This was taken in Nantou when I was visiting last month. This week is pretty quiet on the blog end as I’ll be leaving for Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Saturday and traveling through to Thailand.
Since it’s a light day, I’ve decided to include some candles from a temple in Changhua City that I visited during the famous Mazu Festival and Pilgrimage.
This joss chimney – used for burning prayers and “ghost money” – was in Nantou last weekend. It’s much more colorful and intricate than these usually tend to be – especially on the sides near the door.
You might expect fewer posts this week. I’m not leaving photography – just quite busy. I hope to bring the post count up after next weekend.
This dragon was at a temple in Nantou County I visited last weekend. I liked the mix of sunlight on the dragon with the overcast sky in the background.
Today’s images come from 集集, or Jiji, a small but touristy town in Nantou County. Part of the reason it’s a bit touristy is due to the fact that the 1999 “9/21” earthquake was centered in this small town and it is home to a museum dedicated to that event.
The town is full of bicycle and scooter rental shops – I was actually quite amazed they don’t run each other out of business.
Probably the most scenic train platform I’ve ever seen.
Last weekend, we stayed in Nantou County at a sort of homestay-style place. Since this was in what seemed the middle of nowhere, my photography changed quite a bit without an urban environment. I had a good time, but am glad to be back in Jhubei.
I found myself taking a lot of macro-style shots – many more than usual. This lizard was out of the ordinary for my style of shooting, and I like how it turned out.
These palm-style trees are binlang, or “betel nut” trees. They are cultivated for their fruit, which is called a nut, and when chewed gives a sensation close to caffeine or nicotine.
The last shot for today is a landscape. Certainly something I haven’t even tried to shoot in months. While I like landscapes still, it’s interesting how my photography has shifted in terms of what interests me now.
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:
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.
Left: A vendor’s pineapples for sale. Right: Man in a lion suit.
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.
This post includes more shots from Songboling, this time at Shoutian Temple (受天宮).
These temple parades are becoming quite common on my blog, but I love them for their energy, unpredictable nature, and for the amount of culture that is wrapped up in just a few short hours. As usual, this one included old and young, male and female. I’m not sure if it was a special occasion, but it seemed as if everybody had huge amounts of energy and dedication.
A man takes off a costume after a dance in front of the temple. The costume involved two parts – front and rear – that both danced in sync.
This truck was full of musicians – this man is banging on a gong while another hits on drums and a third plays the suona.
This branch symbolizes the beginning of most parades and acts as a way to symbolize the coming of the gods.
The beginning of the temple parade before it ended up heading out into the market. Notice the walking gods in the back – I didn’t get a chance to get them up close.
These semi-wild monkeys live near Songboling, a popular hiking trail and home of a large temple complex near Changhua and Nantou. I call them “semi-wild” because these monkeys, Formosan Rock Macaques, were released purposefully to the area and live on their own. The species is endemic to Taiwan and the government is trying to increase their population in the area.
Unfortunately, people do feed them, and they will bug you for food on the trail. However, it was nice to get some monkeys outside of a zoo for a change as I broke out the 70-300mm and SB-600 for some more wild shots than before.
Notice the sign above. These bilingual notices let people know about the potential risk of infection from viruses. Most tourists did keep away from them – some people just HAD to try to touch them. Ugh.
I was very happy with the detail in this shot – a little different from the rest.
I really enjoyed the challenge of getting the monkeys that were deeper into the woods. I unfortunately didn’t get any in the air, but wouldn’t mind spending more time trying to get one of those shots.
With the school week half-over, I haven’t been out with my camera for a while. I’ve missed some great sunsets, so that sure is a shame. The good news is that I plan to go camping this weekend and I think I’ll get plenty of use out of this Nikon.
I’m posting something I went back to retouch before I made the decision to post. I loved this picture – but was never happy with the fact that this lady’s face isn’t as sharp as I’d like it to be. I think part of the reason stems from the fact that a 300mm lens with a hood on is hard to ignore – and I just didn’t feel like holding it up all day.
Anyway, here’s the photo. I decided to desaturate some colors and leave others in… in addition, I increased some details through sharpening and a few minor contrast tweaks. The thing that really makes the photo, however, is the slight smirk on her face, I think.
Filed under culture, photos