Elephant Mountain, Taipei: An unforgettable view
The view on Elephant Mountain in Taipei, Taiwan is nothing short of magical. I had wanted to go for a couple years and finally got the chance on May 21st, 2017! My dad and I decided to get there around 5:30PM so we could catch the sunset when we got to the top.
After getting off at Xiangshan station, we followed the signs to the Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan) Hiking Trail; it took about ten minutes by walking to get there.
The hike itself is mostly filled with stairs. When I checked on TripAdvisor before going, people said that there were about 900+ steps to the top. It actually rained a small bit but it started clearing up. The rain actually helped cool us down, but it made the steps slightly slippery. There were some places we could stop and rest at, and a few of those had good views if we looked back.
It took us around fifteen to twenty minutes to reach a very scenic vantage point where some people were at. There are multiple viewpoints, so if there are too many people at one, you can always choose another further down. There was a place with some giant rocks that people climbed on; I saw people perched up there with tripods. My dad and I ended up walking past them and we arrived at the last scenic viewpoint.
We went on a Sunday so I thought there would be a ton of people. There ended up being a good amount, but it wasn't hard to find a good spot to take photos. Someone told me that a lot of photographers were meeting up on a different mountain, so that could have factored in.
The same person also told me how hard it would be to take pictures during New Years. Elephant Mountain has a great view of Taipei 101 (the tallest building in Taiwan), and during New Years, fireworks surround the tower. Some photographers apparently camp out twenty-four hours before the event and even chain their tripods down to secure a spot!
I saw a couple sitting down and admiring the view, so I asked them if I could take a picture of them from the back. They were really nice about it and stayed still for a minute while I framed and captured the scene!
I think this shoot will always be one of my favorites. The view was absolutely incredible. Before reaching the top, I was worried about the rain and the arduous hike, but it all worked out in the end!
On the way back to Xiangshan station, I took some more photos.
Then I ended the night with some long exposures of cars. This one is my favorite, and it's currently one of my favorite photos that I've taken.
Quick tip: use mosquito spray or cream before coming up the mountain. There are a good amount of mosquitoes there and if you stand still for too long, they'll come for a meal. Wearing long pants and long sleeves helps too.