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.
I was quite delighted a few weeks ago to notice that a couple of Lotus Flowers [Nelumbo nucifera 荷花] had bloomed in the lotus ponds in Jhongsing Village. In the last few days or so, the number blooming has grown dramatically. I went out yesterday morning to take a few shots. It rained the previous night and some of the raindrops on the leaves created some lovely bokeh in a few photos.
My friend and fellow blogger Mark Forman came down from Taichung for a much overdue photowalk around Jhongsing Village and Caotun. We had talked about having one here from way back when we had our photowalk around the Old Taichung Winery. Luckily, we were blessed with wonderful weather for our walks around morning markets, parks, and temples.
Since my class of older students come from a handful of different schools for their afternoon English classes, I’m kept pretty up-to-date as to when owls are calling the trees of their school grounds homes. My students are also nice enough to draw maps to help me find the specific trees the owls are in so I don’t have to spend hours searching the branches of each tree during the weekend. With my map in hand, I was very delighted to find the tree that the two Collared Scops-Owls were resting in at a nearby elementary school [one pictured above and the other one in today’s Daily Photo].
Info from Birding in Taiwan:
The Collared Scops-Owl is a small owl [24cm]… The Collared Scops-Owl hunts at night, waiting from a low perch for small vertebrates or large insects, which it then pounces upon… These small owls usually nest in a natural tree hollow or woodpecker hole, and will also use nesting boxes. In Taiwan the Collared Scops-Owl is fairly common in forested areas, including treed areas near towns.
I wouldn’t worry about the students terrorizing the owls in any form because next to the tree there is a sign posted with info about the owls and the severe punishments students would receive for harming them.
We got to the studio to take our wedding photos around 9:30 am on Sunday. At that time Cathy got her hair and makeup done and discussed the final locations for the outdoor shots. We also looked at a few photo books and decided which poses we liked the most. From the looks of other wedding photo albums in Taiwan, the wedding photos seem to trump the reception in importance. The giant book of photos and an enormous framed picture always adorn the entrance of a reception. Small wallet-sized photos are also feverishly grabbed by guests on their way in. I have no idea what people do with the 4 or 5 different pictures they each grab after they’ve gone home.
Earlier this week I was introduced to a tree on the grounds of a nearby elementary school where 4 Brown Hawk-Owls [褐鷹鴞, Ninox scutulata] had made their home. It was early in the morning and Cathy’s mother had showed me where they were. She goes there frequently with a group to practice Tai Chi.