A small herd of male chirus makes its way to the relative warmth of the Kumukuli Desert. These nimble antelopes are high-altitude specialists found only on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. For years, Shangzhen made the long, arduous journey to observe them there. Here he drew the contrasting elements of snow and sand together.
Underneath their long hair, chirus have a light, warm underfur called shahtoosh. It grows tightly against their skin and can only be harvested by killing and skinning the chirus. Protection since the 1990s has seen their once-decimated numbers increase, but there is still demand – primarily from Westerners – for shahtoosh shawls.
Nikon D5 + 600mm f4 lens; 1/1250 sec at f6.3 (+0.3 e/v); ISO 125; Gitzo GT5532S 6X tripod
Kumukuli Desert, Qinghai, China
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Shangzhen Fan, China
Shangzhen is Director of the China Photographers Association, Director of the Qinghai Wildlife Protection Association and Vice Chairman of the Qinghai Wildlife Photography Association. He has been working and living on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau for more than 40 years, focusing on its wildlife environments and experiencing the impact brought by changes to the area.