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 . . . .
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.
This taxi company office building is not beautiful or interesting, but I made the photo because it is probably only a matter of time before developers realise they can build apartments or coffee shops on this piece of land and this place will get flattened. I’m not against the tearing down of ugly buildings, but with a slowly shrinking population does Gangneung need more apartment complexes built for the sake of real estate investment?
One of the walks I like to take near my apartment brings me to the riverside. There’s almost no water in the river during the dry winter months, but there is never a shortage of vehicles parked next to it.
The car in the foreground is quite an old model, but the driver must take good care of it because there are no rust spots that I can see. The digger on the flatbed truck isn’t tied down in any way. Maybe it’s not required by law. In the weeks before the start of the Olympics I remember seeing a group of foreign engineers walking past a similar truck and being shocked that the digger in the back wasn’t secured. On the other side of the river there is a shrine dedicated to, if I remember correctly, a local goddess, though I can’t remember who or what she is the goddess of. I should walk over there some day and see if there is anything worth photographing.
I think the slang term for this sort of vehicle is ‘honey truck’. When I lived in a house, one of these would come around twice a year to clean out the septic tank. I remember the guy who did the work was quite jolly. Well, he probably makes a fortune doing the work no one else wants to.
On the way home I made this photo because I liked the clouds above the apartments. These buildings were completed about one year ago, replacing fields. They look like something you would build out of a basic Lego set.
You can tell when a roll of film has been in a camera for a while because of the different subjects in the photographs. A film lab owner once complained to me that some people made so few photos that there were fours seasons on one roll. And that was before digital cameras and smart phones. There is only one season on the roll of Portra 400 I used last month, but there was definitely a variety of scenes. WARNING! A few of them are disturbing.
This is probably just disturbing to electricians and safety inspectors.
This is disturbing to pedestrians and cyclists. I included the ‘R’ in the top left sign reading ‘WONDER’ when I made the photo, but it was cut by the lab. Grrr . . . . The yellow writing on the pavement says ‘tow zone’.
Disturbing to architects? But fun for photographers.
Here are the disturbing photos I mentioned in the introduction. This is a water deer, probably killed by one of the speeding cars that drive madly over the blind hill on this road. There are many deer in the outskirts of Gangneung, but this ‘sabre-toothed’ deer is fairly uncommon. Poor bugger. Probably killed by some arsehole checking his phone messages while driving.
I made this photo while I was waiting for these two men to leave so I could set up my tripod and camera.
The men eventually moved on and I started making photos of this island.
I like the reflections of the apartments in the water.
The final photo of this post was made at one end of the Wolhwa bridge. I waited around and made a number of frames but only this one was presentable. People were either walking too quickly, wearing ugly clothes, or weren’t walking close enough to the house wall. I should probably make these photos while I can, because City Hall might have plans to raze this area and make more space for coffee shops . . . .
The uniqueness of this image is possibly in how few people see this scene. Long distance drivers, old people recently moved into the city from farm hours, enthusiastic joggers, and the occasional lunatic out looking for gentle light.
I don’t feel like going out so this weekend I am continuing my archive organisation. It’s mostly awful stuff and a lot of photos are getting deleted, but I’m finding a few that I like. This cute dog tied to a snack truck at Anmok Harbour makes me smile.
20151007-001-020 Gangneung. Apartments and Wires
Tourists don’t visit this neighbourhood so it hasn’t been prettied up with nice sidewalks and buried power lines.
20151007-001-028 Gangneung, Namdae River. Self-Portrait and Cyclist
Who’s the handsome fellow in the shadow?
The scans are what the local lab-guy gave me after printing at 4×6. The scans tend to come out a bit bright (do lab scanners expose to the right?), but Auto Contrast in Capture NX-D did a decent job of making the photos look good. It does contrast for Red, Green, and Blue channels separately, so white balance gets fixed at the same time. One-click photo editing makes me happy.
Gangneung, Namdae River. Riverbed and Buildings. 2019
I made the long walk to university today and brought my X-T3 in case I saw something interesting. When I transferred today’s photos to my computer, I noticed that there was a photo from last week on the SD card. I made this on the way downtown and I like it enough to share. There is very little precipitation in Korea during the winter, and most small rivers look like this one. There’s only a little stream running down the riverbed, which you can see as a thin dark line in this photo.