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International Festival, 2014, Pearland, TX

Last weekend I had the awesome opportunity to shoot as a volunteer photographer for the 2014 Pearland International Festival in Pearland, TX – my new home since returning from Taiwan. The event featured acts from throughout the Houston area and was a great chance to practice my concert and cultural photography.

Above: youth members of Mariachi Calmecec, a Houston-based mariachi group.

A dancer from Grupo Folkorico Raices De Panama, a Panamanian dance group.

A singer performs with Galaxy Band, a Houston-based reggae band.

A performance of Grease by Pearland Theatre Guild.

A “flying” Bollywood dancer.

Indian classical dancers.

Mango Punch, a Houston-based salsa band.

Le Calma, a Norteño/Tejano band from San Antonio.


Single Shot: Becak in Yogyakarta

This is a becak, or pedicab, in Yogyakarta. It was taken while out and about in the Indonesian city last January.

Mazu Statue, Hsinwu

This is the largest statue of Mazu (媽祖) in the world, located in Hsinwu (新屋), the township which is home for much of my wife’s extended family.

Mazu, perhaps the most popular Chinese deity in Taiwan, is considered the goddess of the sea, and has an estimated 800-1,000 temples dedicated to her name on the island.

The statue stands at about 50 feet tall, overlooking the sea. This is appropriate as Mazu is perhaps the most popular Chinese deity in Taiwan. This is evidenced by a pilgrimage which lasts for three days each spring.


…and we’re back!

After three days of exploring Hong Kong, Yuling and I are back in Jhubei and quite exhausted. The great thing about not working until the end of this month is that I had today to sleep away – I didn’t get out of bed until about 11:30 – a good 11 or so hours of sleep.

During our three days, we were active during every waking hour – exploring nightmarkets, famous landmarks, and taking in the beautiful view of the city. I do have to say (and this is a good thing) that I prefer Taiwan. A few things work against HK – the fact that it’s so expensive, very Westernized, and sometimes just too touristy.

With that said, I’m glad I made the visit. I’ve at least got it off “the list” and have to say I did enjoy my time. I will be posting my first photo I’ve finished here for now – an HDR of the Tian Tan Giant Buddha, a massive bronze statue, and will be getting the rest of the trip’s photos up in time.

…still in Hong Kong…

…so this blog won’t be updated until at least this weekend with more photos.  In the meantime, I created a video about my first week in Taiwan.  Since my DSLR, a Nikon D-5000, records video, I’ve decided to learn some basic video editing.  Unfortuantely, a few things work against me:

  • I only have iMovie, and obviously won’t get anything better;
  • Shooting video with a DSLR is awkward;
  • I’m still learning what kinds of shots to take (e.g. should I pan? zoom?);
  • the Nikon annoyingly doesn’t auto-focus while taking video;
  • I’m not the most graceful person…

Anyhow, here it is below:

HDR Houston: Statue and Sky

This is a statue on a hill at Hermann Park – I actually haven’t been back since July 4th, but decided to HDR-ify this one…

Battleship Texas

I finally took the chance today to visit the Battleship Texas – the second ship to be known as the USS Texas and serve as a battleship in the US Navy.

The battleship served in both world wars – and in both theaters during World War II.  It supported troops at Omaha beach and was sent to the Far East to aid in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  Fascinating stuff, indeed.

As always, click on a photo for my Flickr site – I actually posted 32 photos there.

Starting off with an HDR near the bow looking aft:

Another HDR, this time the Sonar Room:

HDR Houston: Hermann Park Statue

More from Hermann Park last week.  And yes, it’s still pretty rainy, keeping me from going out for more shots – thanks, Hurricane Alex!

I like sunsets.

This is an HDR of a sunset in Kemah – near where I live.  You saw this view earlier from my Kemah shots I took before – but this is in HDR… so glad that I kept all three exposures!

With Hurricane Alex sending storms my way, it’s not easy to get out and shoot… which is unfortunate.

You know the drill. Click on the photo for my Flickr.

HDR Houston: Confucious (孔夫子)

孔夫子, or “Master Kong” – the famous Chinese philosopher.  With Houston’s diversity, there is a local garden with statues of other famous names – Simon Bolivar, Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi are some others – that were donated by local immigrant groups, consulates, and sister cities.

I’ve always been more intrigued, I have to say, by the local gods of Chinese religion than the Confucian system – though “Master Kong” is certainly very important to Chinese history and daily life… something I’ll be seeing regularly in Taiwan.

I tried to get a dramatic shot with the sun behind – I should’ve waited in order to get the sun to peak out of the clouds.   Oh well.

Today I’m going to head out for some more photos as I’ll be having to get my International Driver’s Permit.  I think I’ll make a detour to Chinatown since I’m craving some things and with my girlfriend gone never get to go to the market….