Sunrise on the Bund

It was one of those moments that occur to the (semi) conscious mind at 430am.

Dark blue hues were giving way to light, inch by inch. A lone bird chirped, for it too was an early riser. The sun will reveal itself in the barest of moments.

Sunrise in Shanghai. The endless opportunities to discover if one was courageous enough to swing out of bed.

Even the cab driver was barely awake during the journey. The hum of the engine served as a monotonous soundtrack as the cit swept by, empty and dead.

I hopped off by the newly constructed Bund, which only weeks ago, had thousands of people thronging and jostling on the pedestrian walkway.

A friend had remarked, “I only saw bobbing heads, not a skyline. If there was a time to start hating humanity, this was it.”

I hated crowds. Thus, 5am seemed like the perfect time to start my morning affair with the city.

Standing by the river, I watched the wind whip the clouds playfully as they gathered and rolled. The sun gained strength as it grew higher, its bold rays streaking across the skyline.

I’ve never seen Shanghai like this before.

It was as if the Bund belonged only to me, … and a few others. The average age was 50 and above. Retired kite-flyers, joggers and the occasional lone photographer peppered the Bund. The enduring landmark was being enjoyed by its residents, as it rightfully should.

It was about 7am when a large group of elderly folk began their morning excerise. The peaceful strains of qigong jarred unharmoniously with a nearby blairing radio entertaining some cha-cha dancers.

Just as the tourists started arriving. it was time to leave. I walked toward the city as it opened up and swallowed me back into the noise and bustle.

8am. Time for bed.

May 2010

Sunrise exercise on the Bund 02



  • Reply May 10, 2010

    S in Shanghai

    Very nice pics Sue Anne. What I really like are those shadows. I’m normally an early wake-up guy, but it’s difficult to get out of bed and head of, glad you made it.


    • Reply May 10, 2010

      Sue Anne

      Svend, did not wake up early. Rather, did not sleep after a night out. That’s the only way I catch sunrises. But I recommend the outing at that time. Makes you fall in love with the city all over again.

  • Reply May 10, 2010

    Adam Daniel Mezei

    Second photos makes it seem like I was just there yesterday. Amazing…

    • Reply May 10, 2010

      Sue Anne

      Thanks Adam. You should head to the Bund at sunrise when you visit. Unfortunately, summer means it will be around 430 or so. Best to go after a long night out. Which is what I did.

  • Reply May 12, 2010

    Tina L. Zeng

    The photos make me feel like I am a granddaughter admiring my elder’s skill and poise all the while pining for the warmth of my blanket back home.


    • Reply May 13, 2010

      Sue Anne

      That’s very poetic, Tina. Thanks for stopping by. Is your home Shanghai?

  • Reply May 28, 2010


    Love this series of images. So contemplative, yet at a moment of peak action. Very rare images.

    • Reply May 28, 2010

      Sue Anne

      Hi CK! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I really enjoyed my time shooting on the Bund that morning, amazing what you can achieve in the wee hours!

      I just blasted through the archives of you new blog. I really enjoyed the mixture of equiptment talk and mixes of images other than weddings etc. Seems business is going well for you! I hope you’re having a wonderful time in SF!

  • […] April 2010. Taken at 5am at sunrise on the Bund. […]

  • Reply June 1, 2010


    Sue Anne!
    really nice pics with the story!
    looks like i need to add this on my list… wake up early to take pic of this … (and no.. i won’t do it the way u did u crazy girl.. hahaha.. i am too old to out all night…. heck.. soon i will have to join them.. hahahah)


    • Reply June 1, 2010

      Sue Anne

      Kirk! I saw that picture of you guys on a Flickr meetup and having a “shoot off” with a bunch of kids armed with pretty fancy DSLRs, also on the Bund. I think the crowd at sunrise are residents, which I prefer than the growing hordes of tourists. It’s worth getting up for, believe me. Thanks for stopping by!

  • […] Shanghai Street Stories: Standing by the river, I watched the wind whip the clouds playfully as they gathered and rolled. […]

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