Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dec 31, 2011. Lest We Forget

It's nice to know some people in this city of blurred rushing faces still take the time to sit down with a book. I do enjoy reading, but I always feel like I don't have the time. Books fall deep with a richness that small snippets off the internet can not replace. Looking down a staircase into this bookstore, it was as if a  barrier surrounded these people, in which time slowed into a more relaxing pace long lost to many who've embraced our new era of technology.
I hope books never really become obsolete, as most people believe they will.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dec 30, 2011. Not Always Pretty

Just some rust and junk. I seem to find myself cropping a very large amount off of my images lately. I guess since they aren't seen so large on the blog, I need a different take on them to make an impact. Either that or maybe I'm just not getting close enough to my subject. Anyway here's an image from the not-so-pretty side of modern life.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dec 29, 2011. Fall Colors in Winter Snow

Despite the snow and frozen water, a few trees still glow red with their late autumn leaves. This is one of those photos that is better appreciated large. I tried about 10 different crops but couldn't really seem to get what I wanted. Probably needed a different lens while taking the photo. Plus this is HDR, which I think ended a little overkill, but due to the flat lighting this photo would've otherwise turned out, well... flat. Though I managed the little waterfall to stand out more, it also made the trees stand out too much rendering them a bit distracting. Maybe I should try another edit of this photo.

Edit: Slightly adjusted the photo... it was bothering me.

Dec 28, 2011. Nor Sleet or Snow

On a wet winter night where the sky cannot decide whether it will give rain or snow, eventually gives both, and in this cold unfriendly weather few wish to go out to hunt for food thus ordering dinners delivered at their doorstep. Helmetless men on small wheeled steeds zoom out despite the slick roads to fulfill cruel orders every unforgiving night. Unsung heroes indeed.
A proper crop of a photo originally of the whole front of this moped turned out a much more stunning photo. I have to admit the way the lights shine through were unintended but certainly add impact. I am quite happy with this photo except for the plastic tied to the front basket.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dec 27, 2011. Commuting.

It can take you a couple minutes to simply walk down a subway line in Korea, and you might even spend up to 10 getting out of the larger stations. These commuting worms are massive usually arriving and departing every 1-5 minutes. And yet, during rush hour they all still get packed to the point that you're like a water molecule being poured in and emptied out of these mobile tubs, unable to fight the flow. I ride this amazing piece of transportation almost every day; zooming through unlit tunnels or over bridges that cross the enormous Han River making Seoul feel much smaller than the colossal man-made anthill that it is. It's really hard to connect all the different stations in a way other than the colored lines illustrated on the subway walls. It's as if every trip transported me to another island, and if you ever walk to the next station it's the most bizarre feeling; as if you've cheated laws of time and physics themselves by crossing by foot into a different dimension. The world is large, but smaller than it used to be.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dec 26, 2011. Taking the Stage

Sure does look like I'm on a stage, no? Well this started out with me throwing pennies in the air trying to freeze their fall in mid-air. Not only was it really hard to get the focus right, the photos looked really boring. So I tried turning out the lights in my room and setting off the flash with my hand so that I could get a different angle. After a few more boring failures I decided to try taking a photo with the flash towards the camera, outlining my profile. Not only did I get all kinds of cool colors, but the flash actually lit up the dust in my room which did for a really neat effect. After testing a few different angles for the light, I settled for this. Perhaps I could've done better but I felt bad for my roommate having to put up with the flashes in the dark room. Makes for an easy headache. Still, learned how to work a little with off-camera flash despite not having remote shutters or flash stands, and creating lens flares. Enjoy!

Dec 23 - 25 Away for the holidays

Staying with friends over the Christmas weekend, I was practically off the wire. Thus I was unable to get photos up, so I'm putting all three together in the same post.

I'm not a big fan of motion-blurred photos, or most abstract art. However sitting for a moment in the subway in Seoul is nothing less than a blur from a society of people that are always rushing toward some destination, and it's as if sitting down for a second is going to leave you behind... way behind. That is why I found this photo appropriate: barely distinguishable people come and gone from your life in seconds, out of which you can briefly see some stern faces facing straight forward, or tilted down while glowing from the light of their phones.

This was originally a photo to show my parents what we had to drink over the weekend, but I ended up liking the result. None of these survived the weekend though, by the power of 6 people.

