Tag Archives: central

New York’s Grand Central Station

While I was visiting often-photographed places in New York, I couldn’t have missed Grand Central Terminal. The size of the building is awe-inspiring and it presents a great spot to practice longer exposures as huge amounts of people pass through.

These were a bit challenging for me to post process, as the yellow glow of the room is easy to overdo in the camera. In addition, exposing things evenly is tough as the ceiling has such little light compared to the windows, clocks, or ticket counters.

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More From Around Songboling

Here are some more shots from my recent trip to Songboling, a beautiful temple complex on the top of a mountain in the Changhua-Nantou region of central Taiwan. The temple included a large market, though we were kind of irritated that there was no restaurant. The good news was that there was plenty of food – and I didn’t end up hungry.

The area  is known for tea farming, so these large bins of tea for sale in large quantities were not a surprise:

Shoutian Temple, Songboling, 23

This temple ceiling was intricate – I wish I would have spent more time trying to capture it. Keep in mind that this wasn’t even the ceiling in the main part of the temple – there is no detail spared in creating these structures.

Shoutian Temple, Songboling, 40

Shoutian Temple, Songboling, 35

   

Left: A vendor’s pineapples for sale. Right: Man in a lion suit.

Shoutian Temple, Songboling, 27

Above you see the front of the truck that held the musicians I showed yesterday. The loudspeakers make sure everyone in town knows the parade is coming through – though they’re probably not needed with the amount of fireworks accompanying the procession.

Shoutian Temple, Songboling, 18

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Goddess of the Sea

Before I begin, I should mention and thank GigGuide.tw, a primarily English music site in Taiwan which chronicles music on the island. They featured some of my photos in a Spring Scream guide – check them out here.

Instead of covering more bands, as I planned, I’ll switch back to Taoism after some incredible events last weekend.

One of the largest pilgrimages in the world is underway. While many people think of the Muslim Hajj in Mecca or the various festivals in India which draw millions when it comes to these events, a festival currently underway in Taiwan is drawing huge crowds for Mazu, goddess of the sea.

Mazu is worshiped across East and Southeast Asia – especially by seagoing people as in Taiwan. Her blessing is seen as so powerful that people all over Taiwan and some outside of Taiwan will be sure to visit her as she makes her way through various cities.

Last weekend, I went with Yuling to witness such an event in Changhua, a city just south of Taichung.

This festival is indeed a pilgrimage – and a large one at that. It snakes around Taiwan, through various cities which are all excited at the presence of one of the most important gods in Taiwan. The parade processions include costumes, banners, fireworks, horns, and as said earlier, massive crowds. A perfect day for a camera. With the crowds and smoke, my 35mm f/1.8 never left the camera body.

Participants, like these seen above, wear simple clothing and are fed by people while making the trek throughout the island. I was offered food and drink multiple times by complete strangers, testament to the attitude of giving throughout the day. Many temples set out vegetarian food which was free in exchange for a small temple donation.

These scooters were caught up in the endless traffic. We actually left Changhua before it got even worse, with thousands filling the streets at night.

The people kneeling above are prostrating themselves so Mazu’s altar will pass over them. It is said to bring blessings if she visits you – even more if she passes directly overhead.

This man looked over his shoulder at me as the sparklers coming from the sky rained down – the parade had to stop multiple times for fireworks, sparklers, and other things which purposely try to keep the goddess in the town as long as possible so she will bless the residents.

These men were carrying banners and large spears ahead of Mazu as a sort of honor guard. It was great to spend time with the parade in the evening as we got some beautiful light from the setting sun.

   

Left: The crowds in the above photo are waiting for Mazu to arrive as fireworks are laid out before her altar moves through. Right: …and some fireworks to finish off this post. I’ll be back later with another post about this huge event, I’m sure.

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