In all my time living and traveling in Asia, I never had the desire to travel to Indonesia. I don’t know why, but it just didn’t have the appeal to me as much as places like Myanmar, Tibet, Laos, or even Thailand. But, in the summer of 2012, I was assigned to go to Jakarta to photograph an article, and my mind was opened up to Indonesia.
Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world with 238 million people. It’s a string of over 17,000 islands that straddle the equator between Southeast Asia and Australia. The people are quite diverse: 87% are Muslim, 9% are Christian, 3% are Hindu, and the rest have too many religions and cultures to count. 742 different languages are spoken throughout the archipelago, but Bahasa Indonesian is a common language understood by all.
My destination this time, was the “main” island of Java, along with a few days of R&R on the famous island of Bali.
Sunrise a the ancient Buddhist temple, Borobudur.
It’s been raining in Taipei for 6 weeks. Seriously. I usually don’t complain about stuff like this, especially on here, but I’m going completely insane.
A bigger problem is that I also have writers’ block and even squeezing out this self-absorbed rant is difficult. One of the big problems with writing a new blog post is that I have so much stuff from the last year that I haven’t written about, I don’t even know where to start. I think I have 10, half written posts in my “Recent Drafts” folder, none of which I’ll probably ever finish.
So here’s my solution to that: I’m going to throw up all (most) of the photos I want to write and/or talk about in this one post and just clear them out of the way. Then I can get started one new stuff. Chinese New Year is only a week away!
There’s actually A LOT of information here, if you click all the links.
To see larger galleries of images similar to each one below, click on each image… To read more about each location, click on the links under each image.
A summer sunrise at my favorite campground, Shitiping, Taiwan.
The above image was taken at Shitiping Campground, on Taiwan’s beautiful east coast.
Snow Mountain (aka Xueshan, and a few other spellings) is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hikes in Taiwan. I’ve been lucky enough to have done it several times now, and each time seems to get better and better.
Just this past weekend, Taiwan Adventures took took a group of hikers for a two day, two night adventure on this high mountain. We had great people, great weather and a great time.
The afternoon sun highlights some cliff ridges on the hike to Snow Mountain, Taiwan.
Categories: Hiking, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, Taiwan Adventurers
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, 雪山, hike, Hiking, mountains, PHOTOGRAPHY, Snow Mountain, Taiwan Adventures, 台灣
Ghost Month is a traditional celebration held in most Chinese communities around the world, and of course in Taiwan. It is believed that this month is a sort-of vacation for all the ghosts living in Hell, and they are welcomed to walk the earth among the living. Many special precautions are taken to insure that the ghosts don’t hang around, like burning spirit money, guarding ones address and not moving house for fear that one of the ghosts might decide to stay in the new house.
In Taiwan, no city celebrates Ghost Month more vigorously than the harbor city of Keelung (基隆). They have parades, ceremonies and other events on almost every day of that month. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend as many events as I would have liked this year, but I did get to one of the most important days, the Ghost Festival Parade held on the 15th day of Ghost Month.
One of the musicians in the 2011 Keelung Ghost Festival Parade relaxes before the start.
My series of blog posts on hiking The Four Beast Mountains has become one of my most popular series since I’ve started blogging. Now that spring is back upon us, I’ve noticed that those posts are getting more and more hits. I can only guess that everyone is looking to get get some exercise!
So here’s a new post. It’s going to be mostly just pictures, but they are all from an area that I glossed over in the last three posts.
The general Yongchun area consists of two high schools, a small military base, several temples, and a few apartment building neighborhoods. The entire basin of this area (roughly 600m x 100m) was a shallow lake just a hundred years ago or so.
Categories: Hiking, Must See Taiwan, TAIWAN, The Four Beast Mountains
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, adventure, Asia, 無極天王, Elephant Mountain, 虎山, Four Beasts Mountains, hike, Hiking, mountain, natural, PHOTOGRAPHY, Taipei, Taipei 101, Taiwanese, Tianbao Temple, Tiger Mountain, trail, TRAVEL, 台灣, 台北, 四獸山, 天寶聖道宮
Longshan Temple 龍山寺 (aka Lungshan and Mengjia 艋舺龍山寺) is the oldest and most well-known temple in all of Taiwan. What’s truly wonderful about it, is that despite being a major tourist destination, Longshan Temple retains it’s charm and genuineness by remaining a place of daily worship. The area around Longshan can be quite interesting as well, and features traditional markets, calligraphers, traditional medicine shops, fortune tellers, and a place called Snake Alley. All these reasons and more are why Longshan Temple is on my list of must see places in Taipei.
