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Wanghan Li : Seeking endlessly for Beauty

by Yvette Depaepe
Published the 31st of October 2022


Wanghan Li is an excellent landscape photographer dedicating all his spare time to photography, together with his lovely wife.  They travel and hike a lot, both captivated by the tremendous beauty of nature. When out shooting, the enjoy every single moment and forget about life in the city.  The more they get attached to nature, the more they want to protect it for the future generations and the more they are concerned about it. Read all about this fantastic couple of photographers through this interview.


'Cape Royal – Grand Canyon North'
This was our favourite location before the pandemic because there were less visitors  (2 or 5 visitors) compared to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon North is only open from late May to late September.  Check the accurate time before going. Occasionally the “bad” weather gives a good chance  to get a dramatic landscape phenomenon.  We were lucky this time.  Jane was holding the umbrella while I clicked to catch the drama, the golden light, the rainbow and the clouds. For others, probably this is just a beautiful picture, but for us, it was a huge award and we enjoyed so much what nature gave us that day.


Dear Wanghan Li, first I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer this questionnaire! To begin, please introduce yourself shortly and tell us more about you, your hobbies or other projects you are involved in!

We live in California and worked for some import companies. My last job was a manager dealing with prices and inventory.  My wife Jane was accountancy manager in the same company. We both have been workaholics as long as we were working. We needed urgently to take a break so we have chosen landscape photography as a hobby during our spare time.  We retired two years ago but Jane was asked back to help in the accountancy. Now we try to persuade the company's boss  to let Jane go by the end of this year (2022) so that we finally can travel together.  We both love landscape photography and the related hiking.


When and how did you start your photographic journey?

We started with landscape photography ten years ago.  My neighbour gave me a lot of explanations, encouragements and valuable ideas in the beginning.  He also recommanded two books about photography by Tim Fitzharris and Michael Frye.


For many of us photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with photography?

First as a hobby and then step by step, it became part of our life after each trip to the field. Now we dedicate most of our spare time to photography or to related activities. Even my son, who draws paintings with electronics as a living, gives us his opinion about our photos.


What would be the most important experience so far that has influenced your steps in photography?

The beauty of the nature.  Before that, we were guiding many people to the national parks during the daytime and always spent a short time at each famous spot. When photographing, most of the time with my wife Jane, we are waiting at those spots, especially by sunrise and/or sunset.  We enjoy the moments beautiful nature changes. Then, we are excited and forget the tiredness of long night drives when we can witness the magic moment of sunrise or sunset. When we were still working and had regular and long weekends free, we were often driving all night long to get to the spots for sunrise or sunset. We were eating in the car and never stopped driving.  The more we did it, the more we loved it.  We didn 't think about work or about life in the city while out there. The only thing that mattered was reaching our spot in time for sunrise or sunset. We are very lucky to have a good health and spirit!


Why are you so drawn by landscape photography?

Life is so short and nature is so beautiful.  You see one beauty after another and  never stop longing for more. Since I joined, we have seen a lot of beautiful, meaningful and artistic images. I know we have a long way to go and are in front of many challenges.  But we will stick to landscape photography!


What is more important to you, the mood,/story behind your images or the technical perfection?
First comes the passion, the love for nature and further the love for landscape photography.  And only then comes the composition and the processing techniques.

What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?

The more you love the nature, the more you want to protect it for the future generations and the more you are concerned about it. For example, when we see China, the many cable cars and elevators built in their famous mountains for economic reasons, we really think nature should be  protected for the future generations.


Do you prepare carefully the locations where you are intending to photograph?

Now that we have time, we can spend more attention to a location and learn more both it's natural and cultural history.  For example, lately I spent almost 8 days at Second Beach and Rialto Beach and learned a lot about the tide situation which is very important for the composition. Knowing that, we will try to go to that location again. And yes, we will need to prepare carefully each location before moving to the next location during a trip.  


Describe your overall photographic vision.

Photography is Art. We need to discover it and learn about it.  Therefore, we visit some places to take landscape photos. Sometimes we go hiking to find new locations. While hiking, we not only build up our health but also enjoy finding new locations to photograph. Whenever we look at those images taken with the hardship, we value them and enjoy them very much.  So we love photography, especially landscape photography!  As a result, we love our life and our natural world.


