You may notice a distinct lack of beach in these photographs. I am usually more interested in the things you find around the beach rather than the beach itself. I don’t think I went out to Anmok Beach with any photographic goal in mind, which is why there’s no connection between these two photos. Other than the fact they are both black and white.
This is the top section of a statue built from metal strips. The bottom is a white coffee cup and stacked on top of that are three giant coffee beans. The statue is about twice my height. There is a steady stream of tourists who come to stand in front of it for pictures.
This is a photo Edward Weston might have done if he were much less talented. I like it. I can’t find any glaring errors in composition and the twisted branches are attractive. Bystanders kept looking from me to the tree while I was making this, trying to figure out what I might be photographing.
I don’t remember why I was downtown in the middle of a Monday morning, but I suspect I was heading to the supermarket and dallied to make a few photos. It was a bright morning with no clouds around so contrast was quite high. Since everything was so bright and shiny, I decided to set the camera to vivid mode and get some strong colours.
Power, Internet, and cable lines are all buried on Gangneung’s main streets and tourist areas, but it will probably take some years before that sort of work gets done on side streets. With the clutter of shop signs, it probably won’t look much neater even after the poles are gone.
Although brightly coloured, this sign is quite simple and neat against the brick wall.
A compose and wait photo. It took a few tries to adjust the exposure so that the sunlight on the ground was very bright but not overblown and the shadows were dark but not gone to black. I made about four photos of this woman and then chose the one that showed both her hand and her feet in stride.
All these were made on my Nikon D810 and 50mm 1.8G lens.
Tired of visiting the same places all the time and having no car to find more distant and interesting places, I spent a bit of time on Naver Map looking over Gangneung to see if I had missed any photogenic locations in the area. I came across Namsan (South Mountain) Park which has a pavilion at the top of the hill. I’d been there one spring to see the cherry blossoms, but it’s a bad time to go for photography because there are hundreds of people there also making photographs. Some are middle-aged men with Serious Equipment looking the place over with Serious Expressions trying to get the perfect shot. Most were couples or families taking selfies with mobile phones.
After looking at the map and remembering the pavilion’s existence, I put my camera and tripod in a bag and rode my bicycle there. The park is only about three kilometres from my apartment so I arrived after ten minutes or so. It was November when I visited this time, so instead of pink blossoms on the trees, there were red, yellow, and orange leaves all over the ground. Very nice, but I was interested in making some photos of the pavilion there called Oseong Pavilion. ‘Oseong’ means ‘Five Star’, but I don’t know what the significance of that might be. The pavilion was built in 1927 by a group of men to commemorate their 60th birthdays. I couldn’t find any information about who did the calligraphy hung up around the ceiling. Maybe the fellows who had the pavilion built?
Interestingly, traditional Korean buildings don’t have nails in them. Everything fits together using grooves and joints. The weight of all that timber probably guarantees the roof won’t blow away. I like the red and green colours of Korean buildings called dancheong. You’ll find this colour scheme in pavilions, Confucian buildings, and Buddhist temples. The painting in Oseong Pavilion is quite basic, but the painting at some Buddhist temples can be very elaborate.
I thought I might be alone at the pavilion on a cool November day, but there was an older man there with a camera and a young woman looking for nice leaves on the ground. There are exercise paths on the hill and people in sports clothes were coming and going. I got a bit of exercise myself because I came up the 190 stairs on the north side of the hill. Hats off to the builders who carried all that timber up the hill in 1927.
I have a little bit of a pileup in the ‘Website Photos’ folder on my desktop, so I was thinking of ways to upload more than one photo at a time without seeming too random. Ta-da! Things that begin with W! Oh ho ho . . .
I made the first photo because I thought the woman’s pink jacket would make a nice contrast with and spot of interest in a bare landscape. Korean winters are visually bleak because everything is dead and brown but there’s no snow to cover it up. And most people wear black or dark jackets. So the bright pink jacket of this lady was a welcome sight.
The second photo was a compose and wait situation. I filled most of the frame with this dark brown building (a public washroom. Another W!) and waited for something interesting to fill the bit of space on the left. I didn’t have a tripod with me so my arms got quite tired. I missed a cyclist passing by when I brought the camera down for a second to rest my arms and cursed about it, but I think this young woman in a long black jacket is better suited for the scene because she matches the building. The building looks like something out of a drab dystopian future that creates and releases drably-dressed humans into the landscape. Her shoes are a bit fancy, though, so that image doesn’t really hold up . . . .
I don’t know if this tree was trimmed to get rid of damaged branches or if the branches had stretched into the way of wires and needed to be cut. It’s an interesting natural sculpture, maybe the kind of prop that Beckett imagined Estragon hanging himself from while waiting for Godot. I got a number of odd stares while framing and photographing this scene. People looked at me, then the tree, and then the sky beyond, to see if maybe there was an interesting bird or a plane or a superman coming out of the clouds. Nope. Nothing but a much-ignored phone box and a philosophical pine.
Some weeks ago there was bad flooding in Gangneung. Cars were underwater, roads were closed, and the river deposited a large quantity of branches, reeds, and garbage on the river banks. The city mobilised large numbers of people to clean up the riverside paths and even the military showed up to help. (Korea has military conscription, so essentially has a free labour force to help with disasters, harvesting, and so on). All the dead plant material and garbage went into these large bags to be lifted by crane on to transport trucks to be taken away. It wasn’t long before I was able to ride my bicycle up and down the riverside cycling paths again. Good job, Gangneung City Hall!