Tag Archives: wat

Ten Shots from 2011

I decided to put together ten shots from 2011, mostly based on popularity of posts, but also including shots that I really grew with as a photographer and just plain old like.

Let me know what you think. I’ve linked each image to the Flickr page and each description to the original post.

This guy was taking part in the annual Dragon Boat Festival (龍船節), a major Chinese holiday celebrated as a bank holiday in Taiwan. Cities all over the island hold races between dragon boats – large, colorful regatta boats powered by rowing teams. This particular race was in Hsinchu. 

These dancing San Tai Zi (三太子) gods were in Taichung during the annual Mazu Festival. The festival involves a large pilgrimage which takes days to complete and the size of which can only be explained as “massive.” See this for the original post.

Hsinchu’s East Gate is seen here at the “roundabout” in the city’s center. This photo was taken with my iPhone and the app Instagram. More shots can be seen here. 

Not long after the Mazu Festival was Spring Scream, a multi-day music festival held annually in Kenting, located on the southern tip of the island. This was a Japanese punk band called Samurai Attack, or SA.

In the days and weeks following the Fukushima incident, the international controversy surrounding nuclear power reached Taiwan. I took a look at a protest taking part in Taipei.

This was taken during my trip to Thailand last summer. Wat Arun is the tallest temple in the city of Bangkok and one of the most amazing places I’ve visited.

Another “touristy” shot from Southeast Asia, but one which I had in mind as soon as I got on the plane to Asia. Angkor Wat is a spot that everyone needs to see and its location in Cambodia is changing the face of the local town, Siem Reap.

This bear was at the Taipei Zoo, an extremely affordable and large zoo located in the country’s capital.

Also in the capital is the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, home to one of many ceremonies showing the changing of the guard. Precision and solemnity highlight this ceremony.

And the last is a shot of a sushi joint called Sushi Express from a newer camera, the Nikon P7000. I wrote about my initial reactions and posted some shots around the time of Dragon Boat Festival weekend. It’s a nice camera, but the lack of a mechanical shutter kind of irritates me.

For anyone who follows my blog: thanks! To be honest, I mostly blog because it forces me to take pictures. The fact that I have a bit of an “audience” helps me get out the door with my camera in hand. Doing this has helped me develop my photography and force me to make the photos “good enough” for public consumption. In the future, I hope to add a little more as I delve into film photography and continue to explore “Ilha Formosa.”


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Monks at Angkor Wat, Part 2

About a month ago when I returned from Cambodia, I posted two of my favorite shots from the trip, portraits of two monks taken at Angkor Wat. Since I was in a rush to get everything uploaded from the trip, I neglected to post these shots, also taken from the same day. The monks were gracious enough to allow me to photograph as they wandered around and took pictures themselves.




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Bangkok’s Wat Arun II

This is a second post featuring Bangkok’s Wat Arun Temple. The “Temple of the Dawn” is the tallest temple in Bangkok and is situated on the Chao Phraya River. Some of the best possible shots of the temple across the river need to be made on a moving boat due to the congestion of people and buildings on the shore. Check out my first post about Wat Arun for more.

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More Golden Buddhas at Bangkok’s Wat Pho

While I’ve posted about Wat Pho before, I wanted to share some more of these golden Buddhas at the temple. I actually took a second chance to visit the temple and take photos as the complex itself is huge. The second time, I played around with depth of field and took my time in the hallways which connect the main buildings.



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Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn

Wat Arun, known as the Temple of Dawn, is located across the Chao Phraya River from Wat Pho. It is the tallest temple in Bangkok, and visitors can climb to the top of the very high central tower for 50 baht, about $1.65 USD.

You’ll have to take a ferry to get to Maharaj Pier and then another to cross the river. The cost? 15 baht to the first pier, a whole 3 baht to the Wat Arun pier. Not bad at all, but it is a bit time consuming waiting for boats to come in.






