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MATSU AND KINMEN ISLANDS

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LIVING WILD TO WITNESS THE MAGNIFICENCE OF MATSU ISLAND

TaiTai LIVE WILD
icons-social-instagram-colour@2x.png taitai.live.wild

Matsu_TaiTai LIVE WILD

In "Mountaineering" published in 2015, Yang Shi-Tai (Ah Tai) and his wife Tai Yi-Ting (Tai Tai) shared another exciting story of mountain climbing. With the theme “relating with the mountains,” the couple invites you to tag along their wonderful journey. Aiming to be your most practical travel guide, they share stories of their experiences along the way and impart the best tips for anyone who desires to venture into the mountains as well.

The couple travellers use the following devices to capture the best moments of their adventure: 

Alpha 7C

Alpha 7C

  • Compact full-frame camera | Ultimate portable all-rounder 
  • Powerful performance and superb image quality in an extremely compact camera with a wide range of lenses for uncompromising quality

Learn more

FE 24mm F2.8 G (SEL24F28G)

FE 24mm F2.8 G (SEL24F28G)

  •   Lightweight G-Series wide-angle fixed focal length lens
  •   Extremely compact and lightweight design for long-lasting portability and ease of shooting

Learn more

FE 40mm F2.5 G (SEL40F25G)

FE 40mm F2.5 G (SEL40F25G)

  • Compact G-Series fixed focal length lens 
  • Multipurpose focal length with the high-quality image and smooth bokeh of a G lens 

Learn more

Article 2-Matu
Alpha 7C | FE 24mm F2.8 G | 24mm | 1/80 sec | F5.6 | ISO 100

We have always wanted to visit Matsu Island, so we chose to go during the season when we were most likely to see the famous Blue Tears. When we stepped foot onto the island, we immediately rented a motorbike since it is the most convenient way to get around and fully enjoy the beautiful sceneries that welcomed us.

Article 2-Matu_02.jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 40mm F2.5 G | 40mm | 30 | F/2.5 | ISO 800

As we preferred to travel light, Tai Tai and I opted to carry backpacks instead of lugging around suitcases, and brought along two units of Alpha 7C. We each carried the compact camera so we can explore the island more flexibly and take pauses to take pictures as we please. We brought our lightweight lenses, the FE 40mm F2.5 G and the FE 24mm F2.8 G, so that we can better capture the distinctive features of Qinbi Village or the dark wartime bunkers of Beigan. 

The 24mm lens’ focal length is wide enough for landscapes. We were impressed that it can capture the mountains and the Matsu Sea in one frame. The 40mm lens’ focal length, meanwhile, is perfect for portraying both landscapes and people, making it effortless to capture picturesque images of sceneries with people in them. The compression distance is subtle and the seemingly small F2.5 aperture is sufficient for me. I usually use 35mm F1.8 and adjust the aperture to F2.4 to avoid excessive bokeh in the background or partial out-of-focus in the foreground. For example, I can capture the islands in the distance or the landscapes of Beigan Qinbi Village, where the features of Min Dong architecture remain intact–its houses are interspersed, with the lanes and staircases weaving in and out. It was refreshing to see a different landscape around every corner! 

Article 2-Matu_04.jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 40mm F2.5 G | 40mm | 1/320 | F/2.5 | ISO 100
Article 2-Matu_05.jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 40mm F2.5 G | 40mm | 1/1000 | F/2.5 | ISO 800

I have heard much about Blue Tears, but I’ve always thought they were like the Milky Way or the Aurora Borealis, that require long exposure time until they show up. However, it turned out that what you need is just the right season (April to June) and the right environment (low light conditions) to clearly see them with the naked eye. It was magnificent! You’ll definitely regret it if you don’t take some snaps of its beauty for your personal collection.  

Nevertheless, if you want to take striking pictures, you’d still need a competitive camera to fully capture its essence. The combination of the 40mm and the 24mm lenses perfectly capture the Blue Tears as the waves carry them up among the reefs. When taking picture of breath taking scenery, whichever focal length and aperture you use, one of the secret tricks is “less is more”. A simple or important subject is enough, and you can leave the scenery to speak for itself in telling the story!​

Article 2-Matu_07.jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 24mm F2.8 G | 24mm | 30 sec | F2.8 | ISO 500
Article 2-Matu_08.jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 40mm F2.5 G | 40mm | 30 | F/2.5 | ISO 500

Four days and three nights passed quickly. Upon returning home and reminiscing on the adventure we just had, I felt that it was a shame to treat Matsu as a "substitute" for not being able to travel abroad. There are so many reasons to visit the five villages and four islands there. Even if you do not see the famous Blue Tears in person, you can easily feel the difference in life on the island just by watching the sea and the blowing of the wind and tasting the delectable local cuisines in the small villages.

