Beijing March 2003
This year, I was determined to experience a big, bad dust
storm in China. I figured after studying them for the better part of 30 years,
it was time. I discussed the optimal timing with Jinghua Guo of Beijing Normal
University, and we decided on 15 to 27 March 2003. I was lucky to be joined by
my daughter, Gail. who had not been to China (or Asia) before. So off we went in
search of the great dust storm.
We got SARS instead. Although it had originated in Guangdong Province the previous November, it received its first real publicity while we were in Beijing. Luckily, we left well before in got gained a foothold in Beijing. The experience made for an interesting return home. Instead of being greeted with the usual "Hi! How was your trip? You have to tell me all about it!", I universally received "YOU GOT IT?" and the person backing away. They usually were not reassured when I told them I was not infected.
As for the great dust storm, it never materialized. In fact, Beijing went the entire season without a single dust storm. Do I not know how to pick 'em, or what?
We were based at Beijing Normal University, where I work with the research group of Prof. Guoshun Zhuang. Because the dust storm never materialized., I got to move around more than I had expected to, and was able to accompany Gail on several of her outings. The "sights" represented here are the Forbidden City, the Great Wall at Simatai (unreconstructed), a typical old-style Beijing neighborhood where a student friend of Jinghua's lives, and Tiantan Park. There are also three series of photos from Beijing Normal University.
A technical note for those interested. As an experiment, I changed the way I generated the photo shows. Instead of using print film and scanning the specially produced prints, I used slides on ASA 50 film and had the positives scanned at the photo store (Kingstown Camera in Wakefield, RI). This produced deeper, richer, and presumably truer colors. I took all the photos with my new Canon 16–35-mm ultrawide zoom lens. This was the first large-scale test of the lens, and it passed with flying colors, so to speak.
Enjoy the pictures!
Beijing Normal University
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Great Wall at Simatai
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Visit to a neighborhood
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Prof. Zhuang's program review
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The Renewed Campus of Beijing Normal University
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