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lightning on shinliao

Yilan county is famous all over Taiwan for the absurd amount of rain we get all year long. And I mean LITERALLY all year long, even during summer.

Drought in Kaohsiung? Probably raining 200mm of water in a day here.

Taipei’s water reservoir running low? HA, WE DON’T EVEN NEED ONE.

But few people know about Shin Liao.

Shin Liao is the name of a valley in the South-West corner of Yilan. It’s mostly famous for a beautiful waterfall , as well as leading to the entrance of Ren Shan botanical garden. What most tourists don’t know is the weather in Shin Liao.

I’ve been there countless times by bicycle, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Franklin should have changed his old saying like this:”In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and rain in Shin Liao”. I live 15kms from there, and there are times where I leave by home on a sunny day and by the time I arrive at the entrance of the gorge I can feel the rain, then as soon as I head back home I’m kissed by the sun again. The whole gorge exists in a different time&space zone, and no matter how’s the weather in the rest of the region, Shin Liao will have it worse.

Yesterday during a lightning storm I decided to spend some time on the balcony to see if I could capture some interesting stuff. To my disappointment, all the lightnings happened above the clouds so I spent 20+ minutes taking pictures of blue clouds. Just when I was starting to think about calling it a day and go to sleep, the only clear lightning on the night happened. And of course, it was on Shin Liao. The gorge is right behind those hills that appear below the lightning.

And so the legend lives on. Party on Shin Liao, party on.

On a technical note: this was my first time ever trying to get a pic during a lightning storm. I went to the balcony and improvised, setting up the camera for long exposures and taking extremely underexposed shots, hoping that the sudden flash from the lightnings would bring enough light. It worked out kinda ok, but I wish I used even longer exposures.

Next time I’ll setup the camera to take 30+ seconds exposures in a loop, and if I get to frame more than one lightning I’ll stack them in a single image.

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