Two Women Near Water

Nadae River Stepping Stone Bridge
Anmok Beach

I have a little bit of a pileup in the ‘Website Photos’ folder on my desktop, so I was thinking of ways to upload more than one photo at a time without seeming too random. Ta-da! Things that begin with W! Oh ho ho . . .

I made the first photo because I thought the woman’s pink jacket would make a nice contrast with and spot of interest in a bare landscape. Korean winters are visually bleak because everything is dead and brown but there’s no snow to cover it up. And most people wear black or dark jackets. So the bright pink jacket of this lady was a welcome sight.

The second photo was a compose and wait situation. I filled most of the frame with this dark brown building (a public washroom. Another W!) and waited for something interesting to fill the bit of space on the left. I didn’t have a tripod with me so my arms got quite tired. I missed a cyclist passing by when I brought the camera down for a second to rest my arms and cursed about it, but I think this young woman in a long black jacket is better suited for the scene because she matches the building. The building looks like something out of a drab dystopian future that creates and releases drably-dressed humans into the landscape. Her shoes are a bit fancy, though, so that image doesn’t really hold up . . . .

Phone Box and Pine

Phone Box and Pine, Anmok Beach

I don’t know if this tree was trimmed to get rid of damaged branches or if the branches had stretched into the way of wires and needed to be cut. It’s an interesting natural sculpture, maybe the kind of prop that Beckett imagined Estragon hanging himself from while waiting for Godot.
I got a number of odd stares while framing and photographing this scene. People looked at me, then the tree, and then the sky beyond, to see if maybe there was an interesting bird or a plane or a superman coming out of the clouds. Nope. Nothing but a much-ignored phone box and a philosophical pine.

Clearing Up After a Flood

Bags full of flood debris, Namdae River

Some weeks ago there was bad flooding in Gangneung. Cars were underwater, roads were closed, and the river deposited a large quantity of branches, reeds, and garbage on the river banks. The city mobilised large numbers of people to clean up the riverside paths and even the military showed up to help. (Korea has military conscription, so essentially has a free labour force to help with disasters, harvesting, and so on). All the dead plant material and garbage went into these large bags to be lifted by crane on to transport trucks to be taken away. It wasn’t long before I was able to ride my bicycle up and down the riverside cycling paths again. Good job, Gangneung City Hall!

Gas Tanks Outside House Window

Residential Propane Tanks, Gangneung

Rubber hoses feed the propane/butane from the two tanks through a selector valve through a steel pipe into what is most likely the kitchen of a house near downtown Gangneung.

This is the sort of setup that I feel nervous walking past, but, on the other hand, provides such an interesting photo opportunity.

Ladder on Wall, 5:4 Format, and Gods

Ladder Hung on Wall, Geumsan Village

There are a lot of run-down houses in the Korean countryside. They look a bit bad seen as a whole, but sometimes these old houses are good for photographing. The photo above is of a wall that serves as both part of the property ‘fence’ and a building. A shed, if I recall correctly. The original concrete wall has been repaired with tacked on siding. I was attracted to this scene by the homemade ladder and the crack on the left. Interestingly, although the wall needs a coat of paint, the ladder seems to be used for painting something, judging by the stains all over it.

I think the nail/bolt/rivet on the far left is important for the composition because it fills an empty space, but it was cut out of the basic scan I had done to see what was on the roll of film. The virtual drum scanner used by my lab in Seoul gets everything on the frame. Speaking of film, this photo was made with Fujifilm Superia Premium 400 in a Nikon F6. For those of you interested, that film is very nice for a 400 speed film, but I think Portra is nicer and for a better price.


I like the colours of my Fujifilm X-T3, but I really miss the 5:4 format option from the Nikon D810. But! Today I discovered a way to indirectly get 5:4 on the X-T3. You can choose to show framing guidelines in the viewfinder. The options are 3×3, 6×4, and HD framing. 6×4 is just one more that 5:4! So, if I ignore the outer half squares of the framing guidelines I get 5×4. Ta-da! A quick snip in Lightroom and I’ve got a nice 5:4 frame, just as Nature intended. I’ve only tried it at home this evening, but I’m looking forward to having a go at it when I’m outside. I could even, I think, put a bit of magic tape over the rear LCD to help me out a bit when framing. Well, let’s see how well I can manage by estimation before sticking things on the camera.

(Above I wrote “as Nature intended”. Which god would photographers worship, I wonder. Are there any gods of sunlight? The Celtic god Lugh seems a good candidate. He’s a god of light, craftsmanship, and the arts. Ask him to bless your light meter the next time you’re out with a camera.)