Ice Cream at Hejia Ranch

Big Cow
A couple weeks back Cathy and I checked out the Hejia Ranch [禾家牧場] on Yinghangshan [銀行山].  The ranch was established twenty years ago and specializes in dairy products such as milk, ice cream, yogurt, and popsicles.  Yinghangshan is located on Baguashan [八卦山], making this a popular spot for families and cyclists.

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Ershui Photowalk

Ershui Walk
A few weeks ago, my wife and I visited Ershui [二水] in Changhua County.  We parked at the lot next to the train station and took a leisurely stroll along the road that runs perpendicular to the train station.  We mostly took pictures of old buildings along the way.

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Taichung Photowalk

As mentioned in the yesterday’s post, over the weekend I met up with Mark Forman, David Ried, and Darren Melrose for a photowalk in Taichung. My previous post featured my favorite photographs from Saturday’s get-together taken by the other photographers.  Mark, David, and Darren have also posted their favorite photographs from everyone.

Here are six of my own shots that I took during the photowalk that I personally like and weren’t featured elsewhere:
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Taichung Photowalk Round Robin

I met up with Mark Forman, Darren Melrose, and David Reid for a photowalk in Taichung on Saturday.  Mark had the idea that that each person could select a photograph from the other three people to post on their blog.
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Jianguo Market Photowalk

Jianguo Market
Extra Crispy or Original Recipe?

Over the weekend I met up with Taichung-based photographer/blogger Mark Forman over in his stomping grounds for some photography and conversation.  Our first stop was Taichung’s Jianguo Market [建國市場], located a stone’s throw from the train station.  Like others in Taiwan, the market is a total assault on the senses.  I am gradually getting over my apprehension to photograph strangers thanks in part to an excellent guide written by Darren Melrose last year and in part to taking walks like this and realizing I can only take so many pictures of fresh produce on a table.  For those waiting for my still life pictures from the walk, you’ll have to wait because they are sitting on an unfinished roll in my FM2.

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Yue-mei Sugar Refinery

Yue-mei Sugar Refinery
Cathy and I found ourselves with some free time while in Houli Township after visiting a friend so we checked out the Yue-mei Sugar Refinery [月眉糖廠].  Located in Taichung County and built in 1909, the Yue-mei Sugar Refinery was just one of several refineries for Taiwan’s once booming sugar industry.
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DIY Chocolate in Miaoli

Chocolate Box

Earlier this week my school took a field trip to Miaoli for some DIY chocolate at Schokolake [巧克力雲莊].  This was one of three stops during our school’s Miaoli trip and I’m pretty sure our students had the most fun here.  The area outside the chocolate factory is quite lovely with several flowering trees such as these Cherry Blossoms [櫻花] that were in full bloom during our visit:
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Cycling – South to Beigang and North to Lugang

I got done all my pre-Chinese New Year cleaning early on Saturday to leave Sunday open for cycling.  I woke up well before my alarm yesterday in anticipation for my first century ride.  I originally planned a shorter route that would have put me at nearly exactly 100 miles / 160 km, but I penciled in a few changes on my map which inadvertently put my route at 125 miles / 202 km.  An interactive map of the route, which passed through parts of Nantou, Chiayi, Yunlin, and Changhua Counties can be found at
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Favorite Posts of 2009

With 2009 coming to a close I thought I would take a moment to highlight some of my favorite posts [in no particular order]:

  • Growing up a short drive from Sandusky, Ohio, I’ve never been too impressed by amusement parks in Taiwan.  The rides at the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village were really nothing to write home about, but the cherry blossoms sure were nice.
  • Skip the Sitou Forest Recreational Park and go to the Wangyou Forest instead.  It’s a real gem and almost deserted [for now].
  • I visited the Old Taichung Winery with blogger Mark Forman in October and had a great time.  On this trip I learned to love my 50mm f/1.8 all over again.
  • My trip to Kaohsiung with my wife was a blast.  It’s hard to choose one post to highlight here but the one featuring shots from Formosa Boulevard MRT Station’s the Dome of Light really stand out for its panorama goodness.
  • I wrote a short little article about Reverse Lens Macro Photography that you may find helpful.  The examples in the article are fairly dull, but the subsequent Daily Photos came out nice.
  • Surprise!  Nantou had a flower festival!
  • I never knew a ceramics museum could be so interesting!  Now I need to find time to visit Yingge again!
  • Cathy and I had a great time walking around the Gold Ecological Park in Jinguashi.  Check it out to learn about Taiwan’s intriguing mining history!
  • I’ve written a few posts from our honeymoon to the Czech Republic and Austria.  Unfortunately, I’ve experienced quite a delay getting pictures online due to my pre-Intel processor iBook G4 showing its age.  Out of the posts I have made, the one of the Old Jewish Cemetery is my favorite.
  • Can I pick just one cycling post?  Of course not.  My trip on the Northern Cross Island Highway was the most fun I’ve ever had cycling in lousy weather, mainly because of the great people I went along with.  My recent solo-ride to Xinshe was great because it was more challenging than any other ride I had done before.

This year I started doing Weekly Links as a regular feature on the blog.  I hope my readers have found this useful for finding interesting content.   The Daily Photo feature began last year and unfortunately posting has been sporadic at best.  I usually post a Daily Photo if there wasn’t a long post and usually only post a photo on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday [and technically Thursday if you count the Weekly Links header photo].  Regardless, here’s my 10 favorite Daily Photos [sorted by date]:

Anping Tree House

January 22 – Anping Tree House [4]

Cyrestis thyodamas formosana
February 2 – A Sign of Spring

March 17 – Electric

April 27 – The Tenth Floor

May 7 – Bamboo

May 14 – Lotus

Taiwan Barbet
May 25 – Time to Take out the Trash

June 8 – Corrosion

Nikon FM2
August 18 – FM2

October 7 – All Your Weight Falls on Me and Brings Me Down

Notice anything missing?  Yeah, no people.  I’ll try to work on that in 2010.

In personal news, Cathy and I just celebrated our one year anniversary!  I’m looking forward to plenty more anniversaries and travels with my beautiful wife!

Have a Happy New Year!

Cycling – Xinshe and Back

Road SignsFrom left to right:  Provincial HWY 14, Township Route 6, County Route 136, Township Route 100 [I missed my chance to take a picture of the sign, hence the drawing], Township Route 95-1, Provincial HWY 21, County Route 133, and Provincial HWY 14 [again].

I would like to start off with brief 4 word summaries of the roads and thoughts I had during Saturday’s journey:

  • Provincial HWY 14 – Very few motorists, dreaming?
  • Township Route 6 – Satisfying distraction from #14.
  • County Route 136 – Everyone traveling opposite direction.
  • Township Route 100 – Deceivingly flat at beginning.
  • Township Route 95-1 – Following the mighty Dajia.
  • Provincial HWY 21 – Not bad from Dongshih.
  • County Route 133 – Charging fast through Guoxing.
  • Provincial HWY 14 – Just keep on spinning.

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