Every year at the end of Chinese New Year, festivals throughout Taiwan seek to bring prosperity for the new year. One, near Tainan, is the famous Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival. People actually volunteer to have fireworks shot at them as they believe it will show their strength and health. Unfortunately, I missed it again due to unpredictable train schedules the night before I had to be at work.
Instead, I went to another festival that did not involve fireworks being shot at me, but instead at and around a dancing dragon. This Miaoli Hakka festival is called “Bombing the Dragon” and it’s easy to see why. After a few days of dancing dragons visiting storefronts and asking for red envelopes in exchange for good fortune, they are brought to an area where they dance around firecrackers. The dancers must wear protective eyewear, hoods, and masks, though a respirator is something I’d personally rather have. Even though I was further back (though still quite close), I was happy to have a mask and I will say that old clothing, earplugs, and a mask are all essentials when visiting.
Above: top, a dragon much like what was in the festival sits as the crowd arrives; bottom, festival-goers practiced their own dragon dance as a dragon team prepared for the night.
Above: a hanging dragon made of fireworks lights up as festival goers watch.
These were taken a while ago on Lion Head Mountain. You can see more of the shots from that day here and a panorama here.
Hiking in Miaoli a few weeks ago was a great experience. As I mentioned before (click here for the post), it was full of beautiful mountain temples and clean air. A very idyllic place.
This panorama was taken with around 18 or so shots and processed with my newly acquired Photoshop CS5. Click on it for a Flickr link and to see it in its full-sized version, though I’ll warn you that it’s actually TOO big for my taste. I’ll keep this in mind next time and maybe practice by taking these shots in portrait mode next time… in order to get more sky.
I shot this at f/9 with a shutter speed of 1/320 at 18mm. In order to keep it consistent, I locked the exposure for every shot. This is a key thing to do when trying to create panoramas.
These are the promised photos from Miaoli’s beautiful mountain scenery and the temples in the area around Lion’s Head Mountain. I already posted an HDR of some intricate roofing, but wanted to share these as well.
This starts off with a naturally-framed image. I need to try this more often, I like how it turned out.
One interesting thing that happened was an old man at a temple that approached Yuling and I about the fact that I was Western. He first asked her if I was European, and then realized that I was American. When she told him this, he got excited and started mentioning “O-Ba-Ma!”
He told her, as she tried not to giggle, that Obama is the first Native American president and that he will help South Korea get rid of Vietnam.
He WAS a nice guy, though. Even invited us to a temple ceremony, which we unfortunately had to say no to due to the fact that we’d been hiking all day and were exhausted.
Check out the Flickr set for more photos by clicking here.