Taken from the archives as I still haven’t been taking new photos lately. Shot this last March while family was in Taiwan visiting Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
Tag Archives: nikkor
As I was digging through my Flickr archives today, I noticed that I don’t post very many photos at all here! My Flickr account, small by some standards, just passed 6,000 photos recently. This is a miniscule amount of what I shoot, as I think I have 25,000+ photos in raw/.NEF format on an external hard drive.
Anyway, it’s good now and then to take a look at older shots, especially with my lack of digging out the camera these days. Here is a mix of places and subjects:
Above: Bangkok, Thailand: monks disembark from the Chao Praya Express boat.
Above: Bangkok, where I got stuck in the middle of after-school rush hour. Somewhere near the Chao Praya river.
Above: Ryukyu drum performance in Okinawa, Japan.
Above: Traditional “hanbok” style Korean dresses in Seoul.
Above: Taipei’s Ximending district, sometime around Chinese New Year 2013.
Above: Somewhere in Naha, Okinawa.
Above: Khmer folk dancers in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Above: Bas relief, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Changdeokgung (창덕궁) Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the five grand palaces, along with Gyeongbokgung (경복궁), which I posted about earlier. Both were landmarks of the long-lasting Joseon (조선) Dynasty, which lasted from 1392-1897.
Changdeokgung is known not only for its castles, but its royal gardens. While we did not get to see these due to time constraints, the palace complex is huge in and of itself, and it was apparently more preferred to some kings over the main palace, Gyeongbokgung.
Above: notice the intricate detail of the painting as well as the net installed to keep birds out.
Above: a marker in the central courtyard marks where officials would line up for court meetings. This official is ranked #9 (九).
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.
It’s been way too long since I’ve posted here, so I’ll return to posting not with Taiwan, but with photos from a place that is a bit more fast moving and hectic – South Korea.
Today’s post is about the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and Military Demarcation Line (MDL). This region is a must-see for anyone wanting to visit and understand Korea, though you must go through a usually expensive (but reasonably priced) tour. With the right passport, you can book a trip through the USO or other organization that enters through Camp Bonifas, the joint US Army and Republic of Korea base situated near the border. The ticket is filled with a waiver notifying you that “The visit to the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom will entail entry into a hostile area and possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action,” and you pay about 90 US dollars for the ability to visit.
I’m not going to give a specific account of what happens as you can find plenty of these that are very well written all over the web. Here are some photos though – to my surprise, I was able to use my telephoto lens and was generally pretty free to shoot photos of the interesting stuff, though there were some restrictions on when and what direction the camera was pointing. Unfortunately – or fortunately if you ask my mother and wife – not much happened on the Northern side of the border that day, but here is an interesting account including some interesting sword rattling on both sides. While it was a quiet day, it was also a beautiful day in terms of weather and visibility, which made the second part of the tour great.
Above: the lone visible North Korean guard standing his post at the Panmun Gak, the main, iconic building on the North Korean side of the Joint Security Area (JSA). According to our tour guide (a US Army military policeman), there was a second guard inside the tinted glass taking photos of our tour group. Notice the boarded window to the right.
Above: various shots of Republic of Korea (South Korea) soldiers standing guard. The soldier at bottom left guards the door to North Korea. On the bottom right, the soldier is standing half-exposed to keep cover in the (hopefully unlikely) scenario of shots being fired across the border. All are standing at a modified Tae Kwon Do stance. The soldier on top is actually the geographic border of the two sides while inside the treaty room. You can see this better in the next photo.
Above: the soldier shown above straddles the border at the main UN conference table.
Above: Republic of Korea soldiers stand guard at the JSA.
Above: a guardpost on the border.
Above: the “propaganda village” as seen from the South. Apparently, this village is fake. It was built in order to show people how prosperous the North is and why people should defect north. It is called propaganda village as it acts as a Potemkin Village that used to spout out propaganda on giant speakers. The flag pole is famous as its the largest in the world at 160 meters tall and was built after a bit of sabre rattling between the two sides in the art of flagpole construction.
Above: some detail of the propaganda village. A 100% zoom will show some (pixelated) glimpses of life like people airing dirty laundry – but I can confirm that it was eerily quiet.
