Despite our complaining about how unsuitable our town was to hold the 2014 Taiwan Lantern Festival, that didn’t stop us from visiting several times. This post is a compilation of photographs taken at the Jhongsing Village Children’s Park during our visit with our son one evening and a visit with both of our children a few days later.
The once sleepy Jhongsing Village [中興新村] is now bustling with activity as it’s the location of the 2014 Taiwan Lantern Festival. The event started February 13th and runs through February 23rd. This annual event has been recently named one of the best festivals in the world by the Discovery Channel so I conjured up the energy to walk five minutes from my front door to check things out myself.
Happy Lunar New Year readers! The 2014 Nantou Sand Sculpture Art Festival [南投市貓羅溪畔沙雕藝術節] started a few days ago and runs through March 9th. I haven’t had an opportunity to take the family there this year so the best I could do for a header picture is one I took five years ago. From the handful of photographs I’ve seen floating on the net there’s a fine assortment of sculptures so this could be a good trip for anyone seeking to get out of the house during the holiday. Here’s the official website which is highly useful if you can read Chinese. Admission is $50NT except for us awesome residents of Nantou City and Zhongliao Township who can get in for free. Motorists can take the No. 3 Freeway to the Nantou City exit. Follow Nangang Industrial #2 Road [南崗工業區南崗二路] toward the Nangang Industrial Area and turn left of Zhonghua Road [中華路]. Turn right on the Nangang Daqiaotou Flood Dike Road [南崗大橋頭右轉堤防防汛道路] and continue till you reach the venue.
A much larger event is the upcoming Taiwan Lantern Festival [台灣燈會] right here in Jhongsing Village. Organizers were kind enough to include English on their website but several sections were incomplete as of writing this. The event runs from February 13th through 23rd. Visitors have several options on transportation: Motorists can get off Freeway No. 3 at Caotun or Mingjian and follow the instructions of the several hundred officers who will be on hand to direct traffic to one of the many parking areas, High Speed Railers can zip to Taichung HSR Station and ride a shuttle bus waiting for you at exit #6, Railfans can take the regular train to Yuanlin or Wuri Station and take shuttle buses from those stations, while Shoppers can take the shuttle buses running from Taichung’s Tiger City Department Store to the Lantern Festival.
A traffic hazard exists every spring in Jhongsing Village as motorists slow down to glance at the abundance of lotus flowers in bloom along the ponds lining Shengfu Road. On weekends the ponds attract families, photographers, and photographer families from across the area. This small collection of photographs was taken over the course of three brief visits during lunch breaks in late May and early June.
Before the rains began, I spent a couple of lunch breaks walking around some of my favorite stomping grounds in Jhongsing Village. I made a point to shoot with my macro lens – a Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/4 which has the build quality and weight of a tank’s gun-barrel. I wanted to shoot with this again because since purchasing a wide prime, I haven’t touched any of my other lenses.
Every year from May to early July, the lotus flowers bloom in the ponds along Jhongsing Village’s Shengfu Road. The lotus ponds attract an abundance of visitors from around the area. It is quite common on weekends to see a cluster of photographers and their tripods taking multiple shots of a single specimen while several other enthusiasts wait behind for an opening to step forward and compose a shot or thirty.
Last month, I had some free time to kill so I headed to the Jhongsing Village Lotus Ponds. This was my first visit to the ponds with my Micro-NIKKOR 105 f/4, which I acquired last year. The Lotus Flowers [荷花] in Jhongsing Village always attract quite a crowd when they are blooming and the day I went was no exception. Given the bad light from my late start, the heat, and the crowds – I decided to make this a brief trip.
A couple days ago, I had the opportunity to check out the 2010 World Tea Expo [2010南投世界茶葉博覽會] which is being hosted in Jhongsing Village, just a few blocks from where I live. Nantou is an ideal place to host such an event as its mountainous terrain makes it Taiwan’s largest tea-producing region. The event lasts through tomorrow [June 27] and is a great chance to learn about tea history, culture, production, and try many locally produced teas.
Earlier this month, I discovered that there were Taiwan Barbets [Megalaima nuchalis (五色鳥)] inhabiting the same nest that I photographed last year. Last year, I found out about the nest when I was commuting to work noticed a dozen photographers standing in the road taking pictures. I inquired with who I thought was the leader of the group [based on the price of his tripod] what they were photographing and was delighted to find out that a nest of such beautiful birds was right in the neighborhood and low enough for my 55-200mm zoom lens to take decent shots.