Amateur photographers share their best photos of China – This is Shenzhen

‘City Snapshot’ is a monthly feature where an Instagrammer tells This is on their foray into photography and the images that inspire them. Here’s a roundup of the featured photographers for Spring 2022.

The July issue: @andycheww

Singaporean Andy Chew was seconded to China by his company in 2005. He took photography as a pretext to visit the country. Although he has over 20,000 Instagram followers, Chew says he’s completely self-taught and photography has always been a side hobby. Nevertheless, the photos he captures are breathtaking and give us this anxious feeling that we are not exploring this country enough.

Chew currently lives in Suzhou and says it’s one of his favorite cities to photograph. He says This is“It has been ranked as one of the most scenic cities in China since ancient times and continues to be one of the easiest to photograph because there is no shortage of places to visit and scenes to photograph, no matter the season.”


“I use an older Nikon D800E for regular photography,” he admits, “and a DJI Mavic Air 2 for my aerial shots.” When asked about advice for first-time drone buyers, Chew thinks a reliable connection is the most important aspect of a drone. “I find flying drones in urban environments quite stressful. Being confident that I won’t easily lose contact with my drone during flight helps alleviate a lot of the stress. Considering the specs, software, and general popularity, I would advise most beginners to stick with DJI drones for now. My first drone was a DJI Mini.


“The general attitude towards drone flying is generally more relaxed in China. Most people in cities have seen a lot of drones around, so they won’t even bat an eyelid even if you’re flying one right next to them. I have to avoid it bao’an although in most places they will approach you and make you stop flying even if there are no specific drone rules in that place.


The August issue: @dustytrash

“It’s a hobby… no, not a hobby — an obsession,” Wood says when asked if photography is his full-time job. He lives with his wife in Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou Province in southwest China. Insisting that we refer to him by his artistic alias, Mr Wood was introduced to photography as a child, first developing black and white film in a darkened room with his father. After a long hiatus, he began experimenting with film photography in 2007. Slowly, Mr. Wood transitioned to digital cameras, adding: “I’ve used a lot of different cameras in my life so far, it’s an Olympus OMD with a couple of lenses, a Ricoh GRIII and an iPhone. He admits that he sometimes allows himself the nostalgia of shooting a few films on his old Leica m6 with a 50 mm lens.


“I love street photography, strangers and random situations,” says Wood. “Also, I like the mix of eras when a new city develops in the middle of an old one – something we have a lot in China.


“There aren’t many opportunities to travel at the moment but I like the scenery here in Guiyang, the mix of old China with a rapidly developing and modernizing city. Other places I have enjoyed photographing are Hong Kong, Chongqing, Dali, Lugu Lake, and some of Hainan’s small beaches and towns.


Mr. Wood says there is not really a formula in its composition. However, he finds the process cathartic and after a hard day he will grab a camera and go on a wander. Through trial and error, and just exploring with the camera at your side, the shots come naturally.


The September issue:

With an Instagram account topping 20,000, Danny Kan captures ethereal angles from his hometown.

He grew up in Hong Kong and likewise saw the city grow around him. Kan found his passion for photography on a trip to Australia where he kept a camera handy during his month-long stay.

When he returned to Hong Kong, the camera remained by his side and four years later he was a professional portrait photographer.


Kan says he usually finds scenes to film through somewhat random searches, but sometimes uses Google Earth to find his perch. When asked what constitutes a good photo, he answers This is“I believe people see a great photo with different perspectives, but making a cool photo with great color grading is helpful in getting the audience’s attention.


Kan uses a Sony A7IV camera and a DJI Mavic Air 2 for his aerial shots. For early drone buyers, Kan insists that strong obstacle avoidance should be considered. He adds: “When my drone is not stable in the air, it is a horrible experience. It nearly crashed into buildings, but luckily I was able to regain control before I got in serious trouble.


The drone is a crucial tool in his arsenal because his cityscape photos are stunning. Kan remembers his personal favorite photo as “witnessing the clouds floating lower than the skyscrapers and forming the shape of a wave. I’ll never forget how awesome it was.


Here’s how the This is Shanghai @thatshanghai The Instagram account works: users hashtag their images #thatsshanghai and we select the best of them to reprogram, identifying the original photographer.

[Cover image via @dustytrash/Instagram]

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