Watching the Sea

This weekend became a time of remembering Hurricane Ike, which came through my community in Texas about two years ago and devastated much of the surroundings – and in addition gave us all two weeks of unneeded “vacation” as students and teachers.

Oddly enough, I had another storm come in right about the same point that I was previously at in the school year.  This time, a typhoon – called Fanapi, which is a Micronesian name for “sandy islands” was scheduled to hit in north-central Taiwan over the weekend.

It’s interesting to see how Taiwanese react to these storms.  They’re a normal part of life, and if this one hadn’t been so strong, I doubt many people would’ve reacted seriously to it at all.  Thankfully for my area, it mostly went south – we got very little rain but certainly did get some heavy winds.

Yuling, my girlfriend, had me join her family for a Moon Festival barbeque today.  As a result of the storm, we were treated to some amazing skies – half blue and half a slightly spinning gray.  One of the areas I checked out in her grandparents’ rural community of Sinwu was a statue and temple dedicated to Mazu, Chinese goddess of the sea.  Photos follow.

The sheer size of this statue made it hard to capture.  For this reason, I did not get a good HDR of the entire ~50ft. bronze behemoth.  What you see is the goddess looking toward the sea (west – away from where the typhoon was coming) with two spirits near the bottom acting almost as assistants.  You can see one of them pointing to his eyes and the other to his ears.  They have these odd headdresses that look like horns…

The following is an HDR of the top part.  I had to use the 70-300mm for this because of the size of this thing!

Above is the altar – which you can’t see in the first picture.  It is situated at the base of the main statue and gives a place for people to offer prayers and incense to the sea goddess.

Above we have the main temple building in HDR.  The temples in this rural area are very ornate – and numerous.

The temple interior had a lot of these lanterns hanging in an area that was naturally lit.  You’d think I’d get sick of photographing these by now, but I was really impressed by the amount and played around a little bit with the depth of field.  Check the Flickr by clicking on the photo to see the other shots of these I took.

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Filed under culture, photos, taiwan2010, temples

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