Updated: • Got a question about The Photographers Field Guide to Beijing?

What’s the latest version of the field guide?

The field guide is on v2.0.1.

(BTW, you can check to see if you have the latest version by comparing the version number listed on the book’s copyright page with the latest release on Github.)

Who is this book for?

Photographers who are new to China, or at least new to the Beijing area, will get the most out of The Field Guide. Nearly everyone arrives in Beijing with the same questions. The Field Guide gives you quick answers to those questions, and tackles a few issues you probably haven’t anticipated yet.

Why is this book free?

A lot has changed, both in China and elsewhere, since I started this project in 2015.

I did not write this book to change the world. But I did write it to help you connect with Beijingers and their city. Let’s push that a little further, huh?

Starting now, with the launch of version 2, I’m distributing this book free of charge on this website.

“The experience of spending many years among distant Others has taught me that friendliness towards another human being is the only attitude that can touch a chord of humanity in him,” says Polish journalist and indomitable traveler, Ryszard Kapuscinski.*

This field guide previously sold for 25 USD. You’re encouraged to spend the difference getting to know the locals. (And you can buy your new friends a lot of chuan’r and erguotou for 25 USD.)

Cheers to the Other in your world.

*Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Other, (Brooklyn, NY: Verso, 2018) “Encountering the other as the challenge of the twenty-first century,” Kindle e-book.

How do you read the Field Guide?

You can use any app that supports EPUB files. Off the top of my head: iBooks, Calibre and Kobo all support EPUB files. Axet’s Book Reader is quickly becoming my personal favorite.

The book is written for travelers who need quick answers, and is designed so it’s easy to read on your phone.

Can you still read it on Kindle?

Yes. You can read it here.

Who won’t like this book?

This book isn’t for everyone. There are no reviews of tourist attractions. There are no lessons about f-stops or composition, either.

Wait, do you need to be a pro to use this book?

Nope. The only thing I assume is that you’re new to China. The Field Guide helps you get to know Beijing from a photographer’s perspective.

What’s so great about Beijing?

The art. The architecture. The attitude. Expect photo ops of a vibrant city that is not shy about owning it’s cultural wealth – or showing it off. You’ll also have opportunties to photograph floating fields of summer lotus blossoms, autumn streets lined with ginko trees and the Great Wall.

Who sponsored this project, then?

There are no sponsors. There are no affiliate links. I don’t accept free fish or any other payment for mentions.

Photographers asked for my opinions and expertise, and I value their trust.

Why do you need this book?

The field guide gives you 3 things:

  1. Quick logistics advice from a photographer’s point of view.
  2. Bite-sized cultural tips. Get your shots. Avoid faux pas.
  3. A brief, and carefully curated, location list to help you hit the ground running.

The field guide was intentionally written to give you essential info and then get out of your way, so that you can get on with making photos.

Troubleshooting Chinese text on old Kindle e-ink hardware

Apparently, only some of Kindle’s fonts will display Chinese properly on older devices. If you see little tofu blocks instead of Chinese characters, you’ll need to change your e-reader’s font settings:

  1. Hit the little Aa icon at the top of your screen to toggle the font settings options. This preference pane will let you choose a different font.
  2. Tap through your font options until the weird, little tofu boxes disappear and you can see Chinese characters alongside the English language text.

Why write a field guide?

After hearing visiting photographers ask the same questions over and over, I decided it was time to do something about it.

Books are self-contained and offline. That can be helpful when you’re inside the great firewall.

Do you have a different question?

Read all this way and still looking for an answer? We can’t have that. Please email me and let’s figure it out together: [email protected]