Tag Archives: scooter


I’ve always liked seeing contrasts in photography, and given my background in history, I’ve always liked to see the mix of old and new.  Taiwan is full of this, and I saw this in a glimpse as a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver moved along through a crowded traditional Jhubei market last weekend.

In the US, it’s not uncommon for schoolkids to not know where their chicken/beef/whatever it is might come from.  In these markets (and on the farms in Taiwan), it’s quite obvious.  Instead of having an industrial farm grow your food and purchasing it from a middleman, you can go to these weekly markets where just about anything grown in Taiwan is directly sold to you.  Mix that with a pizza delivery chain that everyone knows and I think you have an interesting study in globalization here.

A lot of people groan when I mention McDonald’s, Domino’s or the like.  I have to say I have a soft spot for both, even though I came to Taiwan wanting to explore the cuisine.  And I have explored the cuisine.  However, there comes a point where any resemblance of home – even processed food with a very predictable flavor – is very appetizing.  Says a lot for someone who used to/makes fun of people who visit NYC Times Square from across the US to go to TGI Fridays.

With Chinese New Year coming (and family visiting), this blog will be taking a break after tomorrow.  I’ll be returning with plenty of material, or at least I hope to do so…


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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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Today’s super short post includes some choices at a store in Jhubei, where scooter helmets for just about any personality (OK, mostly kids) are available.  As someone who commutes to work on a scooter, it’s interesting to see how this plays into the material culture of Taiwan and what role it has in everyday life.  One of the more interesting artifacts is that of the face mask – which includes cartoon characters, cute designs, or (what I prefer) basic colors – the masks being worn to keep the crud of the city out of your lungs and teeth.

I had a chance to brave the weather last weekend and get some shots – they’ll be up throughout the week on this blog.


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More Panning (Hsinchu)

This was taken in Hsinchu while on an outing last weekend.  I liked the details it gave when turned to B/W even though I’m still working on getting the subjects more sharp.


Filed under taiwan2010

Last Post of the Year!

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!


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Working Hard

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.

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