12 Tips for Photographing Stunning Sunsets at Jinshanling Great Wall

12 Essential Tips for Capturing Beautiful Sunset Photos at Jinshanling

Taking great pictures of the sunset at Jinshanling is not as easy as it sounds, but when done correctly, you can produce some awe-inducing shots. These are 12 tips that could prove useful in your quest for gorgeous sunset pictures at Jinshanling Great Wall. Let’s get started!

1: Know Your Sunset Light Opportunities

Breathtaking sunset photography has a great deal to do with light and color. It may come as something of a surprise, but the color window can last as long as two hours.

These so-called “magic hours” begin as early as 60 minutes before sunset and extend as long as 60 minutes afterward. They may be shorter in some cases. But what is essential to know is that you can gain a golden tone when the sun is about 6 degrees above the horizon. That will transition to blue after it sinks 4-6 degrees below the horizon.

2: Do Some Great Wall Research

It may be worthwhile to plan your sunset position as you walk the Great Wall. This will allow you to predict where the sunset will occur and the iconic landscape you’d like to include.

A deftly planned sunset photoshoot could have magnificent architecture or countryside in the foreground. The choice is yours.

3: Shoot in RAW Mode

One of the things that sometimes holds photographers back is trying to be too perfect. Given you have a narrow window to capture the color you desire, going RAW may allow you to overcome intense light and correct the digital image later.

4: Aim Your Lens Directly at the Sun

Focusing your camera directly at the sun may seem counterintuitive. The light range may appear overpowering and excessively dynamic. However, mastering the art of sun-direct photography can produce distinguished and rare images.

5: Manipulate Your Foreground

If you are smartly positioned on the Great Wall, you may be able to capture images as the sun descends to the low side of watchtowers, and mountain peaks. These images portray the gorgeous China sunset as it backlights the ancient structure and timeless countryside.

6: Try Shooting in Aperture Priority Mode

Beginner photographers are often taught to rely on manual mode. While that is generally good advice, the fast-changing lighting of sunsets presses you to make ongoing adjustments. Rolling in aperture priority mode can help you get off more shots. Today’s cameras are usually refined enough to handle this technique.

7: Use Your Exposure for Improved Highlights

There’s no escaping the fact that landscape photography calls for exposures tailored to the brightest parts of the scene. These are your priority areas because you can always circle back and edit or crop out the dark outlying portions of an image. But you must get the light, or Great Wall sunset in this case, perfect. That’s why setting your exposure to prioritize the highlights is so important.

8: Bring a Lightweight Tripod on Your Great Wall Excursion

A steady hand is terrific. But to truly maximize your concise sunset image, a tripod may be your best friend. It’s perfectly acceptable to bring a lightweight, collapsible tripod in your backpack and set it up in a fashion that doesn’t impede other Great Wall enthusiasts. A tripod will open doors, such as manipulating shutter speeds, among others.

9: Bring Extra Storage Cards

Given that you will have upwards of two hours to strictly focus on sunset photography, you are likely to garner a wealth of high-resolution images. That means you will be tasked with either deleting the ones you are not confident about or quickly switching storage cards.

It’s not every day that you get to stand on an architectural marvel and capture images of a lifetime. Better to get as many as possible and select the best later.

10: Bring Camera Lens Cleaner

Depending on the season and weather conditions, it’s entirely possible that pollen or dust could kick up. Remember to bring all the necessary equipment to care for your camera and get the best possible Great Wall sunset photos.

11: Use a Remote Device

While the setting sun from the Great Wall is dazzling, your photos could be missing one vital thing, you. It’s in your best interest to work with a remote in order to place yourself and friends in at least a few photos for nostalgic reasons.

12: Bring a Flashlight

After you have completed a two-hour photoshoot from the Great Wall, the light will have dwindled. Getting back requires some nighttime vision, and a headlamp or flashlight could prove invaluable.

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12 Best Songs to Listen to While Visiting the Great Wall of China

Best Songs on Your Great Wall Hiking Playlist

Whether you are planning a day hike or a significant overnight trek on the Great Wall of China, having a solid playlist is essential. These suggestions have been widely embraced by hikers for their moving lyrics and mood-enhancing instrumentals. Consider downloading these 12 songs for your Great Wall hike.

