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.
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.
Last weekend, I visited Miaoli with Yuling to go hiking on Lion’s Head Mountain, a trail and mountain ridge located in a national park. While we had beautiful weather and a decent hike, I was a bit disappointed at first to note that the “peak” did not have anything worth looking at… it was too crowded with trees. Once we made our way further down to a temple complex, however, things changed. We were met with a 180-degree view and a temple complex that works its way down the side of the mountain. It was pretty amazing.
This HDR image was taken to capture the sunset and how the rooftops looked with the mountains in the background. I’m proud of it, but it’s given me some headaches. First the picture… I’ll describe more below.
First, I’ll mention that the image deserves to be seen full-size. You can do that by clicking on it and ending up in Flickr. Or, you could right click and open it up in a new tab/window.
I’ve shot HDRs for this blog before, but had trouble with this one because of the lighting. On one hand, I wanted my subject, the dragons, to be well-lit and easily visible. On the other, the sun was setting BEHIND them. I shot this at f/11 on the 35mm at 1 1/500 shutter speed and bracketed the pictures to a -2, 0 and +2 EV setting. The ISO was 200, though I did de-noise the final product because of Photomatix giving me more crud to deal with.
After de-noising, I had to deal with the dragons. Taking away too many shadows meant making a dreamlike/creepy HDR. The kind that I hate. Including what was originally there meant taking away from the wonderful detail of this temple. I went for a mix and spent quite a bit of time brushing the layers on where necessary. It wasn’t an ideal way to spend my time, but I think it worked. Let me know what you think in the comments.
If you’re a photographer and want to criticize/critique, please feel free.
I’ll probably post more photos from this trip tomorrow.
On the second day of our Hong Kong trip, we took a walk around the city as I searched high and low for a Nikkor 70-300mm lens, the second of my collection since purchasing my DSLR.
While I didn’t get the lens at first, we did get to tour the Lower Manhattan-esque Central District of Hong Kong. I honestly wasn’t enthralled as other than the fact that I was walking up steep hills and sharing narrow sidewalks, it felt as if I’d seen it all before. However, we did get to a series of ridiculously long escalators, which took us most of the way up the mountain. Closer to the top, we eventually encountered the “Peak” cable trolley – which took us to the top of the city for a spectacular view. Photos below.
The two above photos show our trolley on the way up (first photo) and the way down. You can see the grade on this hill – it was actually very steep… I tried not to think about that too much…
…an HDR of a lion “guarding” the city…
…and the city itself, with a regular single exposure. Too bad it was a dreary day, as it didn’t help my lighting at all…
…and the trolley going down the mountain.
I recently went for a hike to Hsinchu’s 18-Peak Mountain with a friend of mine who was nice enough to show me around. The area was a nice break from the pollution, congestion, and chaos that is seen/heard in the city. Here are some shots…
The above is an HDR of Hsinchu City – I was really wishing for a clearer view, but this wasn’t bad…
I’ll soon be posting with some photos from a recent occurrence I experienced tonight – I’ll save the next post for what happened, but I’ll have to leave this link for information on the Ghost Festival as a teaser…
…now I’m off to post-process then night away!