Tag Archives: hsinchu

Concert Photography: The Phoenix Show, Hsinchu

These are from The Phoenix Show, an event which took place last night in the hopes of boosting Hsinchu’s local music scene. It was a huge success and the three bands that performed were a huge amount of fun to shoot.

I used the 35mm f/1.8 as usual, and was able to get some fast shutter speeds at an ISO of 3200.

Starting off is Peaks, a band which plays a mix of psychedelic, alternative, and punk.

 

Next up is the Cuervos, another expat band in Taiwan:

 

Finally, the first band to perform that night, Crazy Lazarus. They’re a Taiwanese punk band which was pretty awesome.

See the rest of the photos on Flickr.

Reprocessed Shots: Places of Worship

Since I’ve been lazy with the camera as of late, I decided to at least reprocess some photos I have backed up as NEF (“raw”) files. Some of these date 3-4 years.

While I’m not personally an overtly religious person, places of worship have always fascinated me – something people who have followed this blog will notice. In a way, they encapsulate a place’s culture. I think a perfect example is this first church, located in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Note the differences in architecture compared to the American churches below.

Something else that interests me is the difference between more rural and urban churches. In League City, Texas, a small farm town until it expanded recently due to suburban expansion, Saint Mary Church’s old building is now a historical site for the town. I found its humble stature interesting, especially compared to St. Paul, located in nearby Houston.

For good measure I included a few Buddhist temples which also show differences in geography. This is less evident however in these photos, but can be seen when visiting these temples in China/Taiwan/Hong Kong versus Thailand and Cambodia.

Above: a church located in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

A Buddhist temple located on the Chao Praya River in Bangkok, Thailand.

A Baptist church in Taipei, Taiwan.

The “Big Buddha” of Po Lin Monastery, Hong Kong.

  

Left: Wellington First Congregational Church in Wellington, Ohio. Right: Wellington First United Methodist Church in Wellington, Ohio.

  

Left: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Houston, TX. Right: St. Mary (Old) Catholic Church, League City, TX.

In Taiwan: Year of the Horse

Some random shots from back in Taiwan. I do still live here after all!

I’ll be posting more from Indonesia again but here’s Ilha Formosa in the meantime.

 

 

 

Year of the Snake: Lunar New Year 2013 in Taiwan

With a vacation to Korea, an apartment move, and a visiting family member, I didn’t go out to document this year’s Lunar New Year as much as in the past.

With that said, it was a great time of relaxation for me even if it was a bit busy. This time of year always sorts of reignites the spark and excitement of living in Taiwan for me and this was no exception.

Above: Mazu, goddess of the sea, at Cixian Temple, Taipei.

Above: Cherry blossoms on a (very) foggy day at Lion’s Head Mountain (獅頭山).

Above: Temples on the same foggy day at 獅頭山.

  

Above left: worshippers walk under a lantern for blessings at Longshan Temple, Taipei. Above right: temple lanterns hang at Cixian Temple, Taipei.

Above: temple worshipers gather at Longshan Temple, Taipei.

Above: lanterns hang at Longshan Temple, Taipei.

Above: an incense burner at a temple on Lion’s Head Mountain.

Above: fried noodles being prepared at Shilin Night Market, Taipei.

Above: the calm before the crowds at Liuhe Night Market, Kaohsiung.

Single Shot: Welcoming the Ghosts

I’ll take a break from posting a recent series from my last trip to Okinawa to show off something I saw last weekend at the Hsinchu City God Temple. This is part of a ceremony allowing and welcoming spirits to roam sort of “finish business” from the earthly realms. During this month, spirits are appeased and/or kept away from homes through incense and offerings and spirit money, or ghost money, is burned as an offering. I have some more shots from last year here.

As school is about to start, this is a bit of a culture shock to many foreigners entering Taiwan for the first time. It’s hard to believe this is the start of my third year on the island!

 

Lion Dance and Temple Ceremony, Guqifeng (古奇峰), Hsinchu

A month ago, I visited Guqifeng, or 古奇峰, a temple in Hsinchu marked with a very large statue of the god of war, Guan Gong, on top of a mountain just east of the city. Last weekend, while visiting the general area, my wife and I noticed something going on inside and saw a lion dance troupe preparing to perform. Here are some shots from this performance.

Above: the drumline beats out the rhythm for the dancers. These guys were very talented and drumming is an art of its own in Taiwanese and Chinese culture.

A performer tests the stands before the performance by jumping between them. These performers will rarely make mistakes, but an important safety procedure for this was a group of performers underneath, holing the stand steady and acting as a buffer for falling friends. This did happen – the first time I’ve seen this happen before – and the performers who fell were perfectly fine, their fall being broken as they were caught. During this time, the drums kept going and the lion dancers were back in no time.

A confetti-covered ground marks the main ceremony area before the lion dance performer took the stage.

A walking god watches as the altar of another god “visits” the temple god. The confetti canons were set up at a climax during the ceremony and I was happy for a wider angle lens here.

