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).
This egret was spotted in the farmland just east of the Jhubei High Speed Rail station. After going under the bridge for the station, you suddenly go from an urban/suburban landscape to countryside, and being in a river valley, it’s quite a beautiful ride.
I saw this egret yesterday in the canal in Hsinchu. While they usually come pretty close, I was astonished at how close this one came up to me, especially as it was in the middle of lunch. On top of this, the bird started almost “playing” with the fish. It was a fascinating thing to watch and I got a lot of shots off while this was going on.
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.
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.
Well, my weather predictions for the weekend go to show that I shouldn’t be a meteorologist. We had a beautiful day today with temperatures in the mid-80s F and plenty of sun. I decided to go to the traditional market and, finding that it was starting to shut down for the day, went to the riverside that divides Jhubei from Hsinchu. I’ve taken pictures here before, even having a second post of shots from the same area.
This time, I decided to venture closer to the river itself. I found a trail used by fishermen who park their scooters nearby and bring waders with them to go fly-fishing. I set up on a rock that worked as a seat and managed to get a glimpse at a few egrets, which are common in rivers and rice fields here in Taiwan. I watched this egret get used to me staring at it with the 70-300mm lens and waited for it to get comfortable. Then it started fishing and gave me a good show:
It would dart back up the rock from time to time – and I’m not sure why. At least once, it gave me a good display of plumage. You’ll want to click on this to see it full-size:
In addition to the egret, I was treated to a black-crowned night heron. I’ve actually seen these in Texas before (as well as egrets) and even previously posted a photo of one. Of course, that was before getting my nice 70-300mm glass, so I was relying on the fact that the previous bird was probably defending a nearby nest as it was squawking furiously at me. This one was wasn’t so interested, and didn’t hang around for long. On the other hand, the egrets were there before and after I had left.
The last shot is actually the first bird I saw today, a Taiwan Bush-Warbler:
These photos come from a trip just outside of Taichung at two botanical garden areas that I don’t remember the name… or location of… but can tell you they were in the mountains and quite beautiful. The day itself was pretty exhausting – it consisted of leaving Jhubei early in the AM on Friday the 20th of August and arriving in the Taichung area by about 8:45am. The first stop was a botanical garden which was highly maintained and kind of sold as a relaxation for Taiwanese from the hustle and bustle of city life. The second location, which lacks some pictures here (as I was pretty exhausted) was a harrowing drive through one-way roads in the mountains in search of some lavender fields. We found them… and they were beautiful. Photos of both locations are mixed into this post:
The above photo was kind of an opportunity shot and I’m glad I got it. A girl was blowing bubbles on the way out of the first garden, and I had my 70-300mm lens after shooting (…pictures of!) some ducks in the pond. I liked how the bokeh turned out on this, and even more, it made me realize my 70-300 lens was a good investment as the autofocus was nice and fast – not to mention accurate.
This HDR shows a “castle” located in the center of the park. Like I said, this was the place for Taiwanese to relax… escape. No attractions, sales (minus a restaurant), or amusement park rides. Apparently, this requires a faux European castle! I have to admit – it was somewhat tasteful and added to the presence of the place.
I like the depth-of-field on the photo above. You’ll obviously notice the fish as well – both the fish and ducks were used to, and probably dependent on, people. The water is clear enough and the fish are “trained” to the point that they followed us… Yuling extended her hand (with nothing in it) and their mouths were gaping open, ready to eat…
Gotta love the chemical-fused water :)
There were gardeners all over – my $250 NT entrance fee (about $7.80 USD) seems to be well used!
The above photo shows some of these wish/prayer cards that our second stop, the lavender fields, gave to visitors. The whole operation – which I honestly don’t have many photos of here – was quite a successful draw for many people. Their marketing was full of cute (and sometimes expensive) ways to participate in the “cottage” atmosphere and was a little bit more direct than the first garden. Oh, and it was in the middle of nowhere… really.
I recently went for a hike to Hsinchu’s 18-Peak Mountain with a friend of mine who was nice enough to show me around. The area was a nice break from the pollution, congestion, and chaos that is seen/heard in the city. Here are some shots…
The above is an HDR of Hsinchu City – I was really wishing for a clearer view, but this wasn’t bad…
I’ll soon be posting with some photos from a recent occurrence I experienced tonight – I’ll save the next post for what happened, but I’ll have to leave this link for information on the Ghost Festival as a teaser…
…now I’m off to post-process then night away!