Last week I took a trip down to Busan in hopes of capturing the summer fog rolling in from the sea. I had seen some great images by my buddy Pete DeMarco and other talented photographers in Korea, but as always when I visit Busan, the weather just didn’t cooperate. After 3 days of driving around, scouting locations, hiking mountains, and camping on beaches in the summer heat, I felt like it just wasn’t going to work out this time. So I headed a bit north to Kyungju, also known as “the museum without walls”, according to Lonely Planet anyway. As the nickname suggests the city is full of temples, palaces, royal tombs, and other historical and cultural attractions, but it was the sea that called my name, the same sea that I visited some three years ago with my buddy JongYoung.
Surreal Ride on the Tancheon
Bicycling and photography – two of my greatest passions. It’s so nice to have interests that go well together.
Now that the weather’s warmed up here in Seoul I’ve been spending most of my free time exploring the tributaries of the Han River, including the Anyangcheon, Tancheon, and Hongjecheons on my bicycle. I highly recommend it to anyone living in Seoul, and especially to photographers. There are so many wonderful places that are very difficult to access by any other means of transportation. These tributaries are much less crowded than the main path around the Han, and on my recent trips I noticed that they have a lot of elements that I look for when composing infrared photographs: an abundance of greenery, water for contrast and reflections, and a nice mix of beauty and signs of decay/abandonment. Now, I just had to wait for a day with the final and probably most important element that I need – clouds! I finally got the right day this past Sunday, and for anyone living in Seoul you know that these opportunities don’t come often. So I suited up in my nerd gear and headed to the Tancheon and Yangjaecheon (which branches off from the Tancheon).
A FUN day in the life
Life has been a bit hot and bothered around here as of late. I guess unlike most I get depressed when the weather starts heating up as I miss roaming the relatively empty streets of winter. The heat and what it brings (mosquitoes, crowds, sweat, enhanced summer street stench) really gets to me. I don’t know how you people do it. Photography, which is a pretty big part of my life as you may know, has been quite frustrating as well. Over the past few months I have been working on several “paid” jobs and projects for companies and magazines around the world. “Paid? What’s frustrating about that?” Well, let me tell you – it’s always the same with these guys:
Foggy Morning by the River
Saturday, February 16th started out like most Saturdays for me with the alarm clock going off at 5 am. I took Holly off for a walk and had a look around to see if the conditions were pack-up-the-gear-and-head-out-for-a-shoot worthy. It was kind of fifty fifty, and the cold air was pushing that more towards the “No” needle. But I hadn’t been out to shoot for a while and was feeling the urge to go down to the river and see what was going on. We got down there probably about an hour or so before sunrise, saw some things, drank some coffee, took some shots, but it was extremely overcast and didn’t seem like anything special was going to take place. As sunrise time approached my body and mind were telling me to go back home but my intuition disagreed and we stuck around. A few minutes later, completely out of nowhere, we were face to face with the “Great Fog of 2016”. The fog rolled in on the river and completely enveloped the city – clinging to the mountainsides, hovering above the river, surrounding buildings and bridges – it was awesome. I had never seen anything like it, and was glad that I followed my gut. I was also happy that I packed my film gear and that it was loaded with black and white film which was the perfect medium to capture the mood of the morning.
Close to Seoul
When most big city people think of landscape photography locations, they tend to think of long excursions far outside of the city that take hours to get to and days to complete. But one advantage of living in a big city such as Seoul, in a relatively small country such as Korea, is that many great locations are not so far away. One thing that always amazes me when I head out of Seoul is the blink of an eye transition from big city to countryside. One minute I’m surrounded by high rise apartments and salarymen, and a few miles down the road I see nothing but rice fields, fermentation pots, clothes drying in the breeze on clotheslines, and farmers. Because of this, there are many wonderful landscape opportunities within an hour of Seoul, and that’s what this post is all about.