What are the main features of a successful landscape photographer in your opinion?

The successful landscape photographers all are stubborn and don't give up easily. I read somewhere that Marc Adamus repeatedly hiked to one same location once a year during 4 or 5 successive years to finally got what he wanted (beautiful wild flowers as the foreground).  I saw Michael Frye walking in deep snow in Yosemite NP several times to search what he wanted in spite of the many beauties taken there and published nationwide.  There are a lot of landscape photographers, including some 1X photographers who never stop, searching endlessly for nature's beauty. They love and enjoy landscape photography even with of hardship.   


Can you please tell us something more about your workflow from the idea to the final product?

In most cases, we check what the places attract us most through the photos taken by others, and then we go into details of time, how to get there and our driving route. So far we have all driven to all the places by our wrangler, 4runner and now by F150 (4 wheel).  I am seasick and now I am also airsick though I travelled a lot by air during my early occupation.  We try to get images with the good composition per our mind first at the field.  Just shoot with our imagination and don’t check them at the details at the spot.  Each day, no mater how late it is, we download them and check them with a laptop to find what we like and what we should do next time. And then we compare ours with the ones from other people.  When we get home, we cool down for 2 or 3 days and then check the images by a large screen (desktop) and just save the keepers in another external hard drive and a backup one. We use Lightroom Classic for the most processing and if needed, we use PS and then come back LR Classic.  Actually, we started to learn LR seriously last year (2021).


Where do you look to find inspiration and what inspires you the most?
We read almost every book by Tim Fitzharris and Michael Frye (one with the collaboration of  Marc Adamus), books by Laurent Martres, Guy Tal and others. We have read some 1x tutorials . They all have encouraging words and inspire us to continue our landscape photography.  If we discover excellent images from a specific location by others where we were too, but we failed to get a good shot, we are inspired and challenged to get a better one in the future, if possible!  A lot of excellent 1x images from all categories opened our eyes and our mind. We are continuously encouraged to do better.


Many are of the opinion that the gear is not very important when the passion for photography is strong. However, can you please share with us what gear you use (camera, lenses, lighting, tripod, etc.)?

Passion for photography is the most important and then the equipment.
We first used a Canon 5D MII with 16 to 24mm, 24 to 70mm, 70 to 200mm, 100 to 400mm lenses, and later the Nikon 850D with 14 to 24mm, 16-24mm, 24 to 70mm, 70 to 200mm lenses. Tripods: Gitzo large, medium and small.  Tripods are equally important as cameras for landscape.  For short distances, we use the heavy duty tripod (also helps for physical condition).  For medium distances, we use the medium one.  For long distances, we use the small of traveller one. Whenever possible, we avoid using the smallest one. 


What would be your favourite photo? Please tell us the story behind it.

Our favourite photo is the one taken at the Tunnel View Yosemite NP.  hat day, a lot of people were waiting at that famous spot. The weather was changing all the time. Sometimes, It was sunny with partial clouds; sometimes it was drizzling or snowing.  More and more people left, predicting it would be cloudy and no hope to see the golden light at sunset.  About 30 minutes before the sunset, the last two so called professionals from Beverly Hills left though we tried to persuade them to stay. By the end, we were the only ones standing with our tripod and camera on that big spot which could hold 50 more photographers. Suddenly, a golden sunbeam hit the bottom of the valley, and then it was moving upward on El Capitan.  More golden sunbeams showed their interest in Half Dome and Cathedral Rocks etc.  Some of the moving clouds enjoyed sunset light, too.  What a beautiful and fantastic drama performing just in front of us!  We were so excited and kept the shutter clicking. We were in a very happy mood!  Persistence and patience played a big role here.  We have been to this location many times, but this is one of the most exciting moments.

'Yosemite NP'


Who are your favourite photographers or mentors whose works have influenced you and your photography?

My neighbour Larry, Michael Frye, Marc Adamus and some works in the 1X gallery. We joined 1X in February this year (2022), and saw a lot of wonderful images, especially the ones of the locations we have visited.  They make us think more how to improve our skills, they are challenging, encouraging and inspiring to us.


Now, since we have almost reached the end of this interview, I would kindly ask you to share with us your plans or photographic projects you would like to be involved in.

