Dead Flowers

Dead Flowers. 2006.

We were about to throw away these dead flowers when I had an idea for a photo. I thought they would look interesting as a bouquet against my wife’s winter night dress. Our old apartment had a northeast facing window that let in some nice light for photography.

Singing Man

I was walking through the downtown area of Chuncheon one day long ago and saw this man singing his heart out. I only felt brave enough to make the photo because he was singing with his eyes closed.

Fun at Home

I am still going through the scans I’ve been having done. These two photos were made on a Contax 645 and I was probably using Ilford Delta at the time. I don’t know what the weather was like on the day I made these photos, but I was taking some time to experiment at home.
Tangible Shadows
Why go through all the trouble of putting film in a camera, going out to make photos, developing the film, and then printing it? Just put the film directly into the frame!

Traffic Jam

I used to live in a town called Hyeolli and work in a town called Yanggu, which was about an hour north. Yanggu is close to the border with North Korea and there are lots of military bases and outposts there. If North and South make peace the town of Yanggu might well disappear because there won’t be any soldiers to buy anything.
This was a fairly common sight on my way to work. A convoy of tanks that was difficult to get around when the road wasn’t four lanes. I was in a bus on this particular day, but sometimes I would get stuck behind them in my own vehicle on the narrow road to Yanggu. This photo is, I think, technically illegal because you’re not allowed to make photos of anything concerning the military. That’s probably an impossible rule to enforce now that everyone has a camera in their phone. This photo was made in about 2003, and that wasn’t the case then.
I don’t remember what camera I had. It was either a Nikon F55 or an FM3a, which I purchased around that time. I remember the film was Kodak’s C41 process black and white film. I remember that because the original photo had a brown tint, and that film often went a bit brown, purple, or green. Or was the lab just not very good . . . . ?


I’ve posted photos of the Seongyojang residence before, but here are two black and white film photographs from April 2007.

This is one of my favourite photographs, so I recently got a 50MB scan of the film done. It’s a cherry tree in blossom. Some months ago I went back to this location to make a colour photo of the same scene but it wasn’t possible. I don’t remember what had changed now. The tree was gone? Something had been built next to it? Anyway, some ‘improvement’ for tour groups.

This was the next frame on the roll of film and this building is just around the corner from the cherry tree. The new leaves on the large tree were light green and look almost white in this photo. I tried remaking this photo in colour as well, but I couldn’t seem to be there at the right time for the lovely leaves. The building on the right is always closed and the building on the left is a souvenir shop.

Scanning and Reorganising

Up until the present, I have been organising my photos in folders according to date. This is fine, but it is difficult to find photos according to subject unless I titled, captioned, and gave them keywords. Which has not always been the case. I would like to start putting together albums but photos of, for example, Anmok Beach, are so scattered throughout my film and digital libraries that it takes a very long time to find them. I can use the computer to search through folders, but, as I said, not all photos have captions or keywords. So I’ve decided that I might be better off organisng photographs in subject folders. Then I just have to click the ‘Gangneung Anmok’ folder to quickly see all my photos from that area. All my photos (except very old ones) have the date as part of the file name, so organising by date is simply a matter of simply clicking Sort by Filename in whatever program I’m using. There is actually not much need for keeping photos in folders organised by date.
   Well, we’ll see how that goes. My other big project these days is scanning old film. Not all of it; just those pictures that are memorable or good. I’m also scanning old prints that don’t seem to have originals in film or digital form. I’m not photographing much lately because of the miserable summer weather, so I’ll share some of those older photos here. No works of art – just things that might be interesting to people who don’t live in Korea.

I don’t know when this photo was made, but it was probably the early 2000s. And probably with my first SLR, a Nikon F55 and the kit zoom that came with it. The film was probably something like Fujifilm C200 or whatever the local lab was selling.

This woman was selling gimbap from a tub on top of her head. This was probably made on the same day as the horse picture above. My horizon levelling skills have not improved since the early 2000s. My photos are still often crooked.

I’ll upload photos that might be interesting as I rediscover them in my binders, albums, and hard drive folders. Maybe every day, if I’m diligent.

Wolhwa Park

A train track used to run through Gangneung, but it was removed when the new high speed train rail that takes a different route was put in. The city created a new market and a park in the downtown area where the rail line used to run. The rail bridge is now a pedestrian bridge to the other side of Namdae River. I went there earlier this month to make some photos, especially of the view from the bridge.

This statue is called “Sisters” and stands at the base of the stairs and ramp that goes up to the bridge. I always thought this was a statue of a mother and a boy, but I happened to read the plaque on the day I made this photo.

The view from the side of the bridge closest to downtown. An island of rocks in the river and an island of apartments among smaller buildings.

The same rocks from a spot a little further along the bridge.

The long view from the bridge. The closest bridge is also a pedestrian bridge called “underwater bridge” because in times of bad flooding it gets submerged.

