Is a photo of a tomb suitable for the last post of the year? Too pessimistic? It wasn’t intentional, actually. This just happened to be the last photo I had for sharing from the month of October. Happy New Year.

I see this tomb when I take the long way to university over the hills. The hills here are full of graves and tombs. I don’t know how one goes about getting a burial spot on a hill. Do you have to buy the whole hill? Then how are there public walking paths? Could I just buy a small plot if I wanted to? Could I buy a small plot and then dig a hobbit hole into the hill? I’m not sure I’d want to dig much on a hill with graves, though.

Three Star Photos: Side Dish Shop in Central Market

I like this photo, especially the older lady preparing side dishes on the floor in the background. Some older women in Korea do their food preparation on the kitchen floor in their homes, and this woman carried that habit over to the shop. I’m sure these people clean the floor regularly, but they are wearing their shoes in the shop, whereas people don’t wear their shoes inside the home. I like markets, but I wonder how often a health inspector goes through to have a look.
This photo is not going into my portfolio because the woman preparing food in the background isn’t noticeable enough. I had to lighten that part of the photo considerably in software and it’s still not bright enough. So, the photo is a failure, but interesting enough to keep.

Adobe and Fuji up in a tree . . . .

When I first got my Fujifilm X-T3, I tried using RAW files in the camera and then using the Fuji camera settings in Adobe Lightroom. Adobe’s versions of Fuji’s film simulations were close, but didn’t quite match the Fuji tones and colours. Especially for Classic Chrome, which is my favourite setting. So I used JPG files in the camera after that.
Today, however, I tried using RAW again and noticed that Adobe had updated Fuji’s camera profiles to version 2. I made a few test photos using RAW + JPEG in the camera and then using Adobe’s profiles to see if I could get the RAW photos to match the X-T3’s JPEG photos. To my surprise, they matched almost exactly. The colours are certainly indistinguishable to my eye, and Fuji’s RAW photos include lens corrections that are automatically applied in Lightroom. The only difference I can notice is that the RAW photos are ever so slightly darker than Fuji’s JPGs. Not even enough to bother adjusting. There might be a very slight difference in white balance, but I really had to stare while flicking back and forth between photos and it might have been my eyes.
Here are the photos so you can see for yourself.

This is the JPG straight from the camera. Classic Chrome film simulation. ISO 800.

This is the RAW file as Adobe displays it at default settings. It’s good, but I prefer the lower saturation of Classic Chrome.

And here is the RAW file with Adobe’s Fuji Classic Chrome profile applied. Close enough as damnit.

Until I start to spot differences that I didn’t see from my basic test today, I’m going to use RAW in the camera and adjust (just one click, really) in Lightroom. The only disadvantage to using RAW in the camera is that you can only select 3:2 format. To use 1:1 or 16:9 formats you need to select RAW + JPG. Not a big problem.

Out of Water

These two photos don’t have much in common except that they are both somewhat related to water. The first photo is a painting of a fish on a wall that looks very out of place near a tree. The bridge in the second photo goes over water. That’s it.

Some of the alleys in the village of Anmok have been painted with scenes from the sea. It makes a nice change from the usual miserable grey breeze blocks and concrete. The Nikon D810 did a nice job with the colours, but it doesn’t have the Fujifilm magic. I think I made this photo the day before I received my X-T3.

I stood at the end of this pedestrian bridge and waited for interesting people to come to me. I’m not sure how interesting these people are, but they are all well-placed within the frame. I wonder why that child is crying. I made this photo with the X-T3 perhaps the day after I got it, and I was very excited to have a camera that does square format. But I do miss the 5:4 format of the D810 . . . . No pleasing some people . . . .

Three Star Photos: Hungry Cat

On Saturdays I share photos that made it to a five star rating after weeks of editing. (By ‘editing’, I mean selection, not computer manipulation). I have lots of three and four star photos on my computer and in my binders that I haven’t shared here because they have some fault. But sometimes they tell a story that might be worth sharing. So, on Wednesdays, I’m going to start sharing photos that I think might be interesting for some reason. Here’s the first:

 I was walking out of the Son Rock park in Jumunjin when I came across these women having a picnic of raw fish and lettuce on some rocks. That’s not extraordinary at the seaside, but I noticed this cat poke its head out of a crack in the rocks to have a look.

 The cat crawled out of the crack and headed for the women, who told it to bugger off a number of times.

Cats are stubborn, so it sat on a nearby rock and slowly moved closer when it thought they weren’t looking. This woman finally gave in and threw the cat a few bits of fish. The cat looks well fed for a stray, so no doubt it’s made a career of getting kind-hearted tourists to feed it.

