This might all be a little confusing at first. You should definitely read the Foundation first.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cliffside


4/29/2012

Amazing day for landscape photos. Also the day I started that roll of black and white. I’m super excited to get that first roll developed and to scan in the negatives to see how they turned out. But anyway, drove around a bunch today and took in some scenery. Just as we decided to head onto our way home the weather turned sour but created an amazing opportunity for some unreal photos. Here is one of the many.

It may look odd but driving along the coast it was beautiful. A purplish hue in the center with some light breaking through the clouds gave it some juxtaposition toward the rain clouds in the far rear. I wish I didn’t forget to bring those glass ND filters I left at home.

More contrast. Edited by Vivian from back home! Very nice job, oh how children grow before your eyes.

Gridline


4/28/2012

Today I spend most of my time in HuaLien. I ate some of their famous wontons and visited a night market here. Although that was all fun, what came next was crazy. We decided to drive up a mountain to get some night landscape in; the only problem was that we had no idea what we were doing. The road was curved in all sorts of sharp turns and completely dark (which at least made for good photography). So getting up the hill was a task in itself but after we reached a few prime places for some photos, it was worth the wait. Although the photos I took did the scene no justice, I thought I would share them all the same.


On another note, we hit a dead end and were backing down a narrow road when a car pulled up to block our way. We got out to ask the guy to back out first (and that he was going toward a dead line) and when we got to the car, I swear the entire car went dead silent thinking we were up to no good.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

First in Line


4/26/2012

One of the many benefits of being overseas in Asia: faster movie release dates. I watched The Avengers in 3D today and it held up to all my expectations. Generally I’m not one for the theaters and rather watch it in the comfort of my own home but in the end, I’m glad I went. The movie is just one of those most-see-in-theater type ones that was action packed with a decent story. I don’t really care much for 3D but that was the only opening they had. Time flew by watching such an amazing piece of Marvel history. 

Ninja Camera


4/22/2012

Hey guys! Sorry for all this waiting for a new post (for all 7-10 of my followers). It’s just been so completely hectic these last few days. I again have been recovering from being a little sick; but despite that I still got in a little sightseeing here and there. A lot of these places I could not bring myself to bring my heavy camera walking through these dense crowds. Also went to the beach and walked around there taking a few photos. Overall, nothing too exciting to share to all my devoted followers.

Today, there is something interesting to share. I finally bought a few rolls of black and white and am ready to shoot some. Hopefully I’ll have some scans in over the next few weeks if I’m lucky. My cousin also got some black tape that’s not supposed to leave any sticky residue. We spent the next few hours performing some surgery on a few cameras to hide brands, labels, symbols, etc. to make our cameras as street friendly as possible.



Ninja-fied. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wulai Waterfalls


4/13/2012

Waterfalls give a sense of power along with a certain bit of calmness. I love the overall blur of water as it comes down and hits rocks. With a longer exposure (sadly I forgot my ND filters) I was able to get that nice ‘soft’ look of the water all blurred together. Such a shame that I’m not yet ballsy enough to just hope the fence and waddle right up to get a better shot.

After all that hiking I went out to a restaurant called Deja Vu which was opened by the famous Jay Chou. He had two awesome vehicles inside; a bat-mobile and some type of motorcycle [more like a tricycle if you ask me]. 

National Taiwan University


4/12/2012

Today I walked around National Taiwan University, Taiwan’s most well-known school. The campus is stunningly beautiful and has little caf├ęs dotted around the campus. I saw a few interesting photo ops from an architectural viewpoint and grabbed a few. The shots only turned out mediocre so this only solidifies my love for night-time architectural and landscape photography. For lunch I headed out to the campus commons where I got a vegetarian plate for about 2USD (50NTD). Taiwan culture has an amazing point of keeping college kids fed [a bunch of local entertainment shows touch upon vendors who gives student discounts and let them have free refills]. Needless to say I was relatively stuffed and the food was great and all too my satisfaction: lighty salted, mildly spiced, and good priced.

