If you think the photos accompanying this blog post are stunning, you’re not alone. They’re just a few of the hundred pictures Sherman Cheng selected for inclusion in his stunning new book, Ilha Formosa Taiwan in 100 HDR Panoramic Images & Scripts. Cheng, who retired a few years ago after a career in a multinational company, is both an avid photographer and a keen explorer of the island where he was born and grew up.
This hefty tome is a full colour 336-page hardback measuring 26 cm by 21 cm. Each image is accompanied by a detailed article in both English and Chinese about the location, and why Cheng chose to feature that place. Rather than play it safe and simply include Taiwan’s most popular tourist attractions, he’s opted to surprise his readers. Taroko Gorge is here, as you’d expect, as are 20 other scenic spots in east Taiwan. However, few outsiders will have heard of Luce Chapel in Taichung, even though it’s well known to architecture buffs and people who live in that city. Even more intriguing is the inclusion of not just one but two cityscapes from Banqiao, one of Taipei’s most important suburbs but not a place usually regarded as a tourist magnet.
Taking full advantage of the book’s physical size, many pictures are spread over two pages. Cheng captured Longdong Cape (on the northeast coast) when the sun was low so the reds and oranges are gorgeous. Rather than look down from Jiufen to the ocean, he looks up from sea level towards that quaint hillside town and the neighbouring peak of Mount Keelung. And his picture of the seated Buddha atop Baguashan in Changhua City is greatly enhanced by the huge puddle that dominates the foreground, reflecting the Buddha and the tall palm trees that flank the statue.
The book, which is priced at NT$1,600, can be purchased at Eslite Bookstores throughout Taiwan. It’s also available at Taiuan-e-tiam, a Taiwan-focused shop near National Taiwan University in Taipei. If you’ve never been to Taiwan but these pictures whet your appetite, contact Life of Taiwan today and begin planning your visit to this beautiful and beguiling island.