Country and City

In the morning I took a walk around a village near my apartment and in the afternoon I went downtown for another walkabout. No great works of art were created, but I thought people not living in Korea might be interested in some Korean scenes.

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This wall is northern style. It has thick clay walls with smallish windows to keep out the cold in winter. Southern buildings have thinner walls and sometimes paper doors and windows can take up almost all the wall. This building is a shed if I remember correctly. I haven’t seen a window boarded up with corrugated tin before.

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You don’t need to go to the city because the city eventually comes to you. This rural area will have five or six more apartment complexes in the next year. It wouldn’t be so bad if some of the interesting parts of the city came with them, but it’s always the same businesses that show up in a complex’s commercial building — a convenience store or two, a cram school, and a grilled pork restaurant. Maybe a Chinese restaurant if you’re ‘lucky’.

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The downtown Agricultural Cooperative. The main floor is a supermarket where they mostly local and domestic products. The upper floors are for banking. It’s not a beautiful building but I wanted to make a record of it. It might be replaced by something else in thirty years or so.

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There are no shiny new buildings in the back alleys of downtown Gangneung. Mostly cracked concrete, breeze blocks, and corrugated iron.

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The second floor of Gangneung’s Central Market. The words in the windows are the menu items served in a restaurant up there. Grilled lance asiabell root, handmade dumpling soup, grilled dried pollack, steamed fish, mushroom stew, and seafood stew.

Lots of my downtown photos are details of things. Maybe I should try stepping back and make photos that show what the market looks like as a whole. On the other hand, I have to photograph what interests me. The next time I go out, I’ll try both.

 

Bits and Bobs

I didn’t have enough photos of each location to make a full post so I’m throwing them together here. Enjoy.

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A number of new apartment complexes are going up in my neighbourhood and this is a view of one of them from the back seat of a bus on the way downtown.

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Is watching chillies dry similar to watching paint dry?

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The Sotdae Bridge in Gangmun. A man is helping this elegant woman with her hook.

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Anmok Beach. I never knew there were truck-top tents available. It even comes with a ladder. Interesting idea.

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A man sells silkworm larvae on the boardwalk at Anmok Beach.

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A natural tree stands behind a telecommunications tree. This is next to the Jukheon Reservoir in Gangneung.

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Also at the reservoir is a private cemetery with a number of tombs that I like to visit. What this stele says I have no idea because it’s written in Classical Chinese characters.

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I’ll end the post with another photograph made from inside a bus. This is the taxi stand in front of Gangneung Bus Terminal. I don’t know the date, but it might have been just before the university semester began because all the people in the long queue look like students. The fellow in front is getting into an illegally parked car.

Until next time . . . .

 

Apartment Construction

I live in an until recently undeveloped part of Gangneung. My apartment was the first to be completed last December and now there are about five more complexes under construction or planned for this area. In a couple of years I guess there will be no more fields to walk past.
Right in front of a new construction site is a traditional Korean house that is quite run down. I don’t think it sits on a planned apartment site but surely it can’t be too long before the house is sold and torn down to make way for shops and restaurants.

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With the tower cranes sticking out between the buildings, it almost looks as though the apartment complex is creating itself.

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The house would look lovely if it were fixed up and the grounds cleared up a bit.

Stay tuned to see what the neighbourhood looks like in a few years.

Anbandegi

One dusty, windy day, an acquaintance and I decided to go to an area on top of a mountain called Anbandegi. It’s about 1100 metres above sea level and it’s named after a wide piece of wood where rice cake is pounded out. There are no sharp peaks at the top of the mountain so you might think the top had been pounded flat.
There are farms (mostly cabbage and things that survive wind) at the top of the mountain, as well as a wind farm for producing electricity. There is no public transportation to the location because almost no one lives there and the farmers all have vehicles. Luckily, I was able to visit the area because my acquaintance has a car.
I brought a film camera and used up the remainder of a roll of colour negative film before switching to black and white Fomapan film. Just before we left I put a roll of slide film in the camera but it was a bad choice because of the harsh sunlight. If I ever go back there again (and I want to), I’ll go on a cloudy day with less wind.
But enough about cameras and film. Here are the results.

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Walking up to a construction site

If you are interested in such things, you can see that the negative film handled the high contrast of this scene with no problem. We didn’t walk up this road to look at a construction site. There is a pavilion surrounded by a wall made from stones taken from the rocky soil of the area. I didn’t make any photos of the pavilion for some reason. Probably because the wind was so strong at the top of the hill that I couldn’t hold the camera still. A wind turbine is being built right next to the pavilion. So much for the view.

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4-wheel drive Kia Ceres from quite a long time ago. This was an agricultural version of the Kia Bongo, thus the name ‘Ceres’. I like the look of this vehicle. I wonder if its available second-hand.

At the construction site was this Kia Ceres, being used for construction rather than farming. Behind my fellow photographer is the control box for the soon to be erected wind turbine.

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Giant crane for building wind turbines.

As usual, I didn’t take the obvious photos of the construction site to show people what the scene looked like. I chose instead to be ‘artsy’ and make photos like this. I need to practise making documentary style photos so that I can show people what my trips are like.

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Grass and tree

My new 180mm lens was very useful up on the mountain. Everything is a bit far away so I needed a bit of reach and I like the flattening effect of the lens.

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Crane

The hanging-bit of the crane. I don’t know what any of the parts are called.

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Wooden bench

This is obviously where I switched to black and white film. I have this same photo in colour from the previous roll but I prefer the black and white version. This is up next to the pavilion where we were nearly blown away. Again, I made photos like this instead of doing something useful like making a photo of the pavilion I keep writing about.

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Wind turbine and cloud

What one of these giant turbines looks like at the top of the mountain.

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Turbine in the clouds
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pickup truck

I’m not sure if this is another Ceres or not. The front looks like a newer model.

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My acquaintance clicking away on an observation deck.
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Rocks, field, sky
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Cloud, click, cloud, click
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For luck?
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Truck and hills

Made with the 180mm lens for some flattening effect. The truck at the bottom of the photo has a big water tank in it. Most of these farmer trucks have pumps installed under the pan for doing various things. All pickups in Korea seem to be either white or blue. Does limiting the choice of colours keep the costs down at the factory?

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Across the hills
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Truck from another hilltop.
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Sheds

It’s a shame those wires are in the way.

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Despite the wind and dust, spirits were high.
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Self-portrait
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Irrigation

As you can probably guess, I had to crop to get this photo the way I wanted it. This is the best photo of the day, and I’m looking forward to printing it.