Throngs of Buddhists and Daoists pack Longshan Temple in Taipei on Chinese Lunar New Year 2007.
Categories: Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, TRAVEL
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, Buddhist, Chinese New Year, Daoism, 艋舺龍山寺, 龍山寺, images, Longshan Temple, Lunar New Year, Lungshan Temple, Mazu, Mengjia, must see taipei, PHOTOGRAPHY, religion, Taipei, Taoism, temple, TRAVEL, worship, 台灣, 台北
Yehliu GeoPark (野柳地質公園) is a popular stop on the Taiwan tourist circuit. It’s an interesting set of geological formations found in a small park about 20 minutes north of Keelung, Taiwan. Truth be told, the entire length of eastern Taiwan is an interesting set of geological formations, but here you can find them all in one small area with a coffee and souvenir shop. If you’re only in Taiwan for a short time, or don’t have any transportation of your own, this it the place to go to be awed by Mother Nature’s artistic side.
An overview of the most popular area of Yehliu GeoPark.
Categories: Motorcycling, Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, alien landscape, 野柳, 野柳地質公園, geology, Heping Island, Keelung, Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, rocks, science, TRAVEL, yehliu, Yehliu GeoPark, Yeliu, Yeliu GeoPark, 台灣, 和平島, 基隆
Snow Mountain (雪山) is Taiwan’s second highest mountain at 3,886m (12,749ft). Located in Shei-Pa National Park, the most popular trail to the peak is called the East Xue Trail and is quite a beautiful one. The trail passes through a variety of scenery including open grass fields, several different pine forests and a stunning ex-glacial cirque. Despite the fact that I say the following after nearly every hike in Taiwan: This might be one of the best hikes I’ve ever been on!
It’s possible to hike Snow Mountain (aka XueShan or Syue Mountain) on a two day weekend from Taipei, but it’s difficult. We spent an excruciating Saturday hiking for about 13 straight hours. Our day started at 3 am and finished at dusk. In between, we were lucky enough to have some beautiful weather and see some beautiful sites…
The East Peak of Snow Mountain pokes out of the mist during an early morning sunrise.
Categories: Hiking, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, alpine, 登山, environment, 雪山, hike, Hiking, images, mountain, mountaineering, PHOTOGRAPHY, Snow Mountain, Syue Mountain, TRAVEL, trek, trekking, 台灣
Here are my most recent “random” images from Taiwan. It’s quite a mish-mash this time with images from the beach, the mountains, the city, a drainage ditch in Banqiao, and even one from a night club.
I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone over at Taiwanderful.net for holding the yearly “Best Taiwan Blog Award”. I’m very honored to report that I’m a co-winner this year for the Best Overall Taiwan Blog and the Best Taiwan Photography Blog! I’ll be sure to keep up the posting and I have a few new blog posts simmering that I should be able to put up in the near future. Thanks everyone!
This first image was featured in a album on my facebook page called “Critique Me.” If you’re trying to progress as a photographer, I would highly recommend asking for critiques from your peers. It’s an invaluable way to get a different perspective of your images. (Just don’t forget to wear your thick skin!)
Old world meets new in a Taipei, Taiwan alley.
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, BMX, Buddhism, forest, hike, Hiking, images, life, lifestyle, PHOTOGRAPHY, Taipei, 台灣
The Tibetan provinces of Amdo and Kham are the subject of my first multimedia project in a long while. Amdo and Kham are beautiful regions of the world that I’ve been lucky enough to visit twice recently…
Most westerners think of Tibet as being only what is today called the Tibet Autonomous Region (Xizang) in modern China. But what they don’t know is that this is only one third of the historical Tibetan Kingdom. Split off from modern day “Tibet” are the Tibetan Kham and Amdo provinces, now found in the Chinese Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces.
