Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23, 2012. Clean Space

In a moment of sudden clarity at Oksu station, after the people have moved on to the next train.

Due to traveling I won't post a photo tomorrow, the day after and perhaps even after that. Actually posting will now be irregular because I will likely have little access to my computer, but I promise I will have great photos of Guatemala.

Also I screenshot a before-and-after of this photo just to show the magic and importance of post-processing.
Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22, 2012. All Still The Same

For many, the world did not end. Some were relieved, others disappointed, but a few were struggling to have a world in the first place.
And they did not worry. Why? Not because they had nothing to lose.
It was because they knew that the world will not end in a flash and a bang, in glory and with a show. The world will end very slowly as we slowly creep our way there, but we are not there yet.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012. Metalwork

I'm not quite sure what these metal doohickeys are for, but if the man was preparing for a zombie apocalypse I suppose he ended up very disappointed...
Well I walked by a greasy blacksmith's cave and the metal was calling me. I would've liked to get the man's photo too but he didn't really look approachable, and he might have seen it as a chance to test out his tools. Either way I felt like I was walking by a diamond in the rough, a place with character so I couldn't miss out.

December 20, 2012. Rolling Repetition

I wish I approached strangers more, it's usually very rewarding when things work well. I saw a group of skaters while wandering today, going back and forth practicing their flips and slides, and seeing the light of the day I knew I would be sorry if I didn't take some shots. They spoke English and were cool with it so I did what I could with their rushing by and the waning sun. Pre-focusing so I'd be ready, I managed to get the shot tack-sharp.
It's all about dedication and repetition. They weren't afraid of falling, they were focused on succeeding.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19, 2012. Solitary Road

You'd think in this gigantic, bustling city you'd find no quiet, but that's not true. You simply have to look around and even in the busiest parts of Seoul you will find its solemn corners where your mind can wander its own ways. Usually the young don't know about them but you will find the elderly there, meditating, reminiscing or even exercising in the seemingly endless amounts of public gym equipment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012. Smokestacks and Skystrokes

Clear, cold skies causes smoke to stay crisp and maintain its shape, and it's rather mesmerizing to look at. These dark strokes our consumption paint in the sky will not always wash away as the canvas slowly fades into gray, and we will be forced to clean it up because we can't breathe the dirty air. But instead we paint it over white and pretend it's a new canvas though all the layers have taken away the original texture which will eventually be forgotten. So our children will never know nature, only what we have done to it, and that artificial layer of white.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17, 2012 Schoolwork

Though I'm out of exams I'm not completely out of school yet; pictured here are two of my last projects. Not my favorite class but gotta get it done.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16, 2012. "And this is where you were made!"

Little girl getting her back alley tour, discovering her roots. Ha!

December 15, 2012. Back Again

So I'm back again! Just a month away, as I promised. Also, today (Dec 15th. This post is a bit late) is the 1 year anniversary of this blog. Though I didn't manage to take a photo EVERY day since then, I did manage around two thirds of it.
This is a sculpture at an old printing press in Korea, the kind where you individually pick out letters and line them up to make a stamp. There was lots of interesting things to photograph there but this piece was very intriguing and the rust added a great touch. I'll let the rest speak for itself.

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012. Sweeps and Scoops.

Call me ignorant, but I don't really get the point of sweeping up all of the leaves during fall. They are natural, and biodegradable, not to mention fun to kick around. Why waste all of that effort picking up leaves and not, say, all of the trash on the ground??

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 18, 2012. Holes in the Sky

Colors, perspective and falling temperatures.

November 17, 2012. Variations of Expression.

Graffiti, perhaps controversial but it's an art form that speaks to the crowd a lot better than those high end, extravagant and strange art forms that seem simply odd rather than well-thought but are almost impossible to understand.
Of course not all graffiti is good, like those idiots who will simply badly sign their nicknames or write profanities on walls, but you can tell when the effort is there and when behind that effort lies a meaning. Graffiti is an urban art of expression, thus is often portrays urban themes. Many people who live in the city could not imagine living outside of it, they fear the outside, without their luxuries, comfort, technology... and that will sometimes stop them from thinking critically about the city they live in. Sometimes graffiti reminds us to think critically, and not just be mindless monkeys.