Another thing I did was to visit a somewhat famous temple around Taipei. Now this generally isn’t my thing, but I don’t think it would be a bad idea to go in, light a few incense sticks, wish for things, and be on my merry way. 


HSR, Again


4/11/2012

Time to head back to Taipei from Kaohsiung and hopefully get more out of Taipei this time. After getting back to my uncles I repacked my luggage and headed to a family friend’s place. This all took place from about 2:30pm until 8pm. I’m pretty tired and have no photos to show for this day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Love River


4/10/2012

Today was extremely interesting. This was my first time ever on the back of a moped; granted it was 100cc and I’m used to being the driver of a 600cc. It was such an experience sightseeing at night on the back of a moped. My ass was rather sore in the end but it was a great experience; how I miss being on an open-aired motor vehicle during the night. Depending on where life takes me, there’s definitely another possibility to getting another Yamaha later on. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury on bring a tripod with me and that the light was a little offsetting. Ah, the beauty of an L series lens equipped with Canon’s well-known IS was enough to allow me to lower my shutter to as low as 1/6 without too much blurred motion [although I did aim to capture some motion on the bridges to give it life]. But for tonight, I’m rather tired so I’ll leave you with some landscape/architectural shots.



Monday, April 9, 2012

Garlic Infused


4/9/2012

I’ve been sick the past two days so I haven’t done much of anything. However, I can write a little about the research I’ve done. I looked up ways to repel mosquitoes because they’re a pain in the ass to me. It seems they are reluctant to be around where strong winds are and do not like the oil found in garlic. So I’ve spend the day setting up the fan in a location that will cover my bedroom by creating gusts without it oscillating; it was positioned so nicely that the strongest winds will cover most of my midsection while I sleep and then hit the wall and then split and cover my head and feet [I like to think I calculated this with physics, mathematics, and awesomeness]. As for the garlic thing, slices of garlic in water seemed to do the trick; my room now smells entirely like garlic but it seems to be a small price to pay to avoid swelling up bites. Apparently only female mosquitoes are attracted to blood to help spawn more of these vicious beasts; they generally feed off plants. So maybe I ought to be flattered.


Consider yourself informed. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stinky Tofu


4/7/2012

The market today was open and it sure was something crazy, fun, and unnerving. The waves of people had me worried while trying to juggle some bags of vegetables in one hand and then my camera in another. Trying to set the camera and find a great scene was almost impossible with just one hand; it more of a point-n-shoot kind of day. But seeing a farmer’s market of sorts was a real interesting site; crowded with everyone trying to get the attention of vendors. After a few stops, we headed home for some cooking and with ingredients this fresh and this close, home cooking has to be involved. I retract my original statement as to how so many people eat out.

My aunt also came by and I finally had what I’ve been craving since I landed. Some stinky tofu and oyster pancakes. Sticky tofu isn’t for everyone but I LOVED it; the vendor she got it from makes his own garlic chili sauce and he generously applies it to each tofu. The smell was powerful [in a good way] and was every way I remembered it; crunchy on the outside, silky on the inside, and smelly all over. Soon after I headed out to walk off some fat at the local park and then took a trip out to have dinner at the night markets.

The night market I headed went to is the biggest in Kaohsiung and it’s friendly to Westerns (with a good amount of things in English). Here I had a variety of food which I will try my best to explain. First off, the two drinks I had were pure sugar cane juice [from the browner stalks which gives a lighter flavor without a sugar crash in the end] and a jelly drink called Ai Yu with some lime-water. Both very good, but nothing out of the world. Time for the eats! They had a fried squid in different dry spices; deep fried when you ordered and either cut or whole (I prefer cut for sharing). I always love the texture differences when I eat and a fried crunchy outer shell with a chewy seafood center is always welcomed. From there I tried these octopus balls which were HUGE [about billiards size] with about two for 60NT. Next [and final due to the increasing number of people and my small stomach] were these little … jelly balls. I have no other way to explain it; tasted like a fruit mocha, but clear. It was good, trust me.