1: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers

The Scottish duo released this hit song in 1990, and it has been a mainstay single ever since. Hikers are likely to gravitate to lyrics that can inspire you to walk as far as necessary to complete your Great Wall hiking adventure.

The catchy chorus and beat can be terrific motivation to kick off your trek and lend an energy boost if you grow leg-weary. If nothing else, it’s super fun, and you don’t have to walk 500 miles to enjoy the Great Wall.

2: Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

John Denver was the consummate outdoors singer, and Rocky Mountain High serves as his signature walking song. His lyrics and crooning bring listeners to a faraway and picturesque landscape that could just as easily be awe-inspiring China as the Colorado Rockies. It’s an inner reflection about being one with nature and a perfect mood-setter for hiking.

3: Walking On Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves

When hikers find themselves looking out from the high watchtowers of the Great Wall, it can feel as if you are walking on sunshine. This bouncy, upbeat 1980s gem is also perfect for a bright afternoon when you’re adorning suntan lotion and taking in the rays. Katrina & the Waves are all about mood, and this will put hikers in a good one.

4: The River by Garth Brooks

Hiking can be a deeply personal experience that challenges us to look inside ourselves and reflect. Brooks’ popular song may be an ideal one to mindfully enjoy during a pause on the Great Wall. Consider listening to The River as you embrace the panoramic views and think about how far you’ve come on the Great Wall and life.

5: Walk of Life by Dire Straits

Keeping with the inner-reflection hiking songs, Dire Straits manages to deliver the poppy beat of Katrina and challenge you to think about your life. This song is so contagious that you might want to take heed. You might find your self bouncing to the beat on the Great Wall. So, make sure you have suitable footwear.

6: Walk the Line by Johnny Cash

No self-respecting playlist would be complete without country icon Johnny Cash. His deep vocals and lyric clarity make his Country music pure and heartfelt. It’s also fitting for hikers who look out over miles of Great Wall that appear like an endless line into the horizon.

7: Up Around the Bend by Credence Clearwater Revival

Classic rock lovers cannot go wrong with Credence, whose explosion on the international music scene during the late 1960s and early 1970s remains part of the great American music songbook. The song’s gritty rock instrumentals and vocal resonance inspire people to “Come on the risin‘ wind, We’re goin‘ up around the bend.”

8: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin

This epic travel song ranks as the iconic British band’s flagship accomplishment. Its early, whispery melody and lofty lyrics exude adventurous travel.

Led Zeppelin merges the idea of a physical journey with feelings of the first-time experience with lyrics such as, “There’s a feeling I get when I look to the West.” The Great Wall could easily be the very Stairway the super-group speaks of, even as the power rock chords supplant the soft acoustic instruments.

9: Walkin’ On The Sun by Smash Mouth

This California 1990s band put the groove back into Rock ‘n’ Roll and made people bop. It’s a song that prompts you to act now and try life-altering experiences. If you need a little motivation to get up and do that Great Wall hike, Smash Mouth has some good advice, “don’t delay, act now, supplies are running out.”

10: These Boots are Made for Walkin’ by Nancy Sinatra

This one is a favorite of the ladies who aren’t particularly happy with their significant others. Maybe Nancy wasn’t wearing hiking boots while writing this classic, but you will need an excellent pair of boots to comfortably enjoy your Great Wall hike. Nancy Sinatra keeps the beat peppy and the lyrics simple. It’s a fun song for any journey.

11: Africa by Toto

Toto is one of those bands that simmers below household name status. But when you hear the relaxing instrumentals and descriptions of the world’s most magnificent landscapes, it gives listeners goosebumps. This song may be set in Africa, but it’s an absolute must for your Great Wall playlist.

12: Walk on the Wildside by Lou Reed

If you consider yourself a music aficionado, as well as a hiker, then Walk on the Wildside might be set on playlist repeat. It paints personal portraits while almost forcing you to explore the unknown. A Great Wall hike could be your greatest adventure, so shuffle along to the hip tones of New York City’s Lou Reed while walking China’s wildside.

