Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I really didn't want to have to resort to this...
But the disapproving looks from my drawing teacher and humiliation in class have really gotten to me.
I usually never spend less than an hour making a post every day, though it's usually 2 or more hours I need to get it all done. This includes going out to take the photo, post processing, thinking of something to write and then transferring it to facebook. I really don't have this time luxury anymore as I have to catch up to a bunch of Leonardo da Vinci's in my class. Their skills are over the roof and I was never talented at drawing.

This is just a hiatus, though. Once I can settle in to college life and manage to bring stress levels down I want to retake this with even better photos than before. This doesn't mean I'll stop carrying my camera around as much as I can and taking photos, I just can't promise one-a-day anymore.

I recently got some new followers so I'm very sorry to disappoint, but I need to re-evaluate my priorities right now.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27, 2012. A Desolate Place

Walk all the way up the library, you will start to see more closed doors than open ones. Keep going until you reach a desolate rooftop where fog and dead grass leave you alone to your thoughts. It's cold, but only so cold that holding yourself will provide enough comfort for you to stay, as your mind wanders, and leaves its prints in the wood marked with moments of other lonely individuals who came to find comfort in this dying Eden.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012. Everyday is New

Everyday is a new business popping up near you! It's like everybody in Seoul wants to own their own business because I don't think there's ever been a day I can go outside without spotting some little store working on its interior or hanging up a new sign. 90% of the time, though, they sell either women's clothing or coffee and it drives me nuts! But these little voyages do get even more ridiculous as you find businesses that sell purely socks, umbrellas or phone cases. There are soooooo many different phone cases here...
Unfortunately, you won't find any specialized superstores like in the US. There are electronics superstores, but the large space is divided between televisions, computers, vacuum cleaners and cameras, but none that will specialize in only one. That means there are no candy stores for me, as I can't find anywhere that will sell everything imaginable for cameras. Even the more specialized stores will usually give you only 1 or 2 options for different items.

Anyway I apologize for the disappearance this weekend as I moved again (and will do so 1 more time as I am in a temporary house) and had other things to do, so it wasn't until today that I was able to get all of my things plugged and working. I missed 3 photos which I will make up for this weekend, because our school is taking us (the foreigners) on a free trip so I'm hoping to get good shots!
Beyond that, this photo is a small milestone as it's number 100!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 22, 2012. Shiny Balls

Because everyone likes shiny balls! Hehehe...
This little walkway was lined by a fence with these reflective orbs on it that allowed you to see  from one end to the other. I liked the captured fisheye image, though the photo might be slightly tacky. I tried to clean it up as much as possible for a sharper image but oh well.. it's just an outdoor adornment anyway.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012. After Classes

My classes (usually) end at 6pm, a time to walk out of the classroom and observe the sunset. I haven't been hauling my camera to class because it's a bother and I'm usually too busy to be using it in between periods, but as I walked out today to find this scene, I wen't straight to my dorm to pick up my camera. This is just the outside area of my campus, not a very large area really. Though the scene might look better in spring or summer, I'd say this time the dead trees worked because they allow me to see the skyscrapers in the background which would otherwise be covered by leaves, which would also be casting shadows over the people thus dimming their profiles. I hate that truck though. I tried to make it work, but it had to park there JUST as I got back to take the picture.

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012. Think Outside the Lens

Well the sun wasn't low enough in the horizon for the photo I had in mind, but if I waited longer the sun would probably no longer shine on the bicycles. Thus I needed to come up with something different that would make the photo interesting.
I resorted to a special effect I saw online (for video) called lens whacking, where you remove the lens from your camera but still hold it in front of the body, and change the angle (like a tilt-shift lens, if you know what that is) which changes the plane of focus and makes some creative effects. It also allows light leaks which can look creative. I'm sure results are far superior and easier to control with a real tilt-shift lens but I think it still did the trick for me here.
I also miss my bicycle.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 17, 2012. Overpriced Drinking

