Before I start, I’d like to a wish a quick Happy New Year to everyone. While I’m at work today, I look forward to a fun weekend. This year brought me quite a few things – including a great (CRAZY?) decision to move to Taiwan and buy a DSLR. I’m pretty happy with the results, and my time overseas has been a blast. In the next year, I look forward to bringing my photography to the next level and might have to change the name of my blog if/when I leave Taiwan. Of course, I’ll have to add more countries to my passport stamp area – as it’s a little too blank for my liking.
The first photo today is a family of three driving by on BoAi street, in the “old” section of Jhubei.
Whenever I see them, I’m always intrigued by families which decide to load up all the kids on one tiny motorbike and use that method to get around town. It’s very common here as it is in other parts of the world, and you’ll occasionally see 4, maybe 5 people sharing one tiny bike at once.
I took this to practice panning, a technique I only recently learned the name of but had practiced before. A fast lens is important for this, especially at night, as the camera needs to grab the subject and hold it while the background blurs. Ideally, this would be done during the day, but my work schedule doesn’t allow for that to happen.
This woman looks a little confused, but I’m glad I at least got her face as her kids were bundled up for the windchill. All in all, I’m happy how this came out, but look forward to practicing more.
Another recent photo that I liked was this pet dog, used as a storefront display. He was standing on the shopkeeper’s scooter and working quite well, as he attracted a small crowd. I was pretty impressed by his calm demeanor. I used on-camera fill flash on this to brighten things up, then darkened the contrasts in Aperture 3.
The last photo of the day (year?) is a crazy attempt at finding more Christmas material here in Taiwan. This inflatable Santa is in front of a pachinko parlor near BoAi street here in Jhubei. It’s important to note, first, that this is not a “casino,” as gambling is outlawed in Taiwan. This game – also popular in Japan – involves a pinball-style game where you try to get more small metal balls. You can then exchange these for prizes and conveniently exchange these prizes in turn for cash at an “unrelated” establishment nearby.
I thought the Santa was interesting, and figure he is probably meant to symbolize good luck and gift giving. You’ll see holiday decorations in stores here, but I think it’s more a matter of stores wanting to use it to make more money rather than people really being committed to making Christmas the next Taiwanese holiday. Of course, store owners WANT it to be the next big thing!
With a scooter driving by a gambling… erm… “pachinko” parlor, I’ll say “Happy New Year!” again – thanks to all who have visited and commented. It’s been fun so far. See you next year… or Monday!