I often think I understand the story of a place based on what I see as I wander – the people, the landscapes, city streets, neighborhoods and restaurants. Over the last month I have had the opportunity to photograph the tea fields of Yunnan, China on a few occasions. I know what they feel like as I walk though. I know what the tea pickers look like and how they work. But really I don’t every day, every walk is a new learning adventure.

Macro photo of a red flower on Tea Mountain in Pu'er, China

One morning while we were in Puer, Yunnan, China I decided to take a walk and do some photographic exercise and see what I could find on Tea Mountain, a local tea plantation/scenic park. I took 2 cameras and 2 lenses a Sony A99 and an A77ii. I took a 20mm Sony lens and a Sigma 105mm macro. I was intending to work on the extreme ends of the focal length scale with the 20mm on the A99 and the 105mm macro on the A77ii where it has the same perspective as a 155mm lens.

morning sun shining though tree leaves on Tea Mountain Pu'er, Yunnan, China

The sun shines through tree leaves on Tea Mountain in Pu'er, China

Tree Leaves on Tea Mountain in Yunnan, China

In the end I ended up only using the Sony A77ii with the Sigma 105mm lens. Forcing myself to see the world that way really opened me up to new photos and ideas that would not be possible without the macro lens.

Macro photo of purple flower on Tea Mountain in Pu'er, China

Macro photo of a purple flower on Tea Mountain in Pu'er, China

When viewed from a distance, as I was passing by, these flowers seemed to have little to offer the landscape. Once I decided to take a second look, I began to realize what an amazing level of beauty and detail was hidden in such an unassuming package.

The Sigma 105mm macro is absolutely stunning in sharpness and quality. Every image in this series is hand held. I used the in camera stabilization to help reduce camera shake and keep the images as sharp as possible.

Macro photo of a purple flower on Tea Mountain, Pu'er, China

The soft warm morning light provided a great accent to the delicate red flowers that seemed to be placed randomly along the paths and among the tea bushes.

Macro photo of a Red flower on Tea Mountain in Pu'er China

There is a peace in surrendering to the details of a place. It’s amazing what you can create when you have the ability to get extremely close to small objects. In the case of the photo below I felt like I was discovering another miniature world.

Macro photo of Moss growing on a tree in Pu'er, China

Macro photo of moss seed pods on Tea Mountain in Pu'er, China

Macro photo of a sawtooth leaf on Tea Mountain in Pu'er, China

 

In a few places I managed to capture the intersection and contrast of the natural and the man made world.

 

Ants crawling down a wood sign with Chinese characters carved in it on Tea Mountain in Pu'er, China

Chinese Characters carved into a bamboo stalk on Tea Mountain in Pu'er, China

chinese characters carved in bamboo stalks on tea mountain in Pu'er, China

a single chinese character carved in a bamboo stalk on tea mountain in Pu'er China

Chinese character carved in a wooden pole on Tea Mountain in Pu'er, China

Metal wire and nails attached to a wooden post on tea mountain in Pu'er China

light bisecting a large leaf on tea mountain in Pu'er, China

Macro photo of a leaf on Tea Mountain in Pu'er, China