Jiuzhaigou is a feast for photographers, and you will be fascinated by the new picture opportunities every few meters. It actually is a vast area, and every valley has its own features. Since photography is a time-consuming process, so it is impossible to shoot all highlights in a single day. So we suggest you divide your trip into two days’ photography – one day to shoot Shuzheng and Zechawang Valley, and another day to visit the most beautiful Rize Valley. Because all three valleys stretch from south to north, the sunlight is great for good photography all the daytime and don’t need to seek for low-angle sunlight even in summer.
Jiuzhaigou Valley is a beautiful palace you can visit in all the year around. But if you want to shoot it at its most brilliant time, just visit Jiuzhaigou Valley in autumn (September ~ October) when you will be fascinated by the new picture opportunities every few meters. The forests present most attractive color,especially in mid-October to early November. You can shot a perfect scene with yellow, scarlet, golden, orange and re hues. The seaweed at the bottom of the lakes also takes on a strong huge. In late autumn, the scattered fallen leaves in the lakes provided interesting contrast with the deep blues and turquoises of the water. Shot from above, it is just like the color of autumn is poured into the water.
Summer and winter are two good seasons to take a photography tour in Jiuzhaigou when all attractions are available for visiting. In summer days, the plentiful water replenishes every rivers, lakes and waterfall for you to enjoy the stunning waterscape. While the prosperous forests and flowers are the best setoffs of waterscape. Some photographers like to take some spectacular scenes in winter when the waterfalls are frozen, lakes are half frozen, forests are covered by heaven snow.
Note: Autumn is also the peak season for travelers so you need to an early bird to enter the scenic area and avoid the crowds.
Best Sites for Photography
Highlights: Nuorilang Waterfall, Reed Lake, Rhinoceros Sea, Shuzheng Waterfall
Recommended Route: Reed Sea – Shunzheng Sea –Shuzheng Waterfall - Rhinoceros Sea – Tiger Sea – Nuorilang Waterfall
Entering the gate of Jiuzhaigou National Park, you will first be welcomed by Shuzheng Valley. It is suggested to take photos from the western highway to shoot eastern scenes in the morning with a dark background light which is helpful to highlight an individual scene. The first site for shooting is the Reed Sea where dense plateau reeds sticking in a large pure lake. Go deeper and you will meet with more attractions for nice shot. 9:00 AM of summer and autumn days is the best time to find the view that morning sunlight shine on the lake. Going deeper, there are sightseeing sites Flaming Sea, Shuzheng Seas, Shuzheng Waterfall, Tiger Sea and Rhinoceros Sea, the best hours for photography are: Flaming Sea(9:00~10:00), Shuzheng Seas(9:30), Shuzheng Waterfall(11:00), Tiger Sea(11:00) and Rhinoceros Sea(9:30). The end of Shuzheng Valley locates the famous Nuorilang Waterfall which is 270 meters wide and 24.5 meters high. Only the time between 10:00 and 12:00 is the best time to get the perfect scene with enough light.
Highlights: Five-color Pond, Long Lake
Recommended Routes: Long Lake – Five-color Pond
Zechawang Valley has fewer attractions to see. The best highlights are Long Lake and Five-color Pond which both locate at the end of the valley. You can take scenic bus immediately to the end of valley to take photos. The best scenery of Long Lake is the reflection of snow mountains and forests in the calm surface of lake. The Five-color Lake is a graceful lake which is famous for its bright and distinct colors. It is so clean that the cobbles in the bottom of lake can be seen glittering under sunlight. The inverted reflection of the nearby woods and colorful scenery makes the lake very taste that the cameras like. The shooting of Zechawang Valley is usually arranged in the afternoon after the Shuzheng Valley.
Highlights: Five-flower Sea, Mirror Lake, Pearl Beach
Recommended Routes: Mirror Lake – Five–flower Lake - Pearl Beach Waterfalls – Five-flower Lake
Rize Valley is the God-given place which is perfect for photography with perfect presentation of mother nature – a fairy land tranquil and dynamic. Here you can see lakes like a mystic mirror, waterfalls with the tallest drop, virgin forest with different colors, snow mountains dominating in the sky…
The main spots for photo shooting are Mirror Sea, Pearl Beach, Five-flower Sea, Swan Sea and so on. To get the best scene of Mirror Lake, you have to reach there to catch the best hour (08:00) when the lake is really like a mirror without winds. Rich sunlight is helpful to take some steric and bright photos of Pearl Beach Waterfalls, so the best time is from 10:00 to 14:00 when the sun slants onto the waterfalls. The Five-flower Sea is regarded as one of the best landscape in Jiuzhaigou for its tranvertine in the bottom and colorful algae. There are two recommended spots to shoot. One is to take some close near-shots from the lake side around 9:00. Another is to build a panoramic scene around 16:00 from a giant stone called Tiger’s Month on the higher mountain. During the long interval, you can go to visit other sites, such as Swan Sea, Panda Sea, Jianzhu Sea, etc.
Tips from Our Experts
1. Framing of waterfalls and streams in Jiuzhaigou
Waterfalls and streams are two important scenery types in Jiuzhaigou. Generally, far-shot is suitable for shooting a waterfall to catch a full view of tall drops of water. Mid-shot and near-shot are recommended to record the detailed beauty of dreams.
2. Photography in cloudy weather condition
Don’t worry about the possible cloudy weather. In fact, the scattering light in the cloudy days is helpful to show the gradations of color, especially the dash area. But remember to keep your framing from sky.
3. Use of slow shutter
You can use slow shutter to take some incredible waterscape photos which is full of dynamic sentiment, such as the floating refection on the lake, moving streams, slashing waterfall, etc.
4. Transfer advice
You can flight to Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Kunming, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, etc. Of course Chengdu is the most popular gateway to Jiuzhaigou with frequent flight schedule. There are also highways from Chengdu and Lanzhou to Jiuzhaigou, which takes both about 10 hours to get o Jiuzhaigou.
5. Accommodation advice
Jiuzhaigou offer pleasant accommodation ranging from economy class to luxury class. International hotel brands, such as Sheraton, Intercontinental, etc.
For more photography advice in Jiuzhaigou, you can feel free to contact us and we are here ready to help!