China - Jiuzhaigou - Jeff Henry Photography
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Flags on the Lake

Flags on the Lake

Jiuzhaigou has to be one of the most beautiful places in all of China. It’s clean, the natural beauty unspoiled, and has a serene and calming feel. The name translates as “Valley of Nine Villages,” though I’m not sure there are still nine villages in the valley.

I traveled to this place while living in Beijing, knowing I wanted to photograph it. The trip was wonderful, though it was not possible to photograph at sunrise or sunset in the valley. Each morning, I’d take the bus to the top of the mountains and then begin walking down along rivers, streams, ponds, and larger lakes. Each walk was incredibly peaceful, as the number of people dwindled away from the bus stops, resulting in a feeling that I was alone in this paradise at the foot of the Tibetan Plateau.

One day my walk took me along the far side of this lake. Most people see this lake from the opposite side, as the road runs on that side. I as lucky that I’d chosen the fork in the path that I did, because that choice led me to this scene. The prayer flags initially caught my attention, but then their reflection became noticeable as the wind died down. I was able to capture this image before the wind return and diminished the reflections.