This shot is a longer-than-usual exposure, taken while braced against some rocks at 1/3 of a second, an eternity in terms of my usual exposure lengths of at least 1/60 of a second.
For this shot, I stopped all the way down to f/22, which is ridiculously high for me, and switched the ISO down to about 100. This let me get a nice silky feel to the water. Unfortunately, while the day was not overcast, it was cloudy when I took this shot, so I decided to go black and white.
This was taken near a “swimming hole” near Fuxing Township (復興), Taoyuan County, a very rural area of Taiwan – close to the “Xiao Wu Lai” waterfall (小烏來瀑布).
Shuri-jo, or 首里城, is a castle located in southern Okinawa which I visited last week while on a trip to the Japanese island. The structure itself is rebuilt, having been used as a Japanese military headquarters during the 1945 battle and subsequently destroyed during the fighting. It dates back to the 14th century, during which it was part of not Japan, but the Ryukyu Kingdom. The Ryukyu culture, which is similar in many ways to Japan through language and culture, played a central role in trade in the region. It was, however, taken over and annexed by the 19th century as Okinawa became Okinawa Prefecture.
A month ago, I visited Guqifeng, or 古奇峰, a temple in Hsinchu marked with a very large statue of the god of war, Guan Gong, on top of a mountain just east of the city. Last weekend, while visiting the general area, my wife and I noticed something going on inside and saw a lion dance troupe preparing to perform. Here are some shots from this performance.
Above: the drumline beats out the rhythm for the dancers. These guys were very talented and drumming is an art of its own in Taiwanese and Chinese culture.
A performer tests the stands before the performance by jumping between them. These performers will rarely make mistakes, but an important safety procedure for this was a group of performers underneath, holing the stand steady and acting as a buffer for falling friends. This did happen – the first time I’ve seen this happen before – and the performers who fell were perfectly fine, their fall being broken as they were caught. During this time, the drums kept going and the lion dancers were back in no time.
A confetti-covered ground marks the main ceremony area before the lion dance performer took the stage.
A walking god watches as the altar of another god “visits” the temple god. The confetti canons were set up at a climax during the ceremony and I was happy for a wider angle lens here.
Lion dancers jump across. Notice the drummers yelling below.
Last weekend in Tainan, I happened across a temple procession for a god I’m unfamiliar with taking place in an alley near the Confucius Temple. It was like most other processions: loud and full of energy. I found the 18mm end of my lens to be pretty useful here as well as the amazing light-bending abilities of RAW format due to the huge dynamic range present.
I know I haven’t posted ANYTHING yet this year. The reason for this is because of a few personal changes that made me pretty busy mixed with some absolutely nasty weather here in northern Taiwan. Nasty weather makes it hard to get yourself to go out and shoot, and I hope to alleviate that with today’s beautiful Spring-like day.
This single shot today is taken at 18mm, or a crop-sensor equivalent of about 28mm, was taken as I try to explore other focal points than the regular 35mm/50mm.
It’s actually not the most exciting picture, but the subject itself is pretty cool. This is a Hakka cultural park in Jhubei. Rather than demolish these old farmhouses in the midst of a huge real-estate boom, the developers of this park created a place for locals to preserve and learn about their culture. I’m a huge fan of it and it sticks out in contrast to the modern city surroundings.
I used Lightroom’s rather amazing distortion/lens profile features to fix the image and have been enjoying using Lightroom since the death of the MacBook a few months ago.
With Chinese New Year, a relaxed schedule, and HOPEFULLY, some decent weather, I plan on getting many more images up in the next few weeks.