Friday, September 28, 2012

September 28, 2012. Tough Tar

After the rain is a great time to shoot. An even layer of water covering everything creates reflections and gives dimension to otherwise dull surfaces. I like this dark, hard look from the road, like something is lurking around the shadows, deciding the best time to jump you. Above you power cables stretched like the silk of a spider's web, trapping you inside.
Actually, now that the heat is gone, the rotting smells are starting to go away too, and I'm starting to like my alley again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 27, 2012. Room 708

Maybe it's just a classroom, maybe a mad scientist's lab. Maybe the building is on fire, because someone has gone mad.
I love shooting toward the sun. It creates great drama, but it pushes the camera to its limits, and facebook too. The subtle detail in the darks always gets crushed but its really hard to get people off facebook!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 26, 2012. Little People in a Little Land

The universe is huge, and in it we are very small creatures with very big heads. For the many thousands of years humans have been around, it is relatively very recent in their history since they (most of us) began to accept the universe doesn't revolve around them. Yet we still believe the world does.
I find the shadows of the people in sunset lighting as a metaphor for our ego. They are large, stretched and distorted beyond our real figure like the images we have of ourselves in this world...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012. Twenty-First Century Desert.

What a sleepy day today. My first class was alright but spent the rest struggling with sleep. I feel bad because my second class only has about 8 students in it, and the teacher would often look at me while speaking, as I drift in and out of consciousness. I would see him for about 10 seconds before sight would begin twisting, falling out of focus, my eyes losing orbit...
Yet when I go to bed it's so hard to fall asleep!

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012. Fall Has Started

Finally, the heat has gone and the leaves are turning yellow. My favorite part of the year is about to begin!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23, 2012. Leading Lines

A small living area behind Kyung Hee University, I felt the shape of the buildings leading my eyes toward Crown Hall. 6pm lighting is always the best, and many photographer's favorite.

Sunrise Hike Photos

Here's a slideshow of the rest of the pictures I took on the 22nd, but go to flickr if you want to see them a bit larger!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 22, 2012. Skyrock

Staying out all night, hiking in darkness, hauling camera equipment. It's all worth it. I couldn't choose which photo I'd put up today out of so many I took of the sunrise, so I decided to go with this one and put up the rest elsewhere and share them later. A great view, the farthest corners of Seoul looked close. Cold breeze and a silence you don't find very easily anymore. It certainly wasn't the largest of hikes I've ever taken, but it was exhausting to pull off at 4am without having slept (subways don't start until around 6am so there would be no way to get there in time without staying out unless I paid for a taxi, which is expensive). The change of seasons has brought great skies and weather, and I'd really like to go up again soon.

September 21, 2012. You Can't Just Have Any Other Photo

Really, I just needed wanted a new profile picture for facebook. Of course I want to make myself look good, but it's also a chance to get some practice with lights and portraiture. It's incredibly hard to work without even a living room that could stand in as a studio, and not even having a stand for my flash I am pretty ill-equipped. Well those are just excuses, I had to pile things up to hold up my flash, use shirts as diffuser/reflectors, tape a bed sheet to the wall as a background, and hook my camera up to my computer so I can see what I'm doing, but it was all still possible. Yet the hardest part out of the whole process is the modeling. It is so easy to look awkward in-camera, trying a million different head-tilts, mouth shapes and eye expressions... I have to put up some outtakes so you can see what I'm talking about!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20, 2012. Fading Into Nostalgia.

It's Thursday, and I don't have much to say.
Just an afterthought on the nostalgia of cool weather during a long sunset, side lit classrooms, and good memories.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19, 2012. When We Lose The Mountains

I glanced out the window to enjoy the view on a great day, and saw this mountain range off to the right. I found it interesting how it contrasted with the rising apartment buildings, as if humans were trying to mighty the mountains. I'm sure you could see those mountains from anywhere below many years ago, until these buildings were put up. Maybe, one day, the buildings will be so tall people will forget the mountains are there, and only those who lived long ago will remember.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 18, 2012. Night of Fire

It wasn't until then that he realized all of the money that got him where he was was not going to give him the world... because he destroyed it. Standing on the tallest floor of his last tower allowed him to see the black clouds of soot in the sky set afire, and the rotting ground he went so high up to escape. It was terribly hot and the air stank even hundreds of feet in the air. It was only a matter of time until he too could no longer breathe.