Lion dancers jump across. Notice the drummers yelling below.

Hsinchu Air Show, 2012

Each year, the local air force base hosts an event for the public which is open to all to visit the base for an air show. Growing up, I frequented events like these with my grandparents taking me each year. It was exciting to see this again, even if we were a bit limited for time and the weather could’ve been better.

The stars of the show were the ROC Air Force’s “Thunder Tigers,” a stunt group much like the US Navy Blue Angels or US Air Force Thunderbirds. They flew AT-3 trainers, which is a Taiwanese-created and engineered aircraft. They aren’t too fast, but are very maneuverable and actually quite quiet compared to the louder engines of a Mirage or F-16.

I noticed that tigers play a big role in ROC squadron art – I’m guessing this is partially due to the involvement of the American “Flying Tigers” who flew against Japan for the Chinese Air Force before Pearl Harbor. Their history is a bit fascinating and serves as a sort of basis to the rest of the ROC Air Force.

After the Thunder Tigers was a Dassault Mirage 2000:

Unfortunately I didn’t get this “sweet spot” over the crowd, but I survived. It was quite humorous to see them moving their cameras in unison as the planes flew by:

One of the main issues facing the ROC Air Force is its weakening relationship with the United States. Ever since ties have warmed between the PRC and United States, the ROC has found itself short on weapons to buy as the US fears it will anger China. As a response, the IDF or Indigenous Defense Fighter, was created in the 1990’s:

Of course, Taiwan does have its own F-16s, but they are the older A/B variants:

In addition, other American-made aircraft include the E-2 Hawkeye and C-130:

Visit to 古奇峰 (Guqifeng), Hsinchu

Guqifeng, which translates to “ancient peaks,” is sort of hard to describe. Its most obvious mark is a huge statue of Guang Gong, the god of war. In addition, a statue garden and museum are also on the grounds and provide viewers a sometimes fascinating and sometimes – somewhat strange – view of various statues, historical artifacts, and religious symbols.

Starting off is the Guang Gong statue, easily seen throughout the mountaintop area:

This shrine of the Hindu god Brahma in the Thai style was interesting, especially after I visited Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine last summer. I saw these in a few other temples in the area, indicating that the deity is popular locally.

One of the interesting parts about Guqifeng is the large collection of statues from around the world. Here’s a copy of one of the famed Terra Cotta warriors, something that wasn’t too out of place…

…and some statues of who I think is Guan Yin. Two copies with awkward smiles…

…and a Buddha in the woods also made sense…

…but once I saw Beethoven’s bust and some other European items, I knew there would be quite a bit of diversity with the selection…

…and then a mythical beast of some sorts? I have been in Taiwan long enough to have never recognized this in Chinese mythology/religion. I have no clue what it is.

Some statues weren’t taken care of very well or just fell into disrepair. I guess this can be expected.

At any rate, I had a great time exploring this site. It’s located in a slightly hard to find spot but can be found through Google Maps. In the next few days, I’ll be posting more from another trip – this time to Sanxia, Taipei again.

Out and About on New Year’s Day

These were taken on January 23, the day which Chinese New Year began on this year’s lunar calendar. It was a bit early for this year, but I didn’t mind having a week off to relax and take a photo or two. Most of these take place in temples and markets as both are full.

Temples are full, as Jhubei Mazu Temple above shows, as people make prayers and concessions on the first day of the new year. Certain things are considered auspicious depending on the year – many couples will get married and have kids for example, in the Year of the Dragon.

…and another at the incense holder in front of the temple. The area was crowded an the 18mm end of my lens came in handy.

A fire burns away ghost money, used as a form of currency for spirits in the afterlife.

Deals, deals, deals are everywhere on the first day of Chinese New Year. Competitions and contests offer free trips around Taiwan and heavily discounted travel deals to those who ask. This guy was getting his audience stirred up for trips around the island.

Life at 18mm (Single Shot)

I know I haven’t posted ANYTHING yet this year. The reason for this is because of a few personal changes that made me pretty busy mixed with some absolutely nasty weather here in northern Taiwan. Nasty weather makes it hard to get yourself to go out and shoot, and I hope to alleviate that with today’s beautiful Spring-like day.

This single shot today is taken at 18mm, or a crop-sensor equivalent of about 28mm, was taken as I try to explore other focal points than the regular 35mm/50mm.

It’s actually not the most exciting picture, but the subject itself is pretty cool. This is a Hakka cultural park in Jhubei. Rather than demolish these old farmhouses in the midst of a huge real-estate boom, the developers of this park created a place for locals to preserve and learn about their culture. I’m a huge fan of it and it sticks out in contrast to the modern city surroundings.

I used Lightroom’s rather amazing distortion/lens profile features to fix the image and have been enjoying using Lightroom since the death of the MacBook a few months ago.

With Chinese New Year, a relaxed schedule, and HOPEFULLY, some decent weather, I plan on getting many more images up in the next few weeks.