Sunday, 8 May 2011

Morning And Night In Kaohsiung

Last night on my way into Kaohsiung, I pulled over on the flyway to shoot some pictures of CPC's petrochemical plant in Nanzih and, although the light suffered from the humidity, I was at least lucky enough to catch this train...

... and the return service below. One problem I have with night photography is that my tripod simply isn't good enough to support anything other than the 18-55mm lens. I tried getting some close ups of the gas flares at this plant last week using the long lens and I ended up having to use my hands, it was ridiculous. I'm not about to blow a wad of cash on a good tripod though.

This is the "50 tower" (樓) in Kaohsiung City this morning taken at just after 5.30am. It is prefaced in the foreground by a police radio tower. Notice the mix of pink and yellow in the sky (I ought to have had filters with me), which is toward the east and contrasted enormously with the straight blues to the south west which you can see in the next shot. Last night when I arrived in Kaohsiung and drove around CC lake out at Niaosong, I stopped to set up the tripod for some shots of 50 tower with its' "Gotham City" lights on. It completely skipped my mind that those lights are set to go off at midnight - which is exactly what happened the moment I moved the tripod into position...

During my second year in Kaohsiung I used to live in the apartment complex right next to 50 tower. It was across the street from this building where I saw my first example of very strange police behaviour in Taiwan (it's a story in its own right).

And this is of course, Kaohsiung City's distinctive "85 Sky Tower" taken at about 5.40am this morning - which, since this picture was taken on the Boai-Jongshan road bridge, is about the only time anyone could realistically take a picture of it from this elevation at this angle without causing a pile up (there's no parallel public walkway - which is a shame). Notice the straight blues in the sky in contrast to the yellow-pink over the 50 tower (although I was also using different F-stops). There is also a singular, small, slightly pink cloud floating toward the camera to the top right. I've always loved this view of 85 樓; I used to see it nearly everyday on my way to work when I lived in Kaohsiung. This section of Jongshan road is a reasonably smooth ride these days, but a few years ago, this was a hellish road with the MRT construction, the traffic, and the already extremely poor road surface. A lot of the shops on this section of Jongshan road have changed in the last three or four years, such that when I pop back down to Kaohsiung these days I'm not always certain that particular places will still exist. One thing that is still there though, is a picture of my good self at the age of 25 outside one of the buildings along that road. I took some pictures of it a few weeks ago with a friend with me standing next to it: I'm bigger, heavier and have longer hair now.


  1. I'd like to hear about the strange police behavior, just to test how jaded I am.

    I might need your help with a blog project of mine as I'm complete shite with technology.

  2. Yeah alright but what is it, your ladyship? ;)

    The police story is properly told over a beer, but to cut it short, basically a couple of locals have a barney across the street - one of them is well oiled and can barely walk. His mate storms off at some point. The cops show up (three cars!) and basically just stand around watching this drunk stopping traffic, pissing on parked cars, and trying to commandeer a little woman's scooter... At one point he's standing in the middle of Rehe street - cops and us foreigners looking on - playing chicken with a car driver who slams the breaks just in time so that the drunk falls gently onto the bonnet. The driver is mad as hell and tries sharply accelerating, swerving and then breaking to get the drunk off his bonnet. It works but the guy was swinging around clutching the wind-shield wipers, which then snap off as the guy goes rolling across the tarmac!

    We really should have had a video camera with us at the time, because the cops just sat there in their cars with the engines switched off just watching. I could only speculate that the cops had a very good reason not to intervene.

  3. My guess is they knew he was all mobbed up. One guy I knew personally tutored a police chief's daughter for a big test so he could get cops to stop the scooter bandits that were snatching women's purses in his neighborhood. The cops basically drove around the area all the time. I don't think they would of done anything had they actually seen a snatching though.

    For some reason, no one ever guesses that I'm a slightly overweight white man. :-/


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