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Top 8 Magazines For Great Wall of China Hikers

Recommendations for the Best Hiking Magazines

Hiking the Great Wall of China remains one of the rare life experiences. People from around the world travel to Beijing to embrace the inspiring culture, history, architecture, and see the panoramic views from points that exceed 600 years old.

If you are considering trekking the international marvel, it’s essential to utilize the wealth of knowledge offered by hiking professionals. These rank among the top magazines that Great Wall hiking enthusiasts can rely on to help make your adventure one to remember.

1: Backpacker

This authoritative U.S.-based hiking, science, and lifestyle magazine was established in 1973 by founding editor William Kemsley. Although today’s robust hiking community was in its fledgling stages then, Backpacker proved to be an inspirational resource covering the hiker experience.

Although the magazine has changed hands, it’s fittingly headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains. With a subscriber base that exceeds 350,000, Backpacker has emerged as a vital resource and guide for beginners and experienced hikers alike. Backpacker writers have delivered first-hand accounts about the Great Wall, and it remains an invaluable resource.

2: Outdoor Photographer

It’s no secret that the impressive views of China’s landscape are a magnetic attraction for hiking enthusiasts. This American nature photography resource remains dedicated to capturing the essential beauty of the Great Wall and the surrounding area.

Outdoor Photographer has reached more than 170,000 subscribers and single-copy readers with breath-taking images taken from the Great Wall. It’s a pivotal resource that can help hikers position themselves in unique places and times of day to augment your hike and come home with the best photographs.

3: Snowshoe Magazine

Winter hikers would be wise to consider consulting the trends, tips, and gear required to safely enjoy a Great Wall excursion when ice and snow are present. This American-based publication offers advice about destinations and reviews hiking gear in a way that translates to smart accessorizing for hikers. Founded in 2003, Snowshoe Magazine is blazing a trail into winter wonderlands around the world.

4: Adventure Journal

With more than 10 years of online articles to its credit, Adventure Journal blends narratives about backpacking in every season with in-depth discussions about gear and living outdoors.

As a Great Wall hiking resource, it may be in your best interest to spend some time on your device exploring the sometimes hyper-specific gear and accessory posts. Although it leans on the trendy side, Adventure Journal never loses sight of the basics that make all-season hikes quality-of-life experiences.

5: National Geographic Traveler

Founded in 1984, National Geographic Traveler goes to press eight times annually and is run by Disney Publishing Worldwide. It enjoys headquarters in China, among other countries. Although Disney discontinued its U.S. production at the end of 2019, its reported 735,000 circulation ranks it among the more popular outdoors products.

The resource has dedicated many of its pages to capturing the iconic beauty of the Great Wall and provides fact-based narratives about what hikers can expect during their treks. Its online coverage also includes viral videos and YouTube documentaries that prove valuable to Great Wall hikers.

6: Outside

Although Outside magazine may not enjoy the household name status of some other hiking resources, it has nevertheless earned a top-tier reputation among outdoor enthusiasts and boasts a circulation of nearly 700,000. Founded in 1977, Outside authors have included notables such as Sebastian Junger and Jon Krakauer, among other adventure writers.

Its wide-reaching value stems from the fact that it is not limited to one type of outdoors experience. The publication covers salient issues that range from sore backpacking shoulders to climbing to travel and anything in-between.

7: Travel + Leisure

After more than 90 years in the industry, Travel + Leisure enjoys a massive readership of 4.8 million readers annually. The New York City-based publication has subsidiaries around the world, including China.

The magazine has dedicated top-tier coverage to the Great Wall experience and tells secrets hikers might otherwise not know. It’s worthwhile to search the outlet’s website for pertinent articles about the Great Wall before making your initial hike. Travel + Leisure could add value to your journey.

8: Trek and Mountain

It’s important to keep in mind that a Great Wall hike can be planned along terrain that novice hikers can negotiate as well as rugged landscape. A publication such as Trek and Mountain are excellent resources for securing the necessary gear and gaining the little insights that make a big difference on a substantial hike. Trek and Mountain has covered Great Wall expeditions in the past and remains a good source for serious hikers.

