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Han Dynasty



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Sleeper Car
Photograph by Robert Clark

After loading a truck with river stones at sunrise, three boys in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China take a much deserved nap on a remote stretch of the old Silk Road—which is anything but silky. At 505 feet (154 meters) below sea level, this area, known as the Turpan Depression, is the lowest point in China. During the four centuries of the Han dynasty, beginning about 206 B.C., extremes of climate made travel in this region a challenge. That's still true. When rain finally comes or when the snows in the surrounding mountain melt, roads can wash away unless fortified with gravel and stones.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Canon EOS 1N
Film Type: Fujichrome 100F
Lens: 17-35mm f/2.8
Speed and F-Stop: 1/125 @ f/5.6
Weather Conditions: A dust storm had created a large, warm-colored, soft cloud cover.
Time of Day: 3 p.m.
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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