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An unusual sunset

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Sunset from below

Depending on where you live, this kind of sunset may look fairly common. Now I’ll tell you why it’s an extremely rare event for people who live in the East coast of Taiwan.

Sunset from below

Sunset from below

The central mountains of Taiwan are extremely high. They form a very long chain of peaks above 4000m. While the Monte Bianco in Europe is a bit taller than Jade Mountain, the amount of mountains above 4000m in Taiwan is higher than in the European Alps.

This creates a massive rocky wall that blocks the rays of light long before sunset.

Sunset from below

It’s a tradeoff: we get sunrises, while the West gets sunsets. Fair enough.

On very rare occasions though, we can get a look a glimpse of the twilight. It happens very rarely and only under the following conditions:

a) Between the montains and the West coast, the sky has to be completely clear in order to let the sun shine through

b) The sky above the mountains must be clear

c) The sky the East side of the mountains must be clear enough to let some light pass through, but at the same time have some clouds to reflect the last light

Sunset from below

It may sound trivial, but the combination of those three factors is extremely rare, especially because in the late afternoon the mountains tend to be covered by clouds and haze 99% of the time.

In the foreground of some pics it’s possible to see the countryside and part of Yilan city. These pics were taken from my balcony, it was nice to enjoy this view while being comfortably at home, surrounded by gazzillions of mosquitoes. Kinda nice.

 

 

 

 

 

Hungry Squirrels

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In the Luodong Sport Park there’s a family of squirrels that always hangs around in the same area. A few days ago I went to that park to see how they were doing. They’re usually very active in Spring, and I thought it would have been a good occasion to test my Canon 70-300 L that I purchased last month.

I went to their traditional location and didn’t find any. I wandered around a bit but they were nowhere to be found. I was about to call it a day, afterall I already took many cool pics of birds and flowers, but luckily on my way back to the bicycle I found them in a completely different area the park, near a fish pond.

Not exactly squirrel food, but it will do

Not exactly squirrel food, but it will do

That’s a machine for fish food! What are you doing! It’s not squirrel food!

Not exactly squirrel food, but it will do

Not exactly squirrel food, but it will do

Not exactly squirrel food, but it will do

Well, doesn’t matter, had lunch.

I’m always glad to see them doing well. Squirrels are not only very cute, but also highly entertaining. I really love the way they’ll freeze and stay completely motionless for a few seconds, then make a quick movement and change their posture, only to freeze up again. It’s almost like watching a stop-motion animation made of two frames at a time.

Regarding the photos, my 6D is far from being ideal for birds in flight or running squirrels. I had a few missed shots because the only reliable autofocus point is the middle one and any sudden movement to the left or right would take the subject away from it and send the camera focus hunting. The 70-300 L lens though performed great, I’m extremely satisfied about its performance. It was not cheap, but well worth the price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Taipei International Baking Show 2017

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Last year’s International Baking Show was huge. The 2017 edition though, was on a much larger scale.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

The showroom rize was literally doubled, occupying two floor at the expo center in Nangang. Prepare yourselves for a ton of pics.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

While most expositors were from Taiwan, there was no shortage of bakers from Italy, France, Germany, the US and many others.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

I also had the chance to enjoy a proper Italian ice cream and a German style donut (which i think should be called “krapfen”).

Taipei Baking Show 2017

All filled with good strawberry jam…I missed that.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Most of the stands were offering free samples, so there was no shortage of snacks.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Many stands were selling baking equipment and accessories. This was the main point of interest for many visitors.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

During lunch break I happened to witness a daily habit of many Taiwanese kids: using the lunch break to study.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Shw didn’t seem thrilled, though.

Back to the show.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

The previous pic shows the traditional Taiwanese “Dan gao”, or “egg cake”. It’s a very creamy dough dropped in a circle-shaped cooking surface. Once two halves are almost ready they get put together to finish cooking. This process leaves the inside of the cake/tart a bit creamy, while dry and slightly crunchy on the outside.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

So much bread. I do love European bread, especialy Italian and French. I really miss it. The way bread is prepared around here is way too soft and sweet; ok for a snack, but pretty bad to have during a meal or for a sandwich.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Next: mankind’s ultimate weapon:

Taipei Baking Show 2017

I’ve never seen anything like this before. A snack-holder that can sit on top of any cup, while leaving enough space for a straw to sip on the drink. What a time to be alive.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Glittery frosting is all the rage recently, so there were some suppliers showing different varieties and colors.

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

Taipei Baking Show 2017

That was fun! I’ve had a good time and I spent there most of the day, from late morning until 4pm. There was a lot of stuff to see and taste, and I also had the chance to do some shopping.

The Taipei International Baking Show is an event that I can definitely see becoming a regular thing, there’s a huge amount of visitors and the expo center is completely packed. It’s a really interesting event and highly suggested to anyone in Taipei around that time.

Nangang exhibition center is extremely convenient to reach, with a metro stop right beneath it and the high speed train station just 5 minutes away.

If you’re into baking, don’t miss it! (same suggestion applies if you’re into eating baked goods).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cats on Roof – Yuanlin

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Yuanlin 員林 - Cats on Roof

Yuanlin is a small town East of Taichung city. A small block in one of its suburbs hase been decorated with cats and renamed “Cats on Roof”.

Yuanlin 員林 - Cats on Roof

The name is a good match. Most of the decorations are paintings on the walls, then there are some sculptures and even more feline-themed objects.

Yuanlin 員林 - Cats on Roof

Yuanlin 員林 - Cats on Roof

Yuanlin 員林 - Cats on Roof

Yuanlin 員林 - Cats on Roof

Yuanlin 員林 - Cats on Roof

PLOT TWIST:

Yuanlin 員林 - Night Guard

The night guard of the sugar factory was not a cat. Will felines ever recover?