Crossing the Li R, Guilin (1983)

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (16)

Ian Stehbens on November 9, 2007

When I was perusing a photo by Stéphane Raverdy, I was thinking about her excellent photo of a street scene and I commented on the way she used centre divisons rather than thirds in her photo. A pole was on the centre line and a sign on the horizontal centre line. She had created separate pictures within the photo. But they were held together by story. A boy for example was looking into another section of the photo. That made me remember one I took in 1983, one morning on the Li River in China. So I have just scanned and uploaded it. It too has story, and I think it succeeds and is held together, though not as well as Stephane's. Interested in any critique.

© Stéphane RAVERDY on November 10, 2007

Thanks you very much for this nice gift, Ian, Great shot, very cool scene !


Avec tout mon respect,


Marilyn Whiteley on November 11, 2007

Interesting question, Ian. I think that the division made by the pole and the person almost lined up with it work well in dividing the picture which also has the horizontal river bank and the near-horizontal diagonals to give it continuity. In this the busy-ness in the lower left section (the baskets and the bending worker) add some complexity that keep it from working as elegantly as you might like. But after all, they were there--things over which you had no control.

How I envy you that river trip, and I think you for giving me a glimpse of it in this and other pictures.!

Ian Stehbens on November 11, 2007

Thanks for the response Marilyn. My wife, brother and I rode bicycles along the bank of the Li River - it was also clearly defined, heavily trafficked by pedestrians, bicycles and hand-carts. What a privilege and joy. We actually crossed the river at this point, on the next crossing of the punt, the old lady poling us across. The more I look at this picture the more I am pleased with its composition- the triangle of foreground activity is holding it all together. It mightn't be conventional photographic composition, but the artist in me likes it. Apart from all the foreground stories, the pathway on the far bank disappears into a cave and out again into another cave, and the pedestrians on it will also thread through the caves. As the young workers ride the punt they will join this threaded flow to work. I could have recorded hundreds of fascinating images that morning alone, and the stories would go on. Life does.

And as for river journeys, the tourist cruise along the Li River is absolutley stunning. But the best of all is the upstream cruise on the Yangtze (Changjiang) to Chongqing especially the 480km section from Yiling through the Three Gorges. I led a tour through China and chose this journey as part of it. The river was in big flow, for we were on the tailend of a flood, and therefore our upstream journey was slow (10knots net) and that gave every opportunity for observing life, spectacular landscape the equal of Norway at times, and better than Thailand's south, and yet so classical Chinese for most of it. They say that those who are the most envious of travel are those who have already travelled the most - I think that may apply Marilyn. I'd love to have been to Etosha and Guyana for example. Blessings, Ian

Marilyn Whiteley on November 12, 2007

I guess failed to say that I do like the photo! Of course now, after your description, I see more in it, too.

Yes, I suppose I fit into the category of those who have travelled much and still envy ... I've been very fortunate. Unfortunately my husband knows so many people who've returned from China sick that he's very wary of the pollution there; that even overrules his interests as a water resource engineer and as an active environmentalist. But I can dream ... and look at photos! Best wishes, Marilyn

Cristina Sottile on March 12, 2008

Is very interesting your tale about the trip in Guilin, Thank you for share your experience, and greetings from Buenos Aires. We have travel to China in 2006, it was amazing, I upload some photos, you are invited to visit my gallery. Cristina

Ian Stehbens on March 12, 2008

Dear Christina,

I will enjoy exploring your album and through it exploring China, Patagonia, Uruguay and Canada with you.

It is great to meet you and thanks fro making contact. I saw that you have been in contact with Eva77 in Kiev too. Isn't it an interesting world we live in and that Panoarmio allows us to develop a network that covers the globe e.g. Argentina, Ukraine, Argentina, Hong Kong, Canada.....!!!!!

Maybe I will have to scan some more photos of China from my very significant times there in the 1970s and 1980s! I think there is much we can talk about.

Regards from Sydney.


Cristina Sottile on March 15, 2008

Hi, Ian, this kind of communication is something near the magic. We can know the world, and chat with people and ask questions, and see places, is a wonder of our age. I must to scan a lot of pictures I have about my travels across América: México, Peru, Bolivia, etc, etc, with archaeologycal sites, etc, but I need time for this!!! Greetings from Buenos Aires. Cristina

Ian Stehbens on March 17, 2008

I look forward to seeing your travels revealed, Christina, and as you have mentioned your interest in archaeology, I will certainly appreciate that particular aspect of your photography and experience, too.



Cristina Sottile on March 20, 2008

Thank you, it not will happen immediatly, it is a time with a lot of work, but I promise will come. my interest for Archaeology is based in my original profession:Ceramics teacher, and through this ways I end in Anthropology, is a passion, not a profession. Is a long long way to find the sense of the life for myself, but is a rich way, and brings to me a lot of satisfactions. Greetings. Cristina

nigelf on April 13, 2009

Beautiful part of China:-), only been to Beijing Xian and Hong Kong, this area is somewhere ive always wanted to go. Greetings from England

Ian Stehbens on April 13, 2009

It is nice to transport your dreams half-way round the world, Nigel. If you have been to Xian and Beijing you have been to a very different China from Guilin, Guangxi.

I muse now on what it would be like to be in China with my digital camera for its an amazing world of majesty, intensity, colour and diversity! When I was last there I was there primarily as a geographer and tour leader, waiting often for the photographers to catch up with the rest of the group!

Thanks for your visit to my album and for finding this image. I hope spring and summer are generous to you with wonderful weather for your photography.


Marilyn Whiteley on April 18, 2010

So now I must return to this interesting photo, Ian. I envied you that river trip, and now (as I've said on another photo) we'll be making one ourselves!


Ian Stehbens on April 19, 2010

I am sure that you will be among the people with your camera as I was, Marilyn. Have a wonderful time. I have been here in winter and in summer, and I must say that a summer visit is the best. Enjoy it immensely.


NetCar on August 21, 2010


Ian Stehbens on August 31, 2010

Hello NetCar: This is life in China!! It is a real privilege to use a camera in China, allowing it to receive the scenes and the activities.

Best wishes,


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 8, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens