My new Taiwan spectacular aerial film

I just got back from an interesting adventure in Taiwan. One of the interesting parts was taking my DJI Mavic drone with me. Before I set off I wasn’t quite sure what type of short I was going to make . Due to certain circumstances which have been discussed in my previous post the film took shape in a way I wasn’t expecting. It became an aerial journey . I wanted movement and a feeling you were traveling across the land , of the beautiful country.

The first stop was Jiufen and incredibly popular town built into the side of the mountain. It used to be a gold mining town and some of the shops and actually burrowed into the mountain itself. It has an amazing food and handicrafts culture and wow that view its pretty spectacular.

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Taking of from the town itself really wasn’t an option. It is a very dense space with narrow footpaths and closed in buildings. So we drove further up the road and I flew it over the town, complete with some eerie looking clouds and flew it up the mountain from below which you see in the film.

I had been practicing quite regularly back home for about 7 months to do the shooting in Taiwan. It takes a level of confidence to be able to do the camera moves, that I was able to achieve. You need to practice manually flying it home for when the  automation on the craft fails, which it did a couple of times.

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On such occasion was in this valley , featured above , I got very low on battery and the return to home automation wasn’t working. It started to land about 30 feet away from me in a rice field. This would of been an issue as the rice field was full of water. I quickly manually took it over rose it out of the field over a big stone fence and onto the road. Little did I realise whilst I was concentrating on my flying a tourist had walked and sat down on the afore mentioned fence and I nearly gave him a buzz cut as I bought the drone back to safety.

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Featured above is the home of the Lidao aboriginal tribe.

This location was a 2hr drive north west of Taitung. The drive through valleys, fallen rock slides into mountains through mountains was utterly spectacular . There is one road in and one road out. This is where tourists don’t come this is real Taiwan to the core.  The village is perched on the side of the mountain. Whilst utterly breath taking, this has its own issues. Taiwan is famous for its typhoons and being so exposed leaves them cut of from the rest of the world when the storms hit, as they do every year. But what they do have is pristine land and fertile soil. They grow rice , which by the way is sublime like nothing I have ever tasted. They grow cabbage and various other vegetables. They then trade there crops for medicines and other essentials to keep the village running.  We got to have lunch at there local store, they were a bit wary of white people. Our guide got very cranky when some of the locals denied there was anywhere to eat. So we had this hime cooked lunch wild boar with this yummy rice.The boar is still hunted in the forrest as it has been done for over 1000 years. The dish was very simple but ridiculously fresh and flavourful. I then did all my shooting. I literally got to fly my drone of the side of the mountain, it was so exciting . You can’t even fathom standing there on the ground watching these pictures come in. It was really exciting.

You will notice in the film the sequence in the rice fields and in the village is very smokey. The reason for this is , on the day they had started the harvesting of there rice crop. The first part of this is to burn it. This is because they they have a worm that feasts on the rice and the fire is to kill it off. At times the fires were very close to the road and we had to close the vents . But the upside is it created a look to my pictures that I really love and I think you will agree adds something to the film.

Lastly I wanted to touch upon the stunning music in my film. The music is all from local composers and performed by the Taipei philharmonic orchestra. The music sets the tone of the visuals. I plowed through quite a bit of music to find the pieces that I ended up using. Without it, somehow I don’t feel its would of been as authentic. The music closely resembles how I felt when I saw the imagery and enhances it with local flavour.

I wanted the music to sell the visuals and the visuals to sell the music. If they didn’t work in tandem the piece would not of worked. The music should almost be invisible .

My Taiwan adventure Part 1

Last year, I was planning a trip. I wanted a bit of a challange , to go somewhere where my fellow country man didn’t go. I choose Taiwan. I have often being asked why Taiwan . Well its untouched by western tourism. Its absolutely beautiful , rugged and full of culture . The people are incredibly giving, friendly and respectful. Yeah I know everyone says that about different countries they visit but here it is the truth.  So fast forward to this year. I decided to return for a second visit. I took my mum with me. We first visited Hong Kong for a few days which was fascinating. But here is a tip , don’t go in June it is insanely hot, coming from a Australian winter.

