Today I will be sharing with you about my travel experience to the west of Sichuan, China, in the Tibetan Autonomous Region with the photographs taken by the FUJIFILM GFX 50R medium format camera. This isn’t my first time using a medium format camera for an overseas trip. Previously, I have used the FUJIFILM GFX 50S during my trips to Prague and the Eastern Oriental Express train travelling from Singapore to Bangkok.
This time round, with the brand new FUJIFILMGFX 50R, I decided to visit Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province. I have always wanted to travel to the Tibetan region in China to enjoy and learn more about the people and culture there.
I spent a total of 2 weeks in China and did some street photography during my first 2 days in Chengdu. Thereafter, I took a 15-hour bus ride to Ganzi (Garze town).
A Pleasant Surprise During My Travel Journey
During the bus ride, I met a young lady named Qi May Ze Young. We had a lovely chat and I found out that Tibetan names are usually composed of 4 syllabus/ words which were interesting!
I shared with her that the reason behind why I decided to travel all the way to this area of China. It has been a long time that I wanted to visit the Tibetan region and I had a keen interest in Tibetan life and people. I shared with her the places I would like to visit and what I would love to photograph during my trip.
To my very pleasant surprise, she extended a warm invitation to stay with her family. I was over the moon upon hearing that because I am able to live with a Tibetan family like a real traditional Tibetan and really immerse in the culture!
After the needful arrangement and communication on her end, her dad and uncle (who is a monk), picked us up at our drop off point and that was the start of my incredible adventure.
A Memorable Stay
(Taken with an iPhone)
(Taken with an iPhone)
Qi May Ze Young and her family invited me to stay with them at their humble abode for 8 days.
We were living at 4000m altitude and above, with no shower, toilets or water system of any sorts. It was winter time as well so you can imagine how cold it was!
It was a memorable experience for me staying with them especially when it is my first time experiencing such living conditions. But the highlight of the stay was definitely the hospitality of such generous and incredible people. They have treated me so nicely throughout my time with them.
Thankful for The North Face jackets and apparel that I used during the trip. It helped me to be warm and got be covered from the harsh and cold weather conditions so that I am able to complete my daily shoots.
My Experience With The FUJIFILM GFX 50R Medium Camera
Now, let’s dive right into the camera!
The FUJIFILM GFX 50R was a great camera for this project. I brought along with me 4 fixed lenses (23mm, 45mm, 63mm and 110mm) and was shooting with the classic chrome film simulation most of the time. As you can see from the picture above, I am using a Manfrotto messenger bag to store all my fragile and expensive lenses. It gave me security knowing that my lenses are kept safe and protected with the secure paddings and protection. It was also small and portable therefore, being easy to carry around for the whole day.
Though you may think that a medium format camera is too heavy and bulky for travelling, the GFX 50R proved me otherwise. It was relatively compact and could fit easily in my shoulder bag! Therefore, the FUJIFILM GFX 50R is perfect for travel and documentary reportage in my opinion.
Having shot in various environmental conditions, be it indoor, outdoor, harsh snowy climates and dusty streets, the FUJIFILM GFX 50R really delivered in terms of durability and withstanding harsh conditions. With a camera that delivers such great quality, I was so pleased by the rich details that I can achieve in my photographs.
Without a doubt, the landscape of the entire place was mesmerizing. With temperatures dipping to 0 degrees and below, I was able to see beautiful snowy mountains all around. The beauty of the natural landscape around created a desire within me to return once again with the GFX 50R to shoot more landscape photos.
As you may know by now, I simply love shooting portraitures. I love focusing on people and portraits because I am fascinated and drawn to individuals with each of their unique story to tell. I am really glad that I got to do this as a photographer.
What Else Did I Do?
I did some printing with Epson Fine Art paper and using the Epson P10070 – the result was amazing with rich colors and crisp details. I can’t wait to print more photographs from this series, turning them into life!
Besides taking still images, I shot a lot of videos using my trusted FUJIFILM X-T3 and I would love to share the footages with you soon!
Lastly, on the final day of my trip, I got myself a Tibetan name! Courtesy of the people who took a few days to give me the most suitable name.
Si Lang Gong Bu
Riches and honor with a peaceful life
I am so thankful for this trip and enjoyed every moment of it despite the different situations that may not have gone as planned and also the harsh weather conditions. I believe these are memories that will stay in my heart. Aren’t cameras just one of the best inventions ever? We get to capture fleeting moments and keep them as memories.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog post! You can follow me on my social media platforms to stay connected and view my life’s adventures. Till next time!
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