We love the South-west of US and try to visit it whenever possible.  We plan to visit Alaska in 2023 and discover a whole new territory.  We will spend more time to master LR Classic and learn B/W techniques.


Is there anything else you wish to add and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?

Landscape photography is hard, but it is fun and easy to get “addicted”.  All our photos will remind us the hardship as well as the enjoyment.  We wish we should have followed Phillip Chang’s advice to join 1X years ago.  So far, we have learned a lot and highly appreciate all the encouragements we got. We will continue to gather a lot of knowledge from the 1x members.

'Just before sunrise – Peyto Lake'
It was very cold that day, and we the two only people there.  We had been to this location at least 10 times, before sunrise and during the mid-morning. It was quiet and windless but a lot of “King” mosquito's biting even through our thick jeans when we crossed woods.   However, we were awarded with colourful and dramatic clouds.

'Last light – Coyote Buttes North'
We all know this as the Wave Area or Coyote Buttes North.  We have been there 6 times hoping to win lottery.  Each time, most of the people arrived at the Wave in the mid-morning until noon and left 2 pm.  After shooting around noon, we moved around and waited for the sun to go down the mountain hill to photograph the second wave. Only two times earlier, when we were there, the sun was not blocked by the clouds.  The other time was in winter.  We didn't see no other people at the second wave and left the Wave Area as the last visitors.  By the way, we always arrived at the foot of the Wave Area before sunrise and enjoyed the vast, remote and beautiful Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. Bring a lot of water if you go there in summertime.  For the desert trails, we always keep the last bottle of water until we see our car from a distance, no matter how thirsty we are.


'Poppy Bloom – Walker Cyn, CA
In the spring of 2019, a lot of people from other states, came to Walker Canyon to see the poppy flowers which were blooming all over the mountain hills.  The rangers said that this was the first time in their life to see such a phenomenon.  Even the national TV channels called it "Super Blossom"!  We spent the first day on the main trail with a lot of people.  We then took a side trail to the top of one of the hills and only met a few people the next 3 days (day in and day out).  We enjoyed our time very much and took some photos. California poppy loves the sun and opens fully around noon time. 


'Morning Light at Towers of Silence'
We have been to this location 4 times including one time we lost our way. Best time to go is in summer or autumn when the morning sunlight hits the Towers of Silence. We started 3 hours before the sunrise and followed the dry wash. Once, we met a European man who spent the night there shooting night photos.  Take lots of water... When we get lost, it was very hot after the sunrise. We used all of our water except the last bottle. On the way back, we found a pot of rainwater and I soaked my T-shirt in the water and then wore it back in order to let my skin absorb some moisture. So this image is very valuable to us and it always reminds us of hard and difficult times. 



'White Pocket'



'Three Brothers – Yosemite NP'



'Sunrise – Death Valley'2'



'Dead Horse Point 2 - Utah'



'Sunrise at White Mountains CA'



'Sunset – Alstrom Point'



'Sunrise 1 – Bryce Canyon'



'Sunrise at Moraine Lake'



'Antelope Canyon'



'White Pocket – Utah'



'Imperial Point – Grand Canyon North'


