Oleg's China Photo Travel Guide - Page structure
Briefly describes a place, its location and why it is interesting photographically.
This section guides how to get to a place (approximate timing is also noted) as well as what to expect encountering en route. Apart from this, local transportation options are recommended where necessary.
Accommodation and where/what to eat
Available accommodation, places to eat, food choices as well as price ranges are outlined here.
In this part I try to suggest a reasonable schedule to conduct a comprehensive photographic outshoot of a place. In particular, I describe main attractions in terms of photography, suggest what I found to be the best way to photograph them and the time required. Hopefully this will allow you to organize and optimize your time in the best possible way.
Best time of the year to visit
Many places in China are interesting photographically only at a certain time of the year; also quite importantly, I point out periods when it advised to not travel to a place. Where this is inappropriate, I attempt to describe what a place looks like in different seasons so that you can contemplate what your preferred timing would be.
Sunset and sunrise
In some places the best or most characteristic pictures are normally taken at or around sunrise and/or sunset; therefore, it is crucial to know the best locations to be at at the break of day and its end - they are outlined here. In other places, though, it might be beneficial to know in advance that you can sleep a bit longer and/or call it day a bit earlier.
Despite the fact that I have been in China for over ten years and am fluent in both spoken and written Mandarin Chinese, my experience has consistently been that there are bound to be quite a few unpredictable and frustrating hassles when visiting a relatively remote place for the first time. I, however, always retain contact details of local people whom I get to know and find both helpful and trustworthy. These contacts allow arranging things in advance when traveling to the same place again thus making everything run significantly smoother. Booking accommodation and local transportation through these contacts and in advance generally saves money, too. If you do not speak Chinese, you might consider asking someone who speaks the language to arrange things on your behalf prior to your departure. Due to all these reasons and where suitable, the contacts I personally found useful are given here.
Disclaimer: I do not have any kind of commercial relationships with the local service providers whom I recommend. It is your liability to assess quality and cost of the services offered in advance and you bear full responsibility for any decisions you make in relation to them and/or any and all consequences that might arise.
Photo and other gear recommendations
This is probably one of the trickiest parts as everyone owns different equipment and uses dissimilar photographic techniques and approaches. Nevertheless, I believe that some generally useful advice (avoiding particularities such as brand names, concrete focal lengths, etc.) in this area can be given.
Issues to be aware of
While matters common to travel in China can be found on this page, I mention specific issues you should be aware of in a particular place here.
Any other relevant matters not outlined above are listed here.