In 2015 summer, I came to Xinjiang and had a great time photographing the grassland. A newly met friend from local told me that you have to come back for Swan Lake in the winter. Seeing his photos, I was literally shocked: I’ve never seen any swan lake like this – it looks heaven!
The desire grew stronger and stronger. I know it won’t be easy: I have to fly from San Francisco to Beijing, then to Xinjiang’s capital city, then drive to this in-the-middle-of-no-where town. The weather needs to be perfect: it needs to be warm the day before, and cold at night. Only a few days of a year, maybe a total of a week or two max. Many Chinese photographers come here every year to try their luck, and do it for like six to eight years to get that right moment.
My desire of seeing it with my own eyes and my friend’s warm invitation took no time before I booked my ticket. On the way to the Swan Lake, we spent about 3 hours shooting on the foot thick lake, got some good shots. Maybe my friend wanted us to get something in case of disappointment at the Swan Lake. When I asked him all sorts of questions, he kept saying that he got lucky every time he came here, but this time, the weather doesn’t look good: it’s too warm.
When you know the chance is slim, and it is something you always wanted to see, what do you do? You travel tens of thousands of miles to make your dream come true.
The next morning, we drove in. All of sudden, the trees along the way started to wear white frost. That’s a good sign! It took us two turns before we found the right place. In a world of white everything, I bet many people just cannot find it before the sun rises. When we got there and parked, my friend became silent, so silent that I thought something was serious wrong. After I walked a few steps, I realized what was happening: we’ve got a home run! All the trees turned into frosty along the lake. Three of us started running along the narrow path along the lake which must be only a foot wide. For several times, I fell, and I got up without feeling anything, as I feel I was living my dream. When I pressed my shutters, I can hardly breathe – I was too excited and nervous, could not believe my eyes. My brain was locked to the shutter and the heavenly creature in front of me, clicking away… … without hearing anything.
来之前被告知天气太暖，今年恐怕不行。但是我们一行三人都没有放在心上，满腔热忱的上路了。先在冰雪覆盖的赛里木湖湖面上自得其乐的拍了四个小时。第二天日出前一个小时我们就上路赶赴天鹅湖。清爽的冬晨渐渐变的模糊起来，清晰的视线… 慢慢的… 慢慢的… 被雾化…… 上天就像知道我们心情一样，一夜之间挂起了雾凇！ 覆盖了路旁的树木。就这样，我们慢慢的，从现实驶入了梦境。