I was invited by my friend Mike to participate in their bi-lingual school's Speech Competition as a judge. I can't tell you how blown away I was by the performance of most of the students. Their poise, focus, composure all very impressive. Taiwanese kids are shy by nature. I think growing up on IPhone's and social media changing that but hey, this was still in English which is a foreign language to them. Mike told me he started a Toastmaster club for the kids in his school. A number of the participants are club members and it really showed. Kudos to the teachers, students and parents. Nice to be excited about something that is all positive. Win/Win/Win!
I recently traveled back to the US to help take care of my Mom. The flight there our plane had an entertainment system glitch which meant no movies/media for 12 hour flight. To make life more interesting me and the guy next to me got busted for talking a little loud by the guy seated in front of me. How do I know this? Because not 1 but 2 airline flight attendants came buy and informed us and asked us to keep it down. Don't know the irony emoji but. The annoyed passenger leveraged this situation into a seat further forward in the plane. I saw him at the arrival portion of the flight while everyone was walking past him. He had to wait to go get his overhead stored baggage...oh well. But I digress!
The return flight media system in fine form and I decided to watch Bohemian Rhapsody. For the record I am not nor ever was a Queen fan. That being said I liked them for a couple of early songs mostly for Brian May's awesome guitar playing and tone. Yes I know Freddie had an awesome voice and the band had a high production standard,etc. Their music was just a little to overblown for my taste bordering on cheesy. Like the Brits say-"Horses for courses."
The movie was great for an airplane ride. The story quality comparable to Movie of the Week on network television=not good but better than nothing. Rami Malek was handed a great character to play and did a reasonable job of interpreting and performing him. I still prefer him as original character in Mr. Roboto. It's really tough to play an actual person, especially one that was a pop star of Freddie's stature. I also watched an old favorite: Planes, Trains and Automobiles and JFK which I actually was able to focus on more of the key plot points than earlier viewings of the movie. Oliver Stone and Paul haggis keep the plot and dialogue coming fast and furious in that on at almost a relentless pace. I guess Planes, Trains and Automobiles was my meme for the journey..
This was taken a couple of years back in Lukang, Taiwan. One of my favorite cultural spots in Taiwan and consequently a place I like to visit repeatedly. This is inside the Long Shan Temple which is a great location to shoot due to it's distinctive architecture, scale of the place and the lighting it offers at different times of the year and day. Not long ago I shared a thought that occurred to me with a visitor that I also brought here: "there's something about places that experience a lot of human traffic or interaction. They seem to store and reflect the energy of the people that have contacted it stayed or moved through there." This if course is something very subtle not overt. Lukang has many places like this and Long Shan Temple in particular.
Some exciting news-we'll be adding Photography Tours of Taiwan to the scope of our business services. They'll be hosted by myself-Mark Forman: Shogun of Taiwan(my old podcasting handle) expatriate resident of Taiwan for over 25 years and internationally noted portrait and cultural photographer and other expert bi-lingual (English and Mandarin) hosts. We'll offer several different packages including some outer island ones: Green Island, Orchid Island, The Pescadores, JinMen. The tours will offer some of the best spots for Chinese cultural photos-temples from 17th century to present, markets: traditional and street food fantasy night markets. Indigenous aboriginal culture sites and performances will also be included. Learn traditional weaving and dancing. Taiwan is the ancestral home of many Polynesian tribes. In between there will also be some landscapes , cityscapes and street photography opportunities since Taiwanese are people much more casual and friendly about being photographed than in the US and Europe.These tour is suitable for beginners on up. Stay tuned for details on pricing, dates, etc. Of course custom and specialty tours are available Come rock the beautiful Isla Formosa with us and take magical photo memories back home to share.
Haven't posted photo essay in a bit. I've been getting more and more involved in PP(post processing) of my images. Why? 1) Because I can, 2) Because I like it. I feel that tools like Photoshop allow a photographer to better reproduce his feelings and vision. I also feel certain photographs(many for that matter) speak for themselves just fine with minimal processing. In Digital photography everything is synthetically processed to some degree.
These little retro style Nissan's are very common here in crowded Taiwan. Doraemon stull maintains some iconic presence as well.
It is not uncommon to see some crazy modifications of motor scooters here in Taiwan. I thought this EPA one was kind of cool.
I have always been fascinated with the markets here in Taiwan and still am to this day. Maybe it's the variety of merchandise that's available from delicious food to worthless crap (it's all in the eye of the beholder). Maybe it's the way it's merchandised or just the vibrancy of the marketers and marketees networking.
I seem to be becoming a fan of Art Street up by Dong Hai Universwity. It is the closest thing Taichung has to a Greenwich Village or Sausalito-type bohemian vibe. There are several cool shops nicely decorated and more and more nicely dressed hipsters floating around there.
This lady noticed that I had shot her and her dog. She asked me if the young man next to me was my son. I replied, "Yes." She said, "This is my son too."
Sometimes the temples in Taiwan become very vibrant on auspicious days pre-ordained so in the HuangLi, kind of yellow emperor's Almanac. All the auspicious days and festival days requiring sacrifices and prayers are in that book.
So what are you seeing and hearing these days? Here and elesewhere?
The small dogs look at the big dogs;
They observe unwieldy dimensions
And curious imperfections of odor.
Here is the formal male group:
The young men look upon their seniors,
They consider the elderly mind
And observe its inexplicable correlations.
It is only in small dogs and the young
That we find minute observation