December 2016

POTD: Watcher on the Walls

Watcher on the Walls
Huanghuacheng, China

This is definitely not the best photo of a raven I’ve ever taken nor the best photo of the Great Wall of China. But when I saw this raven land in the tree next to the wall I immediately thought of Game of Thrones and the oath of the Night’s Watch:

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.
—  George R. R. Martin

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POTD: No Protection

No Protection
Huanghuacheng, China

A slightly, but only slightly, exaggerated view of the smog at the Great Wall of China the day we were there. (It’s effect on the view was accentuated due to the long distance view through a telephoto lens and then I darkened the edges of the image for more drama.) Note the wall crawling up the spine of the front line of mountains to the watchtower at the top. Apparently the wall was great protection from invasion back before the days of gunpowder anyway, but it’s certainly offers zero protection from smog. A smog wall (as opposed to a wall of smog); now that’s something I could stand behind!

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POTD: Dragon at the Wall

Dragon at the Wall
Huanghuacheng, China

The dragon as a symbol has a long history in China. Traditionally it was a symbol representing imperial power. So seeing one sketched in chalk in a guardhouse on the Great Wall of China, seems appropriate. But, being the consumer of modern media culture that I am, it of course mostly reminded me of the Game of Thrones–which of course also ties it to power. Given the graffiti surrounding it, I had to wonder if the dragon was drawn by a resident of China or a visiting westerner.

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POTD: Pear #1

Pear #1
Beijing, China

Our hotel was very accommodating to this photographer. Twice during our stay there they delivered fresh still-life subjects to our room. They tasted good too. Perhaps I should have called this one “Having Your Cake and Eating It Too.”

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