If you met someone who had never seen the Grand Canyon… how would you go about explaining it to them?  Could words ever do it justice?  For those that have been there, do pictures really do it justice?  Having been there a couple of times myself, I can positively say the answer to the latter two questions is ‘no’.  As a photographer, I feel unable to truly capture it’s beauty or the feeling of awe I get when I stand at the edge of its cliffs.

I have all these exact same feelings trying to come up with the words, or hope to illustrate through pictures, the beauty of Zhangjiajie in China’s Hunan Province.  It is simply the most fantastic landscape I’ve ever seen.

The park itself was the inspiration for the landscapes of Pandora, the alien world featured in James Cameron’s Avatar.  The setting is reminiscent of the Grand Canyon, though not quite as deep, and covered with trees.  The valleys are filled with sandstone towers that are impossibly thin and tall.  Some look as though they could topple over at any moment.  On the tops are scruffy looking pine trees, the sum total of which looks as though it was pulled from a Chinese watercolor painting.  When it rains, the valleys fill up with clouds, adding more mystery to an already amazing landscape.  Oh how I wish it had rained while we were there!!

From a photographic standpoint, I have to admit I didn’t come away with what I had hoped to.  I love the pictures I got there, but I felt like the park has SO much more to offer than what I was able to capture.  But so it goes when you’ve only got a weekend.  The picture above is my favorite, but I’ve included the gallery below as a means to share the beauty of the place more.  You really have to go see it for yourself  to truly appreciate it though!

–Dan Thompson

Title Address Description
Unnamed Road, Wulingyuan Qu, Zhangjiajie Shi, Hunan Sheng, China, 427400

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