I was raised in a house where they taught me that if you can make it yourself, make it. If you can do it yourself, do it. Don't pay for other people and overpriced products. I lived in a house with a full-fledged kitchen, power tools, outdoors space, and didn't understand why some people paid for some things. A year ago I would've been outraged by the thought of someone paying 9$ for a drink, a not that special one for that matter. Why don't I just get my hands on the ingredients, call my friends and hang out at my place?
Now I'm a student on the other side of the world, and there are certainly things I lack that won't allow these experiences. I can't buy my own meat and have a steak BBQ on Saturday, I can't even make my own coffee now. Not even bring friends to my own place...
That's why I wen't to a bar and had a 9$ drink. That's why I pay for overpriced tacos and coffee, that's why I eat cookies out of packages again... I never realized how much luxury I really had until I was down paying for every little thing I did.
But I'm moving again, and though I won't have all, it'll still be more!

Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16, 2012. Eyes in the Wall

Glass bottle goggles make a surveillance lookout on a high wall over the city. The sun sets, this is when enemies strike and attack!

Or so would've been my thoughts if I were a kid at that wall. (:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 15, 2012. The Last of Winter

I took another one of my long walks to see what's around HongIk other than clubs and coffee shops, and I found this rather pleasant park not too far off. I had taken other photos during the day but when I saw these benches under the fading sun I knew it would be posted today. I pulled up my camera to smile at the image coming through the viewfinder; it was exactly what I wanted.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 14, 2012. A Dock in the City's Ocean

Taking a breath and viewing the city on a cold, foggy night. I still ran out for this photo late at night, and I don't want to make excuses, but with school starting I've been getting so busy that keeping up with the blog is hard! I don't really have the time to venture out every day so most pictures have been really close to my dorm. This is where I took the panoramic photos of the city. It kind of looks like a dock except instead of an ocean you have skyscrapers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13, 2012. HongIk's Nightlife

Ironically, I don't party at all, yet I live in an area where people come from all around town to do so. Hong Ik University's area is as bright as day way past midnight, always packed with people, and it's also where you can find street music performances. You'll find tons of foreigners, bars, clubs, coffee shops and fried chicken restaurants, all overpriced but still rolling in customers.
Now I describe a lot more than my photo shows, but this was taken from the university's entrance where it was dark as all classes were already over, but look out the gate and you just see all of this light shine at you like a stage. I can never find peace here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012. Sunlit Hallway

That magical time of day when the fleeing rays of sunset rush through the window and turn the room to gold. This is the hallway of my dorm, which goes from cold and plain to warm and dramatic during these few minutes.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 11, 2012. One More Time

Well, I told you I'd return, but with certain variants compared to last time. There were clouds in a clear sky today, so I decided to go after sunset. The main differences here would be the use of color, time of day, and orientation of the camera while taking the photos.
Naturally, I would've waited way until night before going back indoors, just so that I could have more variety with light. However, I took this photo from a balcony-like raised area where the wind was blowing absurdly hard, and within a minute I was shivering despite wearing 2 sweaters and a scarf. I couldn't tell if my head just hurt from the cold or my brains were leaking out, but this is what I got.
The sun sets somewhere between the skyscrapers in the middle, so yes, I will return again but this time with the sun still visible. When I went out it was halfway above the horizon but within 30 seconds it had run away. That is what I wanted, though I hoped there would be more clouds.
You might also notice you can see much farther than last time. Wasn't foggy at all today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 9-10, 2012. Alley Life

I decided to put yesterday's and today's posts together as a small set, depicting life in this alley in Seoul. Media likes to depict skyscrapers, fancy stores down the main street, people dressed in latest fashion, but that is just a small part of life here, where hidden in alleys lie all the honest, hard working people that make the true heart of this city.
My favorite part of alley-life here, though, is that it's so clean. Look above and you'll find no trash on the ground (almost) which makes it a pleasant place to be without the need of bright lights and interior designers. This road is their home, and they take care of it like so.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 7, 2012. View from My School

