A day at the beach

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.

Coffee Bean Statue, Anmok.

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.

Pine Tree, Anmok.

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.

Two Women Near Water

Nadae River Stepping Stone Bridge
Anmok Beach

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 . . . .

Phone Box and Pine

Phone Box and Pine, Anmok Beach

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.

Horizons

Some time ago I decided in the name of minimalism to not print any more photos and to only look at them on digital devices. But I quickly discarded that decision after decluttering my binders and gathering together my favourite photograph prints. There is really no comparison between a photograph seen on a screen and one held in the hand. A well-exposed photograph looks very good on a website or a tablet, but a photograph printed on good paper by an expert lab loses some of the harshness of the backlit pixel and bring out a photo’s beauty. Is it because pixels on a display are discrete units but dots from a printer run into each other a bit, resulting in a more organic look? I don’t know, and I’m sure others have written about this more knowledgeably than me.

In the interest of maybe showing better photographs here, I recently made it a rule not to post new photographs until I had prints in hand to see which of my pictures really make me happy after going through the complete editing process from camera-to-computer transfer to selecting in an image viewer to getting the prints back from the lab and looking them over again.

But enough about that. Here are four photographs I made at Anmok Beach last month. I used a 16:9 aspect ratio because I thought it matched the wide scenes of the beach. The prints, of course, look nicer than what you see here, but enjoy.

Orange Umbrella, Anmok Beach.
Green Bench, Anmok Beach
Yellow Digger, Anmok Beach
Red Trailer, Anmok Beach

From the Archive: Standing Tall

The organising of my photo archive continues, and I’ve recently finished the 2009 folders. These two photos are similar in composition so I’m posting them at the same time.

Anmok, 2009.

This fellow paused in his walk along the river to stand on a hill and watch the river mouth.

Near Hapyeong Fields, Gangneung, 2009.

I’m not sure three pine trees constitute a copse or a bluff, but some years ago the city planted a number of these near the seaside where most of the tourists come.

I’m ready to start going through my 2010 folders, but the first folder contains hundreds of pictures I made at an English camp for children. It’s going to take hours . . . .

From the Archive – Chair in Anmok Village

Anmok, 2011

I seem to recall carefully setting up a tripod to photograph this chair against the yellowish wall of a run-down fishing tackle shop in Anmok. It was early morning and there were very few people around. As I was making the photo, the owner, an old woman in a loose dress, came out and glared at me. I finished making the photo and scurried off.

Anmok was once a collection of tired houses, raw fish restaurants, and coffee vending machines. Anmok became well-known for the dozens of coffee vending machines lining the main road of the village and it was something to come and see. Developers sniffed out an opportunity, and in a few years the old houses and shops and vending machines were gone, replaced by franchised coffee shops and a Starbucks. There is no charm left in the area now, but money is being made hand over fist by people who may have never even been to the village . . . .

Seagull on Breakwater

Seagull on Breakwater, Anmok Harbour, 2019.

It was a foggy early morning at the harbour and few people were about. Half a dozen men were fishing off the breakwater or down by the water. I’ve seen a sign saying not to fish at the base of the breakwater and not to go out on the tetrapods, but everyone ignores this. There is a coast guard station right next to the water and they never say anything to anybody. Well, not true. The other morning I was looking at the harbour looking for a composition and an officer came out to ask me what I was up to. He was friendly, so no offence taken. He was surprised that I had ridden ten kilometres to come look at the harbour at such an early hour. I was surprised myself . . . .