What is surprising though, is that these areas have become much better places to see Tibetan culture than Lhasa or many other places in Xizang. With both Chinese and Westerners’ attention focused on Lhasa, these areas are much less traveled and have far fewer travel restrictions than Xizang. That gives the Tibetans found there an sense of ease in their day to day lives and makes it a great place to explore.
If you’re interested in learning more or even visiting the region, have a look at my more in depth series of blog posts on the Kham and Amdo Provinces.
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Tibet, TRAVEL
Tags: Amdo, Asia, Buddhism, China, Dege, Ganze, Kham, Litang, multimedia, PHOTOGRAPHY, portraits, Qinghai, Shangri La, Shangrila, Sichuan, Tibet, Tibetan, TRAVEL, Yunnan, Zhongdian
Making a panoramic image is a fairly easy process these days. There is lots of software out there that will easily stitch together several photos into a very wide panorama. But there are a few things you need to remember when taking the photos that will make things much easier in the end.
Below is a panorama made up of 6 separate images of a very nice sunset over Taipei, Taiwan, stitched together in Photoshop. Read on to learn how to do this for yourself…
A beautiful sunset over the Taipei, Taiwan skyline.
Had a great time shooting some beautiful light tonight so I though I’d share.
The following photos were all shot within about a 30 minute period in the late afternoon here in Taipei. I shot 270 images in that time, and decided to share the best here, and make a video of the rest.
Every image was made with a 50mm lens set at various settings and they were only lightly retouched in post. They’re all in chronological order, except for the first one. What’s important though, is to look at the light, how it changes, and the things that can be done with it.
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Techniques, Video
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, 50mm, light, lines, PHOTOGRAPHY, shadows, silhouette, Taipei, video
It’s been a looong time since I’ve posted one of these. The main reason is that I now have a fan page on facebook, and I’ll often share stuff like this over there.
But recently, I’ve come across sooo many inspiring websites, videos and blogs that I thought I’d share a few.
The first is a nearly hour long interview with Tim Mantoani for Photoshelter. A bit long for the casual viewer, but one of the best interviews with anyone, on any subject that I’ve ever seen. His passion for photography will definitely rub off on you. Definitely a must see for anyone working in a creative field.
Please continue reading for more inspiration.
Now for something completely different…
I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a creative rut lately. Why? Let’s just say that I now understand why some of of the greatest artworks from some of the greatest artists came from them when they were at their lowest (life’s been good).
In an attempt to get out of this rut, I’ve tried a few things (sabotaging my life isn’t one of them). Some failed, some succeeded, and some are still under wraps. But I have rekindled my love of photography and hopefully some new personal projects will be coming forth. I suggest that if you’re also in a creative rut, think of something silly like this to get you take your camera out more often. (I also recommend you watch this video.)
About as far as it can get from my usual portrait work, I present you with my “Face Project”.
Jade Mountain (玉山) is Taiwan’s tallest mountain at 3,952 m (12,966 ft). It’s located within the Yushan National Park (玉山國家公園) just next to the famous Alishan National Scenic Area (阿里山國家風景區) in the central mountains of Taiwan. If measured from the nearby ocean floor, the Jade Mountain Main Peak rises an impressive 8,000 m in only 100 km.
Getting a permit to hike Jade Mountain is no easy task. My friends an I applied 14 times before finally receiving a permit to hike it on a weekend (A big thanks to Stu Dawson for his tenacity). We received a second round of good luck by getting perfect hiking weather on the 4th of July weekend. The trail to the peak is beautiful, and this hike is an absolute must-do for anyone with an adventurous soul living in Taiwan.
The Jade Mountain Main Peak as seen from the West Peak hiking trail.
Categories: Hiking, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, Taiwan Adventurers, TRAVEL
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, adventure, 玉山, 玉山國家公園, 玉山主峰, 阿里山, 阿里山國家風景區, hike, Hiking, Jade Mountain, mountain, Mt. Jade, National Parks, PHOTOGRAPHY, trek, treking, wilderness, 台灣