From the Archive: Green Tin Roof

Green Tin Roof
2016

In old hilly neighbourhoods the houses are all close together and from the paths on the hill you can look straight down into anyone’s property. The properties are not usually photogenic, but this bit of roof with its ‘rib’ showing attracted my attention.

I have a black and white film version of this photograph somewhere, and it may appear here in the near future.

From the Archive: Woman Riding Bicycle Past Tents

Woman Riding Through Dano Festival Tents.
Dano Festival Grounds, 2016

I may have shared this photograph on my old blog some years ago, but I can’t remember so I’m sharing it again as I organise my old photos.

Dano has been celebrated in Korea for a couple of thousand years and then even earlier in China. It has a thousand year history here in Gangneung and this city’s festival was designated a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The main event of Dano is a shamanistic ritual thanking the sky deity once the fields have been sown in spring. Gangneung might be the only place where these rituals are still carried out. What mostly happens during Dano is a week-long market where people sell bed clothes, clothes, household goods, cheap trinkets, and food. Recently there have been tents set up by people from other countries selling things from their homelands.

I dislike festival crowds and so I avoided going there after I visited once or twice. Now and then I will visit very early in the morning to see if I can make some photos of the tents and empty spaces. I saw this lady coming from some distance so I composed and waited for her to come into frame. Click.

Fishing Boat

Fishing Boat Anchored in Anmok Harbour, Gangneung.
Fishing Boat, Anmok Harbour

I’m not sure how people get on this small fishing boat. It’s not tied up at the dock. It’s anchored next to the breakwater and difficult to get to from land. Maybe someone drops the fisherperson off every morning in another boat.

Lighthouse

Breakwater Lighthouse and Clouds, Anmok Harbour
Lighthouse, Anmok Harbour.

This red lighthouse is a popular stop for tourists visiting Gangneung and Anmok Harbour. It’s no different than hundreds of other lighthouses of the same design around the coast, so I don’t see the attraction. Maybe people just like being out on the breakwater to enjoy the sea air.

Cart, Jumunjin

I don’t think I shared this photo from 2017 on my blog back in 2017. Certainly not in its present state. I recently rediscovered it while organising my photo collection and trimmed a bit of ugly from the top to give the picture a minimalist look.

Cart next to white house

I made this photo in a hill neighbourhood of Jumunjin. The houses there are so close together that generally there is only enough room for a single person to squeeze between the houses and their enclosing concrete walls. Most of the homes have no road access at all and residents need to walk through a maze of alleys to get to a single lane road. It’s quite a poor neighbourhood, but the council is sprucing the area up by painting some of the alley walls and hanging paintings to help the neighbourhood look less miserable.
The above scene no longer exists. The cart is gone and there is some fire-fighting equipment up against the wall. I’m glad I was able to get the scene before it changed.

Ojukheon

I don’t often visit Ojukheon because there are usually hundreds of tourists there getting in the way of slow, considered photography. But the pandemic has cut down on the number of tourists and I went on a weekday when there are usually fewer visitors. Going in the morning helps as well.

I didn’t expect to get much worth keeping because I haven’t had much success at the location in the past. Tourist places tend to be, what’s the word, bland. I mostly went to practise composition, exposure, and different film simulations on my camera. I naturally deleted a large number of photos when I got home because I was mostly just screwing around, but I did keep seven that I think are worth sharing here. I hope you think so as well.

Stone Benches, Ojukheon

Ojukheon has large empty areas done in brick because of the large number of tourists that are visiting the historic site at any one time. Families come in their cars, but there are also bus loads and bus loads of students and senior citizens. Until about eleven o’clock or so the grounds looked much as they appear in the photo above.

Wall and Hedge, Ojukheon

Ojukheon has a lot of hedges and flowers, so it’s quite a pleasant place to walk around, even if you have no interest in things historical.

Kitchen, Ojukheon

The kitchen for the original group of buildings. If you want to know about who lived here, you can get some information and general photographs at this website: http://www.gangneungtours.com/ojukheon-house.html

Tomb Stone, Ojukheon

There is an outdoor display of grave markers and stelae along with some flowers. Grave inscriptions were usually done in Chinese characters. Korean writing is often used these days.

Flower Pots, Ojukheon

There is a large statue of Shin Saimdang on the grounds, but I wasn’t much interested in making a photo of that. And anyway, there was a constant stream of people taking photos of each other in front of the statue. I found the curves of these stone tiles around the statue and the touch of colour provided by the flowers to be much more attractive.

Tiled Area, Ojukheon

Although I like this semicircle of stone bricks, I don’t know what the area is for. There’s no statue or anything there. A space for group photos?

Tree Trunks and Wall, Ojukheon.

I made this one on my way out of the historical site. On the other side of the wall are a number of unattractive restaurants and gift shops. Judging by the confused looks on the people walking past me, they must have thought I was making photos of those. One middle-aged man didn’t seem to know what sort of photo I was making, but he lifted his phone and made a snapshot of the scene before walking away. This happens now and then, especially if I’m using a tripod and appear to know what I’m doing.

I think I’ll make the effort to get on a bus and go to Ojukheon again soon. I usually avoid it because of the crowds, but I’m happy with the photos I’ve shared here and maybe I can find some scenes that I missed.

Ektachrome at Gangmun

I keep film on hand for when the urge to use it comes over me. Last month I put a roll of Kodak Ektachrome 100 in my Nikon F6 and went to Gangmun.

Bicycle and Harbour

As I may have mentioned before, Gyeongpo Lake is drained by a very short river (a couple of hundred metres?) that empties into the sea. A couple of breakwaters turn the mouth of the river (‘Gangmun’ means ‘river gate’) into a small harbour. There is a dock for fishing boats and you can usually find anglers at one end of the dock trying to catch the little fish that live in harbour. This bicycle probably belongs to someone trying his luck with a pole.

Sotdae Bridge Arch

I’ve photographed this bridge a hundred times at least, but I think this was the first time I discovered this angle. It amazes me what a difference a tiny detail can make to a photograph. I probably wouldn’t be sharing this photo without the sliver of rail in the bottom left corner of the photo. It’s the support for the whole left side of the photo and I don’t think the picture would work without it. Opinions may differ. You may think nothing could save this photograph. 🙂

Pavilion for Maritime Shaman Rites

Korea’s coast is full of fishing villages and all those fishers need the help of the spirits to come home safely every day with a good catch. I don’t know how often rituals were held in the past, but once a year (every two years?) a big ritual is held here with lots of gongs and shouty singing by a shaman, who is almost always a woman in Korea. I went one year and it was a noisy affair. Maybe the cacophony scares the evil spirits away.

Convenience Store Chair

This chair is in front of the convenience store where I came to get a tin of drink when the air started to warm up. I’ve photographed this chair on a number of trips to Gangmun. The owner of the shop probably thinks I’m mental.

Pension and Coffee Shop

Many fishing villages are becoming coffee towns, and Gangmun is no exception. The lower two floors of this interesting building are a coffee shop and the upper two floors are a pension. I like the little bit of yellow in the corner balancing the larger area of the blue sky. You might be able to see little black specks throughout the frame. At first I thought the lab had screwed up or I had a dirty lens, but a close-up view on computer revealed that all those spots are dragonflies.

The pension was frame 34 on the roll of Ektachrome and the next two photos weren’t that good. The day was heating up so I put the camera in my bag and went home. But I went back the next week with some negative film. Photos coming soon . . . .