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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day 3 Pictures, Part 2, Taipei 101

This post is the second set of pictures from day 3, the views from the observation deck of the Taipei 101. If you click on that Wikipedia link there, you will see a picture of the building and even in that promo shot, the color is a hair washed out. That is Taiwan, and even more the case with Taipei, where smog makes landscape photography even more impossible than plain old overcast days.

So, enter Photoshop. Using this online tip as a start, I was able to get the pictures into a better state to look at. After that step, I adjusted the brightness/contrast to get the pictures to be even less washed out. If some of the pictures look a but unnatural, it's because I banged these out at 5:30 am this morning while drinking a cup of tea.

These all link to a bigger version of the same picture. I usually size them down and just plop the small size in these posts. But with these, I left them full size when I uploaded and if you want to see the full size, click the image and it will take you to the Flickr page with the image. I may start doing this with all the pictures, time permitting.

To start, let me show you what one image looked like before the edit. You don't need to click through to see just how washed out things are here.

This is what it looks like after the Photoshop work. I'll only show this one comparison to give you an idea how much more crisp these look. If you click through this one you'll notice a lot of funk on the clouds, which is the dirty windows. On the plane home I watched the special about the Taipei 101 and there was a section of cleaning the windows, which happens every day. It takes 4 months to clean the whole building, at which point they start it all over again. Looking at this now I see these colors are a bit too saturated. Look at the pop of those yellow cabs!

This is our approach to the building, when I realized hey, we're pretty damn close to this thing. Little did I know we were going there. I left the colors as-is for this, no editing. This building is pretty frigging imposing.

Just another view shot here. Look at those red colors! Pop baby, pop!

This is the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial, which we went to on our first trip here in 2001. Sure looks dirty, doesn't it? Not sure if that's a strange effect of the windows, the haze, and my filtering or if it really is that dirty. I think it's the former combination, not actual funk on the roof.

This is probably my favorite picture, as it highlights the contrast of old and new Taiwan. This is a farm which is smack dab in the middle of the financial district in Taipei. You can be sure this won't be there forever. About 50 years ago Taipei was nothing but farms and rice paddies. So the fact that it has exploded into what it is this fast is pretty remarkable.

The colors on this are all sorts of screwed up. Look at the immense shadow is casts. Honestly I have no idea why this picture made the cut.

This is the giant ball which helps the building not sway in high winds and in the event of an earthquake, helps make sure this bad boy doesn't fall over. It is actually called a tuned mass damper, and is apparently the only one in the world on display to the public. If you click the link you will see the Taipei 101 ball in the Wikipedia article as well. This ball is apparently always in motion, but usually you can't see/feel it because the movements are so slight. Those plates were brought up separately and welded together up there. It weighs 4.5 tons.

OK the reds are almost neon in this picture. It was early, give me a break.

This is basically the heart of the city of Taipei. We used to stay in the upper right area, I believe. You can see a small airport up in that upper right corner, which is right near where we used to stay. The memorial looks a little better colored here. Even with the manipulation the smog is insane in this picture the further out you get in that upper left area.

A bit blurry as we drive away here. This also has no manipulation to it. I'm not sure how things suddenly got so clear. Maybe the camera was on a different setting, I don't know. Perhaps the sun started to come out, I don't remember.

So that's it, the view from the Taipei 101.

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