This is probably a panorama you will see more of, because I intend to return at different times of the day and with different skies. (Well, "return" being going right outside my dorm). I didn't want to wait who knows how many days to get a good dramatic sky, so instead I went for a clear-sky dreamy look. The weather has been foggy and windy these days so this is what the city looks like. Nicer view than back at my dorm.
I really like how the people came out on the lower right, since it adds a bit of a foreground, the park being the middle-ground and the skyscrapers the background.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6, 2012. Fear

Well I'm probably not striking a universal experience this time, but I played a horror/shooter videogame a couple years ago called F.E.A.R. and the scenery is a lot like this, with doors, corridors, stairs and offices where you don't know when the little girl with pale skin and blood-red rags will jump at you making you almost fall off your chair. Great game though.
Actually, everyone's experienced walking alone in the dark. Once you've grown up it's not as scary anymore (or at least you deny it is) but darkness is a lot like photography, which is entirely dependent on light. In a picture, what you don't show is what people don't see, thus forcing their brains to imagine, making a small patch of grass look like a large field or a little wall like a mural. Darkness works on the same principle, not being able to see what's hidden in that corner sets your mind on fire with ideas of ghosts, demons, insane chainsaw-wielding murderers and the like. Ever confused a piece of furniture around the corner with a person? I know I have, and it scares the crap out of you!

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012. Sharing and A Change of Seasons

Winter is practically over, as we are now getting rain instead of snow, putting us into the ugliest part of the year. Gray skies, nasty wind, and dead trees are symbols of the end of another season cycle to begin the next one, but life goes on as always.
These 3 schoolgirls walk home in a light but continuous rain, huddling under 1 umbrella. Sharing is one of the most beautiful parts of Korean culture, where you make sure those near you have as much as you, even when what you have is scarce. If you go to a restaurant with 3 friends and order 1 soda, they will bring you 4 cups with it, no matter the size of the drink. Brought a bag of cookies to class? Don't eat more than one until everyone around you was offered. Your friends forgot their umbrellas? Then all 3 of you will be sticking your heads under 1 even if it means getting a little wet. Your friend doesn't have lunch money but you only have enough for 1 meal? Then split it half-half.
Well this is more of an Asian thing in general, but it's so different on my continent. People are much more possessive and sharing usually only happens within the family or very close friends (typically girls). You'll have your own drink or your own meal even if your friend cannot afford it, and the most that is given away is a sip or a bite for tasting. It's always you first, them next.
There are things I agree with and things that I absolutely do not with Korean culture, but this is one that would be nice if more people around the world could adopt and promote.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March 4, 2012. A Moment for Coffee

Coffee plays an opposite role to alcohol. Like people would say "drinking this early?" if they saw you at 11am with a bottle in hand, it would be "coffee this late?" at 11pm if you offered. It wakes you up, instead of making you sleepy, but you'll often find yourself sipping this friendly, social drink at late hours in the lively city of Seoul. Coffee is great at any time, with anything, with anyone, or will make fine company with a book or a relaxing moment alone.
Ah, coffee, how did the world go 'round without you?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

March 3, 2012. Watching The Game

A quiet Japanese restaurant and bar, he sits alone, but the suspense is high.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1, 2012. Please Do Not Feed The Animals

I arrived a little early for a meeting with a friend, so it was time for a little practice. I wanted to see how well I could expose a picture by just looking at the amount of light and not relying on the in-camera metering. I set my ISO at 400, my shutter speed at 1/90, and aperture at f2.8. Now I figure for most of you that's just jargon but these are the main factors that affect the exposure of your picture and can be used in many combinations for different results.
Well this was actually my second guess, my first guess was a bit dark but I fixed it on the next one. I deleted most of the photos I tested under different lighting conditions (as there was no composition involved, just technical stuff) but I liked the result of this one. This is the staircase of the subway exit for Children's Grand National Park. A large park including a free zoo, dancing water fountains, beautiful cherry blossoms in spring, etc.