Friday, August 2, 2019

Transporting a cow across a raging river by hanging it from a cable

Photo by Fritz Hoffmann @fritzphotos | To bring the family cow to the weekly market on the Nu River, Nan Boyi must cross the river by cable to Chenggan Village in Yunnan, China. For many people living on the Nu, cable crossings like this are the only way to reach the other side. When I was assigned this story, I knew I’d have to get a picture of a cable crossing, but I saved that shot for last, until I traveled the river and studied the crossing locations and found those closest to markets. The first vantage point I chose for photographing the crossings caused a traffic jam for villagers making the return trip. (You can see my first attempt on my feed @fritzphotos.) After spending two hours photographing people pulling themselves across, I had a picture but was unsatisfied. Still, I packed up to leave. Before I got in the car, one last time I scanned the high ridge on the opposite side of the river for anyone that might be approaching. Far above the river I could see a few figures descending the steep trail. A cow was with them. I knew I’d have a picture worth publishing if they crossed with a cow. When they arrived at the cable, Nan Boyi crossed first. Then family members harnessed the cow to the pulley and gave it a strong push. The cow came to a stop halfway on the cable and dangled there above the rushing waters. Nan Boyi zipped back on the cable to mid-river. He wrapped his feet around the pulley and, hand over hand, pulled the cow with him to the other side. I was happy. It was the last picture of my story coverage. To see more pictures from "Searching for Shangri-La" and China, visit my feed @fritzphotos. #nuriver #nujiang #crazycrossing #china #ruralchina
A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

*Previously: "Why the Amazon River Can't Be Crossed By Bridge"