SupChina Photo Contest: Great Wall in Snow, by Michael Cooper - SupChina
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SupChina Photo Contest: Great Wall in Snow, by Michael Cooper

Editor’s note: Michael Cooper’s photo (click to enlarge) is a 1st Prize winner in the SupChina Photo Contest. All 10 winning photos will be posted one per day, with the Grand Prize winner unveiled on Friday, September 21. Keep an eye on this space for all the winners, and check out yesterday’s photo, Kayla Blomquist’s “Boy with Drone.”


By the time that one of Beijing’s driest winters on record came to an end earlier this year, I lamented to the family I stayed with in the village of Yunling (in Huairou) that I’d visited nearly every weekend in hope of seeing a snow-covered Great Wall.

I’ve photographed the Great Wall extensively over the past two years with my drone, including driving from Beijing to the western terminus of the Great Wall at Jiayuguan twice in 2017, but shots of the snow-covered Great Wall had proven elusive. Little did I know, it would snow two times — once on March 20 (when drone restrictions were in effect due to the Two Meetings) and once more on April 5, the day of Qingming Festival.

The Great Wall covered in snow was a sight to behold, the dense snow on the frosted tree limbs concealing the blossoms that had bloomed just one week earlier. The family in the village — although worried about the impact of the late frost on their fruit harvest — was happy that I finally got the shot.

Michael Cooper

Mike moved to China in 2012 to enroll in the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies (IUP) at Tsinghua University. In the spring of 2015, he obtained his Chinese driver’s license and has taken several long-distance road trips in China — including two separate trips on which he followed sections of the Great Wall for 1,400 miles from Beijing to its western terminus in China’s Gansu Province. He is an avid photographer and drone pilot, and has captured aerial videos and photos of many sections of the Great Wall around Beijing, along with sections in Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia, and Gansu Provinces.

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