I went on another weekend hike with Stu recently, this one to Xiaozi Shan (孝子山) and its nearby mountains located just to the south of Pingxi (平溪), Taiwan. We had a good time as usual, enjoying the first rain-free Sunday that Taipei has seen in months.
XiaoZi Shan and it neighboring mountains, Cimushan (慈母山) and Cimufeng (慈母) are all just a few minute’s hike from the 106 highway and downtown Pingxi. They all feature sheer-rock faced peaks with awesome views of the surrounding mountains and the Pingxi valley. What’s unbelievable about this area, is that all of the peaks are accessed by a trail “intersection” that has 4 different trail heads withing 40 meters of each other, and the peaks are all within a 30 minute hike from there!
Stu and I spent a few hours hiking up and down all the different peaks, then wandered home on a back trail and still got home for a late lunch, which has to make this area THE most accessible and best bang-for-you-buck hikes in all of Taiwan…
A couple of men descend from the peak of Xiaozi Shan (孝子山) on a aluminum ladder in Pingxi (平溪), Taiwan.
Categories: Hiking, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, adventure, Asia, hike, Hiking, images, mountain, mountains, natural, photo, PHOTOGRAPHY, Pingxi, Taipei, Taiwanese, trail, TRAVEL, 台灣, 平溪
I’m pretty sure that most people in Taipei don’t realize that they live at the base of a volcano. What might be even more unsettling is that all indications show that there are still active magma cambers under northern Taiwan.
The Tatun Volcanic Group 大屯火山群 is a group of volcanoes that make up most of Yangming Shan National Park 陽明山國家公園, the large mountainous park that is just to the north, but technically within Taipei City limits. The largest is Qixing Mountain 七星山 (Seven Star Mountain) at 1,120 meters (3,675 ft); the next is Datun Mountain 大屯山 and there are many smaller parasitic volcanoes whose peaks can be seen around the park.
One of the most obvious to the naked eye is a mountain called Huangzui Shan 磺嘴山, to the northeast of Qixing Shan and Taipei City. It’s also one of the only ones with an obvious cauldron that you can hike into…
Unfortunately, we chose to visit on a day that you could barely see you hand in front of your face…
A hiker in a rain storm walks through tall grass in Yangming Shan National Park in Taipei, Taiwan.
Categories: Hiking, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, 磺嘴山, 陽明山, 陽明山國家公園, geology, Google Earth, hike, Hiking, Huang Zui Shan, nature, PHOTOGRAPHY, Taipei, Tatun Volcanic Group, trek, volcano, Yangming Shan, 台灣, 台北, 大屯火山群
JiuFen (Jeoufen), Taiwan (台灣九份) is a popular destination about an hour east of Taipei. It’s popular with tourists and locals alike, but has a certain charm to it that can’t be missed.
I recently visited Jiufen for an evening and had a great time wandering around. I wasn’t planning on writing a full blog post about it, but I left with some fun photos that I thought I might share…
Jioufen Old Street, as seen at night after the tourists have left.
Categories: Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, TRAVEL
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, 50mm, destination, JeouFen, Jiu Fen, JiuFen, lighting, lights, must see, night, Nikon, PHOTOGRAPHY, tourism, tourist, 台灣, 九份, 九份老街
I recently had the opportunity to photograph a belly dancer and a male model at a recent get-together for the opening of First Zoom Studios, in Shilin, Taiwan. It was fun to get together with some other local photographers.
I had an idea right from the start for the belly dancer, and with some additional advice on dance moves from the lovely Eszter, we came up with a photo that I’m quite happy with. For the main light, I used a softbox umbrella on a Alien Bees 800 and two black cards to turn it onto a strip light. The hair light was a Sunpak 555, orange gelled and snooted.
After shooting with Eszter, I wanted to shoot a strong portrait with the male model on hand, Eduardo. For something a little different, I decided to take Eduardo into the alleyway behind the studios and use a brick wall as a background. I used a single small softbox with a Nikon SB-800 to light him up. Simple, but effective.
Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much lately, but life has been very busy in good ways! I’ll try to step it up in the next few months and get a few more blog posts up.
The Jokhang Monastery (ཇོ་ཁང་) is the most holy of Tibetan Buddhism’s holy places. Unassuming from the outside, one needs to connect with the enthusiasm of the throngs of pilgrims walking around it to feel its allure. As it probably will be for you, visiting the Jokhang is a once in a lifetime experience for many of the pilgrims. Unlike you, many of these pilgrims walked to be there… and some of them even walked in a special way to show their devotion: They take three steps, say a prayer, and lie face-down on the ground. Then they stand up, take three more steps and repeat the process. The act of taking a prostrating pilgrimage can take the devotee years to reach the Jokhang from their home towns. But many do it, as a sign of devotion and a way to help improve their karma in this life and the next.