“Sisters” is at the bottom of the stairs and this statue called “Free Time” is at the top. The woman is holding an empty coffee cup and in the background there are coffee shops. Gangneung tourism seems to revolve around beaches and coffee. Both things I don’t like very much. Nice statue, though. Lots of people come to take their photos with the statue.

And there you are. I want to visit this bridge and park a few more times to see if there are any other interesting views. The park is very crowded at weekends and during the vacation season, so I might give it a pass until the weather cools off and the tourists stop coming.

For those of you interested in such things, these photos were made with a Fujifilm X-T3 and the 18-55mm kit lens. They were made by the camera, but not Straight Out Of the Camera. The camera recorded raw files which I then transferred to my computer. Once I deleted the mistakes, et cetera, I connected the camera to the computer and opened Fujifilm X Raw Studio. That program uses the camera to process the raw files into jpg files. I used the Acros film simulation for the black and white photos with +1 warming. The colour photo comes from the classic chrome simulation. So, I chose my ‘film’ after I made the photos. Very convenient. I did a bit of burning in Lightroom on the distant bridge photo but the others are untouched.

Portra 400 + FM3a

I would like to write that this is a photo essay about something something something, but it’s just a few photos from a roll of Portra 400 that I thought were good enough to share.
Sometimes the photo I make to remember the camera I used it at the end of the roll and sometimes it’s the first picture on the roll. In this case it was the first. As you can see (probably), this roll of film was in a Nikon FM3a and I used the Nikkor 45mm F2.8P for at least this photograph and probably more. Although the thin lens paired with the FM3a makes a compact camera kit, the lens can sometimes be a little awkward to use because the aperture and focus rings are so narrow. Also, the focus ring on this lens is quite stiff and it takes a while to focus. Maybe I should give it a second chance and hope it loosens up. Or only photograph stationary subjects. Anyway, it looks great. And that’s important to the people who collect end-of-an-era cameras like this.

Three of the five photos in this post were made on the way to, in, or on the way back from the town of Seongsan south of Gangneung. The town is not much to look at and its claim to fame is having some very good restaurants that people from Gangneung will drive to eat at. I don’t go to the restaurants on my bicycle rides to the town, but I usually stop at a convenience store at the far end of town. I thought this was a pleasant little scene and made the photo while having a tin of Coke. This Billingham bag was expensive, but it’s very good. I wanted the tan canvas version, but it wasn’t available. In fact, the canvas version doesn’t seem to be available in Korea at all. I don’t remember the name of the synthetic fibre this bag is made of, but it’s sturdy. The red and pink flowers in the background are oversaturated, but these colours seem to be difficult to reproduce well on both film and digital.
The first step of this stepping stone bridge is a long one. I wouldn’t try it with anything valuable in my hands. Like an FM3a.

On the way back home I took the short route over a hill and came across this curious three-wheeled motorcycle. Most three-wheelers I see are smaller than this and look like the pan was attached by “a friend of a friend who knows a guy whose middle school senior owns a welding shop now.” This one is quite long and it seems like it was designed to look like this from the beginning. Except for that seat, maybe. That’s quite a throne. Wait a minute, where’s the engine? In that box? That seems strange. Maybe it’s an electric vehicle?

Amice likes to attack my tripod legs when I move it. But when it stops he likes to lie down next to it. A cat I met at an historical site one time did the same thing.
That’s it for this post. The next film photos are a long way away, but I should have some digital photos to post in the near future. 

Market Photographs

There are often interesting things to photograph in the traditional market downtown. Unfortunately, many of the market stalls don’t always follow city regulations and the owners can be very sensitive about people photographing their place of business. I’ve been told a number of times not to make photographs. If I wanted to do a collection of market photographs I would probably have to show up often over a number of weeks and just walk around until the stall owners became used to me. Then maybe they wouldn’t mind the camera so much.
Anyway, I do make the odd photograph now and then if I’m not being stared at. Here are a few I came home with a couple of weeks ago.

If there’s a fire, maybe they can use the water from the tubs to put it out.
Plastic colanders in front of a closed shop. Not much use for putting out fires.
Box for measuring Chinese dates.

Well, a pretty poor haul. Partly because I need more practice photographing markets and partly because I rush when I’m nervous about people watching me.  But it’s now full on tourist season so maybe the vendors are a bit more tolerant of cameras these days. I’ll have to give it another go and try to take my time.

Black and White Cat Arse

Water Dish + Cat Arse = Art

Except for two out of focus photos of my students, this was the only picture on a roll of HP5+ worth keeping. My FM3a was new and I was eager to test it out. This was the first photo I made on the roll. Sometime later I went for a walk in bright light along a boring road and wasted some good film. My apologies to all involved in the film manufacturing, developing, and scanning processes.