Kaohsiung // Confucius Temple

even after living in Taiwan for 2.5 years, I don't consider myself an expert on the culture or religions here. my knowledge of temples [for as much as I enjoy photographing them] is still pretty limited. part of the confusion is due to the blending of beliefs that happens here in Taiwan - some temples are places of worship for over 80 different deities. and many people here have created their own personal mix between Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Chinese folk worship.

some of the temples even blend Taoist and folk deities [these are usually the colorful ones topped with dragons.] these are the ones I most often stumble upon, because they seem to spring up between buildings and around alleyway corners. and... a roof full of dragons is hard to miss. Buddhist temples are still colorful, but usually simpler and focused on the Buddha, obviously.

temples dedicated to Confucianism are the most plain, and I never really went out of my way to visit one. the Confucius Temple in Hsinchu has been under construction since we moved here, so when we had the opportunity Confucius Temple on Lotus Lake in Kaohsiung I was extremely curious.

we walked up to the front door and two old ladies seated at a table waved us in. I gestured to my camera and they nodded yes, but then repeated something that sounded to me like "you can only take six." I always hesitate because I don't want to be rude, so I resigned myself to not taking pictures if I couldn't understand the rules. thankfully, a young family was exiting the temple and the wife explained to me that the rule was "pictures are ok, but no flash."

I can't believe I almost didn't have any photos of the details inside this fantastic temple. the patterns in this place were amazing. the carvings, the hand painted details... everything was so symmetrical and repetitive. I could have taken a thousand pictures. [but, I had guests with me and we had other things to see.]

I still love my dragons, but from now on I won't be dismissing Confucian temples as potentially plain and boring.

the cup of coffee that fueled the writing of today’s post was sponsored by Jenn. she drinks her coffee with Truvia + almond milk and blogs about lifestyle + home improvement over at Near and Far Montana.


a quick hello + a cash giveaway

I've been up and down and around this island over the past few weeks, and I have to tell you I'm exhausted. having visitors in town is always fun, but leaves me feeling like I need a vacation. am I the only one? we roamed Hsinchu on foot, took the high speed down to Kaohsuing for my first visit south, wandered Taipei, hiked through Taroko, and rode gondolas in Maokong. I love that visitors are an excuse to play tourist and try new things [and for their photography skills, as evidenced above.]

I have so much to blog about that it's tough to know where to start... as you can see it is already wednesday and I have yet to post this week! I started working on something this afternoon, a post which might include some of my most favorite temple photos ever taken. [and not a single dragon, if you can believe it.] but for some reason I just can't bring myself to publish it yet. hopefully you all will find it worth the wait once it makes an appearance.

as consolation for you today, I want to tell you about an AMAZING paypal [aka cash!] giveaway that myself and the fantastic ladies hanging out at Living In Another Language are putting on. the best news for you: if you already follow me on twitter, instagram, or bloglovin then you qualify to make additional entries below. good luck!

as Amanda says: this giveaway is open internationally, but you must have a Paypal account set up to receive the prize. make sure you read the terms and conditions below, check out the lovely sponsors, and enter daily! the more you enter, the more entries you have in the pot, and the better chances you have of winning!


The first entry is (always) free, just by clicking 'enter!' Terms and Conditions listed below:
1. Giveaway is open internationally. 2. Be sure to actually do what the giveaway prompts say, because I check the winning entry thoroughly to be sure the entry is valid. 3. If the entry isn't valid I will pick a new winner. 4. Once the winner is validated and emailed, he/she has 48 hours to reply and accept the prize. If he/she does not reply within 48 hours a new winner will be selected. 5. The winner must have Paypal. Once the prize money has been transferred via Paypal, it is no longer Living in Another Language's responsibility. 6. Enter away! HAVE FUN!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hong Kong // Victoria Peak

the view of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak is iconic. it's that image you picture when you think of the Hong Kong skyline, and it's one of the most popular photo-taking spots in the city. I visited Victoria Peak [also known as just "The Peak"] on my first visit to Hong Kong. I came away with some amazing images, but on my recent trip to HK I decided to go back to this spot and shoot while the sun was setting.

there are several options for viewing the skyline from the peak. on our last visit, we paid the extra fee for access to the SkyTerrace 428 viewing deck. this time around, I purchased a regular tram ticket [accidentally] so had to figure out another spot for shooting.

there is a free viewing deck across the plaza from the main peak building, which I settled on as my spot for the night. the main building that you walk into while exiting the tram [pictured above] boasts the highest viewing deck, but the free one offered no less of an amazing vantage point.

I set up shop next to a girl with a tripod and extremely professional-looking gear. and then I just waited for things to get dark, and had fun playing around with my various camera settings. since I was without a tripod I tried to keep my exposures less than 1/3 of a second and sort of balanced my arm on the railing.

if you find yourself in Hong Kong for any amount of time, I would absolutely recommend a trip to the peak to take in the view. though I had some unpleasant encounters on my trip to HK, this view [and the tasty tacos I had afterward] made up for it.
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