Dried fish at a seafood market near my friend's house. To be honest, that's all I have to say about this one. Not too happy with it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dec 22, 2011. Self-Portraiture

Sometimes, you don't have a model at hand (more like, most of the time). And sometimes, you don't feel like going outside to tackle the cold at night. The solution? Self-portraits! I absolutely love portraits with black backgrounds, and not having any backdrops myself I hung my coat on a shelf behind me with some books and adjusted the camera settings so that it would turn out completely dark. Self-portraiture is a great way to improve one's photography, usually not having to fight a clock or run on anyone's patience. Focus and composition are a challenge to get spot-on (my camera tends to focus on my hair instead of my eyes) but it's fun nonetheless.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dec 21, 2011. Strings and Stars

Korea's National Institute for International Education decided to invite us 2011 Kyung Hee students to their end of the year party, including a great talent show. Classical music, traditional drums, modern and traditional dances, and some great singers who really knew how to get a crowd going. Though a little snapshotty, today's picture was rescued a bit by the art of digital editing. I wasn't really in a position where I could move around to take pictures but fortunately I was in a good position, with a lens with the perfect focal length to capture the whole stage. They are playing Eine Kleine Nacthmusik, a slight cliche in classical music but one of my favorites still.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dec 20, 2011. From a friend's room.

You're going to have to click this one to see it better, though it wasn't exactly what I was hoping. I had planned on taking a panoramic shot from my dorm's building, later realizing that there's a fence that doesn't allow you to get anywhere near the edge. Thus I had to improvise: I took this photo from a friend's room, out the window. Dirt and reflections hurt the quality a bit, but I didn't bother too much because it would take forever to fix. This was composed of 9 photos. Seoul can be such a maze of buildings sometimes, twisting and turning and cornering in odd places. It took me a while to get used to my neighborhood!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dec 19, 2011. Hogwarts

Winter sunrises have 1 big pro, and 1 big con. The pro is that the sun doesn't start rising until about 7 am, so you don't have to get up ridiculously early to catch it. The con, though, is that at -8C outside, you won't be spending too much time staring at it. Here is Kyung Hee University's Peace Hall. We call it 'Hogwarts' though, because it could very well been used for a Harry Potter set. This photo is composed of a vertical panorama (vertorama) because this building is just so damn large, it didn't fit in my lens no matter how far I went. This caused a little distortion but it makes for a cool effect, kinda helps emphasize the height of 'Hogwarts'.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dec 18, 2011. Dinosaur Eggs

Well I'm not fooling you, these eggs are blue. Made them look like dinosaur eggs but with a little bit of chilly vinegar, they are some damn good, blue-dinosaur egg-looking eggs.
My plans for today's photo didn't quite work out, so I had to settle with this. I'll leave their identity as a mystery but what you see here is Filipino, not Korean.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dec 17, 2011. Korean Cosmetics

I still remember my first impression walking into a Korean cosmetics store. Boy do they like things cute. They spend so much adorning their products that I wonder if the price actually comes from the container, not whatever's inside. I decided to leave the slightly over-brightened photo style so commonly seen in portraits of/by Asians. It seemed... befitting.

Koreans LOVE cosmetics. Within walking distance of my dorm you will find: Innisfree, Olive Young, Etude House, Aritaum, Skin Food, Tony Moly, and others whose names I can't remember; and you will find a lot more chains than these in Seoul. There is even a cosmetic store dedicated to men called Man Studio. As manly as that may sound, everything inside looks just like girl cosmetics except they're blue instead of pink.
Snapped this display in Etude House as my girlfriend looked around the store.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dec 16, 2011. Asian Size

Went to check out Costco, in Korea for the first time. On the first floor they have clothing and utilities, and in the basement is the food. I found it funny that they had clothing separated into 2 categories: US size and ASIAN size. My friends jumped up with hands pointing "Racist!" but if you think about it, it's funny 'cause it's true. I thought it made for an interesting pic so I took my snap of the day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dec 15, 2011. My desk

It's late and cold, so as a first photo for this blog I stayed in my room. Now if there's anything in here that shows who I am, it would be my desk. This picture used to include my desk from bottom up, but it ended up incredibly boring, looking like just another messy desk. I figured if it were to show anything about me, I would need to show details. And so I remembered something I read on a blog yesterday, quoting the words of a very famous war-time photographer Robert Capa. He said ”If your picture isn’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” So I cropped out a lot, leaving only the top part of my desk. Here you can see photos of the people I love, a bunch of books and papers from my studies, and a few of my things strewn in a semi-organized fashion. This says a lot more about me then the previous, far-away image of my mass-produced desk. I later added the blur effect to add a feeling of proximity.

Introduction to this blog

Hi, my name's Wesley Chang. I'm a photography hobbyist and now a blogger.
I have created this blog with the intent of improving my skills and releasing more content on the web. I will try to find time in my everyday life to take a photo and upload it here. I will write a little about my experience taking the photo, and what I learned from it. Ironically, I'm trying to increase quantity to also increase quality. I'm hoping this project will, over time, show how I have grown as a photographer as I spend a little bit of each day with my eye in the viewfinder. If you would like to follow my daily snippets please subscribe to my blog with any of the methods offered below, and pass this around to whoever you might find interested. I would also like to encourage commenting on my pictures with your opinion, however brief it may be, it will still be appreciated.

I have created a flickr account to showcase my best photography up until now, and any photos here I'm particularly  proud of will go up there. My gallery is still rather small but this is where I start! You can check it out by clicking the photostream below.