Malaysian photographer Phong Yap Hui (馮業輝) unveiled his latest time-lapse work titled “Taiwan II” on August 12, which features stunning landscapes from across the country.
He said the video was his way of thanking his Taiwanese fans and the country where he studied.
It is the fifth time-lapse video about Taiwan that Phong has uploaded to his YouTube channel (https://rb.gy/zmsq48).
Photo courtesy of Phong Yap Hui via CNA
The high-resolution videos document the 25-year-old’s travels around Taiwan since his arrival in 2015 when he enrolled at National Chin-Yi University of Technology to study electrical engineering.
Phong’s first foray into the hobby came when he was tasked with taking photos at a social event organized by the school’s electrical engineering department, he said.
Since he got into photography, he became deeply immersed in the art form and began exploring styles and methods while taking odd jobs to save money to upgrade his equipment, Phong said.
Photo courtesy of Phong Yap Hui via CNA
He said he was inspired to shoot the time-lapse videos after seeing documentary filmmaker Chi Po-lin (齊柏林)’s Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above (看見台灣) and the work of Taiwanese photographer Louis Chen (陳志通).
“I didn’t want to come to Taiwan just to study and end the experience trivially,” Phong said. “I wanted to leave something different.”
During his four years of study, Phong visited various cities and counties and carried more than 20 kg of photography equipment to the mountains and remote shores.
In 2018, he uploaded his first timelapse video from Taiwan to YouTube, followed by two more in 2019, all shot in 4K ultra high definition.
The videos feature famous landscapes such as the “Sea of Clouds” seen from the peak of Hehuanshan (合歡山), the sunrise seen from Longpan Park in Kenting (墾丁) in Pingtung County and Sun Moon Lake (日月潭). was filmed in Nantou County).
The videos were created accidentally, Phong said.
He broke three of his teeth in a traffic accident during summer vacation between his sophomore and junior years.
He was forced to stay in bed for three weeks while his family in Malaysia pressured him to sell his equipment and give up photography, he said.
Angered and running out of time, Phong compiled the materials he had collected over a year into a video and uploaded it to YouTube.
To his surprise, the videos went viral on Facebook travel pages and he soon attracted attention from Taiwanese and Malaysian media, reassuring his family members and convincing them to support him in his endeavours.
After the success, he re-edited the footage and re-released it in higher resolution, Phong said.
In 2020, before leaving for New Zealand to continue his studies, Phong uploaded the video Taiwan to YouTube and garnered 2.61 million views.
Phong said he promised to return to Taiwan last year after being praised by Taiwanese.
After spending the last year and a half traveling around Taiwan and taking photos, Phong uploaded Taiwan II on Aug. 12.
While some of the scenes are taken from older footage, the majority of the video features new imagery from across the country, such as fireflies and fireworks.
Phong said he circumnavigated Taiwan probably 100 times and traveled more than 100,000 km to capture the images for his four videos.
He said he climbed Hehuanshan at least 200 times as it is his favorite filming spot.
As city and county governments recognized his work, he was able to gain access to areas that required special permits, such as Heping Island Park (和平島公園) in Keelung.
While his alma mater in Taiwan helped him get a visa during the COVID-19 pandemic, the visa’s short duration forced him to extend it seven times, which eventually left him close to deportation.
Phong said he secured a work visa in February to work long-term in Taiwan, adding he wanted to capture as much of the country’s beauty as possible.
“Loving Taiwan is not a slogan, but a measure to be taken,” he said.
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