So why didn’t I give these photos five stars? The first photo originally had five stars, but I didn’t share or print it because I thought the cat was too small in the frame. Especially when viewed on a website or mobile phone. What made the photo good was that one woman had chopsticks to her mouth and the lettuce was visible in another woman’s hand. Too bad there was no fish on the lettuce, though. The cat looks great coming down the rock in the second photo, but now the chopsticks and lettuce are not in a good position. It’s not so clear what they are doing. The third photo is good, but the piece of fish could be mistaken for a light patch on the rocks. The woman looks like she might be just pointing at something. Also, the third woman’s face is not visible, which annoys me a bit. Anyway, I think they are fine photos for telling the story of this hungry cat and its success.

Obong Confucian School in Sepia

Most cameras and mobile phone applications have a sepia setting for photographs. It often looks overdone. The Nikon D810 allows adjustment to the effect from ‘just a touch’ to ‘just discovered the sepia setting’. For these photos from Obong Confucian School, I turned on Sepia but kept it to the lowest setting. You can decide for yourself if sepia always sucks on digital or not.

I don’t know what is supposed to be on this pedestal. Perhaps something is placed there during ancestral rites. Maybe this is where dunces had to stand hundreds of years ago . . . .
The outside wall and corner of a stele. I like the design of this photo, but I’m not sure if I’ve said anything to the viewer with it. Other than, “Marcus knows how to set up a tripod and use a level.”

Bicycle and Broom

 While I was wandering through the maze of alleys in downtown Gangneung, I noticed an elderly gentleman park his bicycle and go into his house. As I approached the bicycle I noticed this broom stuck into the grating of his house’s window. I say ‘window’, but the glass has been covered with plastic or something. I didn’t go into his yard to make this photo, as you might think. Korean alleys are often formed by garden walls or house walls. Thus, many windows have bars or are covered over to protect privacy. I had to use a wide angle lens to make this photo because the alley is so narrow. I squat down a bit with my back pressed up against the opposite wall to get this framing. Suffering for art . . . .


Jumunjin is an interesting town to visit for photography. There’s the sea, the sandy and rocky beaches, the fish markets (if you can stand the sight of fish, which I can’t), dilapidated neighbourhoods, and a hill neighbourhood that has some interesting views. On a trip last October I stuck mostly to the road that runs along the shore.

To get to the shore from the bus stop, I crossed the hill neighbourhood and made this photo on the way. I was attracted by the odd green bricks and the flower pots perched on top of the wall. Something was attached to the wall before this mail box because there is a paintless patch above it. This mailbox is rusting, so it must have been quite a while ago. Or maybe things rust quickly in the salt air.

Drying fish above drying persimmons. Drying fish are a permanent part of the landscape but the drying fruit only happens in the autumn.

The sign on the far right says, “No Swimming Sign” at top. Below that is a warning about not swimming because it’s not a ‘water play’ area. The smaller sign next to it says it’s illegal to catch or harvest various kinds of sea life. Mostly things that scuba divers like to carry away. The breeze bloack structure is/was a military watch post, though it doesn’t seem to be in use. I looked around for No Photography signs before I made this photo but I didn’t see any. The pole to the left of the watch post gives the name of the walking path, the next tourist destination, and the coordinates of this spot. To the left of the pole is a car parked illegally on the sidewalk.

While waiting for the bus home I noticed this phone booth and the sign behind it. The sign is mostly faded now. The red letters say ‘report’. The full sign says, “If in doubt, look again. If it looks suspicious, report it.” Possibly they mean crime, but it could also mean North Korean spies or infiltrators.

After Thought

The photos in this post were made using my new Fujifilm X-T3. It’s a very complicated camera, and out of the box there is so much information in the viewfinder. A histogram, artificial horizon, film simulation, battery level, photos remaining, metering mode, and so on, and so on, and so on. It’s quite cluttered. It’s a bit of a shock for someone used to a basic film camera like the Zeiss Ikon rangefinder or even a Nikon SLR or DSLR.  All that information is very distracting so I decided to reduce the complexity of my new digital camera to the simplicity of an older camera.
   The first thing I did was to turn off all indicators in the display except shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation. I turned on highlight overeposure blinkies because it’s extremely useful and takes up no room in the display. And that’s it. That’s everything I need to make a photograph. To the function buttons on the camera body I assigned frame ratio (3:2, 16:9, 1:1), artifical horizon, film simulation, AF mode, Grain Effect (On for colour, Off for the Acros simulation which seems to have grain already built in), and Face/Eye Detection. That’s it. I rarely use the function buttons because I stick to Classic Chrome and Acros for my film simulations. Sometimes I change the frame ratio to suit my mood or the subject. Other things I mostly leave alone.
   After about a month or so of using this camera, I finally have it simplified enough to really enjoy it. I don’t have to think about the camera anymore when I’m making photos. It’s a great camera with great colours and beautiful black and white, and I’m glad I shelled out a month’s salary to get it.