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012. After School Play

Those after-school afternoons with friends, when the day's busy grind is gone and the wind blows cool.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15, 2012. So Instagramy

Going with a cliche shot with a cliche effect, and I'd like to talk about cellphone cameras.
"The best camera is the one in your hand." -Chase Jarvis
Many phones have better cameras than point-and-shoot cameras were a few years ago, and although they don't have most manual controls, if you compose your pictures well you can still have something worth someone else's time. In the end, a phone is a handy, portable device and you're more likely to be carrying it around than your camera, be it a DSLR or point-and-shoot, thus more photo opportunities are likely presenting themselves to you when you have only your phone at hand.
Now, I still took the photo above with my camera, I mean if I have it around there's no reason to use my phone, but I very well could have taken it with my phone, or a much more expensive camera and the differences would be minimal. You shouldn't judge a photo by the camera it was taken with, nor a photographer by his camera. I know a couple people with a good eye and they turn out good pictures even if it's just with their phones, and I've seen photographers here with giant lenses and expensive cameras taking bad graduation pictures when their money would've been better invested in some lights than pretentious gear.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14, 2012. These Crazy Coffee Shops

Oh I'm not saying I don't like them, it's actually quite interesting to find these quirky coffee shops hidden in back alleys. All of the main street ones are usually large franchises that carry the same, stale design and feel (and bad coffee). The best coffee I've had in Korea comes from the small, individually owned places where the walls and the people have character. Though I can't say I've tried the coffee here yet, it's still a nice place to stop by and stare at.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 13, 2012. Mushroom Clouds

You've seen this cityscape before, but with the sun aligned like this I had a couple minutes to capture this interesting pattern before it disappeared. Sort of like a cloud of doom, mimicking a mushroom cloud, letting us know we are bringing about our own destruction.

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012. Cold and Gray

An exhausted old lady selling magazines on a cold Monday afternoon.
For the supposed superiority of the elderly in Korea, we regularly see them working low end jobs in the streets, selling magazines, passing out flyers and pushing extremely heavy garbage and recycling carts around, sometimes so large you cannot see them behind it. These are jobs you will never see young people doing, so they are shunned on those who have no choice as nobody else will give them a job and they have no money.
It makes you wonder about their families, if they have any, and how they wound up where they are. Was it poor life decisions, or an inevitable ending to their situation from early on?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 11, 2012. Interlude

Ok so here's the last I'll be posting of the shoot, this one in color and much calmer.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 10, 2012. Thick Strings

Another photo from this set. Thanks to Ming Rui for lending us his base.
We had to get some rock music going but once she was into it we got tons of great shots. It was really hard to choose so Yvonne had to give me a hand. There's really not much more to say so play your rock music and enjoy!

November 9, 2012. Classic Rock and Roll

I'd like to mention some thanks first, to Rick for letting us use his studio room for the awesome black backdrop, to Jazzmin for the great modeling, Keena for giving a helpful hand and Yvonne for the great rock and roll makeup.

It was quite a shoot and we really brought out her rock demons. Though the lights didn't really go as planned we got a lot of good shots, so instead of only posting one photo from this shoot I will post two more this weekend to give myself a break as I have lots of things to catch up with. I hope you like it!

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 8, 2912. Blue Fog

 A busy long day, a friend asked us to model as a couple for a magazine cover, and I took advantage to get some shots down by the river since I don't go there much.
A funny story: As we were shooting, two drunk men come loudly down to the water, swearing and holding each other by the collar. To everyone's surprise they walk straight into the water (it was about 6 degrees out) and look like they were about to drown each other. Seems one was trying to force the other to swim across, but later was saying "lets cross together!" smiling but also swearing. After a while they finally sat down on the edge, wet, talking and occasionally going up in anger flares, yet you could oddly still tell they were friends. We left before them.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7, 2012. Yellow

Reconstruction and renovation happens at a rate that you don't even notice it anymore. It's ridiculous that you can't remember what used to be there before they even finish the new place because places pop up and go down like weeds and daisies.
Trees grow slowly, change at rates we don't notice, and become sturdy and reliable. The rest goes down and is placed in the trash. We should learn to grow like trees.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November 6, 2012. Children Don't Play When It's Cold

It's that time of year again when holding my camera for over a minute is long enough to freeze my fingers stiff, making it really painful to open the clips of my camera bag.
I think this fall brought disappointment to a lot of us. Like spring, it's the perfect weather topped with the beautiful scene of trees changing color, when you can comfortably go out with a light sweater and enjoy the great outdoors. Yet most of us have already pulled out the winter clothing supply.
Dear fall: I want my excitement back.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012. Long Way Home

