Each spring, the entire Luoping County transforms into a sea of canola flowers, attracting thousands of photographers and tourists to marvel at the fantastic display. Found in the eastern portion of the Yunnan province, Luoping is a tiny city that has a population of 500,000. Its many farmlands are engulfed by the blossoming rapeseed crops each February and March, drawing many visitors to the area. These photos by Lan Yin attempt to convey the sheer beauty of this scene.
Tourists refer to the area as the most bizarre ‘sea’ in the world. Luoping happens to be the base for rapeseed production, and is also the national center for breeding bees and processing of related products such as honey. Besides the rabid growth of rapeseeds, other attractions for tourists visiting Luoping are the Duoyi River, the Jiulong waterfall, and the Lubuge Gorges. Luoping was often ignored by tourists passing through the region until the past few years, where things have changed quite drastically.
It has turned into an attraction especially for photographers, who come in droves to this quaint county early in spring to get a chance to photograph the incredible “sea of yellow” of maturing rapeseed flowers. The publicity that the photos in turn generate draw even more and more curiosity seekers to this lovely rural haven.
Luoping’s rapeseed flower festival has been promoted extensively in the past years by the local tourist board. As a result, the influx of tourists has created a side outcome of the peace being disrupted a bit.
“The blooming buds fill the air with the refreshing smell of spring that not only attracts human, but also bees. The beauty of the yellow sea of rapeseed flowers swaying in slow swirling waves in the gentle breeze is a sight that is out of this world. Rapeseed flowers are planted to harvest cooking oil from their seeds after the flowers had withered after their colorful bloom. They are planted all over China but bloom at different times of the year, depending on the temperature of the locations. The rapeseed farms in Luoping are among the largest scale in China. They are normally the ‘first-off-the-block’ every year, followed by those in Guizhou and other provinces.”
I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.