iProj 2017: Capturing Moments in Taiwan

By Jae-Hui Song

Jae-Hui Song is a Rover Scout and a contingent member of our 6th International Service Project to Taiwan (iProj, for short). Her role during iProj was as our photographer and photo editor. Below is a compilation of her original photos and her thoughts as she took them.

Without a doubt I can confidently say that iProj was an amazing experience with countless memorable moments. Team bonding and cultural exchange were both important factors that I had been expecting to contribute to my experience with iProj. However, photography was not an aspect of the trip that I expected to contribute to my overall enjoyment of iProj.

An international open forum with 100+ audience members and cultural exchange between Taiwanese and Canadian scouts are some of the many events and examples that I would not have had the opportunity to photograph if not for iProj. One of the most meaningful experiences for me as a photographer was to capture moments where Canadian and Taiwanese scouts would laugh and happily interact with one another, despite the language barrier that we faced. Being able to capture special moments such as these made me realize that the photos from this trip would serve as more than just archival imagery, but images that could later be used to tell a story for people to look back on and cherish.

It was also through iProj where I realized how important photos can be to communicate a message. I always saw photography as an art form to capture a specific moment in time, but I never considered how a photo could communicate a message. Throughout our trip, we used photos to showcase highlights of the day to our audiences on social media and to connect with scouts in Taiwan. Personally, I felt my conversations with Taiwanese scouts were more meaningful when I had the opportunity to share the photos that I had been taking in Taiwan that showed the fun things that we had been doing throughout our trip.

One of the highlights for me as a photographer was capturing exciting and dynamic encounters throughout the day. It was always a pleasure to photograph smiling faces and lively moments because I knew those photos would serve a meaningful purpose as memories to look back on. However, another aspect of photography that I enjoyed was capturing environmental and scenic shots of places that we visited. While environmental and scenic photos may not be able to tell a story without context, they can remind us of the beautiful and amazing places that we visited. By reminiscing over the places that we have visited, I hope one can also remember the unforgettable memories they had made at these locations. As someone who is relatively new to photography, iProj was a huge stepping stone that gave me the opportunity to learn more about the different forms of taking photos and the technical aspects to developing photos. Being able to share photos that captured memorable moments throughout our trip to a wide audience and to see my skills in photography and photo editing significantly improve only added further solidification on my choice of going on this service project.


Rainbow Village is decorated from head to toe in colour, but I was surprised to see that even small decorations, such as the lanterns, were just as colourful as the buildings. It was interesting to see that Rainbow Village has it’s own style of design: fun patterns and vibrant pops of colour with abstract characters. This location was even more memorable because we were accompanied by our scouting friends from Ming Dao High School!


It was the small details in Jiufen that stood out to me the most. I think it is the small details, such as the bamboo railing in the photo above, that gave the extra touch to make even plain paths look like scenes from a storybook.


Knowing that Jiufen inspired the animation for the movie, Spirited Away, I was always on the look out to see which parts were in the film. One big similarity that I saw between Jiufen and Spirited Away was the use of lanterns that decorated the town.


After successfully finishing our Shoreline Cleanup Project, the message of ‘Leave No Trace’ instantly popped into my mind as I felt a little sad to see a building decaying away in the mist of the green that surrounded it.


I was amused to find dried gourds in the middle of our trail nearby the Shuanglianpi Environmental Education Centre. In Korea, they hollow gourds and dry them to use as bowls. I was curious to know if Taiwan used dried gourds for the same reasons.


The Shuanglianpi Environmental Education Centre made me feel very connected to nature. The surroundings felt real and raw. It was pleasant to take moments out of my busy day to stop and breathe in the clean air while enjoying the lush scenery. Read about our environmental projects in Shuanglianpi here!


I always felt so small being towered by tall buildings in Taipei, but seeing the city from the top of Taipei 101 gave me the opposite perspective.


Taroko National Park was a beautiful sight. No matter where you looked, the view was surreal. I was most surprised to see how blue and clear the water was. Check out our adventures in Taroko National Park here!


Something I’m not used to seeing in Vancouver: mass amounts of signs for shops and buildings.


While we did use many forms of transportation, I enjoyed the train ride the most – I felt that this was the best way to take in and view the landscape of Taiwan, as compared to a skytrain, bus, or car ride. I have only rode the train a few times so it was a refreshing experience.

Jae-Hui Song

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