Samcheong-dong is one of my favourite places to go to when I head to Seoul for the weekend for not only to enjoy a good meal, but also for street photography. Fall foliage has reached its peak this week which has turned the city into a collage of red, orange and yellow. It certainly has brighten up Seoul quite a bit which makes it an interesting combination for street photography. Here are a few of the photos from the trip.
It's been a while since I revisited Samcheong-dong in Seoul. The first time I actually visited the place was in 2012 when I had a friend from secondary school come to Korea and wanted to visit a particular cafe in there. Ever since, I've sort of forgotten about the place until I had my friend from university who was staying in a hostel near that area and I thought it would be a good chance to not only take him there, but also check it out myself. While Samcheong-dong is also a main area that tourists flock to, the thing I love about it are the small independent shops, art galleries and cafes located in traditional hanoks and old buildings in small streets which makes it an awesome place for street photography. If you want to explore the area, you would have to take the orange line (line 3), get off at Anguk station and head towards exit 2. It takes around a good few hours to explore Samcheong-dong and since its situated in a hilly area. Also, do remember to wear a pair of comfortable shoes.
Seoul is a weird place for street photography. For some reason there is an awkward feeling when I'm wandering around the streets in Seoul. I guess the reason why I find it awkward is because when I started street photography in Hong Kong, it was easy to find interesting things to take photos since everything was tightly packed together. While in Seoul itself is quite a dense city, there seems to areas of "dead space" of concrete towers with little or no "character" in the newly urbanized areas. Nevertheless, the older neighborhoods are still interesting to explore but it does take a bit of time of walking around to find something interesting to photography. While it is a lot more challenging to find an interesting subject, it's still good practice. The photos below were taken around Nambu Bus Terminal and the stretch from Ewha Womans University to Shinchon.
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.
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!
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