This was taken last Saturday at a cultural festival right before that evening’s opera performance.
Have a great weekend!
Before I start, I’d like to say thanks to the fine folks at WordPress for featuring my blog as “Freshly Pressed.” This is the second time this has happened, and the traffic spike is always fun. Welcome to the site if this is your first visit! Check out the About Me page if you are wondering what this is all about and take a look at some video slideshows for some previews of my work. I’ve also got some links to other pages, like my Twitter and a portfolio as well.
These shots are from the Taipei Zoo last weekend – Yuling and I visited on Sunday as we decided to spend the day trying out some new things in the city. The admission for this extremely well-kept zoo (the best in Taiwan) is only $60 NTD, or about $2 USD. I was able to pay with my metro card to make it even easier. Like most large zoos, this one does include some programs for conservation and education – unlike the much smaller Hsinchu Zoo.
Yesterday marked the annual Dragon Boat Festival in the world of Chinese culture. It is celebrated through racing dragon boats – large oar-powered boats with dragon heads. The races resemble that of a Western regatta, with teams competing throughout the day.
These races were held at Nanliao, Hsinchu.
The above boat was towing boats back to the starting point after the race. It would let them go nearby, and the crew of each boat would have to ease it in so they could disembark and let the next team board.
I’m sick of this weather. Taiwan has had record-cold temperatures this winter and it’s supposed to end soon, and I’m looking forward to it and hoping its sooner than later. These monkeys – crab-eating macaques – were more annoyed than I was, apparently as they huddled up for warmth.
Photos taken at Hsinchu City Zoo. See the post that made “Freshly Pressed” for more from this zoo.
Today I’ll include some more animals, in the case birds. These were taken while on an excursion in Hsinchu last weekend and I thought I’d include them since it’s been a while since my last bird post in December.
Starting off, we’ve got a common egret, which are found all over Jhubei-Hsinchu, along with different varieties of herons.
I did see what appeared to be a kingfisher and heard its call, but by the time I moved two millimeters the bird was gone. I couldn’t even have dreamed of getting my camera to my eye.
The above egret was hard enough. This was the only shot I got from this angle before it flew across the river.
I also came across the tree that is always full of great sparrows in Hsinchu. Even with their numbers, they’re hard to get photos of because they’re constantly moving around. Mix poor lighting conditions in, and it’s even tougher.
I used the SB-600 on both of the above shots.
Not mine, though. They were recently adopted by my girlfriend’s grandparents as they were living nearby. They’re not too afraid of people – I think a street dog’s life in the countryside (where her grandparents live) would be MUCH nicer than in the city.
They were a bit jumpy, so I went through quite a few shots before getting a few I liked.
Well, I’ve already missed my first day. I completely FORGOT about this whole thing yesterday after work and instead of getting out my camera, took out my laptop where I played Civilization IV to kill some time and relax after work. The moral of the story? Civ IV kills photo sessions.
The first one, though, is a recent favorite. It was taken at Bao-an Temple, near Confucius Temple in Taipei. I used a “film” style filter in Aperture 3 and tweaked things so the door would stand out. I liked the symmetry and even though it’s not perfectly in focus, I like how it turned out. I took this on 02-28, when visiting Taipei.
The second two come from some experimentation. When I first started my adventures in photography, I used an apartment Buddha – a gift from a relative – as a muse for playing with depth of field, lighting, and composition. He ended up in a post at one point, even, and I ended up taking him from Houston to Taiwan.
This time, I was able to practice with my SB-600.
This first image is with the 35mm set to f/1.8 to give a shallower depth of field. I liked how the curtains blurred out and the effect this gave. This was the work done on 03-01, though I did take some other photos that day outside.
My second image comes from a tiny makeshift “studio” I was experimenting with to learn more about light on Wednesday, 03-02. I took a single A4 piece of paper and set it up on a wall to give him the “floating” look.
Some more images from that shoot follow. I liked the more dramatic light created without a diffuser of any sort, but was also playing around with my diffuser to see how much it affects the image. Turns out it does quite a bit.
Oh, and no excuses this weekend! I hope to get something created Friday (today) and DEFINITELY will have material tomorrow and Sunday.
This post is a break from street photography for a second. While I’ve been enjoying it immensely after going almost all-HDR for a while when I first started this hobby, I’ve found it enlightening and important to branch out to other types of shooting.
When I bought the 70-300mm, a whole new world was opened to me. Wildlife photography actually came after the ability to shoot public events from a distance. This fashion show was shot in Ximending, Taipei. I came across it after wandering through this district and saw that they were setting up a stage for Playboy and Paul Frank. Apparently, a branch of Paul Frank was introducing a line of Playboy shoes. I decided to stake out a spot in the front near some “real” photographers to try at getting some shots. This wasn’t impossible, as it was raining, which was a mixed blessing, I guess.
All of these were taken with the 70-300mm and the SB-600 speedlight. I used regular TTL auto-metering and opened my aperture to the largest stop (f/4.5 at 70mm and f/5.6 at 300mm). Some of the more irritating things about a shoot like this are the very production values that make a fashion show or whatever it is on stage look “good.” The low light mixed with the changing strobes and fog machine made things extremely hard to see. Further, since I don’t have a professional lens (and I also don’t have $2,000 to buy one!) it was difficult to force my lens to be as fast as it could at times. Oh, and did I mention about that stupid fog machine? Ugh.
These first three images were shot with the conditions/settings mentioned above. Nikkor 70-300mm opened wide with an SB-600 aimed directly and on TTL.
The last shot was not taken on stage, but rather down the street. This girl was promoting the show and I used the 35mm f/1.8, again opened wide, without a flash.
As always, click on each photo to enlarge it and find the EXIF data through Flickr.