Very nice Wanghan! I just saw this article. Great collection of the photos. Congratulations for the achievements!
Each photographic work has profound connotation, dignified tone, classic composition of academic school and distinctive photographic style! Life is burning, the difficulties are on the journey, the strong impact of the picture brought us into the pure land of Brahma! Pay tribute to the teacher's classic work, master pen!
Every photo is a master piece!
every photo is amazing
I think it's wonderful to hear how you both appreciate being in nature and enjoy the hunt for light!
congratulations Dear Wanghan Li, exceptional series. beautiful masterpieces
Congratulazioni per tutti i tuoi capolavori!
Impressive masterpiece images, Congrats!
You have an exceptional edition and a beautiful eye capturing the most gorgeous images!! Fascinating and pure treat is your work dear Li!! Congrats for this wonderful interview!! It was a pleasure to know about your passion in photography!! Warm greetings and best wishes!! :))
Appreciate very much your encouragement, Sherin!!
Dear “Wanghan Li”, I read the article. From your words, I learned the "hardworking attitude" necessary to produce great works. Thank you. I look forward to your B/W works.
Thank you very much, Ryo!
Such an amazing exhibition through your truly masterpieces dear Wanghan, congratulations ! Many thanks also to Yvette for making it possible !
Thanks a lot, Streiff!!
Yi Pan PRO
Wanghan, Great interview and congratulation! Your photographs always move me, now I know that you put all your love to nature, and effort for cashing in beauty of nature.
Thank you so much, Yi Pan!!
Susi PRO
Que entrevista tan interesante e inspiradora!!! Espectaculares imágenes, verdaderas obras de arte!!! Felicidades Wanghan y Jane
Thanks a lot, Susi!
Every piece of work is a masterpiece. Congratulations
Many thanks, Konglingming!
much interesting article and a good collection of fascinating landscape images, congratulations Wanghan
Thanks a lot, Hans!
Great work, congratulation!!!
Thank you so much, Ning!!
Fantastic works, congratulationsss, Wanghan!
Many thanks, Wenjin!
Fantastic images
Many thanks, Peter!
Yu Mao PRO
Great passion! Amazing pictures! Congratulations Wanghan!
Thanks a lot, Yu Mao!
Congratulations Wanghan for this article publication and for all the stunning photographs. Incredibly beautiful images!
Congratulations for your excellent work, Wanghan!
Many thanks, May!
Great Jobs!Love all of the pictures!
Many thanks, Sunny!
Great journey and beautiful image, congrats Wanghan!!!
Thank you so much, Molly!!
I admired what you told in your interview and your passion...There's not much to be said for the magnificence of your photos, all of them gorgeous...
Many thanks, Nilgun!
verdon PRO
love it, as you know , congratulation on great portfolio and to be featured in 1X magazine
Many thanks, Verdon!
Amazing interview, Wanghan. Your work is so outstanding!
Thank you so much, Norbert!
Nice angle that takes you around the beautiful landscape, a pleasure every time, Well-deserved Congratulations Good light!!!
Thanks a lot, Jorgen!
Every image displayed here is extraordinary beautiful. The composition, the lighting and color were all well captured! They are very enjoyable artwork to me. Congratulations!
Thank you so much, DonnaHom!
So much talent, passion and skill in this gallery of stunning images! Nature's beauty meets human intelligence and creativity! I am really impressed. Congratulations for your work!
Thanks a lot, Ludmila!
Great interview and gallery. Nice to finally know a little more about you and you wife. Congrats!
Appreciate your compliments so much, Patrick!
Wow! Beautiful! Stubbornness and Patience is always paying off!! Great , different, creative points of view! ICongratulatilns!
Thanks a lot, Bogdan!
Congratulations!!, well deserved, you are a great photographer
Thanks a lot, Helena!
I have been a great admirer for some time and I continue to appreciate the truly unforgettable beautiful landscapes! Very grateful to Wanghan Li and Yvette, once again sensitive and attentive curator!
Thank you so much, Giorgio!
Congratulations for your beautiful work 👏
Thanks a lot, Rana!
Stunning work and beautiful article, dear Wanghan!!!!! Congratulations, and your supportive nature to all the other fellow photographers at 1x is absolutely admirable!!
Thank you so much, Misaki!
Congratulations Wanghan! Fantastic work !!!!
Thanks a lot, Marek!
Absolutely magnificent landscape work Wanghan and thank you to Yvette for organising and collating this interview.
Thanks a lot, Wayne!
Thank you, Wayne! Highly appreciated...
Many congratulations, Wanghan! This is a tremendous achievement. So happy for you. Now, the entire 1X world knows what I knew for quite some time. :) Your collection of breathtaking photos is a brilliant one!
