Food Waste Bins

Nikon D7500, Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR

Food waste should be put into small yellow bags sold by the government and then deposited into these yellow bins that can be found all over the country. The smell from these can get very bad, especially in summer.

For those of you interested, the Nikon D7500 is one of the best digital cameras I’ve ever owned. Easy to use, lots of features, lightweight, fast and accurate autofocus, and excellent image quality. And I don’t know why anyone is paying big money for a zoom lens on an everyday camera. The cheap-o 18-55mm VR lens that comes as part of a kit with entry level cameras is brilliant. Super sharp, compact, and focuses quickly and silently. Both lens and camera highly recommended.

Street Details

Creating portfolio pages is a hassle on WordPress even though there are a number of photography templates. Adding photos is time consuming and I am rarely happy with the layout. Making albums and browsing on Flickr, however, is easy. I can make an album in just a couple of minutes and the layout is automatic and pleasing.
I removed the portfolios from this website after comparing the two and made a new page with a simple listing all my Flickr albums. The new album list is here.

My newest portfolio is of things I see while walking around the streets of Korea. Have a look if you have some time.

Street Details

Wooden Pallet, Anmok.

Early Morning Seashore (and one from downtown)

Last week during a two day break in the monsoon rains I got up before sunrise and went out to the seashore to make some photos in the morning light. The sun rises around 5:30 and by 7 or 7:30 the light becomes harsh and the temperature uncomfortable, so it’s important to be out as early as possible.

I started out at Gangmun, which is where Gyeongpo Lake empties into the sea through a very short river. Across the mouth of the river is a pedestrian tourist bridge that is unnecessary for traffic but draws crowds and their money. Servicing the visitors are a famous hamburger place, coffee shops, and sashimi restaurants. It’s nice to be there early in the morning because the uncomfortably large crowds don’t show up until 10:00 or so.

From the bridge you can, according to a sign, throw coins or precious items into this bowl and make a wish. People throw the usual coins, but, curiously, many people also throw their lighters into the sand. Having lighters count as precious items says something about the sanctity and importance of the smoking culture. I wish I was joking. A No Smoking sign here is seen by many as a human rights violation.

There were a few people besides myself exercising or enjoying the cool sea air. This lady read the information about the bridge and then made a photo of it.

One of many cafés in the area.

You can walk part of the way out on this breakwater. People climb out over the rails to fish, though you are not supposed to.

After I had enough of Gangmun, I walked up the boardwalk towards the next tourist area. Which is more cafés and sashimi restaurants, but also hotels. Pulled up on the beach here and there were fibreglass(?) speedboats used to thrill tourists out on the water with constant sharp turns, tight circles, and jumps over the wake of the boat.

I saved 4,000 Won at this photo booth by taking a picture of myself in the mirror outside.

In the foreground is the Gyeongpo Emerald Beach Hotel and in the background is the larger and fancier Hyundai Hotel. When I got home and enlarged this photo to check for sharpness, I realised that the woman on the balcony was giving me the look of death.

I quickly got bored of hotels, so I returned to Gangmun. This is the original bridge over the river mouth and it carries cars and has sidewalks on both sides. But it’s not something you’d put in a guidebook to Gangneung. (Are guidebooks published anymore?). The somewhat Fairyland building on the left is a pension and I’m not sure what the buildings on the right are.

It was starting to get hot and bright by the time I made my way to a convenience store for a tin of cold, sweet, milky coffee. As you can tell by the blown-out sky and deep shadows. I downed my coffee, made this photo, and left Gangmun.

I wanted to go directly home and turn on the air-conditioning, but I had things to do downtown. Unfortunately, most shops don’t open until ten in the morning, not even the big supermarkets. So I wandered the shady sides of the streets for a while until I could do my shopping. It was getting so warm that I wasn’t in the mood for photography anymore, but I did make one photo of a plastic pallet and some tarps.

I haven’t been able to get up at 5 since that trip to Gangmun, so my next post might take a while to appear . . . . 🙂

Two of the Same Thing

Venetian Mask Fridge Magnet

Over a month of bloody rain, but last night it stopped and this morning I got up at 5 and was at the seashore before 6. The above photo looks very un-coastal, you are thinking. I only brought the F6 with me this morning and used up a roll of Ektachrome 100 and a bit of Kodak Gold 200. It’ll be a few weeks before I use up the rest of the film in the fridge and send it off, so no watery subjects in the blog post today.

But,

This afternoon I was trying not to fall asleep (I don’t usually get up before the sun and my body wanted revenge) so I decided to try a bit of still life. I had a stool I wanted to use as a background because it’s neutral and then something colourful to put on top of it for contrast. On the fridge was this magnet a former student brought me back from Venice when she was there a few years ago. First I used the F6 to photograph it and then I brought out the D810. It’s no work of art, but it was a good way to spend half an hour and come back to life.

The photo above is the NEF file as interpreted by Lightroom with auto white balance and a bit of sharpening and clarity. I’m not completely happy with how it looks. Below is the JPG straight from the camera:

I think the camera does a much better job, don’t you? I’m not great at processing photos on computer . . . . and don’t especially want to be.

New Gallery

I have a small collection of square black and white photographs I made of historical sites around Gangneung. I used the Fujifilm X-T3, but I sold that last week so it seems unlikely I’ll be adding any more photos to that portfolio. Therefore, I decided to choose my favourite photos and make a gallery on this website. I also made an album using the same photos over on Flickr. I recommend viewing the photos on Flickr because they are full quality over there.

Pavilion Roof and Tree, Gulsan Temple Site.

Getting Out

It doesn’t seem like the rainy season this year will ever end. It’s been raining for several weeks and I’m starting to feel trapped inside the apartment. If we didn’t have an air conditioner to deal with the high temperatures and humidity I’d be a lot more miserable than I am.
Truth be told, there are many things I can do at home. I can watch videos, read, write, organise my bookshelf, play with the cat, and so on. But my favourite thing to do is make photographs, and that, for me, is best done outside. Otherwise, I end up making photos of myself in the toilet roll dispenser . . . .

Self-Portrait with Headphones

I did manage to get out one afternoon for a walk with a camera about two weeks ago in between rainy periods. I like two of the photos enough to share here.

Daejong Transport Company

Behind the buildings in the reflection you can see the hill has been cut away to make room for this commercial property and another one next to it. It’s been happening on this road quite a lot recently, and some hiking trails have been ruined. I once met an elementary school principal who said that she would like to cut down every hill and mountain in Korea and use the rock and soil to enlarge the peninsula. I wonder if she became a real estate developer after retiring . . . .

Escaped Goat

The constant rain is probably great for these goats who have lots of nice green plants to eat. I hope this guy got his fill before someone noticed him and chained him up again.

I complain about the weather, but it’s only preventing me from getting out and pressing the shutter button. Many parts of Korea, China, and Japan are experiencing bad floods, loss of life, and property damage. I really have to consider myself lucky that I’m not dealing with anything more serious than boredom.

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.