I don't like riding buses, I always end up looking like that guy on the left if the ride becomes too long due to Seoul's long, winding, curvy roads. I'd much rather take the subway. Which do you prefer/use?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 4, 2012. Crimson Leaves

They are a strong, ruby red and make me think of grapefruit, cranberries and red gatorade.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November 3, 2012. Red Road

Enjoying more of fall.
Actually today's photo was going to be of the lantern festival but there were way too many people, and it was a very large line to get in so I figured I'd go back on a later day when there's hopefully less people. So for today enjoy more of the falling leaves!

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2, 2012. Evening Magic

The tiniest of tiniest of little glowing creatures that come up when the sun goes down, they hide under leaves when you're looking for them but they reveal themselves when you're not.

Locations I had scouted at the park on Monday had already lost a lot of leaves due to the windy weather which made the photoshoot a little more difficult. This was our first real shoot with a location and the lack of assistance made it tricky. The snippy cold weather wasn't helping either but we managed to get shots I'm pleased with.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1, 2012. The Future In Your Hands

I've never checked out fortune telling in Korea but it's too suspicious when there are so many of them. That's when you know its a scam, specially those over-decorated rooms with well-dressed ladies with too much makeup. In the end it's usually a girl thing to have their fortune told, as they want to know things like when they will meet their true love and when they will get married, and guys get forced to go with their girlfriends. Since even the people here know it's fake, they say you have to go to 5 different ones and if anything they say coincides then it's supposedly true.
I'm not about to pay 5$ per session for that though.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31, 2012. Firegrass

This photo needs a model, sitting before the chlorophyll-drained firegrass like the dying out flames of a year nearing its end. And when the snow falls, it will be the white ashes of 2012's end.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30, 2012. Cartoon Classrooms.

I suppose you can't relate to this one unless you watch anime, but no school story goes without the empty classroom in the sunset. Sidelit with bright orange light, I get this nostalgic feeling between classes, thinking of when I still had the time to watch anime, or when I'd stay after school with friends. Now it's like I'm reliving this experience, but in a different setting with different people, and a different mindset.

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012. Retracing Steps

During a short but pleasant photo walk today, enjoying the autumn weather made me remember the things I like about Korea. I've listed a lot of my complaints and critiques on this blog before but the friendly weather got me thinking about what I appreciate here.
First, and I mention this a lot, is the safety. It's great to be able to walk outside at 2 am without any worries, holding my camera, wallet and phone.
Fall season is another. Though the mild tropical weather back home was only a few steps from perfect, the slightly cold, elusive season when trees range from golden yellow to deep red, placed in Seoul's various parks, is just pure eye-candy. I will certainly be taking full advantage of the foliage this year.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28, 2012. Behind The Scenes

I took this while helping out on the set of a friend, Will Forrester, of his film "iPv 5 - RETRIBUTION"
It was golden hour and the crew looked awesome in the light.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 27, 2012. Do Nothing Day

Everybody in Seoul knows today was a "Do Nothing Day." Unless you had no choice! Rained heavily from early to late and I didn't get out of my bed until 1pm. Felt so good.

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26, 2012. E Building's View

Oh I confess, I took this on Wednesday, but never had the time to process it until today. I had a hard week and this was a couple hours of work but I really wanted to post it so I decided to give today a break and put this up. 6 piece panorama made from 3 exposures each piece. All in all 18 photos.
There was a man on that white building almost in the center (with the path on top, if you can tell) taking photos too and it was cool to know somebody else saw what I saw in the weather that day. I could tell early on it was going to be good, and knew exactly what hour to escape from class so I could catch it. I'm liking this rooftop. I've checked other ones, including that building on the right but they are all closed off, but I can't say I'm not happy with this one.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25, 2012. Under the Bridge

I had a little extra time before class and decided to walk to the next subway station instead of waiting for the bus. It's a little far, and on the way I crossed under this bridge over a little river I'd seen various times while riding the bus. I had always intended to photograph it but I didn't realize the water would be this low with the change of season. Gonna have to come back during summer, but I took the shot anyway.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24, 2012. The Colors of Pollution

