Below are more shots from Daniel Pearl Day in Taipei. One rather great performance was a Japanese-style Taiko group. I’ve seen these groups in the US before, but not as close as I was able to get in this case. I’m really loving this new lens as it is fast enough to auto focus with all the movement I had during this performance.
Category Archives: taipei
OK – to straighten things out first, only the first three photos are new. It amazes me… whenever I have time to shoot photos outside, it rains. When I don’t (and end up not getting home until after-dark), it’s… well… dark. This has been annoying as of late.
I do have good news, though. Over the summer, I entered an HDR image of Sri Meenakshi Temple in Pearland, Texas (click on the title for that post/photo) to Harvard University’s Pluralism Project. The Pluralism Project exists to educate people about America’s growing religious diversity and I was excited when they had a call for photos. Well, I am one of the winners, but I can’t say that I got the grand prize. That’s OK – the grand prize definitely kicked everyone’s butt… it’s a beautiful shot of floating lanterns. My shot wasn’t bad, but looking back, I realize that I still need to keep working on framing. I liked the dramatic perspective this one had and will try to improve on it in the future.
Anyway, as for tonight’s shots – the first three come from a quick jaunt out for some rice and pork at a Japanese-Taiwanese restaurant. It was pretty good and cheap… nutritious, too… so no complaints here. The first shot is a nearby restaurant’s paper lantern:
After dinner, Yuling and I walked around the neighborhood. We came across this temple which was located right next to a park – the first shot includes some bokeh in the background as I was trying to get the obligatory temple incense shot:
I had mixed feelings once I was done with the following shot. Since these were taken at night, I was playing around with ISO settings on my camera. I set the ISO on the following shot a little too low/slow (OK, “a lot” too low/slow) and it came out a bit blurry. At the same time, I like the effect on the colors and think the blurriness might work for the photo…
The following photos were taken and recently re-touched. The first was on this blog earlier – I decided to lighten the photo some in order to make it “pop” out more:
…followed by a Taipei photo I dug out of the neglected batch:
While it’s been a while since I last visited Danshui, I decided not to long ago to take another look at my photos from that trip. These boats were seen along the water, and I somewhat recently realized that I had three exposures taken of them. HDR below.
I’ll be getting more photos up in the near future – the tricky part is having time and good weather to take them with – lately this has been my biggest obstacle by far.
When I first left for Asia, I kept hearing about the futuristic/cheap cell phones and bandwidth immersion – which is great for a geek like me. While one panned out (I now owned an iPhone and didn’t have to sell my soul to AT&T!), the bandwidth part sucks if you want free internet through your apartment here. While download speeds are good for anything including videos, they severely limit uploads for some reason in my complex… hence why I’m posting Taipei photos in batches.
Anyway, enough with me whining – on to some photos. The first set includes some sights around Taipei Main Station. It’s a huge Grand Central Terminal-esque building that is much, much nicer on the inside than its Cold War-era bleak architecture on the outside… for some reason Flickr didn’t let me upload the one photo I have of the outside, and I don’t mind too much – it was ugly, anyway :)
The second set will be mentioned in a bit…
The second set for today includes some photos from the National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院). This complex of museums is east of the city and takes its name from Beijing’s Palace Museum. Apparently, the art collection here is pretty much half of what was in Beijing prior to the Japanese invasion during the Sino-Chinese War. Chiang Kai-shek decided it should be kept in Taiwan as a result of the Chinese Revolution and later, the Cultural Revolution. While its collections were impressive, so was the outdoor architecture – I saw a Tiananmen Square-esque idea with CKS Memorial Hall, and it seems that this museum is also important to Taiwan’s identity… and for a country which is seen as a province of China by the USA, that identity is pretty important.
Notice the nun on the far left smiling. I didn’t mean to take their picture, honestly – and find it hilarious that monks and/or nuns ALWAYS smile when they see a tourist pointing a camera in their direction.
The last day of Taipei was spent going to one of the main cultural and political sites of the city, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. I had half-expected Falun Gong protesters as with Taipei 101 and pro-Tibet people as at the National Palace Museum, but I wonder if the revered sanctity of this place for Taiwanese keeps that from happening. Part of the experience is seeing a changing of the guard ceremony, much like we have in the US at Washington DC’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Some HDR is mixed in with the following. Click on each for a full-sized photo through Flickr.
