Southwestern China Journey
by Len Johnson
In the Spring of 2017 I took a 19-day trip to the Yunnan and Southwestern regions of China. The villages and cities I visited included Xizhou, Zhoucheng, Dali, Shangri-la, Chengdu, Guilin, Longji, Yangshuo and Shanghai. The first thirteen days were a cultural tour and photographic workshop guided by Douglas Beasley, an American photographer based in Minnesota who is the author of the book Zen & the Art of Photography — A Guide to Mindfulness in Creativity. The remaining six days were a private tour arranged by Diverse China Travel, an agency based in Beijing.
The photo opportunities were endless ranging from scenic vistas of mountains and rivers to close-up interactions with people at work, play and religious observances. A few of the highlights were the LongJi rice terraces at sunrise, cormorant fisherman at sunset, the panda breeding center in Chengdu and the Songzanlin monastery which is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan.
Len Johnson Bio
Len Johnson received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Illinois and then joined the U.S. Army in 1968 during the Vietnam War. He was sent to Fort Monmouth in New Jersey for training as a photographer. Upon completion of his training he was assigned to a base in Okinawa, Japan where he photographed military ceremonies, Bob Hope’s USO Tour visit, and local cultural activities including flower arranging, calligraphy, pottery making, kick boxing and festivals such as boys day, girls day and New Year’s day. When on leave he also traveled throughout the Far East visiting Japan, India, Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Upon completion of his military tour of duty he and his wife settled in Arlington, Virginia and Len began working at a three-person graphic design firm. After ten years as an employee, he purchased the firm upon the owners’ retirement. He then grew the firm to a 15-person integrated marketing communications firm called JDG Communications. JDG had clients in the government, corporate and nonprofit sectors and he sold his company in 2009. Since his retirement, Len has served as a volunteer for the Washington DC chapter of SCORE and mentors small business entrepreneurs. Len and his wife live in Falls Church and are blessed with a son and a daughter and four grandchildren.
He has been a member of NVPS since September 2015 and appreciates the educational and social opportunities it provides. He photographs using two Nikon D7200 cameras because his first 35mm camera was a Nikormat he purchased in Okinawa. He likes to shoot nature, wildlife and street photography plus the grandkids in action. His next photo adventure will be a trip to Italy in May 2018 for a workshop/tour in the Tuscany region.
Member of Vietnamese Photographic Society for a few years but she is not new to photography. Kieulan bought her first SLR in 1984 after she got her first job. Taking pictures has been one of her few hobbies but she did not take it seriously until 2004 when she helped to produce a product catalog for her cousin.
Macro photography has always been her first love for photography, but she is also interested in Abstract, Architecture and Landscape photography. She hopes to spread her wings in these areas.
Digital photography has given Kieulan new ways to see and capture things surrounding her and that comes with trial and error. Doing photography has taught her to be patient, persistent, attentive to detail, appreciated what Mother Nature has been giving and grateful for how beautiful the world is. Taking photographs is her meditation when she is out with nature.
Her passion for capturing surrounding things not only has grown stronger but making beautiful images is what she thrives for. To be an artist and not just a photographer that is something that she constantly looks for a new way to be creative in her work.