Remain in light(well sort of…)

Calm moment

Remain in Light was one of my favorite album titles by one of my favorite bands: Talking Heads. In this case it is partially representative of whatI’m trying to do with my photography. I said “partially” because to embrace light also means to embrace the shadow that it causes and the edge of darkness it fades into. Initially I shot according to what my human eye was most attracted to-pretty colors, shapes, patterns, and textures. Those are all good but the camera lens loves them much less than it does light and how light flows.

Focusing...

They’re eating breakfast while I’m eating the space and shadow and tones around them(with my lens-figuratively speaking of course). We’re both happy being well fed. It was an interesting exercise forcing myself to be led by light. Hopefully, I’m getting somewhere with it. I’m also using Lightroom differently to compliment my new focus.

Sun Spots

This is my idea of a grungier more pedestrian “Hotel California”. Not a glamorous artists rendition of what it was, but what it really is. I guess I feel a similarity between the tones and shading to the image from the album cover. This image makes me also think of the Talking Heads-Pulled Up:

I cast a shadow on the living-room wall
Dark and savage with a profile so sharp
Keep that wonderful food on the table
There’s really no hurry I’ll eat in a while

Music: Talking Heads- Crosseyed and Painless


It’s Official…a Winner!

For the Taichung chapter of the Scott Kelby’s 2nd Worldwide Photo Walk we had several more people that showed up and participated (yeah for participation but boo I can’t enter them in the official contest) than signed up at the website. You can see all of the entries here. Alas, there is only 1 winner in every event (just my opinion in this case, my own images being disqualified from competition since I was group leader) and that is Naruwan‘s Taxi Chess photo.

Honorable Mention goes to Michael Turton‘s Motorcycle Mirrors

There are also some great images from walker’s not in the official competition at our Group Page here.

Thanks again for everybody’s participation and creativity during less than ideal weather. We’ll keep you posted on future Taichung Photo Club progress and events. Look for announcement in Sept.

再次感謝大家的參與性和創造性在不到理想的天氣。我們將讓您張貼在未來台中攝影俱樂部的進展和活動。尋找公佈於9月!

Music: Brian Eno-Baby’s On Fire because of the wonderful lyrics-

Photographers snip snap
Take your time shes only burning…

PS-Our sister chapter (scary step-sister kind…just joking :D) up in Taipei had these winning and mentionable photos to share from their event here. Well done Craig and team!

PPS-Thanks to Dj Marcus A and crew over at Waakao.com for the big up to this post. Carrie Kellenberger informed me that our winner Naruwan also featured in  Taiwan Photographers here.

A City Grows…

Send in the cloud...

I remember the first time over 20 years ago that I visited Taichung. I liked it right off-milder weather than Taipei, friendlier people, less chaotic pace. Then it hit me-Taichung seemed like the perfect balance of city and country in terms of its flow and feel. In fairness to Taipei I lived there at one of the worst possible times: the MRT was under construction, crippling the already too limited transportation grid by engulfing it off with new construction; weather was much rainier back then which resulted in 2 kinds of Taipei weather prognoses: it’s going to rain or it sure as hell looks like it’s going to rain.

2 in Back

So yes Taichung is growing up. These images are from the booming 7th Municipal Re-zoned District area or simply-the new downtown. Home of Mitsukoshi and Tiger City and all these shiny new luxury apartments. I’d say there were at least a dozen or more buildings in process in a .5 square mile radius. Busy, busy but yet Taichung still retains much of it’s early charm and friendliness. Perhaps because most  its residents roots are in the surrounding countryside: Taichung County (soon to disappear under incorporation to new Taichung Municipality with the city), MiaoliNantou and Changhua .

Wink!

Rumor has it that this area was developed by city councilmen and their rich cronies? What I do know for a fact the new municipal govenment building is currently under construction and it is quite large. Hopefully with improved governmental ranking Taichung will get soem more love from the Central Government that usually goes to Taipei or Kaohsiung? Time will tell.

Music: Graham Parker and the Rumor-Nobody Hurts You

Flourishing Plain: FengYuan

Offering smoke

FengYuan is a place I’ve had an interesting relationship with during my over 20 years of time in central Taiwan. It is the largest city in Taichung County(all of Taichung County soon to be merged Taichung City as new municipality) with  and has a vital temple/commercial culture at and around the Matsu Temple. In my early days in Taichung I was traveling to or through FengYuan almost daily and loved to eat in the food stand alley on the east side of the temple(廟東); whether it was Cantonese-style Rice Porridge or Fujian Red-cooked meat.

Here is a recent temple shot I took in FengYuan with more shots to follow soon.

Music: Mott the Hoople-All the Way from Memphis

Lukang: Lifestyle in Historic Town

Shoes off chess

Lukang is a town rich with commercial and cultural history-odd how those to are often linked. The arts have always been primarily funded by wealthy patrons. In Lukang much art is displayed in it’s many temples. These 2 were taking advantage of teh shade offered by temple and kicking it with a game of Chinese chess.

