Back from leading a 4 day photo tour around Northern Taiwan. In the previous post I’d mentioned that I’d endeavor to post some postcards from the road but unfortunately that wasn’t possible due to technical issues. Still, things are under control mow so I’ll share a bit of the adventure here.
Leading up to the tour, I was getting worried due to the weather. Things were kicking off with an airport pickup on Wednesday evening, and as we began the week the rain started coming down. Not just light rain, but torrential downpours complete with flooding and landslides, so much so that the government ordered all offices and schools closed on Tuesday. As you can imagine, that left things a little doubtful as to whether we’d get to visit all the locations we had scheduled. Photo tours take place rain or shine and there were a series of backup locations ready if needed but we ended up getting fairly lucky and weren’t overly affected by the weather.
The first day was a bit rain affected, which it coming down mid-morning as we were heading to the third location. We made a slight detour on the way, stopping briefly at an additional location (seen in the photo above). The rain wasn’t too heavy through, and after a break for lunch it eased off a bit and we were able to get out on the beach to photograph the algal reefs. Here I taught a technique for daytime long exposures and that proved to be a very popular little tool for my client to add to the arsenal. The green reef (below) was shot using that technique, with a 30 second exposure being made at 1pm. An umbrella was needed to cover the camera and keep the rain off it.
Upon leaving the reef, we trekked into the mountains bound for a waterfall. The area around there was fantastic but we didn’t stay long as the poor weather meant we were losing the light quite early and still had a bit of driving to do to get to the day’s final location. Still the light rain persisted as we shot our way through what had been planned to be sunset. The advantage to this bad weather was the lack of crowds in what is normally a very crowded spot. In fact, it seems that every time I visit that location, the weather is less than optimal.
The following morning we’d scheduled a sunrise shoot which at this time of year meant being in the car by 4.45am for the 5 minute drive to the coast. A light rain was falling meaning we didn’t see the sun, but it soon stopped and we spent a couple of hours photographing the area anyway. From there it was back to the hotel for breakfast and checkout and then onto the next site. We stopped briefly a couple of times on the way when somebody saw something from the window that they wanted to shoot, one of which you can see below.
We turned away from the coast and headed up to the Jinguashi and Jiufen areas for a few hours, stopping at the Golden Waterfall along the way. Some blue sky put in an appearance while we were at the waterfall but it didn’t last too long. Jinguashi is an interesting town, being an old gold mining center, as well as being the site of a Japanese POW camp during World War 2. We visited most of the sites there although elected to skip the climb up to the ruined Shinto shrine.
On to Jiufen for lunch and as soon as we finished eating and stepped outside, rain started threatening. Our original plan had been to then head back down to the coast and follow it eastwards during the afternoon. This went out the window due to the weather so we drove inland a bit to the Pingxi district and the waterfalls at Shifen, the widest waterfall in Taiwan. By the time we arrived it had started raining very heavily but there’s some shelter at one of the viewpoints and by using an umbrella at the other, we were able to keep shooting until it was almost dark.
On to Yilan for the night. Saturday morning dawned cloudy again. We drove to the fishing port of Nanfangou but there wasn’t much activity. A few boats were coming in and out but most seemed to be staying at sea as long as they could ahead of an approaching typhoon. Time for another waterfall, so we headed to Wufengqi for the rest of the morning. The rain had cleared up by this stage and the scenic area was quite crowded. After we’d got all the shots we wanted, it was back into the van for the drive north toward to lighthouse at San Diego, Taiwan’s eastern most point. Along the way we got some views of Turtle Island off the coast and stopped a couple of times for photographs.
By the time we arrived at the lighthouse, the day had become perfect. Bright blue skies and sunshine, which was very welcome, especially as we heard that back in Taipei it was pouring with rain. The lighthouse proved to be an ideal location with a number of scenic locations to shoot. From there, we made the short drive to Fulong for a late lunch and to visit the sand sculpture festival. With a couple of hours of daylight left, we made a slow drive around the rest of the north eastern coast, stopping at various locations along them way, allowing us to photograph coastal scenes, particularly more rock formations. Saturday proved to be a very lucky day weather-wise. Less than 5 minutes after finishing the day’s shooting, it started to rain.
The final day was closer to Taipei, with a trip out to Wulai in the morning, and Yangmingshan National Park in the afternoon. The plan to start the day at Neidong Waterfall came unstuck when we arrived to find that they’d just restricted access due to landslides and rockfalls. Still, there were plenty of other waterfalls in the area, and we got a daily ration of them. After a short walk through the market street of Wulai, we returned to Taipei city for lunch before heading up into Zhuzihu in Yangmingshan to end the day with some photography of flowers and their cultivation.
All in all, the four days provided a lot of great photography, happy clients and new friends.