The 2014 Taiwan Lantern Festival

2014 National Lantern Festival

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.
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Events Around Town – Sand & Lanterns

Nantou Sand Sculpture Festival (2009)
Nantou Sand Sculpture Festival [circa 2009]

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.

Plum Blossoms in Xinyi Township

Plum Blossoms (Bordered)
On New Year’s Day I headed south to Xinyi Township to see the area’s plum blossoms [梅花]. I set out early and beat the traffic up the narrow, mountain road to Fengguidou [風櫃斗]. After a brief stop there to pick up some plum-related products I headed down the road to the Liujia Plum Farm [柳家梅園].
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The Jhongsing Village Lotus Ponds

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.

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Micro-NIKKOR Long Time No See!

Sign of the Times

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.

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Tetris on Psilocybin and other recent photographs from Caotun

Nature versus Nurture

Nature versus Nurture

I recently spent some time walking around the grounds of the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute [國立臺灣工藝研究發展中心] in Nantou County’s Caotun Township. The facility is located along the mighty Provincial HWY #14 that once served as the main route to Sun Moon Lake. The traffic along this road has decreased substantially since the construction of Freeway #6 which allows tour buses to completely bypass Caotun on their way to Sun Moon Lake.
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