I like the placement of the cars in the parking lot and how the ‘mast’ connects the lower and upper parts of the photograph. Everything is neatly organised, and organising the world is one of my photographic goals. I can’t do anything about the chaos of the city, but I feel better by trying to make it look good in the viewfinder.
You may be wondering what “Lifestyle Platform GS25” is about. At least two convenience store chains have the word ‘lifestyle’ in their marketing. There is a faint promise that these shops will have everything you need for a convenient and happy life. Maybe they’re not wrong; Pepsi and crisps always make me feel better.
Gangmun is within Gangneung city limits and not far from two major tourist areas, but it’s not so easy to get there if you don’t have a car. There are few local buses, it’s a bit far to walk from frequent bus routes, and getting a taxi there is expensive. But it’s a good place to go now and then for some photography. It’s less crowded than many other tourist spots (at least in the morning) and there are a few interesting things to photograph. ——————————————
This couple passed me as I was making photos of a bridge and then later nicely completed this composition. ——–
Gyeongpo Lake and Gangmun Beach are only separated by a narrow stretch of land. You would have a nice view of both places if you were in one of these buildings. The building on the right looks like it’s under construction. There seems to be a caravan park next to the river, but I haven’t been over to see. ———————————–
This is the Seamark Hotel, also known as the Hyundai Hotel. One of Hyundai’s divisions owns it. Hyundai Construction, maybe? It was built not too long ago and replaced the earlier Hyundai Hotel which was built in the sixties. ——————————
I posted a similar colour version of this photo last(?) year. It’s a hotel. The room rates are probably reasonable in the off season but skyrocket in the summer and on New Year’s, when everyone and their dog shows up to watch the sun rise out of the sea. ————-
I can’t remember what building this is. I think it’s a coffee shop or something. I like the bundle of wires rising up into the sky like lightning. They don’t go into the sky, obviously. I was standing close to the wall and looking up. I’d like to get this one printed. ———————
And there you are – more photos of Gangmun. And I’ll probably post more in the future when I save up enough money to get a taxi. Every time I go to Gangmun I make the usual photos of things like the rails and the thin hotel. Sometimes it’s the same photos I’ve made a dozen times and sometimes I get to see the usual subjects in a new way. So it’s rarely a wasted trip.
We are fortunate not to be locked down because of the corona virus in Korea, but it’s easy to feel a bit of cabin fever because there are many places it’s wise to avoid. Places like downtown or the market where I often went to make photographs. So to get a bit of exercise and get out somewhere, I cycled out to the seaside and then up the coast to the village of Sacheon. I had no specific photographic goals. I just wanted to go for a ride and make photos of whatever I saw on on the way.
The shortest route from my apartment to Sacheon is 14 kilometres, but there are a number of hills to get over and busy roads to cross. I chose to take the riverside exercise path out to Anmok Beach and then head north up the coast. That makes the trip 18 kilometres long, but there are no hills and it’s a much easier and relaxing ride. This photo was made just after I turned left from Anmok to go up the coast. I don’t know why there is a Dutch windmill on top of this shed, but at least it’s colourful. Speaking of colour, I wanted my photos to have something of a cheap and cheerful holiday film look, so I chose the classic chrome simulation on the X-T3 and then added lots of contrast, sharpening, and some grain in Lightroom.
This is across the street from the windmill shed. Shamanistic rites are held in this building for a bountiful catch from the ocean. I saw it one year and it’s quite a noisy affair. Shamans singing and howling and gongs being struck. Some business has incongruously stored their clear plastic tourist canoes next to the place.
This person was either getting into or out of a wetsuit. I love the colour of the water.
This is where a stream runs into the sea. Or where it should run out. There is a military watchtower just off to the left and maybe they’ve done something to the strand for their purposes.
Someone put these blocks of stone here to keep some soil from washing away, but I couldn’t see anything that needed saving except for this little copse of pine trees. (Do four trees a copse make?)
I’m almost in Sacheon at this point, and I notice a large new building in the middle of some farm land. There is a sign saying ‘Chocolat’ on the top. Maybe it’s a chocolate café? There is a chocolate café in Gangneung, though not as impressive as this one. It may seem odd to have such a business in the middle of nowhere, but Sacheon is quickly being built up as a tourist area. I heard that Universal Studios is going to set up some sort of theme park here in the future. I had better make my photos of the area while I can . . . .
I once photographed this emergency box and rocks using Kodak Ektar film and it looked very similar to this. This is the beach at Sacheon.
And here is the entrance to Sacheon Harbour. I usually don’t go out with the camera when the sun is high and blazing, but I have to say I like the contrast and the colours. I shouldn’t let the bright sun keep me inside from now on. Or maybe I should. I got a sunburn on my face . . . .
Another truck. It looks like it’s for transporting nets and other fishing equipment. You can see that the salt water is unkind to the steel body of the vehicle.
