Gangneung built a new city hall on top of a hill and tore down the old one which was situated in the downtown area. Some years later they got rid of the big Central Post Office which was right next door to the old city hall and built new traditional-style buildings on the vacant lots. These buildings are used for festivals and events pretty much all through the year. There is even a very small library in one of the buildings. I think it’s great that the city turned a piece of prime business real estate into something that everyone in the city can enjoy. And, even better, they built traditional Korean buildings instead of the usual concrete, steel, and glass rectangles that pop up all around the city.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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 . . . .
By Lugh, I’m pleased with this composition!
(Though I think I might like another try at it to get some different angles and perspectives)
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.
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.)
You can tell when a roll of film has been in a camera for a while because of the different subjects in the photographs. A film lab owner once complained to me that some people made so few photos that there were fours seasons on one roll. And that was before digital cameras and smart phones.
There is only one season on the roll of Portra 400 I used last month, but there was definitely a variety of scenes. WARNING! A few of them are disturbing.
This is probably just disturbing to electricians and safety inspectors.
This is disturbing to pedestrians and cyclists. I included the ‘R’ in the top left sign reading ‘WONDER’ when I made the photo, but it was cut by the lab. Grrr . . . . The yellow writing on the pavement says ‘tow zone’.
Disturbing to architects? But fun for photographers.
Here are the disturbing photos I mentioned in the introduction. This is a water deer, probably killed by one of the speeding cars that drive madly over the blind hill on this road. There are many deer in the outskirts of Gangneung, but this ‘sabre-toothed’ deer is fairly uncommon. Poor bugger. Probably killed by some arsehole checking his phone messages while driving.
I made this photo while I was waiting for these two men to leave so I could set up my tripod and camera.
The men eventually moved on and I started making photos of this island.
I like the reflections of the apartments in the water.
The final photo of this post was made at one end of the Wolhwa bridge. I waited around and made a number of frames but only this one was presentable. People were either walking too quickly, wearing ugly clothes, or weren’t walking close enough to the house wall. I should probably make these photos while I can, because City Hall might have plans to raze this area and make more space for coffee shops . . . .
There were some heavy rains last month and the stepping stone bridge across the Namdae River was underwater. This is normal flooding level for the river and there was no state of emergency. The sign on the gate says, “Danger. No entry when the river is flooded.” Duh.
For those who wonder about these things, the film was Kodak Ultramax 400 and the camera was a Nikon F6 (I’m 95% sure).
Last month I got some Foma 400 back from the lab. There weren’t many usable photos on the rolls. Partly because of my poor skills and partly because the film quality can be dodgy at times. The edges are lighter than the rest of the frame or there are slight spots here and there. It’s not the lab and it’s not the camera because other films turn out fine. Here are a few of the photos worth posting here.
This scene is on the way to my university, on the short-cut over the hill. I’d like to make this photo again with my X-T3, perhaps in square format.
No, I didn’t buy a new panorama camera and turn it on its side. This is obviously heavily cropped because there was nothing of interest to the left and right of this plant.
Some businesses will buy a shipping container and have windows installed so they can use them as offices. This one was painted yellow (not so obvious here 🙂 ), though most places just leave them depressingly grey.
I liked the strong shadows here so I made a photo. LPG is how many homes get their cooking fuel. The tanks are usually kept out behind the house. Many have rust spots. They are delivered by madmen in pickup trucks.
I wish I had used Tri-X instead of Foma, but I was trying to find ways to cut down on film costs. A mistake . . . .
After doing some exposure tests at home, I took my Nikon F6 to a couple of historical sites here in Gangneung. I was happy with my exposure tests but only a few photos from the roll are worth sharing. Here they are.
These buildings are at the Seongyojang Residence. The name means Boat Bridge Place and there was a ferry there when Gyeongpo Lake was larger. Back in the Joseon Dynasty, this was the largest residence allowed by law. Only the royals could have houses larger than 99 kan. One kan is the space between two pillars in a Korean building. If I remember correctly, this residence had 99. The family was once very large and prosperous, but now they take advantage of government tax breaks by living in one little walled-off corner and opening up the rest to tourists. At a high price. I used to go there quite often, but stopped when the price of admission nearly doubled a few years ago.
This tree and boulder are at Obong Confucian School, which I’ve shown photos of before. The tree is a bit too close to the edge of the frame, but there is a tourist sign to the right that I didn’t want to include. I like how the film renders the mute colours. I’m sure this photo can be improved, but it will take some more trips and head scratching before I get it right. And another overcast day. It’s bloody sunny all the time this winter.
This is a better view of the tree and boulder, and perhaps the composition I’m looking for.
This is the view from the front gate of the school. I only meant it as a kind of photo-note of the area, but I quite like it. One for the portfolio.
More film photos to come in the days ahead!
January was a slow month for photography, but I thought I would share a few photos from a roll of Kodak Ultramax 400 film I used in the Nikon F6. There might be a few people curious to see what this film looks like. I added a bit of contrast where needed, but otherwise the photos are what the lab sent to me.
This film portrays head and heel-less women very well. I should have waited until a child passed by, but it’s not a neighbourhood where there are many children.
I like the pavement painting in front of the pots. This film has great colour.
Another example of the film’s bright colours. Reds seem to come out with a slightly orange-y.
A jumble of buildings. This film is very sharp, though there is quite a bit of grain, especially in areas like skies. It might not look too bad up to 10×8, though. And how big do you want to enlarge holiday film anyway?
The missus in a pink phone box.
Dinner at the Samgeori restaurant not far from the city centre. Yum yum.
This is how I know I made the photos using the F6 . . . .
The last part of the roll was dedicated to kitty and his nose prints on the window.
Well, nothing spectacular, but you can see that this is a fine film for casual photography when out and about. I used it in mostly overcast weather and it might look even nicer in sunlight. The film is cheap, which is a nice bonus. Highly recommended for Film Fun days.