Girl in the Park
    When Holly and I were planning our trip to China, the Olympic Park was something I put down as a place I’d like to see if we had time.  The 2008 Summer Olympics were so over the top with Usain Bolt crushing records in the Birds Nest and Michael Phelps doing the same in the crazy Water Cube; it just seemed like something noteworthy to visit.  With all the other amazing things in the Beijing area though, I couldn’t have imagined what a lasting memory the park would create.

One of the things that both Holly and I appreciated about the Chinese culture were the public gathering places.  In every city there is a park somewhere (or lots of them if it is a bigger city) filled with people doing activities from dancing, to Tai Chi, to badminton with no net… you name it.  There would be music playing and people genuinely enjoying themselves.  The Olympic Park was one of those places.  When Holly and I arrived it was windy and sprinkling… no one seemed to care.  Kids were having a roller blade race in the shadows of the big media tower where all the film crews were setup for the Olympics.  Children and adults alike were flying kites between the Water Cube and the Birds Nest.  Holly and I were celebrities… quite literally.  The Chinese people were very interested in Westerners and wanted to have their picture made with you.

In the middle of it all, there was this little girl.

Cute as she could be, her mother had gotten her one of the long kites you could buy from the various vendors.  She seemed to have no trouble getting it to fly.  As the wind caught the small kites and lifted them skyward, she turned and started following her mother around who immediately started snapping pictures of her and laughing… as did several other passersby, myself included.

Last week I made the comment that I usually don’t care for selective colorization.  To quote my most recent instructor at the University of Tennessee, Colby McLemore, it can be “hokey and very 90s”.  However there are instances where I like it; mostly when it is used to simplify an image.  To quote a commenter on Flickr of this picture, “There is a lot going on in the busy square, yet the girl is the center of attention to the viewer and in her own world!”… which is exactly what I was going for.

For that moment, the world stopped for her.

–Dan Thompson

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