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A Life Transformed - An Interview with Insect Photographer Hong-ming Shi

 

Tails and eye-shape stripes on Deudorix epijarbas menesicles's hindwing would form a fake head which is used to mislead birds into attacking it instead of the real head, and give the butterfly a chance to flee.

It had never occurred to Hong-ming Shi
that a total of sixteen years volunteering in Yangmingshan National Park (YMSNP) Headquarters and Shei-Pa National Park (SPNP) Headquarters
would have such an impact on his life.
It is like the eclosion of a bug;
after breaking out of the pupa,
it is reborn with whole-new vitality......

Defying Hardship to Seek Breakthroughs

Before joining the national parks, Shi's social circle had not been as worth mentioning as his hobbies. Though dabbling in many fields (mountaineering, photography, astronomy, etc.) and even working as a mountain guide, he was not a good mixer.

“I used to be really shut-in,” laughed Shi. And he knew he could not go on like this, so he joined the Society of Natural Photography to make friends with the same passion. Then when learning from the radio that YMSNP Headquarters was recruiting volunteers, he decided without a second thought to give it a try.

Yet it turned out to be a far more difficult process than he had expected. First an autobiography was required for all applicants, so Shi had a friend write it for him. After successfully obtaining the job, more difficulties awaited him. Reticent as he was, Shi had a hard time throughout the interpreter training. When it was his turn to go up for a mock guidance, Shi could not utter a single word. “A senior volunteer down there was kind enough for not heckling me; instead, he let me pass by simply reading out an article. Without his kindness, I could not have been where I am now.”

Shi determined to overcome this very weakness of his after that exam. He started by murmuring to himself the interpretation of the flora, insects and landscapes while walking along the park trails; he also attended other guided walks. Errors are inevitable in the beginning, yet practice made perfect. With the accumulation of experience, Shi became more skilled and confident. Then during his second year in YMSNP Headquarters, he joined SPNP Headquarters, also as a volunteer, and shared with visitors the ideas of environmental conservation as well as mountain climbing safety.

The back of Orange Oakleaf (Kallima inachus)'s wings look like a raptor's face, so when it wave the wings the enemies would be scared away.The eclosion of a long-horned grasshopper is a common scene in summer nights. During the process, the tettigoniid would hang upside down on the branch and let its body follow the pull of gravity and slide slowly out of its old case, turning itself into a “grown-up.”
  • upper: Tails and eye-shape stripes on Deudorix epijarbas menesicles's hindwing would form a fake head which is used to mislead birds into attacking it instead of the real head, and give the butterfly a chance to flee.
  • lower left: The back of Orange Oakleaf (Kallima inachus)'s wings look like a raptor's face, so when it wave the wings the enemies would be scared away.
  • lower right: The eclosion of a long-horned grasshopper is a common scene in summer nights. During the process, the tettigoniid would hang upside down on the branch and let its body follow the pull of gravity and slide slowly out of its old case, turning itself into a “grown-up.”

Interview & Text / Wei-ting Lin
Translator / Chunyi Cheng
Special thanks to / Ms. Shu-chun Yu of Interpretation and Education Section, Yangmingshan National Park Headquarters



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