Monday, Nov. 24, 2008

The Bund

At 7:30 a.m., weather permitting, local couples gather on the Bund — the city's historic waterfront promenade — for ballroom dancing. The daily ritual, captured here by Canadian photographer Greg Girard, evokes the pervading marriage of East and West in Shanghai.


Like many Chinese cities, Shanghai is heavy with humidity and pollution. You'll rarely sees crystal-clear blue skies here, but the muted sunlight creates a cool, monochromatic mood. In this shot, it softens the feel of the modern Pudong skyline on the eastern side of the Huangpo River.

Dongtai Lu Antiques Market

To sample the true flavor of Shanghai, Girard recommends walking the tiny streets and alleyways that lie at the city's heart. In the Dongtai Lu Antiques Market, you can shop and shoot at the same time. Just be mindful of counterfeits.


The residents of the Dongtai Lu neighborhood are accustomed to tourists with cameras, so it's relatively easy to grab slice-of-life shots like this one of a game of mah-jong, without too much fear of causing offense or eliciting anger. Says Girard, "If someone doesn't want their photo taken, they'll let you know."


"I love the bustle of the city," says Girard. And there's no shortage of vantage points to capture its ebb and flow. Girard got this shot at the Zhejiang Lu bridge, which joins an old neighborhood of Shanghai with a modern one.

Urban Planning Museum

This 10,000 sq. ft. scale model of Shanghai shows how the city's leaders envision its future. The light isnide is low, but it is not difficult to get an exposure. Girard set his shutter speed to 1/5 second, just slow enough to silhouette the other visitors and make them less distracting. Use a tripod — or the railing — to stabilize your camera.

Ferry Ride

At only half a yuan (approximately $.07), the ferry ride across the Huangpo River has to be one of the world's greatest travel bargains. It affords magnificent vistas and a great opportunity to hang out with the locals.

Dongmen Lu Ferry Terminal

The interior light of the Dongmen Lu Terminal's ticket booth casts nice highlights onto the delivery person's bike. "Shanghai is a River City," says Girard. "River transport is a big part of its character."

New Heights Bar

Girard prefers this nightspot on the Bund for good dusk views of the Pudong side of the river. New Heights is less formal than many of the other Bund establishments; for a small tip, the waiter even allowed him to set up his tripod.