Barn

Barn, Hoesan.

The morning’s lovely soft light was the effect of very polluted and dusty spring air. Not a day for including the sky in landscape photos.

Apartments

I wonder how many of my posts have been called ‘Apartments’. They are such a large part of any scene in Korea that it’s difficult not to have a large collection of photos with apartments in them.
Korea’s birth rate keeps dropping and last year there were more deaths than births. But new apartment complexes keep popping up everywhere. Perhaps houses are falling down in other places.
You can see a mostly empty field in the foreground. In a couple of years there will probably be another greyish-white apartment complex and pine trees will be purchased from another part of the country to replace the persimmon trees that are there now.

Downtown Across the River

Downtown Gangneung seen across the Namdae River

This is the same river that was in a previous post about Seongsan. It’s getting closer to the sea so it’s wider, but not much deeper. There is little precipitation in winter, so the rivers are just about dried up until the rains of spring and the monsoon season in summer.
The composition of this photo is very similar to the photos in the post about Seongsan, so I should starting doing something different.

A bicycle ride to and from Seongsan

I was going to post two photos of cars parked illegally on a cycling path and a sidewalk but changed my mind. I remember Sam Abell writing or saying something like, “There are many ugly things in the world, but there will never be enough beautiful things.” The photos of the bad parking just make me angry, and who needs more of that? So I am posting two photos that make me feel pleased with myself. And maybe they will please you as well.

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Yongbong Service Station and Yongbong Transport Limited, Seongsan.

I’ve posted photos of this gas station before, but I stood more to the right this time and included the yellow line in the road. The line nicely balances the orange-yellow in the gas station roof. And how nice that the taxis are orange as well.


Between Geumsan Village and the Neighbourhood of Hoesan.

I’m not sure if parking in front of a road sign is illegal or not, but at least it’s not on a sidewalk or cycling path. There is no deep meaning to this – I just liked the tilted sign and the way the arrows seem to give some sense of motion to a parked car.

Long Cloud

Across the River

I was interested in the cloud and not the buildings when I made this photo. The buildings are fairly ugly, but the skyline here is more varied than most other locations along the river. In most places it’s just long lines of concrete boxes.

Cat, Church, and Cat Again

It’s a cat

For every relatively in-focus photograph of my cat, there are five or six pictures with blurred turning heads, flicking tails, massive yawns, or his rear end exiting the frame at warp 5.

In my last post I joked about joining a cult to paint alleyways. It later reminded me of another experience I had with a church member. I was exploring the city of Anyang one day in 1996/97 when a smiling woman approached me. Our conversation went something like this….

W: Hello.
M: Hi.
W: Where are you from?
M: Canada.
W: Oh, that’s very nice! What are you doing here?
M: I work at an English academy here in Anyang.
W: That’s nice. Do you have many friends here?
M: No, not really. One of my co-workers.
W: Oh, you should come to our church. You can meet lots of people.
M: Well, I’m not a Christian, so I don’t think I would fit in.
W: No, no! It doesn’t matter if you’re not Christian. You can come to our church!
M: I’m not really interested.
W: You know, two of my brothers-in-law are American. They weren’t Christian, but they started coming to our
church and now they are Christian!
M: Well, that’s very nice for them and their wives, but I’m not interested in attending church services.
W: We have lots of foreigners at our church so there are English church services and you can meet other
people.
M: Yes, that’s very nice for foreign Christians, but I’m really not interested in going to church. I’m not
a Christian.
W: (pause) There are lots of girls at our church . . . .

She almost had me, haha. The encounter was weird, annoying, funny (in hindsight), and uncomfortable all at the same time.

She definitely would have had me if she had mentioned the church was full of cats.

Classic Negative Simulation Examples

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of my cat made with Fujifilm’s Classic Negative simulation. I’ve been using it off and on since then to see what it’s good for. If anything. Here are a few results.

Photographed from the hallway of another building in the complex.

Sometimes I bring my camera into the hall while my cat does his daily tour. I think this is the best version of the scene I’ve done so far. Looks balanced, etc. I also like the tones and colours here. I really like the blue of the sky. The shadows are deep but there is still some detail. This is straight out of the camera except for for some straightening.

Anything is art if it’s neatly arranged and you think too hard about it.

One of Fujifilm’s managers said in an interview that Classic Negative is not suited for food photography, but I think this looks fine. Maybe he meant the food doesn’t come out looking Insta-worthy with blinding colour saturation. The simulation tends to make photos look warm, depending on the situation. I tried auto white balance on this photograph. The colours became accurate, but not as good. I like the warm colour cast here.

On the other hand, fixing the white balance made this photo look much better. Maybe because we expect white fur to look white in a photograph. Amice’s fur isn’t quite as dark as this. The colours of this film are not accurate, but they are usually pleasing. The consensus seems to be that Classic Negative is modelled after Fujifilm Superia negative film. I don’t have much experience with that film, so I can’t really say. But I guess it does look like negative film.

One last example photo. I made this late in the afternoon to see how the simulation handled high contrast scenes. Very well, I think. The shadows are deep, but, well, they’re shadows and I don’t really expect to see much in them. I could lift the shadows in Lightroom, but that usually looks fake. I rather like how the photo turned out. I shifted the white balance a bit, but otherwise no adjustments.

I’m going to leave my camera set to this simulation for a while. I thought it was a bit gimmicky when I first tried it, but it’s growing on me. I just have to mind the white balance and the highlights. I’d like to get out to the beach soon to see what holiday snaps might look like using this setting.

Heroic Pose

Amice in the living room

With his face in shadow, Amice has a bit of a batman (catman? batcat?) vibe going on here. “Whenever there’s trouble . . . . .” he’s usually the cause. Bugger kept waking me up this morning.

I photographed Amice using Fujifilm’s Classic Negative simulation. I’m not sure what to do with this setting, to tell the truth. Fujifilm says it’s not designed for all situations. E.g., food doesn’t look good when photographed using this simulation. It’s supposed to be nostalgic, so maybe it’s good for holiday snaps? I’ll keep experimenting.

Alley

Car parked in alley, downtown Gangneung.
Downtown Gangneung

I’ve photographed this jumble of buildings from the entrance of this short alley a number of times. Some of the structures look commercial and the ones in the far back look residential. I can only imagine that there were no zoning laws at some point in the past. Or that they were ignored. The contrast between the old buildings and the shiny black car is interesting.