Evening Shooting with the Police Officer

When you’re out travelling for work, you don’t always have the most amount of time to get out shooting.  That being said, there is always time, and interesting things to see while you’re able to get out and about.

It was getting later in the evening, and we had definitely had a full day already.  I’ve never been one to allow language to be a large barrier in my travels, and I have found one truth that reins true in all situations.  Stay calm and stay friendly, and some how or another you’ll likely be able to manage a conversation. It may not be on the meaning of life, but I bet you would be surprised at how happy people are to help.  So, after talking with the front desk, and making sure to have my “Take me to __________” card with the translations in to Mandarin, I hopped in a taxi and took off for West Lake.  Now there are quite a few ‘famous’ places when you’re talking with the Chinese culture, it seems that every other building/location/etc is ‘famous’, but it must mean something a little different than what we would normally think.  Of all the different things that were pointed out to me as ‘famous’, I would have to say this is probably one of the more well known of the lot.

Anyways, it’s getting late, and it’s my first night out and about exploring, so I was feeling a little more trepidation as I hopped out of the cab and began walking.  Shortly in to coming up on the water’s edge, I noticed a police officer getting off his bicycle, having a seat down on one of the benches, and giving him a ‘hello’ nod, planned on continuing on my way.  But he beckoned me over, and offered up a seat next to him on the bench.  Well, not one to pass up a friendly police escort, I had a seat, and began unpacking my gear.  He watched over my shoulder, and when I had everything ready, he offered me a cigarette… Well, not being a smoker, I didn’t particularly want it, but not knowing how to say ‘no thank you’, and not wanting to offend him, I felt a little more obliged.  Especially since he was there keeping an eye on everything for me!  Well I managed to pretend my way thru the cigarette, and got my first shot that you see below.  Happy with that setup, I began to frame up the next scene, another temple in front of a jagged mountain.  As I’m looking thru the viewfinder, what happens but all the lights turn off!  I moaned a defeated sound, and the police officer looked around, and gave a belly laugh, looked down at his watch, and nodded ‘yep, sorry it’s that time of night’.  As more lights began to turn off around the lake, I thanked the officer for his generosity, and headed off. A full conversation without a word of mutual language.

Evening Shooting Hangzhou William Woodward