Out and About: April 30

I had half-planned to go out making photos somewhere this morning, but by the time I got up the light was too harsh and the wind was starting to blow hard. So I was reduced to making photos of things around the house. That is, my wife’s vest:

Vest and hanger

Around 3:30 the wind died down and some clouds formed. I decided to jump on a bike and go for a ride to get some fresh air. But Amice decided that he wanted to take his constitutional before I did.

Cat Patrol

Roads meant for farmers are usually made of concrete and just one lane wide.The fields in this photo will soon be flooded and planted with rice seedlings. Maybe the rice from this field will feed some of the people living in those flats in the background.

Agricultural Road

I came across my favourite Korean truck, the Kia Ceres. It’s been long out of production, but there are still quite a few being used by farmers around the country. They are four wheel drive and many of them are equipped with small tractor motors under the body that can be used for lots of things including pumping water and pesticides.

Kia Ceres

This space is usually has a tractor parked in it. I saw quite a few tractors in fields today and probably the owner of the tractor was one of them.

Tractor Parking

On a back road I found someone had dumped two or three sackfuls of rice here and there was another large pile off to the side. It was obviously from last year, but hadn’t been hulled or polished. In the background of this photo is an unfinished construction production covered in vines.

Discarded Rice

Nearby was the entrance to hell. Or a shed made from a hothouse and scraps . . . .

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter . . . .

I took the electric bicycle today and made a snapshot of it after photographing the rice and shed.

Need for Speed. And a Recharge . . . .

I crossed the Namdae River to have a look at a shrine in a nice grassy area.

A Home Fit For a Spiritess

An explanation of the shrine is on a sign nearby.

The Daegwallyeong mentioned in the explanation is a mountain pass between the east coast and the rest of Korea. There are protective spirits living up there and you have to wait in line to have a shaman perform rites for you at a shrine up there. Every year before the Dano Festival, a spirit enters a quivering tree and the tree is carried down to Gangneung. The spirit is then housed here until May 3rd on the lunar calendar. The Dano Festival goes back a thousand years or more.
I made a few photos of the shrine before the wind picked up again and I decided to go home.

The Name of the Shrine in Chinese Characters
Not sure about this one . . . .

I’m guessing that equipment for the Dano Festivalis stored in these containers. ‘Je’ means ‘festival’ in the word ‘Danoje’ on the right of the photo.

Channelling Wim Wenders . . . .

Well, that was my bicycle ride around the neighbourhood. I hope you enjoyed the views, if not the photos.

The long way to school

Sometimes I take the indirect route to school that goes past an industrial area, then some fields, and then a neighbourhood of student housing behind the campus. The direct route to my office takes about fifteen minutes on foot and this scenic(?) route takes about forty minutes or so, depending on how many times I stop to photograph something.

There are many things to photograph on this route, from hillside tombs to a cattle shed, to an import car repair centre, to barley fields, to a dead sabre-tooth deer I found on the side of the road one day. It’s an interesting route to school, but not really a pretty one.

This container is a new addition to the scenery. Both ends of the container were tied to thin trees by yellow straps. Were these straps meant to stop the container from tipping over or from sliding down the bit of hill? I stared and stared, but couldn’t figure it out.

These white twigs stood out quite nicely against the new spring growth, which is probably why I was able to notice them while going by on bicycle.

Neat and tidy are not words that often apply to farms. Notice that the whole field has been covered in thin plastic to prevent weeds from growing. In the background is what used to be the fine arts building at my university, until the university decided that the humanities are unprofitable and got rid of every department that doesn’t teach some sort of tangible skill. Turning it into a four year trade school, really.

This photo was made on the way home later in the day. I passed this place on the way to the co-op. It’s called Two Men’s Gangneung Story, and on the sign it says “Seafood & Drinks. Natural House”. It’s a nice change from the grey concrete buildings pubs are usually in, and I like the many colours on the grounds. I don’t like seafood or drinks so it’s unlikely I will ever step foot inside.

All photos were made with the Fujifilm X-T3 and XF27mmF2.8 pancake lens. I used the Classic Chrome simulation with a bit of added vibrance and contrast where needed.

Out and About: April 28

I enjoy looking at the photos people around the world take on their walks, so I thought I would contribute to global understanding(?) by posting some photos I made on a walk today. I walked to work about 8:30 in the morning and then home around 11:30 or so.

I go over a hill to get to the university and this is the view from the top of the hill. That’s quite a nice tree.

Private student housing. I’m not sure what it’s like in other countries, but in Canada people who lived off-campus at my university took rooms here and there around the city. In Korea, whole towns spring up around campuses with nothing in them but bachelor flats, restaurants and bars, and other services students might need like laundromats. Not for Korean students a long walk to school.

