"Hua Shan Chess Pavillion" Published in Spectacle - Andrew Suryono

"Hua Shan Chess Pavillion" Published in National Geographic's Spectacle Book

A photograph that I took at the most dangerous mountain on earth is published in National Geographic's new book, "Spectacle: Rare and Astonishing Photographs." Here's the story of how I took the photo.

I climbed Mount Hua back in 2011 when I was still studying for my masters degree in China. I was visiting Xi An to see the terracota warriors during one of the breaks. I had one extra day to kill and didn't know what to do.

So, on a taxi ride, I asked a taxi driver on what to do to kill the extra day. He recommended me to climb Mount Hua (In Chinese it's called Hua Shan. "Shan" means mountain in Chinese).

I thought it was an easy mountain to climb. I didn't do any research on the difficulty level of mountain climb and just asked the driver to drove me there.

When I arrived there, I was shocked to see the difficult paths that I had to take to get to the top of the mountains. The inclination of the staircase is almost 90 degrees and your safety net is the two iron chain on both sides of the staircase. Below is a picture that illustrates the Hua Shan climb.

After climbing endless staircases I finally got to the top of the mountain. Out of breath and still trembling from the climb, I saw a beautiful, lone, chess pavilion surrounded by the majestic and dangerous mountain hills. 

My tiredness suddenly were gone. I picked up my camera (Olympus PEN EP-2) and started to shoot some scene. Below is my favorite shot.    

Hua Shan Chess Pavilion

I learned that Hua Shan is a sacred place in the Taoism religion. People often look for inspiration and enlightenment in this mountain. The Chess Pavilion is a special place in Mount Hua because it's where the leading thinkers of Taoists met to play chess and have philosophical discussion.

I'm glad that I made that dangerous climb and saw this rare beauty that I am able to share with you now.

If you'd like to get a copy of this book, you can do so here. Below is the book description and cover picture for your reference.

"In life, there are certain sights that are as beautiful as they are unforgettable--from a majestic supercell to the secrets of a deep blue ice cave to the world's largest library. These fascinating spectacles shock us in their diversity, their complexity, and their epic scale, bringing us the miraculous beauty of our planet. Featuring more than 200 color images, including acclaimed photography from the National Geographic Image Collection, this volume presents a dazzling array of natural and manmade wonders, unusual phenomena, and amusing curiosities. Each page will enlighten and inspire, presenting our world at its best."

That's the story for now. I hope you enjoy my story and I hope you'll end up getting the book. There are plenty of awesome photographs there as well besides mine. That's all for now and take care!

P.S: If we ever meet, I'd be glad to give you my autograph on your book! 


Andrew Suryono

An engineer who became an international award-winning photographer. Besides producing fine art photographs, he loves helping people from all walks of life to discover their passion in life by teaching them photography through online courses and live workshops.

Copyright © Andrew Suryono. All rights reserved. No contents can be reproduced without written permission.

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