Site Update

Taking a Break!

Over the past few months I’ve spent a lot more time writing blogs and catching up than actually exploring and taking photos. It seems like you’re much more likely to find me in one of Taipei’s many awesome coffee shops writing than out exploring with my camera. I feel like I’m at the point now though where I’ve done enough catching up with my older photos, so I think its time to take a break and spend more time with what I love doing most.

Now that the weather in Taiwan is cooling down, I plan to be spending more of my free time out with my camera - I have a long list of places to visit (and eventually write about), so unless its raining (as it usually does in winter here), I’ll be spending less time with my keyboard and more time travelling to new places and taking photos. 

I took a break from blogging around this time last year when I completely redesigned the look of the site and added new code to make it more user friendly.

This year my break is going to be similar in nature - I won’t be doing another redesign but I’m going to be taking care of some much needed maitenance that will ultimately end up being quite time consuming. 

My plan is basically this:  

  1. Go through old blogs and make sure they are formatted properly
  2. Go through the older blogs and check my spelling, grammar, etc.  
  3. Update the older blogs with new information and photos
  4. Update links, location information, etc.  

My foray into blogging has been one where I have been constantly learning and changing how I present information and photos. I want to go back and give all of my posts the same treatment, style and make the information easier for viewers to enjoy the places I’ve been sharing.

The reason why I need a break from writing new stuff is because this project is likely going to take countless hours and frustrate the crap out of me until I finish it. It’s something however that I think needs to be done and something that I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while now.

Never fear though, I have enough blogs ready to go that I can continue to post at my normal pace and not write another word until 2018. I’m sure that won’t be the case though. 

In other news, I’ve become a bit exhausted with social media as of late. I find myself spending less time online and it has gotten to the point that I went through my Facebook and removed almost every ‘like’ and group that I was following.

There is so much manufactured hate and outrage on social media that it is difficult to stay positive as well as staying out of trouble. So instead of having that stuff pop up in my newsfeed I just decided to get rid of it and have a newsfeed that I can control. 

My good friend and fellow blogger Alexander has been pushing me for quite a long time to start a Facebook page for this site and have everything automatically feed through there.

It’s a great idea and he’s right but I’ve always been a bit apprehensive about actually doing it since I’m of the opinion that there are way too many photography pages on Facebook. I like to be a bit different. 

Alexander reassured me however that even though the main purpose of my website is to showcase my photography, it has since transformed into a resource for people who want to learn more about Taiwan, what to do when they come here and also about its history. To that effect, it would be better to have a public space on Facebook where I could have this information more accessible. 

So, if you like this website and you want to follow what I’m doing - Make sure to follow my new Facebook Page: Josh Ellis Photography.  

In the meantime I’ll be posting my regularly scheduled blogs, updating and reposting some of the older ones and hopefully be spending more time taking photos!

I hope everyone is well!

Bad Week + Site Updates

- 中壢市,仁海宮 Chungli City's Ren-Hai Temple

If you know me well, you probably know that I'm more of a Science and Reason kind of guy. I tend to look at things very pragmatically and always know that even though there might not currently be an explanation for a certain phenomenon that it will eventually be figured out by minds greater than mine. Religion has never really appealed to me, but I did spend quite a bit of time when I was younger and while I was in university studying the Eastern Philosophies of Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. They appealed to me not only because they were different but because they were (for the most part) tolerant and they weren't about selling people empty promises in order for their good behaviour.

On Monday night just as I was arriving home from the supermarket, I heard Facebook Messenger "ding" but I ignored it for a few minutes, parked my scooter and made my way upstairs. When I got in the door, my dog greeted me as he always does and I put my groceries away. When I finally got to looking at my cellphone, it was a message from my sister with a short and simple message: "Papa passed away."   

Being an expat, living in another country on the other side of the world has its pleasures and its pains. One of them is when a family member passes away. I've dreaded this kind of news for a while. I wanted to stop everything, jump on a flight and take the 23 hour flight back home. It wasn't realistic though, I have too much going on at the moment. I still want to be with my family during this time though and it hurts knowing that I can't be there with my mother to help her grieve for her loving father. 

The night I received the news, I didn't know how I should react or what I should do. So I turned to the bottle - I cracked open the a bottle of Macallan 18 that I was saving for a special occasion and drank while preparing three blog posts.

I thought drinking and being productive would help out and it probably did a little bit, but the underlying guilt is still there and it sucks. 

On Wednesday, I visited a Buddhist temple in town. I've been living in this city for almost 10 years and I've never really had the chance to explore its biggest temple. The weather wasn't really cooperating for doing anything else, and I had dinner plans in the area with a friend who is in town for a few weeks. So I stopped over and decided I would check it out, take some shots and then head on over to Starbucks to sit for a while. 

The shot above is from one of the three shrine rooms in the temple. Taiwanese temples are beautiful and are a great showcase of Taiwanese culture, art and architecture. I've been to so many countries around the world, and I don't think any religious building really compares to amazing show the Taiwanese put on. They really are beautiful, and one of the best things about them, in my opinion is that you can have more than one religion under the same roof without any sort of difficulty. 

If only we could say the same about our religions in the west.  

I'll have more from the temple in a follow post. I'm trying to move on from hiking posts and doing more cultural and street work rather than just landscapes. I do have a couple of blogs already prepared though from a hike and another from a waterfall that will be up in the next few days.  

Other than that, I've started to do some work on the "About" section of the site and will continue adding more content as the days go by. So far I've added a "Links" section that you will find at the bottom of the page. The links section contains a list of fellow photographers who I know and respect in the region as well as a few of the bloggers and friends that I follow, and who I think you should of course follow too! 

I'll be taking my dog this weekend to a birthday party with about 30 other dogs just like him for a celebration of his third birthday and a few others as well.

Being around 30 Shelties running around in a park should help to brighten up my mood a little bit.

I hope that everyone's week is going much better than mine!