Yuling and I visited the Hsinchu Zoo today, after kind of randomly wandering into the front gate after looking at a seasonal “holiday” market set up as a follow-up to the Moon Festival. The cost for the zoo was $10 NTD… about $0.30 US. Hard to believe – but we went ahead and went inside. Yuling had remembered the zoo as a shadow of a zoo in its earlier years – but it did have decent facilities and I could tell animals were being taken care of pretty well. While it didn’t have a large selection, it was a great deal for what we got. Photos are below – along with some descriptions. Check out this Flickr set of mine to see the rest of the photos.
Above: some shots of the Crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis). These monkeys are common in Malaysia and were in an open-air area which made these shots easy with my 70-300mm lens. They were great subjects as they moved around – the last photo is the youngest of the group.
Below are a few more photos – a crocodile and an ostrich. While there were more varieties of animals at the zoo, the size and budget of the place worked against me – along with some cages which I couldn’t get clear shots through.
I have previously taken photos at this large park near the river which acts as the border between Hsinchu and Jhubei, but I wanted to go out again tonight as we had a perfectly clear night for a change.
With the 18-55 lens, I got some regular landscape photos and a shot of a tower which carries powerlines. They are somewhat obnoxiously right on the trail – but good for an HDR from a different perspective:
I was also happy with this HDR of Jhubei. My apartment is nestled somewhere in the middle of the buildings. I would consider this to be a “newish” part of town because as it is indeed newer than the winding, crowded streets of “Old Jhubei” further to the west, it pales in scope to the newer section of town which is being billed as a “New Taipei.” It certainly is getting that feel – I just hope we don’t have a construction bubble on our hands.
Anyway, be sure to click on the photo below to see a larger version in Flickr. This blog’s limits make me keep photos small. This was also taken with the 18-55mm.
…and finally, a bird shot taken with the 70-300mm – of course the glass was stretched out as far as possible. I’m not sure what kind of bird this is – please let me know if you’re familiar with Taiwanese fauna.
Things are still going well here. I will be having a day off in a week due to the Moon Festival – I’ll be sure to post any photos that come up as a result of that experience…
These photos come from a trip just outside of Taichung at two botanical garden areas that I don’t remember the name… or location of… but can tell you they were in the mountains and quite beautiful. The day itself was pretty exhausting – it consisted of leaving Jhubei early in the AM on Friday the 20th of August and arriving in the Taichung area by about 8:45am. The first stop was a botanical garden which was highly maintained and kind of sold as a relaxation for Taiwanese from the hustle and bustle of city life. The second location, which lacks some pictures here (as I was pretty exhausted) was a harrowing drive through one-way roads in the mountains in search of some lavender fields. We found them… and they were beautiful. Photos of both locations are mixed into this post:
The above photo was kind of an opportunity shot and I’m glad I got it. A girl was blowing bubbles on the way out of the first garden, and I had my 70-300mm lens after shooting (…pictures of!) some ducks in the pond. I liked how the bokeh turned out on this, and even more, it made me realize my 70-300 lens was a good investment as the autofocus was nice and fast – not to mention accurate.
This HDR shows a “castle” located in the center of the park. Like I said, this was the place for Taiwanese to relax… escape. No attractions, sales (minus a restaurant), or amusement park rides. Apparently, this requires a faux European castle! I have to admit – it was somewhat tasteful and added to the presence of the place.
I like the depth-of-field on the photo above. You’ll obviously notice the fish as well – both the fish and ducks were used to, and probably dependent on, people. The water is clear enough and the fish are “trained” to the point that they followed us… Yuling extended her hand (with nothing in it) and their mouths were gaping open, ready to eat…
Gotta love the chemical-fused water :)
There were gardeners all over – my $250 NT entrance fee (about $7.80 USD) seems to be well used!
The above photo shows some of these wish/prayer cards that our second stop, the lavender fields, gave to visitors. The whole operation – which I honestly don’t have many photos of here – was quite a successful draw for many people. Their marketing was full of cute (and sometimes expensive) ways to participate in the “cottage” atmosphere and was a little bit more direct than the first garden. Oh, and it was in the middle of nowhere… really.