Photography in Taipei differs by season. Over winter it’s generally overcast. This spring it rained pretty much every day for six weeks. Now it’s summer and we’ve been blessed with some fantastic light over the past week or two. Shooting in conditions like this is just plain fun. Head to a location, set up the tripod and sit back and wait for the natural light show to begin. As I write this post on a Monday morning it’s shaping up to be another fantastic week of light in Taipei so I’m may have another of these evening light posts coming next week as well. Here’s a selection of images shot over the past week from either the rooftop of my apartment building or Tiger Mountain. The exception is the last image which comes from a few weeks ago when I was shooting an assignment for the NBA that saw me up on the 38th floor of a hotel. The rainbow quickly appeared and I snapped a few shots in between the work I was doing. Three of the photographs in this post are multi-image panoramas, can you work out which ones?
Spent a bit of time recently working on some new portrait imagery. The Archer was shot last week in downtown Taipei, in the corner of a city park. You don’t have to travel far to get an out of the way place to shoot which is one of the great things about photography in Taipei. When I posted a couple of these on social media, a few people mentioned that it reminded them of The Hunger Games. Any similarities to that is purely coincidental – other than a few minutes on TV, I’ve not seen the movie nor read the book. In fact, the main reason the archery theme was chosen was because the talent for the day mentioned that he’d just recently gotten a bow and arrow, and so we decided to run with that concept.
For the photographers reading this, I can tell you that it was basically a one light setup using a large reflective umbrella on a lightstand that my assistant held in place as needed, sometimes set on the ground next to the talent, other times held aloft, above the archer’s head and angling straight down.
Calendar time once again, and as it’s a hot and sweaty 34°C here in Taipei, I think a nice evening photograph from the coast is appropriate for this month’s calendar. As usual you can grab it from the links below.
I hope to have another blog for you later this week. As mentioned in the previous post, the past few weeks have been extremely busy and I haven’t had a chance to share a lot of that work here on the blog. I’ve scheduled a bit of time in the coming days to die into the backlog and share a bit of that. Until then, enjoy.
For a travel photographer I sure don’t seem to be doing a lot of travel photography over the past few weeks. That’s sometimes the way it goes I guess. Over the past two weeks I’ve shot basketball for the NBA, a perfume installation for a duty free company, a recording studio and print factory for a music production company, whisky promos for The Glenlivet, portraits of an archer, an outdoor group yoga practice, and these abstracts you see here. It’s all been fun, with a lot of hard work thrown in. One of the interesting points to being an expat photographer is that you do often get asked to shoot a whole range of different subjects however they all come about because the various clients want your particular style. It certainly keeps things interesting.
Like so much of Taiwan’s traditional temple culture, the Taipei City God traces its origins to Fujian in China. In the early nineteenth century the image of the Xia Hai City God was brought across the Taiwan Strait to Taipei, first making its home in present day Wanhua district before moving in the 1850′s to its current home at the Xia Hai Temple in Dadaocheng. The temple, completed in 1859, is small and nestled in between a bank and public market on Dihua St. Every lunar May 13th, the City God’s birthday is celebrated with a festival that takes place over a week or so, and features prayers and worship, parades, firecrackers and all the typical colour and chaos that a Chinese religious festival brings.
This year’s festival seemed a little quieter than previous ones I’ve seen. Perhaps due to the weather – it took place during a period when Taipei was receiving heavier than usual rain, or perhaps because the last one I photographed happened to fall on a weekend whereas this year it was on a Tuesday. Whatever the reason, here is a selection of photographs from the few days that I was down there shooting.