Tag Archives: county

Year of the Snake: Lunar New Year 2013 in Taiwan

With a vacation to Korea, an apartment move, and a visiting family member, I didn’t go out to document this year’s Lunar New Year as much as in the past.

With that said, it was a great time of relaxation for me even if it was a bit busy. This time of year always sorts of reignites the spark and excitement of living in Taiwan for me and this was no exception.

Above: Mazu, goddess of the sea, at Cixian Temple, Taipei.

Above: Cherry blossoms on a (very) foggy day at Lion’s Head Mountain (獅頭山).

Above: Temples on the same foggy day at 獅頭山.

  

Above left: worshippers walk under a lantern for blessings at Longshan Temple, Taipei. Above right: temple lanterns hang at Cixian Temple, Taipei.

Above: temple worshipers gather at Longshan Temple, Taipei.

Above: lanterns hang at Longshan Temple, Taipei.

Above: an incense burner at a temple on Lion’s Head Mountain.

Above: fried noodles being prepared at Shilin Night Market, Taipei.

Above: the calm before the crowds at Liuhe Night Market, Kaohsiung.

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Lion Dance and Temple Ceremony, Guqifeng (古奇峰), Hsinchu

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.

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Life at 18mm (Single Shot)

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.

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Single Shot: Woman in Jiufen

This woman was at a small shop in Jiufen, a town north of Taipei that is known for its history of gold mining and the Japanese colonialism which brought miners into the village. I’ll be posting some more shots in the next few days from that trip as I get them organized and labeled on Flickr.

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More from Ghost Month/Yimin Festival

These shots are from the past few weeks during Ghost Month and Yimin Festival. Ghost Month recently ended (and yes, I think I got the date right this time!) which usually signifies the beginning of the school year and the end of summer. While I don’t look forward to the weather changing, I’m excited about starting a new year.

These cards are used for divination or fortune-telling. You roll a certain number, match it with the card, and see what the gods have to tell you. Found at Yimin Temple.

  

Above left: an altar for ghosts at a Jhubei restaurant. Above right: a scooter drives pass a burning of “ghost money,” meant to be given to the ancestors.

Above: these guys were lighting fireworks out the back of a truck – unfortunately, I only got the end of it with the camera.

  

Above: a San Tai Zi (三太子) god with what look like “Mickey Mouse” gloves.

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Farm in Nantou

This was taken in Nantou when I was visiting last month. This week is pretty quiet on the blog end as I’ll be leaving for Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Saturday and traveling through to Thailand.

Since it’s a light day, I’ve decided to include some candles from a temple in Changhua City that I visited during the famous Mazu Festival and Pilgrimage.

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Hall of Gods

These are shots of a hall of gods at Dajia Mazu Temple, Taichung County. This room has covered walls on two sides with these colorful statues, which overtake the senses, to say the least.

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Rooftop Dragon

This dragon was at a temple in Nantou County I visited last weekend. I liked the mix of sunlight on the dragon with the overcast sky in the background.

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Jiji, Nantou County (集集)

Today’s images come from 集集, or Jiji, a small but touristy town in Nantou County. Part of the reason it’s a bit touristy is due to the fact that the 1999 “9/21″ earthquake was centered in this small town and it is home to a museum dedicated to that event.

The town is full of bicycle and scooter rental shops – I was actually quite amazed they don’t run each other out of business.

Probably the most scenic train platform I’ve ever seen.

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From Nantou County

Last weekend, we stayed in Nantou County at a sort of homestay-style place. Since this was in what seemed the middle of nowhere, my photography changed quite a bit without an urban environment. I had a good time, but am glad to be back in Jhubei.

I found myself taking a lot of macro-style shots – many more than usual. This lizard was out of the ordinary for my style of shooting, and I like how it turned out.

These palm-style trees are binlang, or “betel nut” trees. They are cultivated for their fruit, which is called a nut, and when chewed gives a sensation close to caffeine or nicotine.

The last shot for today is a landscape. Certainly something I haven’t even tried to shoot in months. While I like landscapes still, it’s interesting how my photography has shifted in terms of what interests me now.

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