Great Wall Mutianyu China in HDR

By Matthew Bamberg / Dec 5, 2012
Great Wall (Mutianyu) in China HDR

Sometime around the 7th Century BC, the Great Wall in China had begun to be built. The image to your left is the Great Wall China in HDR.

While it isn’t the original Great Wall (this part was rebuilt for tourists) it is in the same place as the existing wall was. To see what’s left of the existing wall, you have to go into an area that’s not for tourists and marked accordingly, a short distance away from the section that was rebuilt.

There you’ll find some of the materials that were used to build the original–wood, stone, brick and dried mud. This part, however, is not very impressive as the wall is directly under you, mostly buried underground.

The Great Wall China in HDR was created by electronically merging three photos of different exposures. In doing so the shadows that were blackened  and highlights that were blown were brought back to life with some details.

There are a couple of facts you should know about the Great Wall before you head out. The first is that it’s a few hours from Beijing. The road is good most of the way, but gets bumpy as you approach it. Once you get there, you’ll find about a dozen venders selling Chinese goods. Watch your wallet here as they will try to trick you by giving you the wrong change. If possible have low denominations of RMB (Chinese money) with you.

You don’t have to go hungry here. The food in Northern China is notoriously unappealing, so I’d stay away from the stands lining the walkway to the entrance. You’ll find that there is a Subway right near the parking lot. You can’t miss it. The food there is similar to that in the United States.

Finally, go there rested. The walk up and down is extremely arduous. It leaves even the most physically-fit person breathless. Remember, too, that the Great Wall China is considerably high up. If you have any mobility problems, look at it from below. Getting up there is likely to get you injured.

To get up to the top you can walk, but it’s quite lengthy and leaves quite a bit more walking once you get to there. The best way to see it is take the ski lifts up (be careful here, too) and then walk from one tower to another (about an hour-in-a-half), then take the lift down. You also have the option of taking the sled down. To be sure, you don’t go down a snowy slope, but instead down a metal track. It’s a lot of fun, but you have to go fast enough so that the person in back of you doesn’t bump from behind.

Compared to Beijing, the air is fresh and clear. Most of the time it’s dry. The best time to visit is in the fall when the leaves are changing. That can be spectacular.

About the author

Matthew Bamberg

Matthew Bamberg has provided photographs and written articles for various Southern California newspapers and magazines, including The Desert Sun and The Press-Enterprise. More recently, Matt has been teaching at UC Riverside while also authoring several books like the Quick and Easy Secrets book series (Cengage), Killer Photos with Your iPhone (with Kris Krug and Greg Ketchum, Cengage), the 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in San Francisco (Cengage) and Digital Art Photography For Dummies (Wiley).