Monday, June 29, 2009

Not clouds at all


Reach for the sky
Shanghai, China, May 2007 [Click all images to enlarge]

When I was in China a couple of years back for a conference, I made it a habit every morning to wander to the top floor of my hotel and shoot the early morning skyline. This place was so far removed from my reality that I felt compelled to cut into my sleep to suck in as much as I possibly could.

I felt like a sniper, sitting quietly in my deserted perch while the city came alive below and across from me. I knew the sun had already risen because the sky had brightened considerably. But the sun itself was hidden behind a choking blanket of smog that rose at least 10 degrees above the horizon. So rather than time my arrival to the official sunrise time (I think it was around 4:30 local time), I simply sat myself down just after 5 and waited until the sun found a break in the smoggy clouds.

As scary as this level of pollution was, I was almost ashamed to admit that it made for some stunningly beautiful early morning scenery. For all the sadness I felt as I watched a city live beneath this choking blanket, it remains a time and a place I'll never forget.

Your turn: Pollution as beauty. Please discuss.

7 comments:

Thom said...

I remember from the olympics how smoggy etc it was in China. But it does make beautiful pictures. At least they are okay for your health

MoziEsmé said...

Smog is definitely scary...

Independent Chick said...

Wow. Wow at the beauty of the photos. Wow at all that junk in the sky. We are so lucky here.

Mojo said...

I guess you take art where you can find it, but I was getting short of breath just looking at the photo. "Choking" is precisely the word I'd have used to describe it.

Sadly, I can't imagine the scene improving. Between them, China and India are on pace to build several hundred new coal-fired power plants in the next few years, which could raise the levels of greenhouse gases sufficiently the melt down both polar caps before I reach retirement age.

I wonder if that will make my house beachfront property? Or -- since I only live 125 miles inland -- will it make it submarine property?

Hilary said...

Whoa.. that's some serious pollution. It does indeed make for a lovely shot.. but yuck!

Mojo said...

Your "man-made cloud" spin on the theme gave me a whole other idea for a finale. So to wind up this week I offer:

Thematic Photographic 55: "Cloudy" v.7.0

Michael Manning said...

You are most fortunate to have travelled there, Carmi and I'm sure the kids will ask you "What was China like?" when they are old enough. I see in this photo "poetential" for continued "business as usual" or going Green and allowing the beauty of architecture and the sky to show through! :)