China is such an incredibly large country that to say one is "off to China" is almost meaningless without some sort of specification. It would be as if some space alien were announcing a visit to Earth. It might be prudent to ask Where on earth?
This trip, I'm headed to the very southern end of China to the island of Hainan in the South China Sea. Hainan is a large island — about 100 miles x 120 miles, due east of Vietnam. It's a tropical island so I'm assuming my experiences will be entirely different than my last trip to inner-Mongolia in the dead of winter. On that trip, it was all about the down clothing. This time, it's all about the raingear. Late April and early May are the beginnings of the monsoon season which reach their peak, thankfully, in the late summer. The weather forecast shows mid to upper 80s with humidity in full swing. The 10-day forecast is for thundershowers every day. I'm not sure if this will make for spectacular photography or long afternoons holed up in a hotel room waiting for a break.
The purpose of this visit is, also, novel. I've been invited over to assist the Chinese photographer in the preparation of his life's work for a photography book. We'll be working on image selections, book design issues, and other considerations to present his work in the best possible light. It should be an interesting experience yet still leave substantial time for some personal photography.
Unlike my previous trips which involved traveling in the countryside, this adventure promises a more urban experience, perhaps mixed with a bit of tropical rain forest. As to the photography, it's anyone's guess. I'm prepared for anything — and fully aware how naïve that statement is.