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Talk of the Day -- Amazing bird images hit bookstores

Talk of the Day -- Amazing bird images hit bookstores

John Soong, a computer software programmer-turned-photographer, has uploaded more than 700 photos featuring local birds and their nests or natural environs on the photo-sharing website Flickr since 2006. The images have attracted over 3 million hits from bird fans around the world in the past six years. Many international news media outlets, including Britain's Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, have on many occasions used his works. A number of foreign Internet users have left messages on the website, saying they look forward to visiting Taiwan to see for themselves the beautiful bird species and their living environments. "John, your country is like a garden," one Danish netizen wrote, and "amazing" is the word most commonly used by foreign web users to describe their feelings about seeing Soong's wonderful images. Pundits say the enthusiastic response to Soong's photos can be seen as Soong's alternative way of promoting Taiwan. A collection of 108 bird images, titled "Flying Feathers of Formosa," has recently been published by CommonWealth Publishing Group. All the pictures in the book come with both Chinese and English captions. The following are excerpts from the local media coverage of interviews with Soong: China Times: An avid birdwatcher, Soong said in a recent interview that he originally took birding as a hobby to help reduce work stress. The hobby unexpectedly gave him enormous inspiration, he said. "When I stay hidden in the bush watching birds feeding, I feel that birds lead a humble life in a down-to-earth manner. In contrast, human being has depleted a large quantity of natural resources, but has failed to bring the world much hope and happiness," Soong said, adding that he feels the mankind should learn from nature and should not make the world too complicated. Soong, 49, studied violin in his childhood. His family originally planned to send him to Vienna to study music, but he rejected such an arrangement. He ended up graduated from Soochow University's computer science department. He ran a computer software company for almost two decades, but took great interest in literature, arts and photography. Six years ago, he decided to dedicate himself to birdwatching and bird photography. "The work usually requires long wait. I have learned to stop thinking...I just regard myself as a devoted farmer who respect nature and mingle with nature," Soong said. In his view, Soong said, each photograph is a glimpse into the tiny world of a creature constantly on the move. "I have always tried hard to embrace the bird's feelings and reflected such experiences in the photos," Soong said, adding that every picture has a story. Soong has engaged in birding diplomacy with global web users with his photographs of local birds. As he took bird pictures from an artistic perspective, he has held the world understand Taiwan is a beautiful country, local art critics said. Taiwan is also a bird paradise, with the world's second highest species variation. In 2011 alone, 589 bird species were spotted in Taiwan. (Jan. 9, 2012). (By Sofia Wu)


Updated : 2021-03-02 05:58 GMT+08:00