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 . . . .

Geumsan Village Rice Straw Bales

The only two surviving photographs from a bicycle ride through Geumsan Village. It would probably be better to walk through the hamlet so I can find interesting subjects more easily.

This photo looks very low resolution on WordPress but fine in Lightroom. Maybe I made a mistake when converting it.

The same bales of rice straw from a different angle and a bus flying down the highway.

Some time ago I wrote about choosing the Nikon D810 as my main camera but mentioned that I was very wishy-washy about the cameras I use. Well, that proved to be true because I’m back to using the X-T3. The photos above are from the X-T3. That said, my next post will have a photo from the D810. Probably I should just stop talking about cameras . . . .

Walking and Running

Seeing Her Off to School, 2008

I don’t think that this dog belonged to the schoolgirl getting on the bus. He seemed to be a stray that was hanging around the bus stop that morning. Although it looks like he’s saying goodbye to his friend, he was probably wondering if he could sneak on to the bus.

Camera Shy, 2019

This was a lucky accident. I was wandering the downtown area looking for something to photograph and noticed this alley. My plan was to frame the street lamp and the apartment building with the grey walls of the foreground building, but this bank employee passed me and, seeing I had a camera, hurried to get in the building and out of my way. Click, click, she didn’t move fast enough. I stuck around after she went into the entrance on the left, but without the woman the scene is very dull.
This is a photo that can’t be printed large because it becomes very obvious the camera was focused on the lamp and not the woman. I’m not fast enough for action photography . . . .

Buses

Bus stop in front of the Kyobo Life Insurance Building, Gangneung

Photo of Gangneung city bus made from window of McDonalds early in the morning.Hamburger buns had just been delivered and the crates were sitting in front of the restaurant.

I made these photos soon after returning from Canada, where I made myself sick of digital photography. I had nearly one thousand photos to edit when I got back to Korea, not counting the ones I deleted in camera while photographing. Not much fun. Also, I brought my D810 and a 24-85mm lens to Canada, which was quite heavy and bulky. Soon after arriving in Canada I regretted my equipment choice. So, on this cloudy day in Gangneung, I left my apartment with an F80 and 28mm lens. You can see the second photo is not quite level, a combination of using a 28mm lens and me not having my head screwed on quite straight.
   When I got this film processed, I also ordered basic scans which were not that great. It also adds a few thousand Won on to the price of developing. Yesterday I had prints made of my favourite photos from the roll on Epson Eco White Matte paper that look fabulous. So I got my Canon Lide 120 scanner out of the cupboard and clicked ‘Photo Scan’. The scanner does all the work and the scans are more than good enough for posting online or making 4×6 prints to share with pen pals, etc. Happy days.

Yongbong Petrol Station

I recently watched an interview with Wim Wenders and a number of his photographs were featured. I was so impressed that I ordered his book (on the way now) and went out with a camera (Nikon F80, I think) to try and make some similar photos. My attempts don’t match his results, but I did learn a new way of looking at the world around me. And that was worth the cost of film, developing, and printing.