Moving Pictures

Scenes from the seaside

I have to make video classes for my students because they aren’t yet allowed to come to university. It’s easily three times as much work as preparing for regular classes and I hate looking at myself in the monitor for hours on end.(1) I think I once read that you can drive yourself mad by staring at yourself in a mirror. I can tell you that looking at yourself on a video screen has the same effect. Ugh.

So, to take a break from making videos I went out to the seaside the other day and . . . made a video. I’m not in it, so it’s not too bad. I’m pleased with this first attempt, though it’s not very exciting. I basically made my usual photographs but timed the video so that things came into and out of the frame. I haven’t attempted any camera movements yet so the scenes are a bit static. Still, it’s good fun to make and I want to try again. I hope you enjoy my first go at moving pictures.

(1) I shouldn’t complain. Lots of people around the world aren’t working right now and can’t leave their homes.

What’s Missing?

Bus Parked Under Ponam Bridge

There are things to like about this photograph. The layers of light and shadow from top to bottom, the brake lights of the bus peeking out of the darkness like a cat under a blanket, the relative simplicity of the composition, and, um, it’s level.

But it’s boring. Flat. Static. There’s something missing that would turn this decent photo into a good or very good photo. But I couldn’t see it when I was there pressing the shutter button. I saw a bus, a bridge, the light and shadows, the apartments in the background, and the brake lights in the patch of light. There was something there, I’m sure, that I could have included or excluded to transform this bit of documetary into art. But I’m not skilled enough to find it.

How do I get to that level? Keep looking at great photographs, I guess. And maybe I need to spend more time looking at a scene before photographing it. When I was younger I could sometimes get a good poem to appear by staring at a blank sheet of paper for half an hour. (Being hopped up on many mugs of sugary tea probably helped as well). I just need to stare at things more.

The next time I go out I’ll make a point of choosing just one subject and working on it for more than a minute like I usually do. And bring some tea . . . .

Extremes

Transport Company Parking Lot

I noticed these vehicles on a walk a while ago and was drawn to the scene by the contrast between them. I can imagine the truck driver coming back to Gangneung after an exhausting long haul and zipping off home in the sporty electric car.

The Man in the Moon is . . . a Rabbit.

Bas-relief of rabbits pounding rice for rice cakes, Hoesan Mill

Across the road from my apartment complex is a mill that makes rice cakes. Above the door is this carving of two rabbits pounding rice into rice flour to make the traditional snack. Why rabbits? Westerners see a man in the moon, but East Asians see a rabbit using a pestle and mortar. In China the rabbit is making an elexir of life, but in Korea and Japan the rabbit is making flour for rice cakes.

View From the Kitchen Window

Hoesan Village in Winter

Each apartment in my complex has two views. Some apartments have a view of an apartment building in the same complex and a view of the apartment complex across the road. Some apartments have a view of a neighbouring apartment building and a view of a scene similar to the one above. The units in my location of the complex are the only ones where you can’t see any other apartment buildings (unles you stick your head out the window and look hard left or right). We have the view above, and we have a view of a dale and hills. We can only hope it’s not all bulldozed and replaced with coffee shops and convenience stores.