ZhongXiao Dunhua to Xinyi Guide / by Josiah Edbrooke

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ZhongXiao Dunhua 

Street Guide

 Points of Interest.

Points of Interest.

Taipei is an great city to live in if you are at all interested in coffee or street photography! It seems like there are unique little spots all around the city worth photographing. I didn't use to drink coffee much until I arrived in Taiwan. Likewise with street photography, ZhongXiao Dunhua is an excellent location to practice street shooting. It has interesting little side alleys, cool looking street art and unique tea and coffee shops to relax in.

One of my favourite places to shoot pictures is Dunhua and Sun Yet Sen memorial hall one MRT stop on from Dunhua. There is a big open space, and decent sized pond and park that are great for shooting long exposure shots of 101 and downtown Xinyi. In the evening is normally isn't too busy, and it's close enough that you always get a good view of the 101 light show. On occasional holidays, messages, flags and emojis are projected onto the side of 101. If you like shooting urban locations. 

There are several great cafes around the area to check out if you need a place to relax. Coffeeology have fantastic cappuccinos and house blend drinks, Stay Real By Gabee have some amazingly flavored lattes and other award winning drinks. If you are in the mood for a something stronger, Cafe Ueshima have a tasty iced americano that is great to drink on a hot day. 

In reality there are a bunch of different coffee shops in the Dunhua I could recommend, but honestly it's worth just walking around and finding out for yourself. It seems like every street has somewhere to relax and grab a drink. It's an area that's worth exploring!

 A chilled americano in Dunhua. f1.8, ISO 1600, 1/10, 35mm

A chilled americano in Dunhua. f1.8, ISO 1600, 1/10, 35mm

Another thing Dunhua is known for is the graffiti. Hate it or love it, I think it makes for interesting street BnW photos. There are quite a few different tattoo shops and a unique vibe in the area I would say. Taipei may be a small city, but at times it feels like each area has a very different vibe and atmosphere. It's one of the charming aspects to living in such a crowded busy capital city. 

 Ice cream dog, his non plussed look made me chuckle. f1.8, ISO 1600, 1/60, 35mm

Ice cream dog, his non plussed look made me chuckle. f1.8, ISO 1600, 1/60, 35mm

 ZhongXiao dunhua crossing. f14, ISO 100, 6, 24mm

ZhongXiao dunhua crossing. f14, ISO 100, 6, 24mm

A short walk from Dunhua is SYS memorial hall, this is a great location for nighttime shooting. It's fairly easy to find a nice composition in the park surrounding the hall. One place I especially like is Big Toms Ice cream shop in SYS hall. Not only do I like ice cream (who doesn't??) it has some fairly unique features. It is right next to the pond, which means you can easily shoot some nice reflections while enjoying your ice cream and coffee outdoors! 

 Taipei light show. f1.8, ISO 1600, 1/30, 35mm

Taipei light show. f1.8, ISO 1600, 1/30, 35mm

 the resident cow at Tom&Toms. f1.8, ISO 1600, 1/25, 35mm

the resident cow at Tom&Toms. f1.8, ISO 1600, 1/25, 35mm

 reflections eternal. f22, ISO 1600, 20, 35mm

reflections eternal. f22, ISO 1600, 20, 35mm

 The pond view at nighttime. f22, ISO 1600, 25, 35mm (stitched)

The pond view at nighttime. f22, ISO 1600, 25, 35mm (stitched)

In the daytime you can get very different pictures compared to if you shoot the same spot at night. There is an abundance of color all around the park, either in the large flower beds, numerous trees or the bright orange roof of SYS Hall itself. It is pretty striking I think personally, and either can create a nice contrast in the background, or be the main focus of a picture.

 SYS Memorial Hall. f1.8, ISO 200, 1/640, 35mm

SYS Memorial Hall. f1.8, ISO 200, 1/640, 35mm

 Xinyi reflections. f1.8, ISO 1600, 0.5, 35mm

Xinyi reflections. f1.8, ISO 1600, 0.5, 35mm

Moving on to from SYS Hall to City Hall MRT, There is one particular spot in Xinyi that can produce some incredible pictures. You might think the obvious answer would be the top of 101. In fact I highly recommend the new Breeze building. Now don't get me wrong, going up to the top of 101 is a must do activity for any first time tourist in Taipei. The problem you face being up that high is that everything looks so incredibly tiny. It's impossible to find a good foreground element there. If the clouds are low enough, that the top of the tower is sticking through them, then, and only then could you get some spectacular pictures I think. Otherwise 101 is better shot from a distance or another angle.

This is where the new Breeze building comes in handy. There is grill restaurant / cocktail lounge on the top floor more or less. This gives you a perfect composition for shooting either 101 or Da'an area. Also because it isn't so far from the ground as 101, you are able to get some pretty good long exposure shots of the neon glow of the city. 

 Taipei City (HDR). f5. ISO 2500, 1/4, 35mm

Taipei City (HDR). f5. ISO 2500, 1/4, 35mm

 Taipei 101. f3.5, ISO 200, 1, 35mm

Taipei 101. f3.5, ISO 200, 1, 35mm

 Xinyi shopping centre. f2, ISO 1600, 1/50, 35mm

Xinyi shopping centre. f2, ISO 1600, 1/50, 35mm

It's not huge area of Taipei so you could easily explore most of it in a day. It is one of those places that still has lots to offer, even for someone like me who knows it like the back of my hand. Due to the busy nature of the Blue line on the MRT, a fun little shot you can experiment is some long exposure of the crowds at rush hour. You'll end up with some interesting pictures for sure. Zhongxiao Fuxing is especially good as it's also a transfer station, so you have the extra rush from the brown line to blue and vice versa. 

 race to the train. f4.7, ISO 100, 0.5, 50mm 

race to the train. f4.7, ISO 100, 0.5, 50mm 

 The evening rush hour at ZhongXiao Fuxing. f13, ISO 100, 5, 24mm

The evening rush hour at ZhongXiao Fuxing. f13, ISO 100, 5, 24mm

Today is a bit of a short one in terms of guide so my apologies there. There isn't too much to say about this area of Taipei other than, have fun exploring and find your own unique pictures and angles! There's always different things to see and do here. My advice, go for the quality coffee, stay for the street photography! 

Until next time! 

Sy Edbrooke ^^