On Saturday, the 23rd of August, I met up with Tongyeong based photographer, Chris Cusick (check out his work here: http://www.thelostlens.co.uk/) in Seoul and we headed out to Bukchon to test out our new lenses. I recently acquired a Nikon 28mm f/2.8 manual focus lens from home and I haven't really had the chance to test it out until now. It took me a while getting accustomed to the 28mm since it was a lot wider than I am normally used to using for street photography. If you're used to auto focus lenses, this lens will take some time to get used to. However, it does slow one down and forces one to carefully think about composition and waiting for the right moment to take a image. Other than that, if you're a Nikon FX user and would like to play around with a wide angle prime, I do suggest getting the 28mm f/2.8. It costs around 100 dollars which isn't a lot for a full frame lens, but do beware that you're highlights might be a bit blown out and colours might look a bit flat on your camera LCD screen. I'd suggest to turn down the exposure compensation to -0.3 ~ -1.0 range depending on the situation. Although it might look a bit under exposed but you can always adjust it in post processing.
Although I live next to a national park in Korea, I always like to travel when I get the chance and every year during summer vacation, the two places to I head to are Hong Kong and Taiwan to visit family and friends. During this time, while I do have my camera with me at all times, I rarely take photos since I'm always with someone but I do take a snap or two when I see something interesting. If you're interested about where I took the photos, the information is in the photo captions
Sometimes, the best place to take photos are right where you live. In my case, that would be the rooftop of my building.
I've always passed Noryangjin fish market on the way to the airport and I've always wanted to go there but never had the chance. Since my friend who came Hong Kong was in Seoul and wanted to get seafood, I decided that we should head down to Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market. Meeting up at City Hall station, we took line 1 down to Noryangjin station. We didn't realize how big the fish market was until we arrived. It seems as though we were in seafood paradise with what seems to be endless stalls selling all different kinds of seafood you can imagine. Being a bit overwhelmed, we walked around the market and after discussing on what to eat, we went to one stall and bought a spider crab, five prawns, four sea urchins and a live octopus. Then we went to a nearby restaurant which asked us on how we would like our seafood prepared and patiently waited for the food to arrive. I cannot stress how good it was. If you happen to be in Seoul and are craving seafood, Noryangjin fish market is the place to go, but be warned you might end up buying a lot of seafood than you can eat!
During the beginning of this week, I've been planning on tackling one of the last two courses of Haebyeongil. It is course number 5, which stretches from Mongsanpo to Baeksajang. According to my weather app. it appeared that Saturday was going to be a clear day with a scattered clouds which was perfect for trekking. Taking the 0650 bus heading to Namyeon, Dylan, Kevin and I headed off. After around a 20 minute bus ride, we arrived at our starting point; Mongsanpo Beach. The trail starts off along the boardwalk and then heads into the woodlands. From there on, we also passed through rice paddies, a weland and a salt farm. Unlike the other sections of Haebyeongil, this section was relatively level which made it easier on our feet. After 4 hours of walking, we arrived at the strait which separated the peninsula of Taean from the island of Anmyeondo.
Waiting at the airport can be boring at time after the tenth time you walked around the departure area. Since I had around 4 hours to kill at Incheon Airport, I thought to myself, "what the heck, I'll just take photos of random stuff and see what I can do with it." I did end up with some interesting photos. It's a mash up of both colour and black and white photos, but then again, I did enjoy myself in the process.
Just FYI, all the photos were taken with the Nikon 50mm f/1.2
The first time I learned about urban renewal was when I was taking an urban studies course when back in university. It involves the relocation of the local population and businesses. It also involves demolishing the original buildings and replacing them high density structures. Many neighbourhoods in Seoul have already gone through this process and you can tell by the concrete residential towers which are a common sight in the city's skyline. There are a few original neighbourhoods that are currently going through urban renewal and today I had the chance to visit one of them. This particular neighbourhood is mostly empty with a few remaining residents who refuse to move. The area is slated to be demolished and replaced with the same residential towers which surround the area. It was weird walking through a place where the previous residential buildings are just now hallow shells waiting to be torn down. It looked like something out of an apocalyptic scene and it set a stark contrast with the new apartment towers which were sitting across the street. The neighbourhood itself is quite big and due to the lack of time, I could only explore a portion of it and had to leave. Hopefully, I'll be able to visit the place before the whole place gets torn down.
Today was teacher's day in Korea and I was fortunate enough to have the day off therefore my friend Dylan and I decided to go hiking. The trail we took started from Manripo to Shinduri. The weather started out cold and wet when our bus left the terminal at 0630 but one we arrived at Manripo, the weather started clearing up. It was nice seeing the surroundings all lush green and the butterflies flying about finding flowers to feed on. Although it wasn't too warm, we both did get sunburns. I guess it's time to start putting on sunscreen before hiking. The whole trek took approximately 5 hours and that included time wandering about taking photos.
While I was on the bus on to the starting point of my trek along the coastline, an abandoned site caught my eye. Once I got off the bus, I headed towards the site and I realized it was an abandoned school. From what I could find, the school was constructed in the early 70s and later turned into a folk art museum before closing down. Although the field is overgrown with vegetation, there was a garden in the back so I'm assuming the locals come here from time to time. Unfortunately the windows and the doors were locked so I couldn't go check inside. The interior shots were taken through the windows.
The first question you might ask is that "why the hell is this trail so damn long?" Well, in fact, it is actually two trails which I decided to do in one go. The reason behind this is because Hwangpo-hang, which is the meeting point of the two trails, is a small fishing village with less than ten buildings and the buses come every two hours, making going back to Anmyeon Bus terminal a pain. My adventure started at 0630 when I took the express bus to Anmyeong Bus terminal. From there I took the 0750 bus to Yeongmok and started making my way up the coastline. There were a few woodlands, beaches and wetlands that I passed through along the way. In total, it took a good 5 hours and 16 minutes for me to finish the 29KM trek. Although the views were spectacular, the consequence of walking 5 hours straight was that my feet were swollen. The last kilometer to the bus stop felt like a life time with my feet in agony. If you would like to tackle this fabulous stretch from Yeongmok to Kkotji or vice versa, do bring a lot of water and something to eat. There aren't that many corner stores on this section of Haebyeongil. Enough chit chat. Please enjoy the photos!
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