One lovely overcast day I took a taxi to the Gyeongpo Prickly Water Lily Wetland Park. That’s quite a mouthful. I usually just call it the Wetland Park. It’s a scenic area to the north of (and connected to) Gyeongpo Lake. I like it more than Gyeongpo Lake because there are no tourist-friendly amenities like coffee shops and rental bikes. That means fewer tourists bother visiting. Which is fine by me.
The camera of the day was the Nikon D810 with the usual 28, 50, and 85mmm lenses. I also brought a 180mm lens but couldn’t do anything with it.
I had a good time in Gyeongpo and the light was still good, so I took a taxi to one end of Geumsan Village and walked up through.
It was a successful day out. I made some photos that I’m please with, I got some fresh air, and I had a bit of picnic in the countryside. Paid a bit of a fortune in taxi fares, but it was worth it.
The summer weather was miserable. When it wasn’t hot enough to split rocks it was pissing down rain. I hadn’t been able to get out with the camera for a long time and my shutter finger was itching.
One day at the end of August the rain was not falling too heavily so I decided to go for a walk around the countryside just to get out of the apartment for a while. I naturally wanted to bring a camera, but I was tired of making photos of the same things over and over with the same results. With no car, changing my geographic location wasn’t much of an option, so I decided to change how I made the photos. I left my SLRs at home and brought my phone with me. I turned on the Hipstamatic application and went for my walk.
I wouldn’t use Hipstamatic for all my photography, but I do enjoy making photos with it sometimes. The wide angle, the odd colours, and the unpredictable nature of the results make for fun photo sessions. And it helped to get me out of my photographic slump by helping me see overly familiar surroundings in a new way.
I’ve seen good results online from this Kodak cinema film, but my scans came back very greenish and it was a hassle to make them look any good. This was the only decent frame from the roll. Oof.
Ilford’s Ortho Plus 80 became available in Korea a while ago and I bought a roll to see what it’s like. I read that it darkens reds and lightens greens and blues. I also read that an orthographic film was used for last year’s film “The Lighthouse” to great effect. But the film makers used cyan filters and many lighting tricks to get their effect. I have no filters and no lights except for what comes from the sky. But I was curious . . . .
I made a couple of photos at Anmok. I like this, but it needs another ceiling light on the left, I think. My ghost is on the far right.
This raised platform is a photo zone, where friends and couple take pictures of themselves. The O is a seat. You can see the sky and sea are very light. I don’t know if this is an effect of the film or a high exposure to lighten the cans and cups. Anmok beach (most beaches) look like rubbish tips in the early mornings before cleaning crews show up to take it all away.
Later, or another day, I went for a walk in my neighbourhood. One second you are in a soul-less apartment complex and the next second you’re walking next to a field of green onions. I’m lucky to live so close to the countryside and I hope it doesn’t all become concrete.
This is my favourite photograph from the roll, but I can’t explain why.
This needs a bit more clipped off the left. I just noticed it, but I’m too lazy to go back and do it now. This is already a heavy crop from 35mm film and I doubt I’ll print it. If I remember, I should see if any of my digital cameras have a panorama function. I could go out with a long lens and try to do this scene at high quality.
Around the countryside and hills are sheds where people (usually retired men) sit and watch for signs of forest fires. Each shed has a kerosene stove, a kettle, a few things for making coffee and tea, and, almost inevitably, a knackered chair.
I also like this photo of a bicycle behind a fence. The fence is a very ugly green, so this is a scene that calls for black and white film.
Another pretty good one, I think. I’m pleased with it. I have a colour version, but this is much better.
I won’t buy this film again. It’s good film. It has lovely contrast and very fine grain, but regular black and white film would serve me just as well. Also, it’s a bit more expensive than, say, Delta 100. Still, it’s nice that companies like Ilford are making new products in the digital age. If you have a film camera, buy a roll and see if you like it or not.
I went back to Gangmun with a roll of Kodak Ultramax 400 in my camera about a week after I visited the week before. I ordered the film because I read that it can handle very strong contrast, like you find on summer days. I needn’t have worried about the latitude of the film because I used it in the early morning when the light was good.
This isn’t a great photograph, but I mentioned last time that fishing boats used the harbour so I thought I would share a photo of one going about its business. The building in the background is a hotel convention centre.
I imagine that later in the day these fish ended up on someone’s plate with leafy vegetables.
This thin building is probably a pension. It’s difficult to avoid wires when you’re photographing in urban areas, so I try to include them artfully in my compositions when I can.
The side of an old building off the main street. If tourists can’t see it, then there’s no need to make it pretty. Which is great for photographers . . . .
The Chinese character on this door, and the name of the café means ‘door’ (‘mun’). The cloth on the wooden door frame inside says, “House of Pyo, Door Open”. This coffee shop probably gets its name from Gangmun, which means ‘River Door’, or, more naturally, ‘River Gate’. Or even more naturally, even if it’s not a faithful translation, ‘River Mouth’.
I like the colours and tones from the Kodak Ultramax 400 film. And the price is good, too. A shame it’s a bit too grainy for enlargements. Still, should be fine up to 10×8, what? And grain doesn’t show up in prints like it does on a computer screen.
I keep film on hand for when the urge to use it comes over me. Last month I put a roll of Kodak Ektachrome 100 in my Nikon F6 and went to Gangmun.
As I may have mentioned before, Gyeongpo Lake is drained by a very short river (a couple of hundred metres?) that empties into the sea. A couple of breakwaters turn the mouth of the river (‘Gangmun’ means ‘river gate’) into a small harbour. There is a dock for fishing boats and you can usually find anglers at one end of the dock trying to catch the little fish that live in harbour. This bicycle probably belongs to someone trying his luck with a pole.
I’ve photographed this bridge a hundred times at least, but I think this was the first time I discovered this angle. It amazes me what a difference a tiny detail can make to a photograph. I probably wouldn’t be sharing this photo without the sliver of rail in the bottom left corner of the photo. It’s the support for the whole left side of the photo and I don’t think the picture would work without it. Opinions may differ. You may think nothing could save this photograph. 🙂
Korea’s coast is full of fishing villages and all those fishers need the help of the spirits to come home safely every day with a good catch. I don’t know how often rituals were held in the past, but once a year (every two years?) a big ritual is held here with lots of gongs and shouty singing by a shaman, who is almost always a woman in Korea. I went one year and it was a noisy affair. Maybe the cacophony scares the evil spirits away.
This chair is in front of the convenience store where I came to get a tin of drink when the air started to warm up. I’ve photographed this chair on a number of trips to Gangmun. The owner of the shop probably thinks I’m mental.
Many fishing villages are becoming coffee towns, and Gangmun is no exception. The lower two floors of this interesting building are a coffee shop and the upper two floors are a pension. I like the little bit of yellow in the corner balancing the larger area of the blue sky. You might be able to see little black specks throughout the frame. At first I thought the lab had screwed up or I had a dirty lens, but a close-up view on computer revealed that all those spots are dragonflies.
The pension was frame 34 on the roll of Ektachrome and the next two photos weren’t that good. The day was heating up so I put the camera in my bag and went home. But I went back the next week with some negative film. Photos coming soon . . . .