Photographing Decorations In The Snow On Huangshan, China

Red decorations, in an otherwise monochromatic landscape, greet the tired, cold walker on Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain) in China.

Wandering along a step mountain path in dull, grey light I suddenly came across this welcoming scene on Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain) in Eastern China.

It's amazing how much these highly saturated objects stand out against the basically colorless background. The bright red decorations were indeed a welcoming site as they indicated my hotel was not far away.

In China red is a most auspicious color. Considered a lucky color, China Red or Vermilion is symbolic for good fortune.

Exploring The Harmony Of Opposites

I find it interesting that the colors black and white which, together with the color grey, are balanced quite equally throughout this scene. In Chinese culture black and white, placed together, symbolize the harmony of opposites expressed as Yin and Yang.

This was a very straightforward image to produce. The composition was based around the red decorations and the pathway through the trees. 

Interestingly the red decorations appear to fill a similar space in the frame to the pathway, yet they are positioned opposite each other, with the red decorations sweeping across from the top left and the pathway leading the eye into the scene from the bottom right of the frame.

Furthermore one area consists of rounded, delicate objects that seem to float in the air while the other is solid, hard and grounded.

It’s probably not an obvious connection, but I feel it’s there, all the same. And it is through the contrast of opposites where visual harmony occurs.

Symbolism In Photography

As I made my back to the hotel, after an exciting though physically demanding day exploring Huangshan, these simple red decorations stood out like a beacon in the fading light. They signified that warmth, food and rest were not far away. And for the active traveler that’s always a pleasant thought.

While we’re surrounded by images I suspect that, in the western world, we don’t often enough take the time to explore the symbolism and metaphors associated with such images. I know whenever I do my mind is engaged in such a way that interesting connections, associations and meanings are made.

Why Be Sad And Why Be Disappointed?

Therein is the secret to what makes for a rich and happy life. Life is, ultimately, not what’s around us or about what happens to us. Life is about our experiences and how we interprete those experiences. Life simply is. What we make of life, that's what really matters.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru