Rice and shine: Spectacular pictures of Chinese paddy fields created by generations of farmers over 1,300 years
PUBLISHED: 13:20 GMT, 15 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:40 GMT, 15 March 2014
Shimmering under a glorious sunset, these Chinese rice paddies take on a truly ethereal beauty that looks like nothing else on earth.
The series of randomly arranged man-made paddies have been built up the steep hillside in Yunnan province in China’s Yuanyang county by generations of rice farmers over a period of 1,300 years.
The whole area covers abound 850 square miles and what looks like a random arrangement of water pools is actually meticulously planned as they follow the hill’s contours depending on where people can reach.
Spectacular sunset: Bathed in a glorious golden glow, this series of randomly arranged manmade rice fields reflecting the sky above have been formed over 1,300 years
What looks like a random arrangement of water pools is actually planned as they follow the hill’s contours depending on where people can reach
Wonderland: The rice terrace in China’s Yunnan province in the Yuanyang county is well known for its spectacular views
Amazingly, the rice fields’ ecosystem is self-contained as water trickles down from the forest above the hills. The terraces are dug into the steep slopes of this mountainous region at between 1,000 and 2,000 metres above sea level.
Yunnan is one of the world’s largest rice-producing areas. It is planted once a year in April and harvested in September, when the terraces are flooded to prepare them for the next crop.
Freelance photographer and cinematographer John Qu, from Lake Oswego in Oregon, USA stood above the terraces at 6,500 ft looking down below to take the photos.
Misty morning: Meticulously built up the steep hillside by several generations of families, the rice paddies cover an area of about 850 square miles
This series of randomly arranged manmade rice fields reflecting the sky above have been formed over 1,300 years
Amazingly, the rice fields’ ecosystem is self-contained as water trickles down from the forest above the hills
John, 54, said: ‘The rice fields in these pictures are about 3,250ft high but I’m standing twice their height above.
‘It looks like the rice fields are in the clouds but you find the water actually reflects the clouds. The terraces are made by China’s ethnic minority groups, and mainly the Hani group.
‘This Yuanyang rice terrace is well known for its spectacular views so I took some pictures at sunset and some at sunrise. What’s amazing is that it’s a self-sustained ecosystem because the water comes down from the forest above.
‘But what I like about this set of pictures is that it presents a different perspective of the rice fields over the course of a day.’
Despite the breathtaking beauty of its landscape, Yuanyang region remains untouched by mass tourism. Its remote, mountainous location, bad roads and lack of a nearby airport deter all but the most determined tourists and photographers.