My only regret about this photo is that most screens will probably be unable to show all of the detail in the shadows, especially on the internet.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012. An Unlovely Day

The only time I like rain is when I'm in bed and I can sleep in, but these pictures aren't gonna take themselves. I decided to turn right, instead of my usual left after leaving my house, so that I could venture around the alleys of my neighborhood. Soaked to the knees, my tripod and camera wet, I got a few shots and then decided to head home. I took a wrong turn somewhere, though, because I ended up walking a very long time through this zigzagging maze until I had to ask someone where the main road was. I discovered a series of privately owned marts, an unusual amount of dry cleaning stores, and a few interesting sights during my adventure, though. It was a good time to go out (despite the rain) because trash had just been cleaned up which makes the scenery much more pleasant.
You can't tell it's raining in the photo because I set the camera on my tripod and used a slow exposure because it was a bit dark due to the weather, so all of the raindrops are blurred out.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 16, 2012. Being Square

Every country has something to hide... or something they want to hide, but is it right to keep these things out of the light?
I am picking on something controversial here, something another photographer got me thinking about, and it would be the other side of Korea. This country isn't all about giant, futuristic buildings, touch-screen technology and beautiful temples from ancient times. There are places where it's all nice and clean comfortable... and there are places that aren't. Enter my neighborhood.
I certainly live in a stinky corner of Seoul, literally. It smells like rotting trash all day (more severely in summer) and houses are claustrophobic, dirty and falling apart. Yet it seems the government is more concerned in hiding these issues than actually solving them. They much rather wait until the day they can knock these ugly, defaming homes down and put up their tall, soulless apartment buildings that look like they all came off the same blueprint. Yet the people who live here do so because they cannot afford anything better, so where will they go?

September 15, 2012. One Last Game

If you didn't catch my post, I was out during the evening so I couldn't post the photo before.

Anyway I've just been obsessed with how the sky looks lately, and how dramatic scenes can look if you shoot into the sun. Some children playing in what was left of the sun had me turning around while passing HUFFS (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies) near my house. It reminded me of playing in the sunset as a child, which meant it would be time to go inside soon... but just after one last game.

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 14, 2012. Fire and Water

You had perhaps 5 minutes to appreciate this scene.
Yes I know it's ANOTHER sky photo (I was asked if my blog was about sky photos) but today was house cleaning day. When I was done and relaxing in my chair, something caught my attention outside the window. The whole sky was going down red as the sun's dying rays lit the bottom of sparse clouds while the evening's remaining blue fought to get through.
I need to buy a ladder so next time I can be on the roof!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13, 2012. Laserway

I was shooting for a more futuristic look, unlike other photos I have where I make Seoul look like a post-nuclear, decaying city... Well that only happens because I think old, run-down places make great subjects. I wanted to make colors and lights pop more, though I would've loved it if the lights inside the subway were brighter and poured out, but oh well...
Stuck again in my 6pm anti-creativity class, I needed to come up with a solution to the problem of lacking a photo today. I was a bit busy, and the weather was once again grim. At one point my mind just drifted away to potential photo opportunities I may run into on my way home. I haven't done night photography in a while, which appeared often in the first month of my blog, so the darkness didn't really present a threat to me this evening. Well this image of the last stop home came to mind, so instead of boarding at the very end of the train for my usual quick exit upon arrival, I went to the other end so I could capture people disembarking down this long, lit corridor. I was glad to get very close to what I had in mind.
It is inevitable that I have various subway photos here, since I ride it every day, but this is actually my first nighttime subway photo!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012. Alone With Yourself

