Discovering Beautiful China – Kike Arnaiz

May and June were challenging and exciting months for Klaud9, as one of Singapore’s leading brands urgently needed photos taken at 28 locations in China. The objective was to get inspiring and candid pictures of different cities, following accurately the client’s brief. For this purpose, our team sent two of our most professional & adventurous photographers to the heart of China, Kike Arnaiz & Ziting.

If you regularly follow Klaud9’s blog articles, you should already have read about Kike Arnaiz, a talented nomad photographer from Spain. Passionate about nomad photography, this young man has already been traveling in exotic countries such as Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, and Iceland. So, when he heard about Klaud9‘s project in China, he couldn’t resist. He seized the opportunity of exploring 8 Chinese regions in only 19 days!

Here is a small summary of his ex-journey.

Day 1-3

Kike: I first flew to Nanning in North China, close of the border with Vietnam. The challenge was to take photos of Detain Waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. With the help of a guide, I had to source for a bamboo boat, as we needed a shot of a person sailing through the river while admiring this striking view. Fortunately, my guide helped me as a translator and as a model.

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Day 4-6

Kike: After Nanning, I had to take a direct flight to Sanya, in Hainan. The scenery was very spectacular with its golden beaches and green mountains. However, we were not expecting the rainy season to be there, making it difficult to take good photographs. Having no choice and time, we had to shoot despite the weather conditions. Luckily, while we were waiting long hours, the perfect light finally came up, allowing us to take stunning photos of the famous “rain forest”.

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Day 7-8

Kike: After one week of traveling, my brain already got used to these early wake-ups (around 4-5AM!) in order to get the best lighting, but also to catch morning flights for the next destinations. I then landed in Kunming, the capital and largest city of Yunnan in southwest China. The first shot was taken in Stone Forest, a notable set of limestone formations. As you can see in the photo below, it’s not a place for people with vertigo!

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The next day we drove to Dongchuan Red Land, where I started to discover local agriculture while meeting authentic people. I noticed immediately that even though people lived with little, they enjoyed life humbly and happily.

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Day 9-11

Kike: I then spent 3 days in Chongqing, a municipality at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers in south-western China. Before landing there, I wasn’t aware that this city contained one of the biggest populations in the world: 33 MILLIONS! Nevertheless, I didn’t have much time to explore this populated city, since the shots were always taken kilometres away from the centre.

On the first day of my trip to Chongqing, I had to shoot again on a boat, but this time in the Yangtze River; the largest river in China. The strong wind and the movements of the water made it quite particular and adventurous!

On the second day, my guide drove me to Wulong Kast; a karst landscape located 139 km from the centre. There were two elements making this shoot difficult: 1) the heavy rain and 2) people. Indeed it was very complicated to take photos of this picturesque temple with many tourists visiting and taking snaps. I had to wait hours before people left, making it easier to take a picture that follows the client’s brief.

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Day 12-14

Kike: It then reached Xiamen, a port city on China’s southeast coast, not far away from Taiwan. This time, I had the opportunity to appreciate Chinese roots, by shooting a tea ritual inside a small house. The next day, I discovered Tulou, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where they have ancient buildings that survived several earthquakes.

PS: I noticed that there were only a few occidental tourists making me feel most of the time as the only non-Asian person. I thus quickly understood why people were always staring at me while asking me to take selfies with them.

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Day 14-16

Kike: OMG, I was very excited to travel to Guiyang. I already knew that I was going to experience one of the best moments of my whole life.

When I first arrived at the airport, Ted (my guide) and his driver took me directly hundreds of kilometres away in the southern mountains of China. The objective was to take photos of Miao, a famous ethnic group from South China. Although there was a language barrier, people were very kind and opened to receive me. When we arrived in the village, a very nice old lady kindly invited me to visit her small house. And while I was already amazed by what was happening around me, more people from the tribe arrived in the village wearing traditional costumes you could not find elsewhere. In fact, they were all dancing and preparing a big festivity in front of the tourists (just Ted and me, lol).

What a joy! What a dance! My eyes were fully illuminated! A group of women even invited me to dance with them, helping me to take the picture I needed. I will never forget this unique moment!

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The next evening we spent it in an old city named Qingyan. While I was randomly walking in the streets, I met a group of guys that were using grasshoppers to make them fight before using them to feed the chickens. “A funny new of martial combat!”

Day 17

Kike: At the last minute, Klaud9 team asked me to take a long flight to Shijiazhuang a good opportunity to discover North of China. The objective there was to climb a beautiful mountain Cang Yan Shan. I had to take a picture of my hand drawing on a notebook while contemplating the beautiful landscape.

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Day 18-19

Kike: After the mountains, let’s explore the desert, yay! This time I had to fly to Yinchuan, very close to Mongolia border. Before this, I wasn’t aware that there were deserts in North China, making me feel as if I was in an Arabic country. According to the brief, I had to take pictures while riding a camel. That was a really nice last adventure!

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To conclude, it was:

  • 1 month of traveling
  • 13 flights
  • Thousands of kilometres in order to get all these photos.

Klaud9 gave me an enriching opportunity to meet incredible people, taste delicious food and fall in love with these landscapes. My prejudice about China changed completely, as I discovered that this immense country is not only about populated cities, economy, and money. On the contrary, travelers should explore more deeply its nature and beauty before it gets too touristic. On my way back to Spain, I was already convinced that I’d get back there again!

. . .

The story doesn’t end here! We will tell you the story about the second photographer of this project: Ziting, in our upcoming article. Also, you can watch Kike’s full video (in Spanish) to discover more about China’s amazing people and landscapes. If you want to get photography and traveling opportunities, join Klaud9 today!

Asia is unique, and so are we. Klaud9.com is Asia’s fastest growing photographer community showcasing the latest and best work of the most talented local photos. If you want to get involved in Klaud9‘s Photographer Community, contact us directly today!

 

 

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