China, December 2003–January 2004

    I took a five-week trip to China in December 2003 and January 2004, my longest since June and July of 1999. It was wonderful! I traveled to five cities in this order: Beijing, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Guiyang (with a extra day in Beijing on the way out). I took digital pictures with my Canon EOS 10D with its 16–35-mm zoom lens (effective focal lengths of 25–50 mm), and it worked like a charm. The sections below offer an impression of what I saw and did.
    As usual, most of my time was spent with students and staff at various institutes and universities. In the middle was the Third Asian Aerosol Conference, in Hong Kong, which had been postponed from July 2003.
    Enjoy the pictures!
    Viewers should feel free to use the pictures for any purpose. I ask only that you let me know that you are copying them, mostly to satisfy my curiosity as to who is interested and why.
    One final note for the technically inclined. I used available light throughout—no flash—because the external flash was too bulky and disruptive to carry around. I couldn't use the built-in flash because it casts a shadow on the bottom of pictures shot at wide angles. I could still shoot just about anywhere, because the Canon can routinely be adjusted up to ISO 1600. I discovered just how well it could function in night light while in Beijing, and used this capability liberally throughout the rest of the trip.

How best to view these photos
    It is extremely important to view these photos properly in order to get the most from them. They are 1024x682 pixels, which means that they need to be viewed on a monitor that is set to at least 1024 pixels wide. The standard setting of 1024x768 will be fine, as will the next-higher setting, 1152x870. In either case, I strongly recommend viewing them in the Web browser's full-screen mode. For Internet Explorer, this requires three short steps:
    (1) Go to one of the introductory pages or a page of photos.
    (2) Remove any frames on the left, such as Favorites.
    (3) Go to full-screen mode, either by View/Full Screen or by hitting F11.
After taking these steps, turn down the lights in your viewing room and sit close to the screen. The goal is to try to match the angle subtended by your screen with the angle of view in the original picture, which in most cases here was very wide. So sit as close to the screen as you can focus your eyes. After you take these steps, the pictures should suddenly become three-dimensional and extremely lifelike. You will be "in" the scenes.

Beijing, 24–31 December 2003
Xiamen, 31 December 2003–6 January 2004
Hong Kong, 6–9 January 2004
Guangzhou, 10–15 January 2004
Guiyang, 15–24 January 2004
Beijing 25 January 2004

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