Pilgrims and merchants walk and pray in the juniper smoke early in the morning on the Barkor at the Jokang Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet.
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Tibet, TRAVEL, UNCATEGORIZED
Tags: Asia, ཇོ་ཁང་, Barkor, Buddha, Buddhism, China, holy, Jokang, Jokhang, Lhasa, monastery, monk, PHOTOGRAPHY, pilgrims, Sakyamuni, The Barkor, Tibet, Tibetan, tourism, TRAVEL, 大昭寺
Just a few quick notes today:
I’m happy to report that I’ve had another photo picked up by National Geographic. It’s a photo of Keelung’s Miakou Night Market I shot while on assignment a few years ago.
I’ve also recently won an award from the website Taiwanderful for “Best Taiwan Photography Blog” along with Craig Ferguson.
Craig and I are also jointly starting a virtual stock photography agency currently called Asia Stock Photo Agency (I know, clever name). It’s in its infancy and we’re still uploading tons of photos, but already we have nearly 2,000 photos from all over Asia.
At the same time, I’ve been busy processing, keywording and captioning thousands of stock photos from my travels and my commercial work so have a look at my new website when you get a chance.
The Taipei Jianguo Jade and Flower Markets (建國假日玉花市) are a must-see for anyone in Taiwan. Located next to each other on Jianguo South Road, the two markets stretch for nearly a kilometer (1/2 a mile) under the elevated highway. They are only open on weekends and can make for a wonderful escape from Taipei’s often dreary rain. But even on a sunny day, the Jade and Flower Markets (along with the adjacent Daan Forest Park) make for a nice afternoon walk for tourists and locals alike.
A big, beautiful lily for sale at the Taipei Flower Market.
Categories: Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, TRAVEL
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, Asia, blossom, essential, Flower Market, flowers, jade, Jade Market, lilly, market, must see, orchid, PHOTOGRAPHY, sites, street market, Taipei, tourism, TRAVEL, 台灣, 台北, 建國假日花市
Learning how to photograph people while traveling can help your photography on the road and at home. I use a few different methods to approach people whom I want to photograph while traveling, and I’ll try to explain that process below. I’m sure there are many other techniques that other photographers might use, and if you have any you’d like to share, please leave them in the comments.
I’ll start out by telling you that I’m not an outgoing person at all. I’m a shy guy. I always find it difficult to approach people. But I’ve learned that missing a good portrait because you didn’t ask hurts a lot more than getting rejected. If you’re also a little shy, you’ll need to practice being more bold and get out there and ask people if you can take their picture. I’m here to tell you that it’s not as hard as you think, and there’s even a little bit of a scientific process to doing it…
Kyoto, Japan - I was standing in this alleyway, waiting for someone interesting to walk by and pose for me in front of that nice wooden door in the background... Along came this Geisha. (See "The Trapping Approach")
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Techniques, TRAVEL
Tags: approaching, how to, methods, people, PHOTOGRAPHY, portraits, portraiture, Techniques, TRAVEL
Yushu (aka Jyekundo (སྐྱེ་རྒུ་མདོ་) in Tibetan) is an Autonomous Prefecture in the Qinghai Provence of China. Located 800km south of the nearest city Xining, Yushu used to be a daunting 12-16 hour bus ride from Xining in the north or about 10 hours to Gantze in the south (where I came from). Now, it appears that Yushu has it’s own airport and has become quite a hot spot for tourists.
I was only able to spend two days in Yushu due to visa restrictions, but it left a wonderful impression on me. I also did something a little different while I was there. I only spent one day site-seeing, and I spent the other in the market, shooting lots and lots of portraits. Click “Read the rest of this entry” to see some of my favorites.
I was in Yushu just after a huge annual horse festival. This is an exciting time for Tibetans and they will often dress to impress. This woman is wearing some very expensive (and very heavy) jewelry in her hair.
