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.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012. Lost at City

Perched upon another rooftop, I couldn't have achieved this shot without being far away, higher up and using a large zoom. This photo was taken pushing the limits on my worst glass, the 75-300mm telephoto, but I found the composition intriguing enough to overlook the faults from the optics. This bird's eye view of two girls on a rooftop terrace gave an angle that made the city look like a sea of giant waves, transforming the balcony into a ship to explore and get lost. Seoul really is a sea of massive, disorganized buildings which explains the people's heavy reliance on GPS.
And yes, out there be monsters... monsters that smell like kimchi, garlic and soju at 11 pm on the subway!

October 9, 2012. Tape, Spit and Cigarette Buds

An evening alleyway, they type you usually do not want to walk down at night.
For me, it's the most bizarre thought that this back road access is actually still safe, even in the late hours where sane people are all in bed sleeping. That is the glory of Seoul. Yet a haunting quality will still lurk between the rusting tubes and dirty cracks... it's hard to imagine that people live in here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012. Staircase to an Insanity

It's a climb they make every day, once when leaving, once when coming back. The staircase silently representing the fall that must come after every rise. And as its tramplers walk its grey, hard steps, they are treading on the artificial stones of their sanity.
But there are those who have silently disappeared from the staircase, leading their same straight line life until it vanished with an absolute, clean-cut interruption. It was simply a slipping of the foot, a random loss in balance, but by tripping on these stairs, they say, you trip, and lose your sanity.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October 7, 2012. Final Stages

If you think about where you'd like to be when you are old, you might think of the countryside, or a small town, in a calm country where the slow life is at your pace. You certainly wouldn't imagine Seoul, an up-to-date city where new technology seems to revolutionize the industry twice a day. Thus there are always elderly people struggling with the subway system, confused with their phones or simply oblivious to the technology around them that could help them out. Yet if we look at the plus side, Seoul has pleasant, clean and well-maintained parks in every corner, open university campuses where you can relax, and where they do relax, and many accessible mountains where they make regular hikes. So the deal isn't all bad.
 If you've been to Seoul, could you imagine growing old in such a place?

October 6, 2012. Classic Korean

An old temple for scholars, now just a tourist site. In great condition and with vibrant colors, and oddly filled with praying mantises... is that not a coincidence?

October 5, 2012. Walking Down the Old and New

I waited a long time for this alleyway to finally clear up. Hahoe, an old folk town we toured this weekend. On the left we see a stone wall and on the right a (badly) restored one. This led down to a 300 year old tree where people write wishes on little strips of paper and they tie it around the tree. Anyway I just found it a pleasant, classic looking alley so it was worth the wait.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October 4, 2012. Dirty Lines

Despite the city's name you will find little soul in the thousands of identical apartment buildings that characterize Seoul. You have to take those dirty back roads where people who have character and work hard have made a home. It's easy to get lost in the disorganized maze of random chunks of brick, block and metal that many call home, and to top it off run crazy power lines with seemingly random direction, like a spiderweb used to piece the houses together. Yet this is how I want, and will remember Korea by.

October 3, 2012. Subtle Appearance

Decided to throw together a brief photoshoot this evening since I had nothing for today. It's always good practice too. We wanted to try something new so Yvonne did some Gothic makeup, and I spruced it up a bit in photoshop. I still find "studio" photography (not really a studio, just my room made into a makeshift one) hard, so I'd really like to get feedback on this one.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2, 2012. Impatient Young

Two bikes, two very different purposes.
I take the subway.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012. Lights and Toys

I got to play with my friend's tilt-shift lens, and have some fun. It's a lens used more seriously for architecture, but more creatively for slicing focus. Instagram wasn't the first to do it eh!

September 30, 2012. Places Worth Going

Took a hike up another mountain today, but for the sunset, and tried something more ambitious. This is an HDR panorama, made from 4 shots with 6 exposures each (total of 24 photos). It was a lot of post-processing work, and my computer wanted to just get up, flip me off and never come back. After a lot of combining and teaking, and A LOT of waiting for things to process, I have finished my first HDR panorama. I am quite proud and see myself doing this a lot in the future. The results are certainly superior, the details from light to dark and colors preserved. We had a great sky tonight, clear around the sun but full of textured clouds to be lit up when it fell low.
I opted to put this photo on because facebook and blogger don't produce the best quality, a quality I could not pass up this time. Enjoy!

September 29, 2012. Where We Go In A Hurry

In Korea, the products you buy dictate your social status, and often are only purchased for that purpose. For example, the oven: nobody bakes in Korea. They don't make cakes or cookies or baked turkey, none of that, yet if you have an oven in your house it means you are well off. They more often get used for storage and I wouldn't be surprised if nobody really knows what they are for.
Cars are somewhat like this. Public transportation can be troublesome during traffic hours and after midnight (because it is closed), but it's fast and reaches almost every inch of Seoul. Cars, on the other hand, are always available and take you wherever, but there is no parking. Seoul has a general lack of space, and most people don't own cars anyway, so businesses much rather use any space they can for people than cars. Even if a car got you there quicker, then, you would spend more time looking for parking and save no time in the end.