I usually see a lot of cats on the docks, but only saw this one on this trip. Maybe they were all taking a nap somewhere out of the sun. I met this guy (or his twin) later at a nearby restaurant.
And here’s the place where I ate my dinner. It’s called the Donghae restaurant. Donghae means ‘east sea’ in Korean and is also what the Koreans call the Sea of Japan. This restaurant serves some fish soups, grilled fish, gimchi soup, grilled ribs, and so on. This server was giving me a hard look while I photographed her.
My meal. Yumm-o. I always order spicy pork stir-fry when I come here. I didn’t like most of the side dishes I was served, and only ate the stir-fry, the rice, the gimchi, and the potato in chilli sauce. I wish there was a system for being able to only buying the side dishes you want, like you can do in some places in Taiwan.
The breakwater was barred off because there was some wind, so I stuck the lens through the gate and made this photo.
A smallish fishing boat tied up at the wharf.
These are the rocks that were in the photo with the yellow emergency box. The half-buried pipes run from the sea to the tanks that hold live fish down on the docks.
After my dinner and a look around, I got back on my bicycle and headed back down the coast. This is one of many small streams that run into the sea after coming down off the mountains and across farm land.
The same scene, but horizontal. I think I like this version better.
What this container is doing here I don’t know, but it struck me as photo-worthy for some reason. Maybe because it looks so out of place with the sand and pines and blue sky.
I imagine this utility pole once had a lot more wires on it than it does now. I like the wasteland look of this whole photo.
I was possibly trespassing when I made this photo, but I was standing on an empty plot of land that looked like it hadn’t been used for years. Maybe it’s okay?
The same scene, but I got up on a stone block wall to get a higher point of view. I like all the zigzag lines.
This is probably the weakest photo of the day, but I couldn’t resist making a picture of this weirdness. And it gets weirder. El Camino is the name of a pension for pets. A pension for pets? Why? I don’t know. What does a rusted El Camine have to do with pets or pensions? No idea. But there it is on top of a tiny concrete building.
The roof is at street level because the road is built up and houses are down on the beach.
It can’t be easy to get anything to grow in this sandy soil right on the windy shore. People in the past must of had a hard existence fishing out on the sea and then trying to do a bit of subsistence farming on the side.
This guy is using his tractor to lay down long strips of plastic before planting seed. Every spring the whole country is completely covered in this plastic and every autumn huge piles of it are collected to go in the trash. And a certain percentage gets up in the trees and hangs around all winter like horrible Christmas decorations.
I like this scene, but I think I should try photographing it again if I go back up the coast. I think the brown plastic tub on the right saves this photo.
These are minbak, which are a kind of bed and breakfast without the breakfast. And they are usually very shabby with just a floor to sleep on. So, a bed and breakfast without bed or breakfast. Hmmm. They have the advantage of being very cheap and very close to the beach. On the beach, in fact. I would like to stay in one for a few days some winter. It might be nice to sit in a small room with a little cooking stove and watch the rough seas. With enough tea and books it could be quite cosy. For a few days . . . .
Here’s a place that didn’t make it. Both of the signs say ‘raw fish restaurant’, but the place on the right looks like it might still be in business.
Back to civilisation, such as it is. This huge seafood market/restaurant is on the first floor of a huge new hotel. The colours on the boat are not, as far as I know, traditional Korean colours or design. But look good on Instagram, I suppose.
The building in front is a health spa with hot springs. The building in the back is a new monstrosity hotel called St. John’s.
A new apartment complex in the northern part of the city. The box in the foreground looks like it came off the back of a truck. The small white sign on the box says, “For Rent”.
A view along the riverside on my way inland from Anmok.
Two chairs under a bridge. As if you couldn’t guess.
Clothes from charity collection boxes (I assume they are for charity) end up in overfilled trucks like this one. I would avoid this vehicle on the road, I can tell you.
That’s all the photos from my trip. Well, not all. I made 188 photos but only thought 30 or so were worth sharing. The others were cock-ups, variants on the photos here, or just too boring to share. I hope you enjoyed my little bicycle trip up the coast. Even if the photos are not that good, it might have been interesting to see scenes and oddities from another country. Unless you’re from Korea, in which case you’re probably thinking, “Why the hell did he make photos of those things?”
I would like to make more trips like this one once my arse recovers from the hours on an uncomfortable bicycle seat . . . .
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 . . . .
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.
I am still slowly going through my binders of film and having photos of significance scanned at a lab. Significant photos are those that bring back memories, are interesting or funny in some way, or artistic. This photo is somewhat artistic but technically flawed because while the footprint in the foreground is on focus, the horse’s legs are a bit out of focus. It doesn’t look too bad if you step back and screw up your eyes a bit. I scanned this because it strikes me as being slightly funny, though I can’t explain why. Anyway, I like looking at it and that’s enough. It ‘sparks joy’, as Marie Kondo says.