Tag Archives: language

Jhubei Drum Festival: A-Lin (阿玲)

One of the headliners for the drum concert in Jhubei was A-Lin, or 阿玲, a female Taiwanese singer of aboriginal decent who is gaining popularity. I was able to get quite close even though I was sandwiched in by adoring fans. Most of these are ranging from ISO 1600 to 3200 due to the dramatic darker lighting styles used.

Before I post the photos, here is a music video of hers. I’m not especially into Taiwanese pop (though I do have a soft spot for Crowd Liu) though it works wonders when learning the language.



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Around Hsinchu

This set was also taken last Saturday, along with yesterday’s post.

I’ve decided to post every day this week due to the sheer volume of images from last weekend.

Hsinchu Streets, 37

First off is a small hip hop dance competition. As I’ve said before, these are extremely popular events with young people in Hsinchu and there have been bigger contests – see one here.

A scooter zips through the roundabout in downtown Hsinchu.

This is the first street in Hsinchu, appropriately nicknamed “old dark street.” It is located near the main city god temple and is a good shortcut to get away from the city traffic.


Left: Three vacant seats at the Guan Gong Temple in Hsinchu. I often see young people sitting here who are waiting for their parents to finish temple business or pray.

Right: Through a street adjacent to the Guan Gong Temple. This includes Chinese herbalists and doctors, restaurants, and a barbershop.

A man in a park near the main temple. This park is usually full of elderly people playing chess, mah-jong, or poker. This guy smiled at me and when I asked if he could take his picture he said yes… then went back to what he was doing.

Inside the City God Temple, a man covers ceremonial balancing tools with ash. I was unsure of the significance of the ash or ghost money he is holding, but found it to be pretty fascinating.

A Gundam-style robot with wings sits in a shop in Hsinchu. I’m not familiar with these, but toy shops which carry these are pretty popular.


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Spring Scream: Mary Bites Kerry 瑪莉咬凱利

This is a Taiwanese ska band that put on an outstanding show on 4/3 during the third night of the festival. Here’s a site with their music.


Kenting Spring Scream 2011, 4/3: Mary Bites Kerry 瑪莉咬凱利

Kenting Spring Scream 2011, 4/3: Mary Bites Kerry 瑪莉咬凱利

Kenting Spring Scream 2011, 4/3: Mary Bites Kerry 瑪莉咬凱利

Kenting Spring Scream 2011, 4/3: Kenting Spring Scream 2011, 4/3: Mary Bites Kerry 瑪莉咬凱利

Kenting Spring Scream 2011, 4/3: Kenting Spring Scream 2011, 4/3: Mary Bites Kerry 瑪莉咬凱利

Kenting Spring Scream 2011, 4/3: Mary Bites Kerry 瑪莉咬凱利

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Spring Scream, 4/3: Sea Level 海平面

Sea Level, or 海平面 (hǎi píng miàn), is a Taiwanese band that mixes certain elements of punk, rap, and rock into their songs. They were pretty great to see on stage as the lead singer’s stage presence really took hold.

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Nuclear Power Protest in Taipei

Last Sunday, I attended a protest against nuclear power that took place in Taipei near Chiang Kai-shek Memorial after finding out about it through photographer Craig Ferguson. The website gave me the basics on location, though it did not prepare me for the massive amount of people who took part in the march.

My basic objective was to get an idea of what politics are like in Taiwan. Since this blog often sees posts on religion, I figured I’d cover another offensive topic, anyway!

Disclaimer and General Notes

I do want to send out a general disclaimer that I didn’t necessarily agree (or disagree) with the message, though the protest itself was fascinating. As an American who used to teach US government to high school students, I find foreign points of view on concepts like human rights and political protest to be pretty interesting. This was the system working as it should, if anything, and people really felt like their voice mattered. It was a great feeling, especially in the midst of the protests going on in the Middle East and the reactions of several governments to those incidents.

Police were present, but only needed to protect the protest, if anything. People were peaceful and the police stayed out of their way. It couldn’t have gone any better.

The Energy Issue

Taiwan’s response to this topic is timely. In addition to the incident at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, the Taiwanese have been debating on what sources of energy will propel their island-nation. There has been talk of another power plant being built, and with the small size of the island, it is sure to be a heated and tough debate. I hope that if/when the power plants are built, that the incident in Japan at least intensifies the need for safety and efficiency.


Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 31

As seen with the banner above, the theme was “I love Taiwan – no nuclear disaster” or 我愛台灣、不要核災. Political and religious leaders – including the priest above – were put in front of the march which easily included thousands of people.

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 30

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 35

I was pretty impressed by the general diversity of this crowd. I noticed quite a few older people in the group as well as younger children who were encouraged through the public notice to take part. The question “what about the children?” was often asked by demonstrators.

You’ll notice the armbands/headbands these people are wearing. Since my Chinese is “bu hao” (不好), I only knew that it said something about nuclear disaster and Taiwan. I was given one of these in the beginning and pocketed it, wanting to remain neutral. Soon enough, another person gave me ANOTHER, and I decided to put it on. With this, I at least got more photo ops and, maybe more importantly, people stopped giving me more yellow armbands! I guess that would raise ethical questions for professional journalists, so perhaps that’s a benefit of “just” hosting a tiny blog.

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 41

This woman, stuck in traffic, is watching the parade’s “green shirts” about midway through the march.

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 62

These signs were distributed widely – basically saying “we love Taiwan – (say) no to nuclear disaster.”

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 24

These young people were listening to a speech at the beginning of the march.

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 6

At the beginning of the march, this man was posting placards on the main truck that took the leaders of the protest through Taipei.

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 7

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 14

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 13

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 49

I noticed that processing this set was relatively easy. I did make some judgments on whether or not to give a black and white filter to the shot – and decided against this most of the time. I thought this worked extremely well here, with the contrast of the sign sticking out in spite of the large amount of activity in the background here.

Taipei Nuclear Power Protest, 22

This is the Chiang Kai-shek memorial gate behind some protesters at the beginning of the march. This site makes sense for political protest – it represents Taiwan’s national history and is a large piece of land adjacent to some main roadways. I was hoping for a wider angle than my 35mm prime lens, but changing lenses was impossible in this crowd and moving back would not have worked.

Again, this protest was a fascinating and enlightening event. It’ll be interesting to see what impact it has politically and where Taiwan’s energy policies go in the future.


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F.I.R. (飛兒樂團) in Jhubei (竹北市)

On February 16th, Jhubei City celebrated its Lantern Festival, the traditional ending to Chinese New Year’s.  This is growing as a night in Taiwan and they even included one of Taiwan’s top bands on a Wednesday night.

I’ll start with a music video.  Their style was more pop/rock that I’d seen before, with a very passionate female lead singer.  I was pretty impressed, though she made it hard to capture her without a f/2.8 telephoto lens.  I still managed to get shots of all three band members, which apparently included lead singer Faye (飛兒), guitarist Real (阿沁), and keyboardist (keyTUIRIST?!) Ian.

I’d have to say I enjoy concert photography.  It’s challenging, but worth the effort once you get a nicely lit shot that is sharp and full of action. The best part? Minimal post-processing if your white balance wasn’t acting strangely.  I leveled all of these colors-wise and the only change I made was to the first photo – to remove a woman backstage who was taking iPhone pictures/video.


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Street Scenes from Daxi

Last weekend included a trip to a wedding in Taoyuan, followed by a trip to Daxi Village in Taoyuan County.  Like Sanxia, it has an older section of town, but unlike my visit to Sanxia, we arrived too late to see it fully being used and enjoyed by people.

Regardless, I did take some photos of my evening in Daxia, short as it was.


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Practicing Panning Still

This was taken in Hsinchu a little while ago, and I’d like to think it’s a big improvement over my last few tries (here and here) – I’m starting to get a feel for a good shutter speed partially thanks to Craig Ferguson, a Taipei-based photographer who commented on the last post I tried this technique in.

I played around with the sharpness of the people and put in some vignetting to draw the eyes in toward them a little bit more – I think the post-processing helps the image significantly.


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Hsinchu Morning Market

These were taken yesterday as Yuling and I explored Hsinchu’s main temple market, which takes place early in the day and like the Jhubei market I’ve written about a few times, sells mostly fresh vegetables, meat, fish, and clothing.

We had a “brunch” at our regular meatball stand as usual – though I was thinking of vegetarianism as an option after checking this place out.  If you’re a vegetarian, I apologize :)


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A Visit to City God Temple, Hsinchu

These are from a short visit to City God Temple, a main cultural/religious point in Hsinchu City.  There’s a market right in front of the temple which has some great food and it’s always full of activity.

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