When you go on holiday somewhere you've been dreaming about visiting for years, you can often have preconceived ideas of the photographs you want.
When they don't quite turn out how you had in mind, it can be hugely disappointing. Fortunately for me, this shot turned out exactly as I had pictured.
This is a very run-down part of the Great Wall of China by Gubeikou and is known as Crouching Tiger or Wohu (卧虎山长城). I had 'scouted' this location out a few weeks before using travel guides, blogs and google maps. I didn't want a tourist trap like Badaling or the ilk. Although those places have restored the wall to its former glory, it wasn't the original wall and I think that loses some of the original 'essence'.
During my research, I discovered a fantastic hostel right at the beginning of this stretch of wall, so it was perfect for early starts and late finishes. After our sunrise shoot outside the Forbidden City at 04:00, then our hike up Jingshan Hill, then our tour of the Forbidden City at 08:30, we took a 4 hour car ride from Beijing and arrived at Gubeikou in the late afternoon.
After a quick rest to recover from the early morning, myself and Greg Annandale set out towards this mountain peak. After some dodgy directions that lead us into what can only be described as a marsh or swamp, we finally found the path up to the peak. Unfortunately, our wrong turn meant we were behind schedule and we literally had to run up the side of this mountain to make it in time for sunset. And what a gorgeous sunset it was.
You can see a behind the scenes video if you so wish. Due to literally four or five hours sleep over the last two days, a lot of travelling and a jog up a dusty hill carry a lot of photographic gear, I apologies for the state of my appearance in this video!