Above: Dorasan Station, the last Korean rail station before heading north. It was briefly reused for freight reasons and there were plans for commuter trains to move north, but these plans were reversed. This station is in an area that is the furthest north civilians can go without having to cross the MDL, or Military Demarcation Line, which limits civilian movement due to military concerns.
Last weekend marked a few steps for me: the inclusion of a few of my photos through Flickr to Getty Images as well as the acceptance to Alamy’s photo wire service and stock image database. I’m very excited to be a part of both services even though it’s a small deal for most photographers. I see this as a chance to put more energy (and hopefully, eventually more earned cash!) behind my photography in the coming months.
For an Alamy news submission, I took photos at the 2012 Gay Pride Parade in Taipei. Knowing that the first Buddhist marriage between two women took place this year in Taiwan – which was huge international news – I thought I’d have a chance to get some exposure through some submitted shots. Unfortunately, I was wrong for now, but this was a great chance for me to work on taking photos in a new sort of “culture shock” type setting.
Above: two men walk in Taipei’s 2012 gay parade near Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial. The annual parade, which drew thousands, was aimed at promoting same-sex marriage rights in Taiwan.
Above: a man receives face paint before the start of the 2012 Taipei gay pride parade.
Above: two participants carry a rainbow banner in the 2012 gay pride parade.
Above: a Google cheerleader performs at the 2012 gay pride parade. Google Taiwan was out in full force, as the corporation has recently been pushing for the rights of same-sex couples.
Above: people march with a banner advocating same-sex marriage legalization in Taiwan.
Above: a woman carries a sign representing a university LGBT organization at Taipei’s annual gay pride parade.
Not my normal style, but something I came across while working on my processing of old RAW shots. This is from April, 2011 during the pilgrimage of Chinese deity Mazu, goddess of the sea. Here are more images.
Last Sunday, a celebration of San Tai Zi ( 三太子), a major figure in Taiwan’s popular and religious culture occurred throughout the streets of Jhubei, heading north toward Hsinfeng. I’m always excited by the chances I get to see these parades as I really get to experience the culture, practice my bad Chinese, and interact with the people.
Above: a spirit medium representing who I believe to be San Tai Zi dances in front of a moving altar with onlookers watching. This was taking place, as you might see with the truck in the background, on a busy highway bridge to Hsinfeng.
Above: a temple leader shows off his sash.
Above: a two-faced god, representing Yin and Yang (陰陽).
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).
Whenever I travel, I find it important to get an idea of what daily life is like in that place. Taiwan, Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and now Okinawa have given me this experience and it’s ALWAYS different.
Most of these were taken in and around Naha, the financial, social, and economic capital of Okinawa. While I certainly noticed fewer old buildings, there were plenty of cultural gems found only in Japan and in some cases, only in Okinawa.
Heiwa-Dori, the famed shopping street, during the midday. Multiple streets actually intersect in this area, and it is under cover in the style of a Japanese “shopping arcade.”
As with the rest of Asia, you’ll find traditional food everywhere. Okinawa soba, varied types of tofu, sashimi, tempura – it’s pretty limitless – and delicious.
Above left: a pachinko parlour named “Monaco.” Above right: this Burger King requires you to take off your shoes upon entrance. Something I’ve never seen, even in Taiwan.
The Naha monorail is a great way to get around the city. Though they only have one line, it covers the important parts of the city – like the airport.
Above left: I’m not sure if this place is actually popular with servicemen/women, but I liked the sign. Much of Naha is off-limits to service personnel. Above right: another restaurant. Like Taiwan, it was hard to decide where to eat.
Above: a representative of the Japanese Communist Party (yes, you read that correctly!) announces an upcoming protest. Notice the MV-22 Osprey silhouette - the Japanese are protesting its use by US Marines due to safety issues. I think the restrictions on the aircraft should pass soon, but it was a pretty noticeable symbol.
Vending machines after the rain. I loved the rain in Okinawa – it was always just enough to cool things off and never stormed all day. Vending machines are everywhere.
Ice cream shop, Heiwa-Dori.
A vending machine-controlled restaurant. You order, it prints a ticket, and you get your food. Not a bad idea.
The monorail conductor.
A fortune teller waiting for business in a Naha alleyway.
Orion beer lanterns. Orion beer is a malty beer brewed on the island itself. Similar to most other Asian style lagers.
Old and new on a Naha street.
More old and new. This intrigues me about Asia and I see it all the time in Taiwan, yet never tire of it.