The hunt for red November

One of the first parks I visited in Beijing was Fragrant Hills (Xiangshan). The park is best known for its smoke trees, which turn the hillside red in autumn.

I went in November, hoping to make a few nice pictures to send to family and friends back home. The climb to the top of the park took about two hours. Along the way I saw plenty of yellow and golden leaves, but no red ones. To make matters worse, when I reached the peak the view of Beijing was obstructed by pollution.

But the hike wasn’t a total loss. On the way down, I found a trail that led to a pond. The surface was covered with leaves and water lilies. I took several pictures, and then climbed to a higher spot so I could get the people walking around the water in the frame. From there I captured one of my favorite images of my first few months in China.