Article 2-Kinmen_02_1903x941.jpg


 

Roam around the streets of Kinmen Islands and discover the rich history behind its beauty

Cityflaneurs
icons-social-instagram-colour cityflaneurs

kinmen_法呢

Having studied geography at university, I am particularly adept at observing people and society. I am also good at capturing the facets of life as I roam in the alleyways.  


By exploring new places and learning more about the other parts of the world, I hope to express rich human landscapes interacting with the lands on camera and to match them with some emotional textual discourses, to annotate the heart of the city, and to reframe the city beyond its hustle and bustle.

Alpha 7C

Alpha 7C

  • Compact full-frame camera | Ultimate portable all-rounder 
  • Powerful performance and superb image quality in an extremely compact camera with a wide range of lenses for uncompromising quality 

Learn more

FE 24mm F2.8 G (SEL24F28G)

FE 24mm F2.8 G (SEL24F28G)

  • Lightweight G-Series wide-angle fixed focal length lens 
  • Extremely compact and light-weight design for long-lasting portability and ease of shooting 

Learn more

FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS (SEL70200G)

FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS (SEL70200G)

  • Maximum aperture with F4 at full focal length 
  • Built in OSS optical steady shot technology 

Learn more

FE 35mm F1.8 (SEL35F18F)

FE 35mm F1.8 (SEL35F18F)

  • Quick focus and extremely light 
  • Universal photography themes 

Learn more

Article 2-Kinmen_02.jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS | 200mm | 1/2000 sec | F4 | ISO 200
Article 2-Kinmen_01
Alpha 7C | FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS | 117mm | 1/1250 sec | F4 | ISO 1600

The four days we allocated to Kinmen this time were hardly enough. My friend said that the most comfortable pace for Kinmen is one day for an ancient monument, a restaurant or eatery, and a beach. If possible, I hope to devote a month to Kinmen the next time I visit to be able to fully experience the beauty of this island, which is becoming a site to be explored for its historical significance, in a more relaxed state of mind. The first time I visited Kinmen, a place where 150,000 troops once garrisoned, was 20 years ago when the seaside was covered in mines and there was a sense of tension and seriousness in the air. Twenty years later, it has become a national park, with well-preserved ancient Fujian-style houses and Western-style buildings, surrounded by distinctive beaches that evoke a sense of secrecy. There are no longer any warning signs saying, "Beware of Mines." The development of the island was a joy to see! 

Article 2-Kinmen_03.jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS | 200mm | 1/2000 sec | F4 | ISO 640
Article 2-Kinmen_04 (1).jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS | 200mm | 1/400 sec | F4 | ISO 1600

Once out of the airport, you can rent a motorbike to freely explore Kinmen and go wherever you want. The old streets have become more vibrant, with the contrasting aesthetics of new style shops and old houses that complement each other. The roads around the island have become wider. You can now reach the beach from anywhere on the island in less than 10 minutes by car. This is particularly true of the western shores of Jincheng, Jinning, and Lieyu, where a 70-200mm lens makes it easy to bring the bustling Xiamen scene into the composition.

Article 2-Kinmen_05.jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS | 93mm | 1/200 sec | F4 | ISO 50
Article 2-Kinmen_06 (1).jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS | 177mm | 1/500 sec | F4 | ISO 12800

I like to take the Alpha 7C with me when I travel. With its lightweight body, it’s easy to move around all day and be spontaneous in exploring the streets without getting tired. As I walk and when I feel the moment is right, I can grab my camera hassle-free, and it is always ready to focus accurately on my desired landscapes or subjects. Additionally, its 5-axis optical stabilisation system, with its steady, shake-free, full-frame sensor, never worries me in the evening when shooting in low light conditions. 

Kinmen has several scenic locations that are perfect for photography: the old Min-style streets, the Western-style buildings, the surrounding sea, and many more. The 70-200mm lens’ focal length is mainly used to bring out the compression distance, making it just the ideal lens for great adventures with wide landscapes, like this one. I used a 24mm F2.8 wide-angle lens for the first time. I was then able to quickly recognise the capabilities of the lightweight fixed focal length lens with the Alpha 7C’s, and how it is ideal for capturing the majesty of old buildings in the streets or portraits of the beach and alleyways. 

