From the Archive: Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium Under Construction
Women’s Olympic Hockey Rink Under Construction, 2016.
20161117-001 kwandong olympic stadium construction
Putting on the finishing touches, 2016.

The 2018 Winter Olympics were held here in Gangneung and in the neighbouring County of Pyeongchang. Skiing and similar sports were held on the mountains in Pyeongchang and stadium events such as hockey, skating, and curling were held in Gangneung.

The women’s hockey rink and a practice facility were built at the university where I work. The university’s old gymnasium was torn down to make room for the rink and the Department of Physical Education had nowhere to practise basketball etc for a couple of years. All the professors I know in the department were very unhappy. The football field was also unusable for a long time because the construction company put all their equipment on it.

The Olympics are over and the rink has been converted into a gymnasium for use by the university and the public. The conversion took a long time because the government didn’t give the university the funds to do so for many months. More complaints from the professors and students. And no one is happy about the gymnasium except the university’s PR department because maintaining such a facility is very expensive.

I don’t have a photo, but the university recently installed huge windows in the upper part of one side of the gymnasium. They did it in the hopes of letting in more light to save on the building’s enormous electricity bill. The original architect must be crying at what was done to his/her creation. It’s an extremely utilitarian and ugly job with no thought to the beauty of the building as a whole. And a student told me the new windows illuminate part of the roof but nothing more.

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.

Getting Out

It doesn’t seem like the rainy season this year will ever end. It’s been raining for several weeks and I’m starting to feel trapped inside the apartment. If we didn’t have an air conditioner to deal with the high temperatures and humidity I’d be a lot more miserable than I am.
Truth be told, there are many things I can do at home. I can watch videos, read, write, organise my bookshelf, play with the cat, and so on. But my favourite thing to do is make photographs, and that, for me, is best done outside. Otherwise, I end up making photos of myself in the toilet roll dispenser . . . .

Self-Portrait with Headphones

I did manage to get out one afternoon for a walk with a camera about two weeks ago in between rainy periods. I like two of the photos enough to share here.

Daejong Transport Company

Behind the buildings in the reflection you can see the hill has been cut away to make room for this commercial property and another one next to it. It’s been happening on this road quite a lot recently, and some hiking trails have been ruined. I once met an elementary school principal who said that she would like to cut down every hill and mountain in Korea and use the rock and soil to enlarge the peninsula. I wonder if she became a real estate developer after retiring . . . .

Escaped Goat

The constant rain is probably great for these goats who have lots of nice green plants to eat. I hope this guy got his fill before someone noticed him and chained him up again.

I complain about the weather, but it’s only preventing me from getting out and pressing the shutter button. Many parts of Korea, China, and Japan are experiencing bad floods, loss of life, and property damage. I really have to consider myself lucky that I’m not dealing with anything more serious than boredom.

Gangneung Medical Centre

Gangneung Medical Centre

I like that there is a person walking in from the right and filling up a bit of empty space. I also like that the yellow of the building matches the yellow of the plants in the middle of the photograph. I don’t like that I cut the back wheels of the van on the left, but at least I didn’t cut it out completely.

Choices

I put all six of my usable cameras on my desk today to spend a few minutes using each one. I wanted to decide which one would be the best (and only?) one for me to use. I made notes about how each one felt in my hand, which one was the easiest to use, which one wouldn’t give me back pain after a day with out it, image quality (film or digital), and which camera gives me the best photos without having to spend any time at the computer adjusting sliders.
Although my four film cameras are all wonderful in their own way, I decided that I would be better off using a digital camera for reasons of economy and convenience. That left me with the Nikon D810 and the Fujifilm X-T3. The X-T3 has retro appeal and the simulations are similar to film. But it seems like I spend a lot of time making adjustments to get an excellent exposure. Always second guessing the camera. I don’t have to do that with the D810. The exposure is always dead on, except in those situations that will fool any camera meter. Sand or snow, for example. And the D810 isn’t any more complex to use than my F6 or F80. It’s a professional piece of kit that gets out of your way. And when I look at the images on computer later I don’t have to think much about changing contrast etc etc. Nikon’s picture controls do an excellent job of that. The only problem is . . . it’s quite a bit heavier than the X-T3. As I learned last year when I brought it to Canada with a large and heavy zoom lens (I think the zoom lens might have been the biggest part of the problem). What to choose for my main camera? The compact X-T3 with the disadvantage of its fussiness? Or the D810 with the inconvenience of its weight? I’d like to use only one for the sake of simplicity.
I was leaning towards the D810 by the time I finished looking over my notes, so I attached a light 50mm F1.8D lens and went downtown to make some photos.

Car Roof, Gangneung.

This was the only keeper from my downtown outing, but that was my fault, not the camera’s. I love the 5:4 frame and getting the proper exposure was a piece of cake by just adding 2/3 of a stop with the command dial. The camera took care of everything else.

Amice

What’s a photo outing without a picture of the cat at the end of it? I didn’t do anything to this one.

With a prime lens on the camera, I hardly felt the weight on my shoulder even after a couple of hours. I think I would have felt the weight if it was around my neck, though. Not so with the X-T3. Still, maybe I’ll start bringing the D810 and a prime or two with me from now on. We’ll see. I’m so wishy-washy about cameras that next week I might be using my iPhone for everything.

No, that’s not going to happen . . . .

A Walk in the Hills

I’ve probably mentioned the hills and paths that surround Stone Island Valley behind my apartment complex. It’s not much of a valley and dale might be a better word to describe it. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a nice place to take a walk because most people take their walks on the concrete road that goes up the dale and fewer people go up into the hills to stroll amongst the trees.

The hilltop path as it dips between two hills.

Not only are there fewer walkers on the path, but at most points you can’t see any houses or roads. I almost said you can’t see any signs of civilisation, but this would be false because the hills are full of grave markers and tombs.

I don’t know if these flower pots were blown over by the wind or if they were casually tossed there by someone.
The walking path passes by many graves and grave markers like these.

On my walk this day, I saw only one person and he was quite a distance away. He must have turned off somewhere, because he never caught up to me even though I frequently stopped to make photos.

In addition to a human, I saw and heard birds the whole time I was walking and as I was coming down off the hill near the end of my walk I was surprised by a deer who leapt out of some tall grass and ran for the hills. It was at the bottom of that path where I cam across a photogenic tree that I want to visit again in different kinds of weather. This might make an attractive colour photograph in late spring.

An interesting tree on a less-travelled path coming down off the hills.

I noticed today that WordPress automatically includes the captions I write in Lightroom to the bottom of each photo. This might be a new feature as it’s never happened before. Or perhaps I deleted metadata in the past when saving for the web. Anyway, it’s a convenience. I wish it would read the keywords, though. That’s what takes up the time.