Gulsan Temple was founded around the middle of the ninth century. Alas, it did not survive the Anti-Buddhist Joseon Dynasty which came to power in 1392 and set out to reduce that religion’s influence in the country. The land that once belonged to the temple is covered with farms now, with just a few artefacts remaining. I went out that way about a week ago to make a few photographs.
Some years ago the city turned one downtown side street into Culture Street, and required businesses there to give up their garish neon building signs and put up simple round ones. The city put in new brick sidewalks and lamp posts. They also renovated an old police station and turned it into a small cultural centre. On the outside of the building they put this bright red ladybird. It’s quite a cheery thing to see when you walk down the street.
You may notice a distinct lack of beach in these photographs. I am usually more interested in the things you find around the beach rather than the beach itself. I don’t think I went out to Anmok Beach with any photographic goal in mind, which is why there’s no connection between these two photos. Other than the fact they are both black and white.
This is the top section of a statue built from metal strips. The bottom is a white coffee cup and stacked on top of that are three giant coffee beans. The statue is about twice my height. There is a steady stream of tourists who come to stand in front of it for pictures.
This is a photo Edward Weston might have done if he were much less talented. I like it. I can’t find any glaring errors in composition and the twisted branches are attractive. Bystanders kept looking from me to the tree while I was making this, trying to figure out what I might be photographing.
This statue is in Wolhwa Park and I’ve attempted a number of times to photograph it but always been defeated by the messy surroundings. The city seems to be cleaning up the area now, but the little park with the giant gingko tree was surrounded by prefab shops (gone as of two weeks ago), an ugly green wire fence, and drunks. I finally hit upon the idea of using a short telephoto focal length to isolate some details.
I was downtown early one morning and I set up the camera on a tripod to make a photo of this statue. Koreans are generally very polite about photography and will wait for you to make a photo before passing in front of the camera. Or they will go around so they don’t disturb you. I had my focus and exposure checked and was about to press the shutter release button when this man walked into the frame and sat down on the bench. Maybe he’s tired and really needs a sit-down, I thought to myself, and decided to wait until he moved on. He looked at me, pointed at the statue, and shook a finger to indicate that I shouldn’t make a photo of the statue. I immediately thought of the Comfort Woman Statue in Seoul and was worried that this guy thought this was a similar statue and I was insulting Korean history or something. In other words, I thought he was a loony and I should get away as quickly as possible. But then he pointed to the statue and himself and indicated that I should make a photo of them together. I nodded and he put his arm around the statue. I made the photo and said, “Okay, it’s done.” He got up and started to walk away. I asked him if he would like to see the photo. He came over and had a look at the screen but seemed very uninterested in the results. He didn’t ask for a copy or anything. Nor did he smile, which worried me a bit. He walked off and I packed up my kit and left the area.
I guess I got an interesting experience, but I felt nervous and I’d rather not run into people like that if I can help it.
A train track used to run through Gangneung, but it was removed when the new high speed train rail that takes a different route was put in. The city created a new market and a park in the downtown area where the rail line used to run. The rail bridge is now a pedestrian bridge to the other side of Namdae River. I went there earlier this month to make some photos, especially of the view from the bridge.
This statue is called “Sisters” and stands at the base of the stairs and ramp that goes up to the bridge. I always thought this was a statue of a mother and a boy, but I happened to read the plaque on the day I made this photo.
The view from the side of the bridge closest to downtown. An island of rocks in the river and an island of apartments among smaller buildings.
The same rocks from a spot a little further along the bridge.
The long view from the bridge. The closest bridge is also a pedestrian bridge called “underwater bridge” because in times of bad flooding it gets submerged.
“Sisters” is at the bottom of the stairs and this statue called “Free Time” is at the top. The woman is holding an empty coffee cup and in the background there are coffee shops. Gangneung tourism seems to revolve around beaches and coffee. Both things I don’t like very much. Nice statue, though. Lots of people come to take their photos with the statue.
And there you are. I want to visit this bridge and park a few more times to see if there are any other interesting views. The park is very crowded at weekends and during the vacation season, so I might give it a pass until the weather cools off and the tourists stop coming.
For those of you interested in such things, these photos were made with a Fujifilm X-T3 and the 18-55mm kit lens. They were made by the camera, but not Straight Out Of the Camera. The camera recorded raw files which I then transferred to my computer. Once I deleted the mistakes, et cetera, I connected the camera to the computer and opened Fujifilm X Raw Studio. That program uses the camera to process the raw files into jpg files. I used the Acros film simulation for the black and white photos with +1 warming. The colour photo comes from the classic chrome simulation. So, I chose my ‘film’ after I made the photos. Very convenient. I did a bit of burning in Lightroom on the distant bridge photo but the others are untouched.
I always seem to notice this statue more during exam periods. Perhaps because the facial expressions match those of the students walking past it.
I wonder if these three figures are so glum because student life is difficult, or because the pleasant little wooded path behind them (not in the photo) is congested with smokers like every other rest area at the university, or because the Arts College was chopped several years ago along with the College of Humanities. Poor little stone orphans . . . . .
For those of you who are interested, this photo was made using my Fujifilm X-T3 and I set the film simulation to Classic Chrome. I brightened it slightly using a tone curve and then levelled it, because my head seems to be set not quite straight on my head. 150th sec at f13, ISO 320. The lens was the very short and portable Fujinon F2.8 27mm pancake lens. Great for walkabouts.