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.
This week my wife and I took a day trip up to Taipei. We needed to take care of some licensing stuff with the government but also planned on having some fun both individually and together. My wife Anne is a panda lover and particularly YuanZai the first panda born in captivity here in Taiwan. She spends lots of time looking at photos and videos of YuanZai and other pandas. This was her first trip to see YuanZai in person. The reason I didn't go along is because aI love street photography even more than pandas so... In fact I went to Wanhua's Long Shan Temple first. I started at the plaza in front of the temple. There are many transients(mostly elderly) that appear to live there. I guess they receive food and water there from some charitable organizations. I took a few shots in that part but after awhile just felt a little overwhelmed by their pity and didn't want to take advantage of that for photography's sake. So from there I went across the street to the historic and famous Long Shan Temple. It wasn't any special fest day so it wan't super-crowded just it's normal busy self:people, burning incense, throwing prayer blocks, lighting candles, reciting sutras. etc.
I have been to Lung Shan temple many times and always find some great shots to take. particularly of interest to me is the human act of devotion and prayer. I have my own personal beliefs but find it fascinating how most people feel the need to express their interest or devotion to God or some higher power, so the corresponding energy and form it takes in doing so provide a great muse for photos.
I walked from Wanhua to it's neighboring ShiMen district. ShiMen is the home to Taipei's young fashionistas. It is very vibrant in it's energy as well as colors and silhouettes. I noticed there was a more international flavor there than I had seen before, particularly with more Asian tourists and mainland Chinese tourists as well. The contrast between what I had just experienced and described above and the much brighter, younger, livelier and prosperous were like night and day. I have been to both of these places before and even the same Wanhua to ShiMen trip but for some reason it really struck me that day-like 2 different worlds.