Well, ran out shortly after since I don’t really like to be in that close of a proximity to others. They touch, I yell, chaos, blood, food, Godzilla…it’s a mess. Tried some street (from the hip) again and got another pleasing shot. 

Beef Stew


4/6/2012

Tried to head out to visit a supposedly famous farmers market today; but they were closed due to a longer observation of the tomb sweeping tradition. But dinner (and lunch) today was dirt cheap. The cost of living can change so fast from county to county and district to district. We had a lot of different breads stuffed with meats and vegetables (bao) for lunch and had the stewed beef noodles for dinner. Had relatives over but we were in the ‘who-gives-a-shit and let-us-explode-with-food’ attitude and bought a ton of food. We were able to feed 7 people [all of whom are adults] for about 700NT (less 25USD) and still managed to produce leftovers.


Many people may question the integrity of such a cheap meal but let me insure you, there were no shortcomings of such a meal; not even the skimping of beef was present. Another thing about Taiwanese cuisine is that it is adapted from so many different cultures when different countries ruled Taiwan. Although similar to others it has its own unique twist and I find it rather refreshing; most dishes don’t heavily rely on spices and brings out the natural flavors [from my understanding it’s not easy to do]. Light, fresh, fililng.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

CurryLand


4/5/2012

Another day, another adventure in the life of me. Today I made my way down south to Kaohsiung; taking the somewhat famous Taiwan High Speed Railway. Not as impressed as I wish it to be; rather boring if anything. If only they’d let me race a sporty Porsche (which I have seen here…although with pink overtones and driven by too young of a lady who probably had rich parents) through the traffic infested streets of Taipei. Oh the irony [for those who didn’t pick up] of owning a sports car in such a heavy congested country. And those who know me know that I’d droll over a nice and sleek motorcycle (don’t fool yourself Taiwan, mopeds do NOT mean motorcycles). I did see a Honda CBR here in the streets but the guy riding seemed to be a pansy and might as well have ridden a scooter not taking advantage of the power he had between his legs [don’t kid yourself ladies].

But I digress, what I really wanted to point out today is how freaking awesome is the food in Taiwan. Each of these meals cost roughly $4.5-5USD (about a price of a fast-food meal) but loads more exciting for my tastes buds and doesn’t make me feel like I’m shorting my lifespan. Even the American fast-food here seems less greasy than back home. I ate above the station where they had an amazing selection of cuisine that all came at an affordable price. The area is broken down into different sections, the two most popular being the curry section [where I ate] and the beef stew noodles; both smelled great but I opted for the one with the shorter line. Both were chicken curies but one was more traditional with the rice and curry and the other was more like a curry hotpot. I would describe more to you but my brain has apparently lapsed into some state of ecstasy while eating the meal that I can’t really remember. But these pictures hopefully look just as delicious.




*Any damages that occur from you licking, biting, or damaging your screen is not my fault. 

Pineapple Cake


4/4/2012

Today wasn’t too bad. Went to a ‘new’ emerging pineapple cake place that uses mostly local pineapples (where most of the pineapples used to make these cakes are imported). This brand only has one store in Taiwan and boy do they know how to make business! When you first walk in, they don’t care if you’re just using the restroom. They invite you to sit down for a cup of tea and to try one of their pineapple cakes; just about everyone who tries it buys a box or two (I bought two). There’s something about this store that makes it so much better. It’s like comparing blended pineapple [similar to apple sauce] that most other companies use versus crushed pineapples that this store uses. This distinction gives a certain texture and tastes that brings my mouth very close to a foodgasm.