The groundskeepers at the university pull carts like this one around to collect garbage.

The sign in the lower right says No Fire No Smoking because there is a huge propane tank inside the fence. I don’t know what the safe distance between a cigarette and a propane tank is, but this smoker doesn’t seem far enough away.

My desk. Textbooks, several figurines of buddhas, a usb chargeable hand fan (gift from a thoughtful student), and a tin of sweet and milky coffee. “Coffee as sweet as falling in first love – always Let’s be together.” Weird, but tasty.

On the way to the co-op after leaving school. The shed is new, I think.

House across the Namdae River.

Field of newly planted green onions.

I hope you enjoyed the views from Gangneung. Maybe I’ll keep doing these. Even if it’s not art, it’ll at least be practice.

Fujifilm X-T3, XF35mmF1.4 R

Amice returning to apartment

Fujifilm X-T3, XF27mmF2.8,

As I have mentioned before, Amice likes to look around the hallway in our building. He looks out the low window, looks up longingly at the high window he can’t jump up to, sniffs the neighbour’s bicycles and strollers, and checks now and then to make sure that I’m still nearby in case something happens. Sometimes the sound of the elevator starting will startle him into running back to the apartment. Usually he just gets bored after a while and strolls back inside. Then he takes a nap to recover from his adventure.

Fomapan 400

Fomapan 400 is a film of questionable quality but indisputable photographic interest. It has an old-fashioned look that I quite like and, despite what some reviewers have written about the film, I’ve never had any bad experiences with it. There were only a couple of keepers from this roll but that’s my fault, not the film’s. The problem was I used a Zeiss Ikon rangefinder and did a lot of cat chasing in low light. That’s something better done with an autofocus digital camera, frankly. Anyway, here are the two I can show you.

Stairwell Window.

The reflection of the apartments in the polished granite outside the window is overexposed but doesn’t look bad. When digital goes over its highlight limit it often looks awful, though this is improving with each new advance in sensor technology.

Hallway Stroll

Amice likes to take strolls in the hallway of our building and on this day I took the camera out with me to make some photos. I gave up chasing him after a few ruined frames, deciding instead to frame this scene and wait for him to walk into it. Low light meant a blurry cat, but it doesn’t detract from the photo.

This is my last film post for a while. Eventually the film bug will bite again and I’ll be loading a camera with some film. Actually, I’ll be loading the F6 with film and enjoying its autofocus and matrix metering. And chasing the cat less . . . .

Ilford HP5+

I don’t know what camera I used this film in, but probably the F6. I say this because the focus is good and I’m positive I didn’t have this film in the F80.

Gateball Tent, Namdae Riverside.

Older people in Korea like to play a game called gateball. It was invented by the Japanese, who wanted to play crouquet but didn’t have the land for it. So they made a similar game to play in a small enclosed area. Senior citizens have been playing this game before and since I came to Gangneung, and a couple of years ago the city must have given them a lot of money to build nice pitches (courts? fields?) and even enclosed a few of them for rainy day games. I’m not interested in playing, but it looks like a pleasant, non-strenuous way to pass a day with friends.

Old House, Hoesan.

This house is in my neighbourhood. Although it’s made of unpainted breeze blocks, it looks well-maintained and someone might still be living in it. I think I will go back and do this photo again because I’m not happy with the tree being right in the middle of the frame.

Gate to Inner Courtyard, Heo Estate.

The remaining photos in this post were made at the Heo Estate, one of my favourite photographic haunts. There’s a lot to photograph, there aren’t many people, and it’s free to enter. The room you see through the gate is the kitchen.

Wall and Doors

I’ve seen doors/windows held open like this before, but traditionally the house owner would use thin rope rather than wire.

Clay Pots

Another photo I want to do over. I was twisted and bent over trying to get this composition. I could crop it, but I’d rather go back and get it right in the camera.


This is my favourite photo from the roll. There’s something neat and calm about it. This scene needs to be in black and white because the plastic wheelbarrow is an awful, faded green.

Footprints and Trough

I don’t know what the concrete trough is for. It seems too small and low to water horses. Maybe it gets filled with water and lilies or something are put in there.

No cat photo this time. The footprint and trough photo was the last frame on the roll.

Kodak Portra 800

Portra 800 is lovely film when used correctly, but I wasted most of this roll on a casual bicycle trip around my neighbourhood. I thought this film went through my Nikon F6, but the camera says no 800 film has been in it. Probably the FM3a, then.
The grain at full size in the scans looks a bit bad, but it doesn’t show up that much in the small versions of the photos on this website. It’s good film and useful in any weather, but it’s expensive so I probably won’t buy it again.