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Bangkok: Wat Pho

Wat Pho, one of the most important Buddhist sites in Thailand if not the world, is a temple dedicated to the “Reclining Buddha,” a retelling of the last moments of Siddhartha Gautama’s life before he entered nirvana. While this is not the largest standing or reclining buddha in the world, it is an important part of the Bangkok experience and a main tourist attraction, being next to the Grand Palace.



Above Left: Bowls used for “wishing coins” given to visitors line up along a side of the temple interior. Right: A gold-plated buddha. The gold flakes on the statue are left by the faithful – this is a very common practice in Thai Buddhism.


Notice the tophat on this statue. This statue as well as the one to the above right were given by the Chinese as gifts and placed here by the Thai monarchy.




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Weekend Post: Cambodia Slideshow

I’m doing something I don’t normally do and posting on the weekend to show off a slideshow I made of my time in Cambodia, with special emphasis made on ancient Khmer culture and the ruins of Angkor Archaeological Park.

The music in this slideshow comes from a recording made by Tara Alan and Tyler Kellen. They recorded a group of landmine victims playing traditional Cambodian music for their blog about bicycling around the world, Going Slowly. While they seem to be back according to their posts, you can get a lot of insight about world travel through their ginormous website. They were nice enough to allow me to use their recording. Remember, you can buy CDs of this music from the musicians themselves, who frequent areas around the temples.

I recommend seeing this video at full screen and if possible, at 1080p quality, the highest available.

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Ta Prohm Temple

Ta Prohm is perhaps most famous for a movie I’ve never seen. It was featured in the original Tomb Raider film and is best known not for its history, but for the fact that centuries of neglect led to trees growing throughout the temple as the jungle retook the land.



The above face is either a king or a buddha, revealed only after a tree grew in around the rest of the statue. There is a more famous version of this in an ancient city in Thailand.



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Apsara Dancers, Siem Reap

Apsara, the traditional Cambodian ballet which dates back thousands of years, is a dance form which is a bit of a mainstay of southeast Asian culture. Many people associate the dance form with Thailand, but Cambodia and Thailand probably share this form as a result of their Hindu-influenced strains of Buddhism.

We saw this performance in a pretty luxurious hotel (which we didn’t stay at) which offered a dance and a dinner for about $25 – a fortune for a meal in Cambodia. Also included was a form of Cambodian folk dance.

While we were seated near the front and I soon noticed photos were OK, I had trouble with the stage lights being unpredictable, not wanting to use flash (though others did), and the movement of the dancers being much quicker than I had realized.



Left: I included this image from Angkor Wat to show you how similar these dancers are. They could be apsaras or devatas, and I’m am not 100% certain.

Above: a representation of the killing of a demon. I believe this relates to the Hindu story of the Ramayana, detailing the stealing away of an Indian princess named Sita and the rescue of her by Rama, an avatar of Vishnu.


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Angkor Wat Sunrise

Today’s image is a standard scene taken by thousands of photographers before me. I woke poor Yuling up at about 4:00am to meet Thean, our tuk-tuk driver for the two days of exploring temples. We then hopped in the back of the tuk-tuk at about 4:40 and rushed in after buying our park passes.

I was startled and amazed at a few things after seeing this scene in person for the first time. The first is that the water in front of Angkor Wat is NOT the famous moat around the complex as I had thought before. It is a manmade pond on the northwest corner of the complex that looks east for the sunrise. It DOES work wonderful for reflections and the fact that there are some breakfast stands to the left doesn’t hurt, either.

The second thing that startled me is the huge mass of photographers and tourists who group up around this small lake for that one picture. In the future, when I see documentaries of Angkor Wat talking about this as a “remote jungle temple complex,” I will laugh. The site itself is in the hands of the tourists now, for better or for worse.

While I’m glad I woke up for the shot, part of me is startled by how little reward there is in getting an image like this – I think this is why I like the concept and practice of street photography, which is infinitely more interesting. With that said, I’m not complaining about my chance to get “the Angkor Wat shot” I was looking for.


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