Ladder on Wall, 5:4 Format, and Gods

Ladder Hung on Wall, Geumsan Village

There are a lot of run-down houses in the Korean countryside. They look a bit bad seen as a whole, but sometimes these old houses are good for photographing. The photo above is of a wall that serves as both part of the property ‘fence’ and a building. A shed, if I recall correctly. The original concrete wall has been repaired with tacked on siding. I was attracted to this scene by the homemade ladder and the crack on the left. Interestingly, although the wall needs a coat of paint, the ladder seems to be used for painting something, judging by the stains all over it.

I think the nail/bolt/rivet on the far left is important for the composition because it fills an empty space, but it was cut out of the basic scan I had done to see what was on the roll of film. The virtual drum scanner used by my lab in Seoul gets everything on the frame. Speaking of film, this photo was made with Fujifilm Superia Premium 400 in a Nikon F6. For those of you interested, that film is very nice for a 400 speed film, but I think Portra is nicer and for a better price.

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I like the colours of my Fujifilm X-T3, but I really miss the 5:4 format option from the Nikon D810. But! Today I discovered a way to indirectly get 5:4 on the X-T3. You can choose to show framing guidelines in the viewfinder. The options are 3×3, 6×4, and HD framing. 6×4 is just one more that 5:4! So, if I ignore the outer half squares of the framing guidelines I get 5×4. Ta-da! A quick snip in Lightroom and I’ve got a nice 5:4 frame, just as Nature intended. I’ve only tried it at home this evening, but I’m looking forward to having a go at it when I’m outside. I could even, I think, put a bit of magic tape over the rear LCD to help me out a bit when framing. Well, let’s see how well I can manage by estimation before sticking things on the camera.

(Above I wrote “as Nature intended”. Which god would photographers worship, I wonder. Are there any gods of sunlight? The Celtic god Lugh seems a good candidate. He’s a god of light, craftsmanship, and the arts. Ask him to bless your light meter the next time you’re out with a camera.)

Rice Paddy Irrigation Canal

Rice Paddy and Irrigation Canal, Geumsan

One of my early morning bicycle routes takes me through the rice paddies and fields of Geumsan Village. At 6:30 the light is soft and the absence of cars makes the ride peaceful. Autumn is an especially nice time to be out in the countryside because of the beautiful golden rice fields. “Geumsan” means “Golden Mountain”, but I think the village could well have been named “Golden Fields”.

Harvest time is coming soon and the fields will be brown and lifeless afterwards. Korea has very little snow so the landscape is bleak during all the winter months. I might switch to black and white photography for my morning rides when the cold weather begins because the dull colours of the hills and fields will add nothing to my photographs.

Two Photos From a Morning Bicycle Ride

Seongsan Intersection

I’ve possibly mentioned in the past that when I ride to Seongsan, I stop at the 7-11 at the far end of town. Sometimes I make photos of my camera bag and flower pots while drinking a tin of coffee, and sometimes I make a photo of this jumble of utility poles, wires, and cars. I did a decent job of the framing and composition on this day.

Geumsan

A traditional Korean home dwarfed by the huge overpass that carries an expressway over the valley. I never hear noise from it when I’m around there, so I think the soundproofing must be good. Still, I think I might feel nervous if I lived underneath such a large structure.