This is a re-post from an older post older of mine, but it fits the bill here in a number of different ways.
On a trip to China in 2007 (the year before they hosted the Olympics) my wife and I spent 3 weeks touring, visiting and simply standing in awe amongst some of the most dazzling scenery in the world.
This is the Reed Flute Caves near the city of Guilin in South Central China. Other recognisable images from the area include the Karst Limestone Mountains, with peaks numbering in the thousands – there’s an example of the type of mountains I mean here. There’s also the equally famous terraced rice fields cut into the mountain sides at Longji village.
These caves near Guilin are of course lit for the tourist trade, to show them at their most dazzling. But because the ceiling in this particular formation (which I think is called ‘Crystal Palace’) like many of its kind around the world, is constantly dripping lime rich water and therefore magical moments are possible with a bit of luck and good management.
As there were many tourists (everywhere we went) it simply wasn’t possible to get good positioning, lighting, framing or anything else. I would have loved to get closer to this – along the left hand side in this image – but we were being a little rushed by the guide.
I was able to get close enough to fill the frame with the elements I wanted and to capture the lovely reflection in the glass smooth water in the pool. What I didn’t know at the time was what I managed to capture through pure chance…
…the large dark stalactite (to the right of centre) was randomly dripping water. Apart from the ripple in the pool below, from a recent drop, there is also the rather magical rainbow that I simply did not see at the time. Maybe it was only momentary, maybe it was random, maybe it was deliberately provided by man-made lighting. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. For me it makes the photograph.
What I have done is sharpen it a little, I increased the contrast to aid the reflection in the water and I also decided to retouch out all the people that were milling around. What I am left with is a reminder of the beautiful place that China is to photograph. It is somewhere I would simply DROP everything to visit again if the opportunity ever arose.