Stamps of the Republic of China, Taiwan

The Generalissimo

The Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek [蔣介石]

A postage stamp’s primary purpose is to show evidence of  a fee paid for postage services.  A quick glance at a stamp reveals a few key elements:  The denomination  of the stamp, the country’s name, a graphic design, and most often text elements.  Postal administrations are either a branch of government or an official monopoly under its supervision.  Since stamps have both a national and international audience, a government has total control to depict itself as it would like to be perceived.  Over the weekend, we did some cleaning and stumbled across my sister-in-law’s stamp collection.  Some stamps were quite harmless and showed the beauty of Taiwan’s landscape, flora, and fauna.  Others bolstered the ruling regime through showcasing its developmental success and commemoration of war.

[As with all pictures on this site, clicking them will take you to their flickr page where a large size is can be viewed.]

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Identifying Butterflies in Taiwan

Megisba malaya sikkima
I am certainly no expert in the field, however I’ve been asked by numerous people the sources I use to help me identify the butterflies I photograph in Taiwan.  It all started with a trip to the Guandu Nature Park [關渡自然公園] in Taipei to toy with my then recently purchased Nikkor 55-200vr “budget telephoto”.  The pictures I went home with were absolutely terrible, but I did walk home with three ID books:  One for birds, one for dragonflies, and one for butterflies.  The books were inexpensive at $200NT each.  The butterfly one: Taiwan’s Commonly Seen Butterflies [Chinese Link (台灣常見的蝴蝶)] contains 133 different species of butterflies.  The book contains photos of the different species as they exist in nature, lists scientific name, Chinese name, a few brief points about identifying, as well as diet and habitats.

Before long I was coming across pictures of butterflies that I could not identify using the small ID book.  I was finally finding butterflies outside of the 133 commonly seen ones listed in the book [which can’t be very hard since Taiwan is home to over 400 species of butterflies].  There was a nature store at the new Eslite bookstore in Taichung whose name escapes me, anyways I picked up the much larger Taiwan’s Butterfly Example Book [sorry for the very terrible translation, here’s the Chinese and link (台灣蝴蝶圖鑑)].  The book contains over 270 species and points out distinctive features of each species, and a lot more information concerning distribution, habitats, and diets than the previously mentioned book.

Outside of those two books there’s also an excellent Chinese website available called Insects of Taiwan [台灣的昆蟲].  To make navigation a little easier, here are the different butterfly families on the site: Lycaenidae, Hesperiidae, Pieridae, Nymphalidae [and sub-families: Danainae, Libytheinae, Satyrinae, and Morphinae], and Papilionidae.  Hope you enjoy!

*Note:  I’ll be taking a brief break from posting daily photos today and over the weekend.  I’ll likely resume on Monday.

Going Wireless [strobist-related]

Transmitter and Reciever
I had been toying with the idea of a wireless flash setup since stumbling upon the Strobist blog and thumbing through their group on Flickr. I had briefly toyed with attaching my SB-600 external flash to a sync-cable [remember all those Daily Photos?], but quickly recognized the limitations of only being able to move the flash an arm’s length from the camera.

The idea of buying a set of Ebay Triggers crossed my mind, sure they’ve been reviewed as being unreliable, but at a fraction of the cost of Pocket Wizards do I really care? Taking photographs is just a hobby of mine, not a paid gig.

All of these thoughts about a wireless flash set-up were swirling in my mind when Cathy, her sister, and I were driving to Costco in Taichung. We passed a photography store on the way. I decided to stop in the store while Cathy and her sister began their shopping.
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Take it off

AF Nikkor 50mm 1.8D
During my last weekend in Taipei before vacation, I finally got around to picking up a sync cord to fire my SB-600 off my camera.  I can’t wait to play more with this.  For information on getting your flash off your camera, check out Strobist and their flickr group.

Library of Congress Photostream

M-4 Tank Line, Fort Knox

In my quest to distract myself from doing homework, I found out that the Library of Congress has a Flickr photostream.

Overhauling my Flickr

Taipei Int'l Auto Show

GOOOOO ASIMOOOOO!

I began the much overdue act of organizing my Flickr. The need came about because lately I have been using the service for more than just a dumping ground to host photos on. Browsing through 138 pages of photos is pretty daunting for anyone who stumbles on the photostream, so by the end of next week everything should be nice and orderly.

Stay Tuned!

Plug from Lonely Planet

David Reid alerted me to a little-bit of awesomeness on page 45 of the new edition of Lonely Planet’s Taiwan travel guide:

todd-lonelyplanet.jpg

Photo by David Reid

I was wondering why my site was getting hits from the defunct Blogspot-edition.  By good pictures and cultural insights the author must have been referring to my post about Rainie Yang refrigerator magnets.  Oh man, refrigerator magnets are soooo 2007.

I’ve been tagged! [twice!]

Crab-eating Macaque

It seems that David of David in Taiwan and Bryan of A Walk in Hachioji both tagged me, which means I have the obligation of listing seven random and/or weird things about myself.

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Krosa’s Coming!

Typhoon Krosa

Typhoon Krosa is shaping up to be a big one.

Michael Klein has been posting frequent updates of the storm.

Also check for updates from Weather Underground, the Navy/NRL Tropical Cyclone Page, and other Taiwan bloggers.

I hope everyone here the best in riding this one out. I will be taking a flight tomorrow morning for a 5-day vacation to Kyoto and Osaka. Hopefully the typhoon will not interfere with those plans.