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How To Spend A Winter Day In Beijing

7 Quintessential Beijing Winter Experiences You Can’t Miss

Winter in Beijing can be truly magical. During the cold months, the city comes alive for several holidays. Despite this, it feels decidedly less crowded, as tourists tend to be surprisingly scarce. No, the weather isn’t perfect, but with proper preparation, you can easily visit both indoor and outdoor attractions. Don’t hesitate to add the following essentials to your winter itinerary:

Explore the Summer Palace

Despite its name, the Summer Palace is the perfect place to spend a winter day in Beijing. The attraction’s trees and lakes may not be scenic in the same way they are during the warm season, but they present their own unique kind of beauty when the cold weather takes over. If you’re lucky, you will visit when the area is covered in a lovely layer of snow.

Dress in layers so you feel perfectly comfortable as you stroll around the complex and observe its many temples and pavilions. If you need to warm up quickly, take the stunning — but strenuous — hike up Longevity Hill, which will have you sweating in no time.

Visit a Christmas Market

Christmas is more widely celebrated in Beijing than many visitors anticipate. This is evidenced by the prominence of Christmas markets throughout the city. Hit up a few to check out the surprising variety of products on display.

Several of the city’s best markets can be found at its embassies. The markets at the British, German, and Polish embassies are particularly impressive. Beyond these locations, you’ll also want to check out the Christmas edition of the Beijing Flea Market, as well as the Rumble in the Jumble. Depending on which markets you visit, you may encounter antiques, crafts, clothing, foods, or beverages.

Visit the Imperial Palace

The Forbidden City is home to Beijing’s famed Imperial Palace — the largest structure of its kind in the entire world. This impressive palace is worth a visit any time of the year. Cold weather may have you reluctant to explore the Forbidden City in-depth, but you’re still welcome to stop in at the Palace Museum, where you’ll encounter a wide array of galleries and exhibits.

Soak Your Troubles Away at the Hot Springs

Beijing is home to many hot springs, which deliver warmth and relaxation on a year-round basis. Locals largely regard these waters as therapeutic, with a simple soak believed to be capable of resolving a variety of aches and pains.

Several hot spring resorts can be found in and around Beijing, with many offering indoor areas that allow you to immerse yourself in wonderful warmth. The outdoor springs are just as appealing, however, as they provide remarkable views to accompany your soaking experience.

Embrace the Cold With Some Open-Air Ice Skating

Sometimes, it’s better to embrace the cold than fight it. After all, winter delivers a variety of enjoyable activities that are not available during the warmer months. One of the most charming? Ice skating.

Beijing is home to multiple open-air facilities, where you can glide to your heart’s delight. Local favorites include the Shichahai Skating Rink, the Beihai Park Skating Field, and even ice skating near the Summer Palace. Many local rinks offer helpful amenities such as ice bikes and wagons.

Head Indoors and Enjoy One of the Many Museums

If you’re not willing to brave the cold, you can still enjoy yourself while spending much of your trip inside. Beijing boasts a variety of excellent museums, which provide insight on everything from the city’s history to local art and even science and industry. The National Museum of China is a wise addition to your itinerary, as is the Beijing Folklore Museum and the China Science and Technology Museum.

Eat Hotpot to Combat the Cold

The right cuisine will quickly have you feeling warm on a chilly day. Hotpot is an especially enticing option after you’ve conquered the cold. This simmering meal will quickly warm you from the inside out while also delivering memorable flavors that you’ll be eager to try again.

With the right itinerary and wardrobe, you can enjoy every moment of your winter adventure in Beijing. You’ll quickly come to appreciate all of the unique offerings of winter, including reduced crowds, special events, and gorgeous scenery that will take your breath away.

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Wishing You a Merry Christmas and New Year Full of Adventures!

On behalf of WGW Adventure Tours, I would like to wish all our clients, friends and families a wonderful Christmas and New Year full of exciting travels and adventures.

2019 has been another fantastic year for the team and we’d like to thank you sincerely for your continued and enthusiastic support.

The team keeps growing and we have travelled far and wide again this year to introduce the wild Great Wall and all our amazing routes to visitors across the world.

We are really excited about 2020 and in 2020, we invite you to join more exciting trips in Beijing in order to discover the beauty of Beijing and the Great Wall of China!!

May this Christmas season be filled with good friends, health and great hikes!