar with, it is often refreshing and challenging to head to somewhere completely different and see how you approach the subject with your camera and also see how you would interpret the landscape as a result of you experiencing it.

After many suggestions and ideas being shared over many phone calls, it was decided that I should visit Mount Huangshan or Yellow Mountains. Yellow Mountains are a vast and intricate mountain range consisting of thousands of granite spires that extend to nearly 1,900 meters above sea level where there are pine trees that precariously grow in seemingly impossible conditions. The Yellow Mountains situated in the Anhui province of eastern China 5 hours west of Shanghai and the journey alone would prove to be an eye opener for me.

The start of the exploration began in Shanghai itself and standing on the Bund on the west banks of the Huangpu River watching the huge sky-scrapers slowly being lit up as the sun set on the what can only be described as a smoggy evening metropolis. This experience alone was different for me as a landscape photographer used to working in the quiet alone. The Bund is a busy place. When I say busy I mean hugely populated with thousands of people who flock there every evening to witness this spectacular. Now, this may sound like an uncomfortable experience but it was anything but uncomfortable. It was relatively easy to 'carve out' a little working area for my camera and tripod and the people could not have been any friendlier. That said, the lovely Chinese people do not have the same sense of personal space as us westerners and it was not uncommon for them to walk right up to the back of my camera as the thumbnail appeared on the rear screen to have a look. In the end I had created quite an orderly queue, all of which were happy to try out my loupe! 

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