Friday, 25 January 2013

A Cold Day At Shihmen Reservoir (石門水庫)

Today I took my very first trip specifically to northern Taiwan's Taoyuan county. Previously, I'd only ever been through it on the way to Taipei city. I was here to get some initial photographs of Shihmen reservoir, Taiwan's third largest reservoir by volume. It is magnificent. It is also, according to recurring newspaper reports, in bad condition due to over-siltation.

Having expected an overcast day full of drizzle, I brought my new grey-scale ND filter with me to try out...

It worked quite well on a few shots, but generally speaking I couldn't get too much out of it and was pleasently surprised when we got a few breaks in the clouds for some blue skies and a chance to either switch back to the polarizer, or leave the lens naked.

We took the HSR train north from Tainan, and then (following a shuttle-bus ride to Zongli city in Taoyuan county), rented a scooter and drove out to the reservoir. I was surprised to find that the rental shop actually had a few high-end scooters available (contrary to the impression given by their website). We took one of these and I found it was almost as good as my own; very smooth engine and firm suspension - no bouncy-sponge-bob nonsense.

Although we managed to take in the entire length of the reservoir today and photograph several key points, I never expected to be able to explore Shihmen properly in a single day; I will have to make several return visits, both to photograph those points we couldn't reach today for want of time and also to retake various shots under different lighting conditions....

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