WTF?! (Where’s The Film?!)

Jim Grey of Down the Road compiles an annual list of film photography blogs you should follow and this year I made the list. I’m honoured, but slightly embarrassed because most of my photography these days is digital. Still, a photo is a photo, right? I hope you won’t be disappointed by the paucity of film photographs if you came to this website by following the link from Jim’s list. Even if you are, please come back now and then to have a look at what I’ve been seeing, regardless of the medium. I’m still using film now and then, so film photos will be showing up from time to time.

Bus 220 to Downtown

This photo was made with a Fujifilm X-T3 (film’s in the name!) on a wet, gloomy day a couple of weeks ago. The back seats of Korean buses are quite high because they sit over the engine. I managed to photograph the back window a couple of times before a young woman scarpered out of her lower and more comfortable seat into the back bench when a group of grannies got on at an apartment complex and started rushing the chairs. I always sit right at the back of the bus because the step is high and I’m not in danger of having to give up my seat to the elderly, who can’t get up there. I know, horrible person . . . .

Bakery Trays

A downtown bakery stores its delivery trays behind this shutter. It’s right at a crosswalk, so I sometimes photograph this scene while waiting for the light to change, getting many “What’s that mad foreigner up to?” looks. Well, I often get that look regardless of what I’m doing, so I may as well do what I like . . . .

You can stop reading now if you only came to look at a couple of snaps and don’t care about cameras.

These are very likely the last photographs you’ll see from the Fujifilm X-T3 on this website. It’s a fine camera, but I find these days that EVFs are making my eyes tired. So I decided to get rid of it and buy something with an optical viewfinder. Not only that, I wanted to reduce my camera collection to a bare minimum that I would use. The ideal kit I had in mind would consist of a film camera, a high megapixel digital camera with primes for slow and thoughtful photography, and a small and light camera with a zoom for travel and putting in my bag every day. I started selling and buying, and when the dust settled I had three Nikon cameras on my shelf. An F6 with 28, 50, 85, and 180mm prime lenses; a D810 that shares the F6 lenses; and a new D7500 with an 18-55mm vibration reduction zoom lens. The D7500 can use the primes, but at a 1.5x crop. I probably won’t bother. I bought a standard prime for the D7500 for those times when I want something light and simple.

I’m in a bit of a photographic slump at the moment (my previous post was almost a month ago), but when the rainy season ends I hope to be out and about with the new camera getting used to it and, with luck, producing some photos worth sharing.


It’s Gangmun again, but this time I went with a film rangefinder and some black and white film. So, the same, but not. The Zeiss Ikon rangefinder is a lovely machine, but it doesn’t really suit my photographic style. I like very precise compositions and that’s difficult to do with a rangefinder. But I had a good time with it and the 50mm lens.

A speedboat used to give tourists thrills out on the water is pulled far up on the beach.
A crane looks for fish near a statue with ducks where tourists toss coins for good luck.
Part of the breakwaater at Gangmun.
Building for Holding Maritime Shaman Rites, Gangmun.

Until next time . . . .

Heo Estate (Again)

Anyone who looks at this website with any regularity is probably getting tired of the same three locations. So am I. I haven’t taken the camera out for about a week to do any photography and in a few days I’ll be out of photos to share here. Yesterday I read somewhere, “If it’s not fun anymore, don’t do it.” I’m not going to give up photography because it’s something that I really enjoy. But I need to think of new things to photograph and ways to travel to those new things. When you don’t have a vehicle, your options are limited. Maybe I just need time to look at the same old locations in new ways. Not picking up the camera for a while might be the way to do this.

Anyway, here are a few photos from the Heo Estate on Portra 400 film.

View from Inside the Gatehouse.
Sarangchae, the men’s quarters.
A small gate dividing sections of the compound.
Safety and Security
Part of the servants’ quarters (I think).


It’s about a fifteen minute drive to Seongyojang from my apartment if you have your own vehicle, but takes almost two hours by bus. There are few buses to that part of town, even though it’s a tourist area. Tourists have their own cars, I guess.

It’s probably best it’s inconvenient to get to Seongyojang because the entrance fee is expensive. Lots of public historical sites are free or cheap, but this private residence has to make money with much aid from the government.

I’m sad to say this photo is heavily cropped because I didn’t think of a vertical composition until I got home and saw the photo on my computer. The structure in the middle is a chimney. Korean chimneys come up from ground level because the smoke and hot air goes from the kitchen at one of the house to a chimney at the other end of the house, warming the rooms as it passes under them. Much like a Roman hypocaust.

Here is the other end of the hypocaust system. The fire under this pot is what heats the building. Great in winter, but not so good in summer. Some rooms in a traditional Korean house didn’t have underfloor heating so that you could avoid being boiled at the same time as the supper.

A more modern addition to one of the buildings on this housing estate. The owners of this estate were (are?) extremely rich and connected, so they were probably one of the first in Korea to have electricity. Compare to the owner of the convenience store near my house. He is the same age as me and didn’t have electricity until after he entered primary school.

The lack of straight lines in a traditional Korea home seems to be a point of pride for people who tell me about historical architecture. As a photographer who likes rather formal photos, it sometimes drives me batty.

This window has no glass in it, possibly to let out the heat of cooking in the hot Korean summer. I’m not sure what happens during the cold Korean winter.

The scene is slightly spoiled by the Ladies/Gents sign over the left building.

Self-portrait in well. There’s no bucket or anything to draw water, and I think it’s just being used as a nursery for mosquitoes.

These stairs are the beginning of a path that brings you around the circumference of the estate and offers some nice views. Also, a lot of people seem to miss seeing the stairs so the path is quiet and uncrowded.

I was satisfied with some of the photos I made that day at Seongyojang, so I think I’ll go back again when the weather is suitable. There’s also a nice coffee shop that sells tea and cool drinks. It’s done in a traditional Korean style and was empty when I went in. One of the benefits of going to tourist places on weekday mornings.