The Photographer and His Panoramic Picture of the City

Authors: Cheer Chan


In the high-rise mansions in Chengdu, people look out at distant scenery. At that exact moment, there is also someone standing on a tall mountain nearby, capturing the "perfect view" of this city.
At the beginning of 2018, a photo showing a panoramic view of Chengdu went viral on WeChat Moments. It detailed the nearby Longquan Mountain, full of green trees and plants, Mount Gongga with an altitude of 7,556 meters and 6,200 meter Yaomei Peak in the distance. A group of peaks from the Hengduan Mountains are distinctly visible, and the grand architecture of the city jutting up on the vast plain creates an immense sense of depth between the two mountain chains. This panoramic photo has been hailed, with some viewers commending the photographer for not only showing the city landscape, but also clearly presenting the geographical pattern of Chengdu: a plain between two mountains.
This famous panoramic shot made Jianan, a 48-year-old photographer born in Jiangxi, well known to the public. People were always curious to ask him about "how to shoot such panoramic photos of cities". His answer was simple: persistence and practice.
Jianan and his wife moved to Chengdu from Shenzhen four years ago, and he was very curious about everything when arriving in this unfamiliar city. As a shutterbug, he went to Western Sichuan with a group of photographers for capturing folk customs. The snowy mountains and cultures on the plateau made him feel a rare sense of calm and peace. He was inwardly determined to photograph Chengdu.
Jianan settled down in Chengdu's Longquanyi District, his wife's hometown at the foot of mountains. She told him once that she usually saw the snowy mountains, making him suddenly have an idea - it should be a very grand sight if he can shoot a photo for the big city with the snowy mountains as in the background. From then on, he often went to mountains with cameras.
For three years, Jianan has taken photos of grand urban clusters under the romantic sky, rosy clouds slowly gathering and clumping together, and other such scenic shots in his cameras. He said that the shooting process was hard, but he loved the work: "it is a very happy thing, especially when you photograph what you want".
To get the "perfect panorama", Jianan was prepared for that moment. Over the course of three years, he finally found the "best location for shooting" - the rooftop of a farmer's house on Mount Dongshan. With such a "favorably geographic position", he only had to wait for the moment of nice weather.
The weather was unusually sunny on the morning of June 5, 2017. Jianan seized this rare opportunity to continuously shoot 32 photos, which were successfully made into the panoramic photo of Chengdu through post-production and splicing.
The photo received numerous comments, and Jianan was most impressed by "hope you shoot another work which is even more outstanding". He was also willing to share his own tips for photographing the overall view of a city: "a good stand, an accurate exposure, and a theme you want to shoot in your mind. Everyone appreciates different aspects and angles of a photograph, so just shoot whatever you want."

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