So I had the chance to visit a mental hospital today...
Just kidding, but it certainly looks like it! I have no idea who that was, sitting by herself in the quiet, empty hallways. I was going to the bathroom while waiting for my next class, but had to run straight back for my camera before the eerie hallway moment was over. It's a bit off-center but I think it works because the photo itself wasn't taken in the middle of the hallway and the crookedness kind of adds to the mentally unstable feeling. It was the only photo today and the only moment I even felt the urge to pull out my camera, but at least it wasn't "another sky photo"!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2012. Transitioning

I was glad to see a few people post photos of today's sunset on facebook because it was spectacular. I got my take when the sky was still transitioning from blue to orange and then had to go to class where I couldn't do more than stare between closed drapes at the amazing colors falling down. We are at the time of year when skies are clearest. Summers tend to be cloudy and winter skies are always gray and murky, so I'm taking advantage of the current weather to get what will probably be the last good sunsets of the year.

Lots of people tend to think that a good photographer with a good camera will always take a good photo. That's not exactly true. They will certainly take the better photo as compared to someone who is inexperienced but there is way more that goes into the equation. It takes perseverance. You have to go back to the same locations for the day in which conditions are best. It's in part luck, but if you aren't aware and ready then the best photos will quickly slip by.

Anyway, here's for those who didn't look at the sky today (or don't live in Seoul).

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012. Post Apocalyptic Chaos

First time I have to tackle school and the photo the same day again, so I had to be extra alert but the early morning light didn't fulfill my expectations. I was turning all day towards the sun to see what it would offer me but it wasn't until I was almost home that it decided to put on a show. Combined with the old, dirty buildings of the area I was able to achieve a very post-apocalyptic look. It was difficult to get such a bright sky and still find details in the foreground due to the overpowering background light but my camera proved it could handle the challenge. It did take a little extra work in post though...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 9, 2012. Cool Liquid Glass

I wanted to do more than a little photowalk today as it might be my last (mostly) free weekend before school really starts to kick in next week. Expecting to just check out a new part of town I called up my friend Dong who jokingly suggested we go hiking. Well I thought it was a splendid idea.
Though my original idea was to find a high place on Mt. Bukhan and catch the sunset, we didn't end up finding a good location due to the trees covering up the view, so on the way down I turned my attention elsewhere. Among ill-equipped, attempted macro photos, and tree-covered views of the city and mountains, we crossed this stream on the way back down which I didn't notice on the way up from having something else in mind. First shots weren't convincing so I crawled in closer and even had one of my tripod legs in the water. These extremely-clear water streams run all the way down the mountain and are incredibly tempting to dunk your head in. Such a refreshing experience.
Thank you to Dong for hiking out with me all afternoon and putting up with my frequent stops.
And for those of you who dabble in the techie stuff the metadata is: 18mm ISO 100 f/9.5 for 6 seconds. Filter: ND 8

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 8, 2012. No More Play For Today

I'm back! Many months later, I decided I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't stop composing pictures in my head, calculating when the light would be right, and wishing my camera was with me. For those of you who check my personal facebook you would've noticed the unusual amount of cellphone pictures I started taking. Well I've had enough of that and decided I'd retake the blog so I can answer when inspiration strikes. I'd like to note a few things though:
I just started another semester and it's gonna be busier than before. Doing 20 credits this time, spread out 9 classes. Thus I will guarantee a photo a day, but I won't guarantee that it be taken with my camera, and I can't guarantee it will have anything written with it except minimal information. I will write when I can, but I have days classes end at 8pm and my studies come first. I understand I lose a large part of my blog like that but it's a sacrifice I'm making to be able to continue. I figured it was better than doing something like going weekly instead of daily because the point is to simply have my camera at my side at all times.
Anyway I'm pulling out my camera like you'd pull out an old bike (though I have been using my camera at times, like travel and portrait shoots with my girlfriend Yvonne) but it still sort of feels like that.
So get ready and remember to tune in every day for a little bit of inspiration!