What a sunset! Climbing rooftops again to not miss this one, as the clouds had shown promise all day. There was the bigger picture, but if you looked right beneath the sun you would see this apocalyptic scenario playing out, like a deserted city burning.
So my cup of tea.
It was cold on that rooftop, but the wind (or classes) weren't going to bring me downstairs until this was over. The scene was changing very fast, and that hole in the upper left that is letting in light was only there for about 30 seconds and then disappeared, bit it gave me the best scene.
More to come, though, got pictures to edit still.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23, 2012. Window View

Windows are for those who are stuck indoors and wish to be out. I can't imagine what it is like to live without windows, but when it comes to student's housing in Korea you are actually considered lucky if you have a window, but even if you do it might just be the view of another building's gray wall 5 feet away.
My school does boast of many great views, however, as it is up a hill and over the city. I admit it has given me many photos for this blog.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012. A Sudden Urge

A busy day, a busy walk; when she got a sudden urge to photograph herself. Her life could not continue until she did so.
And so she did.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 19-21, 2012 Modern Life

I decided to put all three photos together in one post, since I was very busy this weekend I took all of the photos today.
My day started with the work of Steve McCurry, an internationally recognized photographer but more known for his photo Afghan Girl. I'm sure you've seen it, but a 5-second google search will clear any doubts. I heard today was the last day of his exhibition in Seoul, and though I don't frequent museums, as a photographer I knew I had to see this one.
Photos ranged from portraits of people around the world, the ruins of the World Trade Center right after 9/11 and iconic images from beautiful countries. It was inspiring and hard to leave, I would've much rather moved into the gallery. The first photo is of Seoul Arts Center where the exhibition was held.
The next two are in Gangnam, where my day concluded. It's not an area I frequent but it was nearby and a nice day... plus there's a canon store there.
You could say Canon is like my "toy store", but in toy stores you buy toys. I just stare at them, try them out and dream about buying them, so maybe it's more like my church where I just go and dream and worship these toys I can't have. ):

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 18, 2012. Countless Hours

I thank my friend Pablo for finding this hallway for me. It's relaxing to have a photo by 1pm, not having to worry about it the rest of the day, though I returned at 5:30 for better lighting.
It's somewhat hidden, like somewhere only painting students know... like a secret storage hallway. Ha.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012. Sliver

Now I only wish I had my tripod, and a better lens...
Days are dark by 6pm now, and that means I will probably have a lot more night photography. I'm glad I came across this photo opportunity as I was going home (I always have 1 eye toward the sky) because it is hard to take photos at night with no tripod and my camera's puny low-light capabilities, but I did what I could. I've been carrying my zoom lens around now too, though it's more weight to carry, but worth the shoulder pains.
I hope you have a romantic Wednesday night!...

Is it just me or does this photo make you think of Manhattan too?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 16, 2012. Shadow Crossing

Some casual walkers on the streets of Seoul. I had this photo in my mind before, and I learned something strange and new about Korea while taking it. A lot of the cars waiting on the front row would actually turn off their lights when people walked by. I didn't know anyone did such a thing.
Well it is polite, but in my case it was frustrating. I wanted as much light as possible so I had to wait a few lights on an intersection until I got enough cars with their lights on, though I am still a bit unsatisfied.
This is not unexpected of Korean behavior though, as people go lengths to avoid discomforting other people.  Koreans are often shy and don't like creating a commotion in public, and if you are bothering them they will often bear with it rather than complain. I spilled a little coffee on a guy's back in the jammed subway once, but he never said anything to me. He just mumbled coffee and a few other angry words but didn't go beyond that. I apologized and wiped off what I could with a napkin... but it's coffee.
Honestly the only people who will approach you on the streets are either aggressive vendors, youth-hating, angry old men or annoying churchgoers trying to recruit you to their bible studies (my god they never leave). Other than that they pretty much keep to themselves.

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012. Lonely Classics

And another bike for the collection. There are a few that sit around my house, there everyday, dirty and unkempt. Abandoned. They fade and rust, eventually blending into the scenery along with the piles of trash that accumulate from the lack of public garbage bins.
This one doesn't seem to share that fate, though... or at least not yet.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 13, 2012. Classy

Added to the bike photos I have here, this one I made it so that it would look like a scene from old color films, with those saturated, off-tone colors and blue shadows. Now a poor man's bike but once the star of a classy romance.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11, 2012. Fire and Water

You cannot deny the awe inspiring power of light rays bursting through clouds.
So I'll leave your imagination and emotions to develop on their own for this one.