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, Tibet, TRAVEL
Tags: སྐྱེ་རྒུ་མདོ་, Buddhist, China, Gyanak, Jiana, Jyekundo, mani stones, monk, Om Mani Padme Hum, PHOTOGRAPHY, pile, portraits, portraiture, Princess Wancheng Temple, Qinghai Provence, Tibet, Tibetan, TRAVEL, Yushu
We’ll start off this installment of “Interesting Links” by tooting my own horn. I just set up a new portfolio/stock website that can be found at neilwade.com. I set it up using PhotoShelter’s “Custom” website maker. It’s really not all that custom unless you really go crazy with the CSS, but I’m still very happy with the results. It’s fast loading and clean, and allows me to sell my stock straight from each gallery. I’ll be stocking the “Archives” with lots and lots of photos over the next few weeks, so check back if you want to delve deeper into my photography than I usually show publicly.
The second link is actually much more exciting and much more funner! It’s my good friend Errandboy’s new website. It’s the best flash based website that I’ve ever seen, and a lot of fun to just play around on… Remember, don’t act you age unless you’re 8.
One of my partners-in-crime switched platforms recently. Stu Dawson went from Blogger to WordPress and now has a beautiful blog still called Hiking Taiwan. Check it out for good information on many hikes in Taiwan’s beautiful mountains.
Taiwanderful is holding a Taiwan bloggers contest for the best blog in Taiwan. Myself, Stu, and many of our friends are entered. Have a look to find interesting blogs about all aspects of life in Taiwan and vote for your favorite.
Like to look at pretty (and smart) women? Have a gander at Jaclynn Joseph’s new modeling portfolio website. She’s professional model and an expat here in Taiwan and recently put this website together.
Thanks for reading. If you have any links you’d like included, add them in the comments below!
Located in a deep gorge to the west of Chola Mountain, Dege (སྡེ་དགེ།) is one of Tibet’s most revered and remote places. It’s found in the far northwestern Sichuan Provence very close to the boarder of Xizang Provence (modern “Tibet”). Dege (aka Derge) is home to the most important printing press in all of Tibet, the Barkhang (Parkhang) Scripture Printing House.
Dege is a full day’s bus ride from the nearest town, Ganze. Basically, you need to drive all the way around the formidable Chola Mountain and sometimes you’ll think the bus is driving straight over it. A perilous dirt road winds up and over Tro La (Chola) Pass at nearly 6000m (19,6850ft) – a lot higher than Mt Everest Base Camp! The views from the bus will leave you breathless in more ways than one.
A man prays in front of the famous Barkhang (Parkhang) Scripture Printing Press in Dege, China (Tibet).
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Tibet, TRAVEL
Tags: སྡེ་དགེ།, Buddhism, China, Dege, Derge, monastery, PHOTOGRAPHY, printing press, remote, Sichuan-Tibet Highway, Tibet, TRAVEL, Tro La Pass, 德格印经院
Painting with light, aka light graffiti, is a fun way to stay creative. My friends and I have been playing around with it over the past week or two and I thought I’d share.
We’re still getting the hang of it, but I’m happy with some of the pictures that we’ve done so far. It’s a lot harder than it might look, as most of the time you have no point of reference to help make the lines meet up.
This is the first one we did and it's still my favorite. Chris Jones made the drawing and I pushed the button.
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Techniques
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, cartoon, creative, light, light graffiti, light painting, night photography, paint with light, PHOTOGRAPHY, Taipei
Moving northwest from Dawu (Daofu), the next town you come to is a dusty, unremarkable one called Luhuo. I stayed here for a night, but quickly regretted it as I couldn’t find any decent economy lodging and even the local gompa (Tibetan monastery) wasn’t very exciting.
SO ON TO GANZE! (aka Gartze, Gantze, Ganzi, and a few other spellings)
Despite being yet another dusty town, Ganze has a certain charm to it. It’s a major town for trade and Chinese trucks can be seen (and inhaled) barreling down the main street. Ganze is also about a full day’s bus trip from Kangding so if you’re on a long haul bus to Yushu or Dege or any other town north of here, you’re going to have to overnight. I would highly recommend staying in the affordable, but quite nice hotel above the bus station.
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Tibet, TRAVEL
Tags: China, Gantze, Ganze, Gartze, monk, PHOTOGRAPHY, Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism, TRAVEL
I was recently in Colorado to photograph a fantastic wedding. The three day extravaganza was one of the best that I ever been to.
Set in beautiful Steamboat Springs, Colorado, this wedding could probably be described as an “alternative” one due to the lack of many of the traditional wedding customs. The ceremony was deliberately designed to beautiful but quick… to leave more time for partying!
Events surrounding the sunset ceremony included: a rhinestone cowboy party, an 80’s dance party, hot springs, golf, fishing, pool-side lounging, mountain climbing, and even skeet shooting! This was definitely a wedding to remember!