Octagon Door

Sitting and relaxing before lunch at the Long Shan Temple. The big octagonal BaKua doorway is both auspicious (Feng Shui) and pretty. I chatted with this man for a while and he told me some of the temples history and that it was a Buddhist temple (originally Buddhism came to China from India) and not a Taoist (indigenous Chinese religion) temple.

Alley woman

Lukang is famous for it’s incredibly tight lanes. There is one that is called the “touching breast” lane. This one is slightly larger than that. This is yet another element that provides charm and cultural interest in Lukang.

Update: This image has been heavily viewed, awarded and commented on at Flickr here.

Music: Rolling StonesAll Down The Line

Worldwide Photo Walk-Under Gray Skies

Representing

A while back Craig Ferguson wrote a post on lighting and mentioned how overcast days were some of the best for shooting photos. At the time I thought he was daft. I was always of the mindset that you must have nice rich lighting and ideally golden early morning or late afternoon with the best coming in fall or spring. While that is some of my favorite lighting the recent Worldwide Photo Walk event offered mostly gray overcast skies. I also realized what Craig asserted is true. These conditions really make the colors pop. They also provide some very interesting shades and tones.

Spray

This shot from Taichung Park was shot while drizzling and some over spray from the fountains.

Sky magic

This building off of ZhongZheng Rd. was once full of MTV’s, discos and KTV’s but now sits virtually empty. ZOMG I realize I’ve been in Taiwan for too long. Let me translate-MTV is a business that provide you a s room to view movies with friend or friends. KTV is Karaoke in your own room with TV and amplification system provided.

Busy

Now that I’ve done the under gray sky approach because of necessity I think I’ll do some more. I really love the way the mid -tones really stand out in images. They are the ones more easily washed out or overwhelmed by the sun’s stronger rays.

Coffee break

Maybe even do all this over a cup of coffee? People sized of course…

Music: Roy Rogers-The Sky is Crying

World Photo Walk-Taichung post facto

Checking

One of the key components of any photo walk and especially a World Photo Walk is a camera. Here one of our team is sitting checking his out in Taichung Park.

Filtered

A dirty window acts as cool filter. Ducked indoors to First Square to escape drizzle and get some indoor(in this case outdoors from indoors) shots.

Light

Couldn’t help but shoot this space. Loved the lighting from the lone light bulb-no flash, purely ambient.

Drama

The overcast and partly rainy weather created some way cool sky drama. This is a shot of the defunct JinSha Department Store.

Flower

A sunflower grows in Taichung.

Glimpse

Things are looking up!

Gimme

We all met at the Taichung Train Station (first time I’ve been inside believe it or not! Not bad too. Got more shots from here, First Square, DzYou Road, and Taichung Park up at the Flickr site here. Here is Group site link for our walk. Met some nice folks and will probably get a Taichung Photo Club going with events about once every 3 months. Contact me here: mark at bbluesman dot com if interested. Thanks to the folks at Scott Kelby Photography for orgainizing the world event.

Lukang: Long Shan Temple

Long Shan Temple inner court

I recently spent a magical day trip to Lukang, Taiwan. Magical because it was a great father and son time with my son Kevin, the place was empty allowing for much cleaner images and easier access to shots, and good exercise traversing the historic downtown area from near to the Matsu Tian Hou Gong Temple(most famous temple in Lukang) all the way to Long Shan Temple.

The Long Shan Temple is the oldest in central Taiwan dating back to 1777. It is the most elegant in my opinion do to it’s more classic (less gaudy) style. Also, due to it’s age many of the original brighter colors are far more subdued and elegant. I will have many more photos from this session in upcoming posts and am looking at the possibility of doing a book. In the meantime, if you are a photographer or would like to meet people that share a love of photography we are having the Taichung part of the World Photo Walk event on this Sat. July 18th beginning at 3:00PM in front of the Taichung Train Station. Please either register at site (best way) or just come directly and we’ll do a photo walking tour of downtown Taichung and find a spot to chill afterward.

Music: Jake Shimabukuro-Dragon

She’s Out of My Life

She's out of my life!

When I spotted this soft billboard (a style very popular in Taiwan made of printed plastic canvas) I had one of those “That Girl” moments:  iconic, commercial, fashion, Madison Avenue, trite and surreal. Nice and right there in my face. So I captured the moment for posterity.

Now the question is what about those real “That Girl/Boy/Woman/Man” moments in your life? How about the really big ones? Where were you? How many were more than a moment and evolved into hours, days, months, or years? The cost of a moment is very low and can provide great value. Granted it maybe is  not the deepest experience but certainly uncomplicated.

One of my old favorites for today’s music: The Isley BrothersWho’s That Lady?

I Need a Break

I need a break

We all get the blues. I know everyone of us has been in this man’s spot at least once. Things just not going our way and feeling the weight of life’s pressures. This man was chilling in the Long Shan Temple-maybe organizing his thoughts, maybe came to burn some incense and hope for better fortune…maybe, maybe, maybe.

Hopefully you have friends or family or even friendly strangers you can turn to when things have got you down. Music-The Band: The Weight is  a good song for moments like these.