Here is a small collection of images of the unfortunately named Golden Shower Trees [Cassia fistula (阿勃勒)] taken in Jhongsing Village [中興新村] in early June. Several Golden Shower Trees can be found in the 500 Household area [wǔbǎihù (五百戶)] on Guangrong East Road 2nd Street [Guāngróng dōnglù èr jiē (光榮東路二街)]. The area gets its name from the original plan which called for civil servant dormitories to be built featuring 500 units.
Several years ago, Taiwan went through a beetle-craze. Pet stores had rows devoted to these insects and students would proudly show off beetles they found or exotic varieties their parents purchased for them. The fade didn’t last long. Nowadays, a lot of families keep dogs that fit in purses while children prefer to catch Pokemon over insects.
In mid-June, I found out via a post on a Jhongsing Village Facebook group that it was breeding season for beetles. We set out for a row of trees along Guanghua Road and were delighted to find more than a dozen Japanese Rhinoceros Beetles [Allomyrina dichotoma].
I usually make a habit of visiting the lotus ponds on Shengfu Road in Jhongsing Village several times to photograph during their blooming period which falls between late May and early June. This year was somewhat hectic however due to work obligations and juggling contractors for renovations prior to moving into our new abode. Thankfully, I managed to squeeze in two brief visits late in the season: one with the family and one on my own before work. Looking back at previous year’s posts is interesting to see how the mood of each series is different due to my post-processing tendencies of the time.
Pandas World Tour
The Pandas World Tour stopped in Jhongsing Village over the weekend. An outdoor exhibit of pandas [Ailuropoda melanoleuca] and Formosan black bears [Ursus thibetanus formosanus] took over a park near our house. The exhibition spotlights the importance of protecting endangered animals. The 1600 paper-mache pandas were created by French artist Paulo Grangeon. On the Taiwan leg of the tour these pandas were accompanied by 200 Formosan black bears – an endangered species endemic to Taiwan.
A couple months ago our family visited the 2014 Nantou Sand Sculpture Festival [南投市貓羅溪畔沙雕藝術節]. One thing that separated this year’s festival with previous years was an emphasis on health and environmental issues. A few prominent sculptures warned on the dangers of nuclear power, deforestation, marine pollution and food safety.
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.