Tag Archives: cultural

Two Weeks with the Nifty Fifty; or, Temple Life in Taipei

I recently spent two weeks in Taipei, Taiwan. For this particular trip, I decided to leave my trusty 24-70 mm lens at home and just bring the tiny 50 mm f:1.8 fixed focal length lens. My reasons for doing this were twofold: I wanted to go lighter. The Canon 24-70 is a tank, both in terms of actual weight as well as visual weight, especially when combined with the 6D body. My shoulder is weary of carrying it all and the size of it makes me feel very conspicuous in public places. Secondly, I wanted to challenge myself with a single focal length lens. Part of the purpose for this challenge will be revealed in an upcoming post (I know you’re all holding your breath in anticipation).

Upon returning, someone asked if I had felt limited in having only the one focal length. Generally I would have to say no. Sure, there were occasional moments where I might have wished for something a bit longer or shorter, but us humans are really quite flexible creatures and we tend to adapt to whatever constraints we are given. Forced to use one lens, you adapt and soon begin to ‘see’ in that focal length. Although, aside from a 100 mm macro lens, my experience with fixed focal length lenses is limited, those-who-know-better-than-me often suggest that using fixed lenses can help you learn to see creatively because of those constraints. You can’t just stand it one spot and zoom until you get something interesting, you have to actually think within that fixed frame.

As far as the Canon 50 mm f:1.8 (often referred to at the Nifty Fifty) is concerned, well, it’s a cheap lens. On the plus side, it’s inexpensive, reasonably sharp, and light-weight. On the downside, it’s cheap, as in plastic construction, slow focusing, and, at least to my eye, seemed to struggle with high-contrast situations in which a higher quality lens might have handled with ease. That said, for the price you can’t beat this lens and every Canon shooter should have it in their bag. Or rather, on their camera.

The pictures below were all shot with the 50 mm on a 6D (full frame) body and are a series of images from various temples around the Taipei area. Taipei has numerous temples around, primarily of various Buddhist and Confucius varieties. I won’t pretend to know the differences between them and they all seemed to follow a similar layout, although the Confucius temple was more spare and much less ostentatious than the Buddhist temples.

Enjoy!

Lighting incense, Guandu Temple, Taipei

Lighting incense, Guandu Temple, Taipei
Canon 6D, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 100

Lighting candles at Longshan Temple, Taipei

Lighting candles at Longshan Temple, Taipei
Canon 6D, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/40s, ISO 800

Longshan Temple, Taipei

Longshan Temple, Taipei
Canon 6D, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/40s, ISO 800

Longshan Temple, Taipei

Longshan Temple, Taipei
Canon 6D, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/40s, ISO 2000

Looking at something interesting at Longshan Temple, Taipei

Looking at something interesting at Longshan Temple, Taipei
Canon 6D, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/40s, ISO 800

Longshan Temple, Taipei

Longshan Temple, Taipei
Canon 6D, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/50s, ISO 320

Red wall at Hui Chi Temple, Taipei

Red wall at Hui Chi Temple, Taipei
Canon 6D, 50 mm, f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 100

Hui Chi Temple, Taipei

Hui Chi Temple, Taipei
Canon 6D, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/50s, ISO 400

Prayers at Hui-Chi Temple, Taipei

Prayers at Hui-Chi Temple, Taipei
Canon 6D, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/30s, ISO 400

Confucius Temple, Taipei

Confucius Temple, Taipei
Canon 6D, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 100

Posted in Camera Tech, Cultural, Taiwan, Travel Also tagged , , |

A Sense of Place

Mitla is a small, mostly quiet village about 30 minutes outside of Oaxaca, Mexico. Mitla is known for a small archeological site of Zapotec ruins, which is what most touristas come to see. Ruins are interesting but it’s often the everyday life and scenes of a place that I really find most appealing.

Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico

Mitla, Oaxaca, Mexico

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Posted in Cultural, Mexico, Travel Also tagged |

Darling Harbour Christmas

Today’s Photo

Once a large industrial area, Darling Harbour is now mostly a tourist ghetto with overpriced restaurants, bars, and shops next to downtown Sydney. A lot of cultural events are held there throughout the year, many being of the semi-manufactured type where a foreign holiday or festival is recreated in an attempt to bring the community together.

For several nights over the weeks leading up to Christmas, carols are sung at the Darling Harbour Christmas tree followed by a small fireworks display over the water. The event of course draws large crowds, which for some reason seems to have a large percentage of Asians, greater than what might be expected from the community at large. Maybe it’s just the proximity of Darling Harbour to Chinatown, but if anyone has some cultural insight into why the Asian community might enjoy this type of event more than people of other ethnic backgrounds, I’d be curious to hear your comments.

Holiday at Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour Christmas Tree and holiday crowd

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Posted in Cultural, HDR, Photography, Sydney Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Balinese Cock Fight – 2

This is a continuation of the Balinese Cock Fighting series I began yesterday.

Cock Fight

Cock Fight

Tying on Spur Blade

Posted in Cultural, Indonesia, Photography, Places Also tagged , , , , |

Balinese Cock Fight

Over the next several days I’ll be posting a series of photos from a cock fight in Bali, Indonesia. Technically illegal in Indonesia, cock fighting is still allowed when blood is needed for a temple ceremony. My impression is that this technicality is stretched quite regularly. I never saw any blood collected although I did not stay for the entire event. My guide was in a hurry to get going.

Obviously this sort of thing is not to everyone’s taste and is considered inhumane by some. It is a part of the culture, however, and therefore worth documenting. Prior to going to one of these events, I always assumed it would be the birds fighting that would be the most interesting and exciting part to capture. It turned out that it was the cultural aspect of it – the people and their interactions and reactions – that was more interesting.

Rooster

Cock Fight

Spur Blade

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Posted in Indonesia, Photography, Places Also tagged , , , , |