After spending a couple days in Shanghai and working out how to get around in the city, it was time to start some serious photography of the incredible skyscrapers. I was pretty impressed with both Hong Kong and even Singapore despite the latter being relatively small, but I was really looking forward to our last significant cityscape of the holiday.
First things first, the reason we ended up waiting a few days to take these photos is because we found out the hard way that the Pearl Tower’s lights actually go out after 10:00 PM (I’ve heard some say 11:00, but for us it was definitely 10:00) And it just so happened that the way our schedule worked, the first day on the Bund we were exhausted and the second day we were having a late dinner and not out before 10:00. So our last day it was our one and only focus – to walk the Bund, get over to Pudong, and take some great pics from either side.
Before I really get into the pictures, let’s take a moment to describe what I mean by the Bund and Pudong. The Bund is on the north side of the Hungpao river and is essentially a mile long embankment; the picture above gives an idea what it looks like. The street is filled with older colonial buildings from foreign embassies in the 19th century, and was primarily a British district 100 years ago. The embankment itself is for pedestrians only, with a great wide sidewalk to enjoy the scenery and the large buildings on the other side, which takes me to Pudong.
Pudong is on the other side of the river, and this is where the famous skyline of Shanghai is continuing to be reinvented on a regular basis. The whole area used to be swampland – this picture sort of shows that and also gives you an idea of the rather un-impressive skyline of the Bund (I believe the buildings are restricted in height along the Bund due to the historical buildings).
One of the more noticeable buildings is the Oriental Pearl Tower. This behemoth is pretty unique as far as famous buildings go and at one time was the highest building in China. It’s a TV tower so it all has all the normal “stuff” associated with a big building that they’re not sure what else to do with – observation decks, shopping and a revolving restaurant. The Oriental Pearl Tower is shown below.
In addition to the Pearl Tower there are a slew of other towers and skyscrapers in Pudong; no doubt that it’s the up and coming district of Shanghai. The World Financial Center is now the tallest building in the city (and I believe it’s the tallest in China now, if you don’t count Taiwan). Apparently though the World Financial Center will be surpassed shortly by yet another tower being built in Pudong, the Shanghai Tower. So as you can see all of these things you’re reading in the news about how incredible China’s growth is – yeah, they’re right. The place is growing like crazy, and the sheer sprawl of the skyline behind Pudong is incredible. Below is a pic taken during daylight hours that captures the skyline. You can easily see the Pearl Tower and to the right side (and the tallest building) is the WFC – it looks like you could pick it up with it’s handle (if you were half a mile tall).
Below is a similar photo to the one above (and also my featured pic at the top) that shows the famous Pudong skyline at night. Both this and the one above are HDR photos, and the map at the bottom of the post will show you exactly where I took all of these photos to make things a bit more clear.
I processed this picture in the same way as shown in the Singapore tutorial. One interesting processing technique that was required was to shift the towers in Photoshop. The towers in a picture like this have a tendency to “lean” towards the middle due to lens distortion. So in Photoshop you can use the Transform tool (I used Skew) to sort of drag the top two sides of the photo apart. This keeps the tower(s) straight and corrects the photo.
From the Bund we wanted to get across to Pudong to get up to the WFC observatory. Now there are various ways to get across – you can take the underground, you can take a taxi, or if you’re ready for the experience of a lifetime you can take the “Bund Sightseeing Tunnel” Now I’ve gotta tell you, this thing is a complete piece of shit. It’s like a bunch of deranged and drugged out Disney rejects decided to give it one last go. You ride on a little cart and there are weird lights, the most bizarre voices saying the most bizarre things, and it’s just the strangest experience I can imagine. If you were high, drunk or a combination of all of the above there’s no doubt it would be outstanding. To me it’s one of those things that I would encourage you to see just to have a laugh about how bad it is. Anyway the pic below is Adriana getting ready to enter ( fuzzy and out of focus, sorry).
From the Pudong side of the city we went up to the WFC. I was surprised but they didn’t say a word about me bringing my tripod to the top. Once I got up there I was able to take some pretty cool pictures of the surrounding area, including the Jin Mao Tower where the Grand Hyatt is. You can see the Pearl Tower in the background.
What’s also pretty cool is the view of the Bund that you have from this observatory. The photos below are images of the Bund.
Finally a panorama to give you a full idea of what the Bund looks like (in miniature). If you look in the back you can actually see the Radisson Blu mentioned in the Nanjing Road post that gives some other great views of the city. For a larger version of the pic below click here.
All in all we had an outstanding time in Shanghai – I didn’t expect a whole lot from the city and was pleasantly surprised. During our time there the weather was great with no pollution, the people were nice and we simply had a wonderful time. The architecture is awesome and it’s easily a place you could spend many days taking incredible photos. I’ll close with the pic of the two of us below and then a map to give you an idea where the other photos were taken from. Next stop on our trip is Xian!
Finally the map to pinpoint exactly where I took my photos. Hope you find it useful.