On the way back, I wanted to illustrate the craziness of Taiwanese drivers in their ability to judge the space of cars. If you think LA drivers are crazy and good at space judgment, wait until you step foot into Taiwan. Taxis are known for clearing an alley at roughly 20 mph with maybe 2-3 inches on either side (and mind you, it’s not walls next to you, it’s mopeds parked at varying depths). You don’t realize this until you’re about ready to get out of the taxi and you can barely squeeze out [I am however a larger man than most Taiwanese people]. So here’s a quick picture of a police station I walked by; not sure how practical parking this way is; judging by the spray painted sides and flat tires, they are probably used to block an alternate entrance/exit into the underground parking for the station.


On a note: mosquitoes really hate the crap out of me. Or rather, they love the crap out of my blood. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tranquility


4/3/2012

Today was rather interesting. Went to look at the lilies and had some amazing food that I haven’t had before. Afterwards, we went to look at the rock formation ‘faces’ that were created by the sea salt air and waves. Although this was interesting, I thought the people were much more fascinating. I didn’t have a long enough lens to get a worker tending the fields during the floral part of the trip, but I did manage to get a worker working on cleaning the area; a kelp gardener if I had to give him a name.




I also tried my hand at a form of candid street photography [or beach-photography] by shooting at the hip. This actually wasn’t possible as I don’t use a neck-strap so I just held the camera loosely and took photos in portraiture. I got two different people before I had to leave (again to accommodate my relatives) but I really liked this photo of a tour group walking by on a narrow bridge. Something about it feel interesting, but I’m not sure why. It sort of has a sense of tranquility to me in this mess of tourists.


Hopefully it’s the first of many good days. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Afterward Silence


4/2/2012

Spend the day like a chaffer/babysitter. While all my relatives are at work, I had the pleasure of chilling with my grandpa who met with a few friends he hasn’t seen in years; not too bad, right? Well, they all speak in Taiwanese (and another subsection called Haka) while I know next to nothing; although they don’t think I’m smart enough to completely understand so I don’t even need to eavesdrop when they talk about me. So I just sit there and wait; I could be playing games on my phone but I don’t want to seem like an arrogant asshole who doesn’t have respect for elders [cause I can’t wait for the day I get old and embarrass the shit out of my grandkids in public]. So there I sit…waiting for the inevitable doom when drags me into the conversation whereas I’m forced to participate and nod my head like I understand everything that’s going on; I mumble my answers and they hear what they want. They laugh and I smile and think to myself that I have no fucking clue if I’m laughing with them…or being laughed at. The minuets pass in agony as I talk to myself like a crazy. Once they figured out that I was a photographer, they asked me to take some candid photos of them talk, “for memories” for some shit like that. Um, that’s not candid anymore (especially if you ask me to stop taking things from that side of you and go the other way). But in the end, I guess it’s good that it makes others happy. Another thing about families/friends/Chinese in general is that we LOVE to fight over the check; this is why I love trying to pay sometimes. I’m too young for them to ‘accept’ me paying for [insert thing here] everyone older hordes me to try and get the check away. It’s like watching seagulls fight for food, but more of a scene.



I still haven’t gotten to do any exploring as no one will give me a damn key to the place. I’m about ready to backpack a few days and hole up in some shady hotel that may double as some sort of love shack. But at least I’m doing my own thing and getting a new ‘perspective’ on things; nothing like the walls shuttering with moans from next door to change my views on things. But it should be all too bad; tomorrow I’ll be able to do some landscape photography (I hope) since one of my cooler aunts will be taking me to a flower garden thing. Hopefully it isn’t all too crowded and I have a nice few workers tending the field. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chaotic


4/1/2012

Cutting it short today. I did come back to Taiwan for some family business and what it really ended up being was about 180 [I think, we rented out 18 tables for lunch seating 10 each] fellow ‘Chang’ relatives getting together to pay respects then have the noisiest meal ever. Not really able to write much as not much has happened. Here’s an overview photo of what it looked like.



Like the Flood from Halo. Chaotic.