‘Older Brother’ Chicken Steak and Cheese Potatoes

Korea is a Confucian society and thus the names for family relationships are many and complex. For example, in English we just say ‘brother’, but in Korean the word depends on if you are a male or a female and if the sibling is older or younger than you. The word ‘brother’ on this sign is the one used by a woman to address her older brother. It’s also used by women to address boyfriends who are older than them. Sounds weird, but then some male English speakers call their girlfriends ‘mama’ or ‘baby’, which is just as strange/creepy if you think about it.

Abandoned House

Another photo of modern apartments looming over old traditional houses. I’m always keeping an eye out for this sort of scene because it’s so striking.

Electric Bicycle

I think at this point I think I was trying to waste film. There were only a couple of frames left on the roll and I had arrived home.


Last frame on the roll. A worthy subject to end on.


I use film now and then when the urge strikes me, and a couple of weeks ago I had enough exposed film in the fridge to justify the cost of postage to the lab in Seoul. Two rolls of colour negative film, one roll of colour slide film, and two rolls of black and white negative film. I’ll be sharing the better results here over the next couple of weeks. Except for the slide film, which was a disaster. My own fault, of course.
Fujifilm describes FUJICOLOR 200 (always in capitals for some reason) as fine grained, but the grain doesn’t seem especially small or pleasant to me. Maybe it’s the scans. Or maybe it’s relative to other films. Also, on a 4×6 print the grain is probably nearly invisible and most people probably don’t use this film to make large prints. Whatever the case, here are a few photos that probably won’t get printed but that you might enjoy looking at.

Sausage-roll Fingers

First up is the obligatory self-portrait in the mirror to remember what camera the film went through. Something I forgot to do on the other three rolls I used . . . . In case the writing is difficult to see because of the reflection, it’s a Nikon F80 I’m using. The lens is the 28-80mm lens that came with some Nikon film cameras in the past.

Tractor and Fertiliser

I think the fertiliser is some sort of manure, but I didn’t get close to have a look.

Farmer’s Shed

Shipping containers get cut up and used for many kinds of sheds, security offices, and other shelters that need to be cheap and strong. Soul-crushing grey seems to be the favourite colour. Actually, are containers cheap? I have no idea how much a shipping container costs.

Unused House

A wide angle makes this old house look even droopier and sadder than it is.

Moving in/out
View from 3rd floor hallway

I’ve done several versions of this photo on various cameras. I’ll get it right someday . . . .


I’ll end with a photo of my cat, because a photo of a cat is the best way to end any blog post.

I like the tones and colours of film, but don’t care much for the hassle and expense. I’ll stick to digital for the most part, but it’s nice to have the option of taking out a film camera now and then and making some photos.

Central Market

These two photos are not going into my Print Queue, but I thought they might be of interest to people who don’t live here.

Van Driving Through Market Area, Gangneung.

This may actually be Seongnam Market, not Central Market. The two are right next to each other and don’t have any dividing line that I can see. Seongnam Market has more seafood than Central Market and I don’t walk through that area if I can avoid it. The overhangs were installed during the second-last market makeover, when the city (or market managers) put glass roofs over the narrow streets inside the market area.
The shops along this street sell everything from pots to tofu to curtains. A few years ago the city government put sidewalks along the sides of the streets, but shops quickly took them over as extra display space and any empty spots get taken over by people parking their vehicles.

Sidwalk Vendors, Central Market.

This road is at the edge of the market and Gangneung downtown. Early in the morning large numbers of vendors, including these sidewalk squatters, will show up to sell things. Some come in pickup trucks to sell things like chillies wholesale and retail, while others show up with a few vegetables wrapped in a cloth that serves as their display. Most of these vendors are gone by 8:30 or so.
When I first came to Gangneung the high street sidewalks were crowded with older women selling things like the people pictured here. It was a bit of a chore to get around because the sidewalks are quite narrow, even today. The city wanted to get rid of them, but settled on moving them to middle of the narrow streets of Central Market, where they are still a chore to get around.

Chair and Cars

Parking Lot, Gangmun.

This photograph would have been black and white even if I had used a colour setting. Most vehicles in Korea are black, white, or silver.
The KT&G mark on the back of the chair means “Korea Tobacco and Ginseng”. Oh, sorry, the company changed its name to “Korea Tomorrow and Global” Corporation. It used to be a government-owned company, but was privatised when the government realised they probably shouldn’t run anti-smoking ads on television and sell tobacco at the same time.