My father said that, in the past, when the sea and land forces were stationed in Kinmen, those from one side of the Taiwan Straits would swim to the other side, and vice versa, in the dark on missions to bring back the ears of the troops. Whether the story is a legend or a historical fact, when I walk past the outposts at the seaside decades later, I take a deep breath as I gaze at the brightly lit Xiamen. It inadvertently evokes in me some sentiments of a time passed, when Kinmen’s memories were interwoven with the flames of war. 

Articie 2-kinmen_02.jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 24mm F2.8 G | 24mm | 1/800 sec | F/2.8 | ISO 80
Articie 2-kinmen_01.jpg
Alpha 7C | FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS | 200mm | 1/640 sec | F/4 | ISO 250


 

Zoe DSC01906


 

A romantic getaway: Exploring the scenic Kinmen Island with a motorbike and a compact camera

Zoebitalk
icons-social-instagram-colour@2x_1 Zoebitalk
youtube Zoebitalk

Kinmin         

Zoebitalk is created by Zoe and Xiang and records the thrilling adventures of the couple who travels around the world on a motorbike. 

We want to share with you what we have seen, felt, and heard about the beauty of the mountains and the seas around the world. We would like to share with you the emotion and excitement of each moment in the hopes of inspiring you to go on your own adventures as well. In the course of our journey, we record our daily adventures and travel tips. Besides the videos, we also insert “easter eggs” on our travel tips and blog texts at the end of the videos that we hope our viewers could catch. As you tag along on our journeys, we hope that you also find the courage to do it yourself. 

We hope that one day, through our stories, you will find that you are ready too! You can do it! Do not underestimate yourself! 

Alpha 7C

Alpha 7C

  • Compact full-frame camera | Ultimate portable all-rounder 
  • Powerful performance and superb image quality in an extremely compact camera with a wide range of lenses for uncompromising quality 

Learn more

FE 20mm F1.8 G (SEL20F18G)

FE 20mm F1.8 G (SEL20F18G)

  • Large aperture, compact, fixed focus lens 
  • Soft bokeh even in low light 

Learn more

Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA (SEL55F18Z)

Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA (SEL55F18Z)

  • Zeiss standard fixed focal length lens 
  • F1.8 large aperture for soft bokeh with excellent low light quality 

Learn more

FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Lens (SEL24105G)

FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Lens (SEL24105G)

  • G Series full-frame standard zoom lens 
  • 24-105mm wide focal length, constant F4 aperture 

Learn more

We had a week of romantic summer holidays to the outer islands. Our lovely adventure was spent riding a motorbike along the tropical vegetated seaside path and cutting through an ancient Chinese city and military-style fortress as the sea breeze blew gently and the sun shone warmly. We were free like the seagulls! 

It was our first date in Kinmen. Are you ready for a trip full of ancient monuments? 

What a surprise! After five days and four nights together, we never thought we would find such a unique natural environment. Its fine sandy beach on one side even beats that of Long Beach Island! There is a mountain in Kinmen known as "Taiwan's Little Peaks." Have you heard of it? As we farther down the road against the huge rocky outcrops and pass by the trees, we were greeted by the sight of a quiet European village in a valley! 

The Alpha 7C is the most compact full-frame camera we have ever used, and it is the best camera to document our trip to Kinmen. With its compact body, high image quality, precise 5-axis optical stabilisation, eye detection autofocus, a flip screen that offers complete control on the desired angle of view for shoots, and more flexibility for post-production, it is easy to capture our adventures and best moments on this challenging trip. When taking pictures, it’s best to walk a bit more. In between steps, you will discover the beauty around you. The Alpha 7C is perfect for those of us who love outdoor and travel photography! 

For this five-day and four-night travel vlog, I recommend the FE 20 mm F1.8 lens. The combination of a lightweight lens with ultra-wide angle, large aperture, and a full-frame camera always amazes us. The photography is refined, whether in low-light situations or at night! 

Oh, yes! 

The warmth of the local community is another unforgettable aspect of Kinmen. We thought we kept coincidentally meeting people we’ve met previously as they keep greeting us with smiles, but it turned out that this was just the manner of the locals when they ride! Kinmen is a warm island with an exotic mix of ancient Chinese houses, villages, historic Western-style buildings, and, of course, an extremely friendly and welcoming local community. 

This is the love story of Xiang and Zoe, a couple passionate about biking and thrilling adventures. With every camera shot, we document the love story between us and every city we have travelled to. 

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