Lake Napa 納柏海

Lake Napa Wetlands 納柏海, or Lake Napa Nature Reserve (aka Lake Napa), lying in the valley of a high mountain plateau situated about 3270 m above sea level and covering 660 sq km , 8 kilometers north of Shangri-La County, in Yunnan Province’s northwestern corner. Lake Napa is a so-called Ramsar site under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Lake Napa is surrounded to the east, west and north by tall mountains which, during winter and spring, are covered in snow.

The lake proper, which spans roughly 23 sq km , or about 2300 hectares, during the height of the runoff season (besides the direct runoff from the surrounding mountains into the lake, there are a dozen or so rivers that empty into the lake after snaking their way through the grasslands), shrinks to about 1/5 of its size (500 hectares) during late fall, though changing global climatic conditions may eventually reduce this figure even more, or increase it, depending on the direction of the change.

There are nine holes, or caverns, at the base of one of the mountains to the north of this enclosed valley, and during the peak of the rainy season, the lake often flows over its banks and the resulting floodwaters sieve through these nine caverns, then on into the nearby Jinsha River. This seasonal discharge into the Jinsha River is the only exit for the annual runoff water that descends into this otherwise closed valley. source : chinahighlights.com

We visited Lake Napa as part of my Yunnan trip last month. As it was autumn time, the lake proper has shrunk and most of the lake became a large grassland. We took a horse ride around the plain. It was fun, although not exactly comfortable as I was carrying a large and heavy camera backpack on my back. At least the view was nice.

All photos were shot in RAW with Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM and Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM. The RAW files were converted with Capture One Pro and further processed with Photoshop CS5 before outputting to the web. You can see the full set of photos here.

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