China’s Geometry – Weekly Photo Challenge: ZigZag

“A zigzag strategy is the best way to get ahead.”

Tahir Shah



In response to this week’s challenge “zigzag”, I’m opening with the ultimate example, China’s Great Wall. The wall zigs and zags as far as the eye can see through some of the world’s most mountainous and remote terrain.  It makes one wonder at the amount of effort that must have gone into its design and construction. The wall was one of many zigzagging examples on our journey throughout the country this past fall. Here then, a few of my other favorites.



“How many twists can a tongue twister twist around the twisting tongue.”


The rice fields of Longsheng offered many samples of roads and plateaus zigzagging their way about. I chose this shot particularly because it gives one an idea of the scale of the fields compared to the the road twisting through their base.



 “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

Henry David Thoreau

Above, a look at the zigzagging path that runs through old town Shangri-La. Actually I should say “ran”.  Sadly the town was virtually destroyed soon after our visit by a massive fire that burned for 10 hours and destroyed more than 250 homes and businesses.

Below, an amazing vista seen from the incredibly crooked, narrow, and (I thought) dangerous road we traveled from Tiger Leaping Gorge to the lovely farmlands of Shangri-La.



 “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”

Edward Abbey

Finally, an “up close and personal” look at the long day of a dedicated farmer working the zigzag paths of China’s verdant fields. I must admit I enjoyed the rudimentary scarecrow almost as much as the farmer himself 🙂



 “Crooked paths look straighter as we approach the end.

Jean Paul

Wishing everyone the pleasure of discovering new paths, be they straight, crooked or even zigzagged.

102 thoughts on “China’s Geometry – Weekly Photo Challenge: ZigZag

    • Hi Naomi and thanks! China is really a photographer’s dream; you MUST go! We put together a private tour for just me and my husband working with a company called Eastern Journeys out of Hong Kong. They were fabulous. I let them know my interest in photography so they had guides with us every step of the way and they all knew of my focus (pun intended!) ,. No way I could have spent the time I did on photography if I’d been in a group tour, and no way I’d have tried this trip WITHOUT guides as very few people in the outlying areas speak English. Also I’d never have tried driving their roads! You can get a better feel for our trip with a quick look at the book I did on our trip here . Appreciate your stopping by!

      • Wow! That sounds great, Tina. Your photos are exquisite, and you pair them with such interesting and intelligent stories. It sounds like you found the perfect happy medium.

  1. Each photo made me stop and just say “wow,” especially the rice fields (love that you included the road) and the beautiful lines of the final image. Saddened to hear the news about Shangri-La…

    • Me too Bill, and they definitely WERE amazing. I also spent this past week in upstate NY and the farms there were magnificent. Don’t get me started on their fresh produce!

  2. WOW….what can i say…I find myself in a trans after viewing these magnificant photos…..WOW!!!!
    Chinas great wall & rice fields are two of my very favorite places to hide…..what a dreamy existence they offer……just brilliant work….thank u for sharing ….

  3. I would say you win the weekly photo challenge with those zigs and zags, each one more beautiful than the last. Loved the pic in Shangri-La.

  4. Love your choices Tina ! Old town Shangri- La looks a fascinating zig zag of an exploration .
    * smiling at the ‘rudimentary scarecrow ‘ …

  5. Love your pictures. I immediately thought of the Great Wall when I saw this challenge, but didn’t have a picture of the scope you’ve shared with us. One of my favorites of those you’ve posted is the shot of the rice fields. So beautiful and green — and quite the zig zag!

    • Thanks Rusha! Yes, the wall was kind of a no-brained 🙂 but the rice fields were equally amazing to me in a very different way. I’m just so fortunate to have been able to see both!

  6. Great shots and good images for zig zags! I recently saw a good quote for people that love nature as I do…. “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt .”

  7. Hi Tina… what an amazing shot! I have been there in early spring when a little snow still hung in the shadows and everything was brown. We head to Beijing tomorrow to show a visiting friend around. I am hoping for great clear days to get some great shots like yours. It will be cool to see the contrast in colour and season.

  8. Wonderful post Tina, and I love your quotes….the crooked path is always more interesting than the wide straight road 🙂
    As always your images are stunning, and those rice terraces look incredible

  9. This is magnificent, Tina. I have never been to China and enjoyed your fine impressions very much. Your quotes are real gems! Wishing you a great Sunday.
    Best regards, Dina

  10. As ever, great images here Tina! I especially like the last one, because it brings in the personal and also the cobbled street of Shangri La. That said, they’re all great 🙂 I just need to dig an image or two out, it’s over a week since I posted anything……

    • Many thanks Atureaud. I liked the perspective of your comment and agree–while the wall is absolutely incredible, there are places in china that are so rarely seen its nice to show them as well.

  11. Love these shots Tina…you brought back “home” since I am now in Seattle. These shots are so beautiful, the 2nd and 3rd really capturing my imagination (walked those very places…and the photos bring me right back there again!). Cheers.

  12. What a great series of images, especially the shot of Shangri-La. Makes me feel as though I’m walking the same cobbled street.
    Thanks for sharing some of the landscapes I’d never get to see in person.

  13. A particularly timely post as we are zigzagging our way around Charlotte! Every block the street name changes! Love the old town Shangri La – you have certainly taken me on roads “less traveled” or never! Love traveling with you,

    • Thanks Dan! We visited the wall at Jinshanling. It was a 2-hour ride from Beijing but well worth the time as it is much more remote, has been untouched by updating or construction and has very few tourists. We were there all day and saw only 2 other people, or photographers.

  14. Tina–I so had to laugh at your comment on the “..incredibly crooked, narrow and (I thought) dangerous road..” but wait, let me take a picture! 🙂 Always the most amazing photography.

    • So funny you say that Lois, I hadn’t thought of it but you’re absolutely right!! We had a driver (who was scaring the heck out of me) and when I saw this scene below I made him pull off the road so I could shoot it. I’m sure he thought I was totally nuts 🙂

  15. I love your photos of China. My favourite is the road twisting at the bottom of those rice terraces. It is astonishing that people work in those fields, as shown in your last photo. And, as usual, perfect quotations. Amazing views all round!
    Jude xx

    • Thanks Jude! Yes, the rice terraces are high on my list of favorite places of all time! They are indeed amazing. The wall is equally amazing but for me it was long known and I’d always wanted to see it. The terraces were a brilliant surprise that I found on the web when I was researching a photographer-led tour. It’s owner is a former National Geographic photographer.

  16. Tina, your posts continue to amaze me! This is a particularly dramatic expose; in just a few photos I’m left with a vivid impression of how awe inspiring (and thrilling) your travels must have been.
    The quotations are perfect… my favorite is the last one.

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