Thanks a lot, Santanu!!
Congratulations Wanghan! Great works and well done!
Many thanks, April!
Your passion is overwhelming, Wanghan! Congratulations!
Thanks a lot, Chao Feng!
Great pictures! Congratulations, Li! Your hard work paid off! Thank you, Li and Yvette for this wonderful collection and interview!
Phillip, thanks a lot!
Enjoy your great works. Congratulations Wanghan !
Thanks a lot, Raymond!
Great works! Wonderful photos! Congratulations!
Thank you so much, Jun!
Congratulations, Wanghan. Great job.
Many thanks, Bing!
Dear Mr. Li, glad to see you are featured, you are an amazing landscape photographer and an amazing human being as well! Hope your wife retires soon and you two can travel far and wide so you can present more beauty to us! Congratulations on your achievements!
Thank you so much, Yanyan!!
Beautiful work done, Wanghan. Congratulations!
Thanks a lot, Yan!
Great Job Wanghan, comgratulations!
Thank you so much, Jianping!
An enviable love of photography, you have a lot of courage, tenacity and patience to achieve these achievements. I'm glad that you both enjoy doing this job, that later the rest of us will enjoy it. Thank you for your dedication.
Many thanks, Alberto!
Wonderful photos, great compositions and light! Congratulations.
Thanks a lot, Thomas!
So beautiful picture, love them all, congrats, dear Wanghan!
Appreciate your wonderful words, Ulrike!
Enjoy your great works. Congratulations Wanghan!
Thanks, Kenneth!
Thanks, Kenneth!
Your efforts have been rewarded with this excellent work. Congratulations
Thank you so much, Jesus!
Great Work, Congratulations!
Thanks a lot, Jing!
Thanks a lot, Jenny!
Congrats Wanghan !!! Bravo...
Thank you so much, Veli!
Fantastic work and very inspiring indeed 👍👍
Many thanks, Manish!
An extraordinary photographer. Congratulations Wanghan.
Many thanks, Ali!
Dear Whanghan, congratulatioms. Great work...
Thanks a lot, Ramiz!
As if from another world. Top class are your works!
Thanks a lot, Erhard!
Congratulations, Wanghan, I always enjoy your gorgeous works.
Thanks a lot, Jian!
Big congratulations Wanghan for your wonderful photographs!!! They are a masterpiece!!! Many thanks also to Yvette for this beautiful creation !!!
Many thanks, Irene!
Congratulation Wanghan, Wonderful works, Always impressed by your dedication. Impressed by the lightings, composition. Also many thanks for Yvette's intrigue interview.
Many thanks, Bing!!
Congrats, Wanghan! Great interview & beautiful photos.
Many thanks, Joshua!
Dear Wanghan , Many thanks for sharing your beautiful work and story behind it .
Many thanks, Saskia!
Very interesting and also educating interview and brilliant landscape photographs., Thanks very much Yvette and Wanghan for the wonderful work.
Thank you so much, Miro!!
Excellent work! Congratulations!
Thanks a lot, Marius!
Wanghan, thanks for sharing your stories and wonderful work. Conguatulations!
Many thanks, Mike!
Beautiful shots, congratulations Wanghan
Thank you so much, Anita!
My admiration and compliments dear Wanghan. Great images and congratulations for sharing and publishing
Thank you so much, Jois!
Carissimo Wanghan, felice di leggere la tua intervista, molto interessante anche per i temi trattati. Con la tua dolce metà Jane catturate paesaggi favolosi che io non riuscirò a vedere dal vivo, con rispetto per la natura e del futuro che lasceremo. È bello leggere l'amore e il rispetto che hai anche verso tua moglie, con la quale condividete la stessa passione e il vostro cammino insieme. Complimenti vivissimi, grazie. Grazie a Yvette sempre presente e sensibile nei confronti della famiglia 1x
Grazie mille per il tuo commovente e toccante apprezzamento, cara Francesca.
Thank you so much, Francesca!
Sincere congratulations on this outstanding feature, Wanghan. Your photography is superb and inspires so many of use. I hope you will complete the journeys you have planned, and I look forward to seeing more of your wonderful work.
Thank you so much for your sincere encouragement! Thank you, Elizabeth!
My very best compliments, dear Wanghan! It was a honour to interview you. Cheers, Yvette
Thank you so much, Yvette! We will try harder!
Big congrats Wanghan. You’re work is awesome and so beautiful 🔥♥️
Thanks a lot, Robert!!
Both talented and kind photographer. You deserved this magazine Wanghan!
I am so pleased with your words, Ori!
You are a very good photographer, seeking for beauty endlessly. I admire your venue.
Thanks a lot, YoungII!!
Congrats Wanghan, very informative insight. Go on further in this track.
Many thanks, Henk!!
A wonderful set of photographs and a very interesting and thoughtful interview. Thank you for sharing with us.
Appreciate your wonderful words so much, Mark!
Congrats Wanghan, very informative insight. Go on this track
Thanks, Henk!