(Notice the sweat on the guard’s face – the weather was pushing 100 degrees F/38 C)
…and an HDR to finish things off.
The Taipei 101 visit was something I had been looking forward to since my time in the States, so it was worth braving the crowds of tourists from all over to get in and see the observation deck. Lucky for us, we arrived just in front of a massive Chinese tour group, so we were able to move along in line as my boredom was quelled by my trusty iPhone.
Taipei 101 – named as such because it’s in Taipei and has 101 stories – was the tallest building in the world until early this year, when Burj Khalifa in Dubai opened. Visitors who see the Taipei skyline might think that the city has no tall office buildings because they are simply dwarfed by the massive structure.
Unfortunately for us, we visited on a pretty hazy day, though there was some glimmer of sunlight during the evening’s sunset. I hope to go back to Taipei in the not-too-distant-future to get some shots of this in the skyline at night. I’m sure it’s amazing.
The above is Taipei 101 in the early evening. It’s a 3-exposure HDR as is the following picture…
…which was taken inside the smaller building’s mall. Anyone up for some luxury shopping?
…this HDR shows that glimmer of sunlight we had. Conveniently in the west as well is a mountain peak and river. You’ll want to click on that photo for the full-size image in Flickr…
The above photo is another HDR (this location lent itself very well to multiple exposures!) of the winddamper. Located in the middle of the building near the top, it is a giant counterweight meant to, well, damper the wind. The effects are noticed – if you go near the windows, you will sway a little bit… but not near this behemoth.
Another HDR taken in a park just outside the mall. I’m thinking that this would be a cool photo if the ground were wet and the lights were reflecting more…
Looking up again… another 3-exposure HDR. Though the following photo didn’t need this treatment…
…and another view from the top. I’ll attribute the softness of this HDR to the fact that it was unfortunately taken through the window of the indoor observation deck.
…and to finish off, a photo of the outdoor deck. The man in blue is a security guard – probably making sure we have no jumpers. The giant cage was good as it doesn’t interfere with your photos (a lens fits right through) and it seems much more effective than the Rockefeller Center’s plexiglass.
During my trip to Taipei, Yuling and I visited Shida Night Market, a famous example of the many night markets in Taiwan. These events, which might occur weekly or every evening, are a way for the locals to spend time (and money) shopping and eating through all hours of the night. It makes a lot of sense that in the case of Shida, a college is nearby and there are plenty of expat and local music venues throughout.
Something I had to get used to was the fact that people go to Shida to just walk around. Crowds of untold magnitudes of people converge in one tiny spot and really don’t mind the human traffic jam they get themselves into – it’s not uncommon or extremely impolite to bottleneck a passage – the 100 people behind you will almost expect it to happen.
I’ll link to the Taipei Times here – they offer a great description. As usual, photos and descriptions follow and each is a link to the (BETTER) real version on Flickr!
Hopefully the above photo gives you an idea of how crowded this was…
…while this gives you an idea of the food. These balls were made of fish, octopus, and wasabi – then served with some kind of dried vegetable on top… very tasty, but too hot to eat at first.
As I mentioned before, I did a LOT in Taipei. It’s a great city with a lot to see – some districts are newer, and others older. While I stayed in the newer parts of the city for things like food and entertainment, the older parts beckon those who want to experience Chinese history, religion, and culture.
Longshan Temple could be called “interdenominational,” as my Lonely Planet guide suggests, but I think that’s glossing over the fact that Chinese religion is super-confusing to most Westerners as it is. Since most people practice a plethora of belief systems, we see most temples “serving out” all or most of these in an almost cafeteria format. Longshan is no different – much like Teo Chew or Pien Hou in Houston, we’ve got Chinese gods, boddhavistas, and Taoist prayer buildings sitting alongside each other.
As usual, click on each for the full Flickr photo.
There are, as usual, a few more on the Flickr stream. I’ll be updating this with shots from Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, Taipei 101, and other Taipei sights within the coming days.
I am just about to board a HSR (high speed rail) train back to Jhubei, a 30 minute trip. I spent my weekend exploring Taipei city and took quite a few (1,000) photos – so exhausted!
I will be updating this site and Flickr as I process them – which will take quite a while…