About Taiwan, FotoZon and lots of other stuff

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Broadcasting Worldwide on Sunday Night

I am back in Taiwan now after being gone for almost a month back the USA. I was back there just in time to watch my 89 year old grandmother pass away after a fight with brain cancer. It was so sad. It sort of bothered me though that there was no real ceremony like the elaborate drawn out one they have here in Taiwan. I got to witness that earlier this year when my wife's grandmother passed away. It has been a bad year so far.

Anyways, on to new beginnings. Here is a web site a friend is promoting to do world wide translation for online communities. It is an interesting concept web site. Although it is still sort of a work in progress in the early stages at this point, it is totally functional. The neat thing is when you make a post, it is immediately translated into 10 different languages. Go check it out if you get a chance.

Til Next Time!
Joe G.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Colors and White Balance in the Forest

To any readers following this blog, I have been busy recently with another trip back to the USA to witness the death of my grandmother. It was a sad experience. I sought solace in the woods around my family's compound in Northern Washington State. While there I discovered something on the settings of my Nikon D50 camera. Here is the first picture I took at this trail junction with automatic white balance:

Notice the greens are turned blue - maybe the camera thinks they are fluorescent lights? I'm not sure, but when switching to white balance for bright sunlight, the photo came out much better:

I leave you with a picture of a big Douglas fir tree with my hand on the trunk and the height accentuated with my extreme wide angle. I love trees and the forest.



Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Lens.

A new lens, the 10~20 mm Sigma. I It shoots so much wider than a regular lens. I call it "super wide". On a recent trip to Port Townsend USA, to visit my good friend Jim - Custom Instrument Maker, I came across this beauty and plunked down the coin to make it mine.

A real estate agent's dream, an interrior lens to be used with shutter speeds as slow as 1/15th second. I hope to capture the whole gamut with this little gem.


Here is the lens with its own separate carrying bag and lens hood in the bottom right corner.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Construction in Taiwan

It seems that in Taiwan, there is always construction going on. New roads are built, new houses, gigantic new concrete and steel buildings culminating with the Taipei 101 tower. What is it that causes such continuous construction? There seem to be plenty of abandoned old houses, and new ones are going up all the time. Leading some to conclude there is a serious housing bubble in Taiwan. It seems the the inexpensive labor, low interest rates and high savings rate combine to continually push building of new houses. The recent return to power of the KMT may also have offered a stabilizing force. Many of the units are purchased by speculators and stay empty for years. When I first came to Taiwan 12 years ago, somebody told me that rent was cheap but buying was not. It seems to be even more true today.

Since my Dad owns a construction company back home in Stanwood, and I have been marginally involved in the industry for quite some time, I'm always interested in the processes and scenes that are involved in the business. I sometimes carry my camera with me and snap scenes of construction to show the folks back home. Here are a few shots, and more can be found on my photo web site under scenes of construction in Taiwan.

Now this is a good idea. Instead of paying a flagger to do the dangerous job of facing traffic and warning about the big hole in the road, a dummy is dressed up as a worker and holds a flag!

It seems that ready-mix is not used in Taiwan. Small batches of mortar are mixed on the spot.
A road being re-paved. It was previously dug up with trenches leading to a new housing project.

This "concrete" does not cure hard, it just provides a base for the road above. And it can be easily dug up again for the next project.

The steel skeleton for new high-rise residential buildings in Taichung.

Joe G.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Connections between Australia and Taiwan

Taiwan ... and ... Australia

There seems to be an inevitable connection between Australia and Taiwan. I was reminded of that recently while reading the story about Clare Wang on the site of my favorite blogger from Taiwan who also happens to be from Australia! Maybe I'm also thinking of a local photographer from Australia or the website Taiwan in Australia that is a strong supporter of Taiwan Pic of the Day. Heck, maybe I'm even reminded of the bottles of "Yellow Tail Wine" I see at the local hyper market, or the "Australian Beef" that seems to be more popular than ours. Anyways, just pointing out this fact on a Saturday night. Good luck to Clare Wang!

Check in soon,


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


This is an awfully suspicious picture in my opinion. I mean look at the way the hand is gently pushing up from the bottom. "T.U." pretty much sums up where we are though huh? The thing that also strikes me is the change in direction in 1995. What happened back then? That's probably where the trouble started.

What are these 2 little words that could kill Microsoft? Could they be "Net-Book"? What else could it be... I mean "Apple" is only one word.. I'm seriously looking into the net book business right now. Most of them are manufactured here in Taiwan, so I am in the right place. That's probably the reason why I haven't been working on this here blog lately. If anyone out there among my loyal readers is working on these little mini computers, let me know.

A new Lens

It is such an exciting pleasure to buy new camera gear. This new lens for my Nikon D50 camera is pretty cool. I bought it especially for people shots. The blurred background with the low f-number comes out incredible.

Well, that's all there is to report at this time. I know, not that much eh?

I'll do better! I never knew I would be so busy.

Until the next time,

Joe Gray

Bicycle through Rice Fields

Woman riding bicycle through Rice Field. Yuanlin.

Top of Main KRT Station in Kaohisiung, Taiwan

Top of KRT Station in Kaohsiung


Cherry Blossoms at WuLai

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Right up there with the ever popular "Cleaning the Fan" blog entry entry - this time it is cleaning up the balcony. I like to think of it as my "backyard". It is just outside of the kitchen. I know it doesn't look like much in this picture, but you should have seen it before. Dirt and grime was built up for years. I spent more than a whole morning scrubbing and even ran a small 1/8" water line from the kitchen faucet to spray it all down when I was done.

After I was all done, I mounted a little piece of plywood rescued from the cabinet shop next door to keep out the wind. A few little stools and you've got yourself a nice little place to sit outside. I was thinking about getting a few plants or something to stick out there, but it faces north and who's going to water them if I go on vacation more than a few days? Now maybe if I can hook up an automated drip irrigation system ... ok, maybe next year.

View from the balcony in the late afternoon.

Later, I played with some legos and made this house.