So were at Hong Kong airport and were delayed hours flying out of Hong Kong, then we board the plane and we sit on the tarmac for another 30 minutes. A 6pm arrival into Taipei becomes a 10pm arrival. So mum goes to get out of the tarragon in Taipei. Tired affected by the heat she puts her foot down , twists her leg and wack. She has wrecked her knee.  We didn’t know this of course at the time fast forward to the Friday so two days later, I decide its time to get her to a hospital. So here obviously that is an easy task. When you are in a non english speaking country , its quite a task indeed. So I had to research international clinics, and I even found one which had reviews.

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So we go down stairs to get a taxi to the hospital . Upon leaving the building mums knee completely gives out and she collapses . We later learned this is when her meniscus is torn completely of its bone.  Two complete strangers who were locals came to our aid. One flagged down a cab telling the Taxi what hospital we wanted to go to in Chinese and the other helped me get mum up into the car.   The kindness didn’t stop there. Once we arrived at the hospital the attendant ran and got her a wheel chair.

That day was both one of the most unluckiest and luckiest at the same time. She saw a GP who wanted her to see a orthopedic surgeon. As luck would have it a orthopedic surgeon was in an office next door and could see her. The luck didn’t end there there were also cancellations in the MRI department so she could have a scan. Normally a scan could take up to 2 weeks to be done. Upon reconvening to view the scans it was decided she would have surgery as her knee could go again at any time. Just to show how quickly things move. She entered hospital on the Saturday night and had it done Sunday morning and was walking 3 or 4 days later. It was incredible how quick such a nasty event was corrected. There care, attention and quality of surgery was amazing. Now 3 weeks later back in Australia she is walking without any aid .   Lesson here always make sure you have insurance . We were covered and her medical costs alone we in the $10,000 range which were paid before she even left the hospital.

 

 

 

Glen Hansard Italy Tour film 2012

In April 2013 filmmaker Myles O’Reilly was invited on board the good ship Hansard to accompany Glen and his band around Italy for a few days while touring Italy in Europe to promote his debut solo album, Rhythm And Repose.  This film tells the story of life on road here is presented the whole film for your enjoyment.

 

Back from Europe 18months reflections on that time period.

I am now 18 months back from my big adventure. I lived and worked in England for over a year and was only cut short by the industry I am in work wise and diminishing opportunities there. I miss London a lot. Yes I even miss the weather the bad food and the traffic.
What did I love about it? I loved the sense that nothing was predictable and anything was possible. I got to do things I only had dreamed about. I got to see a Beatle play a club. I got to see some of the greatest treasures of the world at the british museum .

I also loved the feeling of being close to everything the world has to offer. I fell in love with southern England namely Cornwell. Had clotted cream ate far to much fudge and was offered a cup of tea and a piece of cake by an elderly couple staying in St Ives. I celebrated my birthday with 60,000 music fans at the Hyde Park calling on a sweltering London day. I saw plays and even went to the theatre built into the side of a mountain in Cornwall. Never was I more creative photographically and in my work.

I walked the cobbled roads of Paris , dreaming in the warm glow of the sun.

I climbed a glacier in Switzerland pushing my body to its limit.

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Then Splendored in the majesty and history of Florence and Venice.

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I have heard native inhabitants of different countries refer to a spiritual belonging an attachment to place. I felt very at home in England. I am half english having been born to a father of british decent. I have always loved everything English the music, the history. If it was English I have felt attached to it.
I consider myself slightly eccentric and different in my beliefs and tastes. The exciting thing about living in England then traveling is you find all sorts. The typical rude brit but then you find incredibly intelligent out there friendly people. I lived with a few in my time there. I guess the point of the post is to say, for me anyway. I am at my best as a person when I am challenged . In fact in my time away from all the emotional and physical comforts I was used to, I became more diverse more spiritual and grew a deeper understand of what its like to feel like a minority. Basically home comforts make me lazy. When I was out of my comfort zone I did things I never thought I would ever attempt. The feeling that comes from this increases confidence makes one better socially and makes one well rounded. I can only wish my friends and family could get to the level of consciousness I felt its feels pretty good.