Accidental Polaroid

The weather was warm for November and the light was good so this morning I went out with my camera and a single lens to see what interesting things might be found in the neighbourhood. I didn’t ‘chimp’ and I was curious to see how well I had composed and exposed my photos so I went to the photo lab and asked the technician to print one of each photo. A kind of ‘iron man’ photo challenge. When he was setting up the photos to print I noticed that I had three folders on my SD card. Although I always erase photos after they are safely transferred to my camera, I obviously hadn’t formatted the card for a long time. The technician gave me back my card, I put it in the camera, and then formatted. Oh, wait. Didn’t transfer to my computer at home . . . . . And so the morning’s photos are unique and worth millions. Well, none of the photos are really keepers and because I was near my house I can go back out and do them again. Anyway, my exposures were good so in the future I don’t need to fuss over it like I usually do while out making photos. A lesson learned despite a mistake.

Priceless Art . . . . .

Gyeongpo Lake and Wetlands in Winter

During the winter I made three trips to Gyeongpo Lake and the wetlands park next to it. Once with my Contax 645 and a huge tripod and twice with the Fuji X-Pro 1. On one occasion I also stopped by the birthplace of Heogyun. These photos are all digital.

20160209-003 heogyun birthplace wall vines
Clay wall and vines
20160209-004 heogyun birthplace cellar
A cellar (I think)
20160209-008 gyeongpo lake wetlands lotus boardwalk
Wetlands boardwalk
20160209-010 gyeongpo lake wetlands crane
An egret or crane on the frozen wetlands
20160209-011 gyeongpo lake wetlands tree reed
Island in the wetlands
20160209-012 gyeongpo lake wetlands ferry ice
There is a rope-drawn ferry in the wetlands park that is fun to use. 
20160209-013 gyeongpo lake hyundae hotel ice duck
Gangneung is a great place to look at ducks in the winter. Many species come from up north and stay until the spring.
20160209-015 gyeongpo lake statue
Statues along the lake are of figures from Korean stories.

Mostly Trees

Near my house is a hill crenellated by cherry trees. There was once a wireless station on top of the hill but there is nothing left of that but a few broken concrete roots. Now locals have small patches of vegetables on the spot. I suppose it must be public land so I don’t worry going up there to make photographs. At the end of February when I visited I was still in my winter photo slump but I made a few pictures that aren’t too bad.

Detail of Dying Cherry Tree


Neighbour’s House


January Photos

In my last post I mentioned how few photos I make during January. I made a trip to the wetlands park with my medium format camera and tripod but I think I tore something in my groin from that trip. It hurt for a couple of weeks. Later I went back with my Fuji X-Pro 1 and no tripod. Much better, though I wish I had brought the tripod. Luckily, the sun was bright enough to get high shutter speeds and small apertures at the same time.

Hyundai Hotel between branches of tree at Gyeongpo Lake
Hyundai Hotel between branches of tree at Gyeongpo Lake

The new Hyundai Hotel is either a beautiful piece of architecture or a blight on the landscape, depending on your point of view. Gangneung’s coastline is already built up too much and mostly with ugly buildings so the new hotel is a relief, really. And it’s large enough to be distinctive in landscape photos.

Reeds, Gyeongpo Lake, and Hyundai Hotel
Reeds, Gyeongpo Lake, and Hyundai Hotel

A view of the hotel from across the lake. I used a longish lens to compress the distance between the far shore and the near shore.

Hyundai Hotel in background of wetlands reeds
Hyundai Hotel in background of wetlands reeds

I might try some of these scenes in black and white the next time I visit the park.

Ferry on Gyeongpo Lake
Ferry on Gyeongpo Lake

This ferry doesn’t float. It’s supported on concrete and it’s more or less just a place for tourists to take photos.

Ferry on Gyeongpo Lake across from Hyundai Hotel
Ferry on Gyeongpo Lake across from Hyundai Hotel

I’ve seen that building somewhere before . . . .

Ferry on Gyeongpo Lake
Ferry on Gyeongpo Lake

Almost the same photograph but without the far shore. I like this one a bit more because of its simplicity.

Ferry pulled up for the winter
Ferry pulled up for the winter

This is a working ferry that you can use by pulling on a rope when you are in the boat. The wetlands freeze up during the winter so this ferry is pulled up. I like making photos in this part of the park because there are few people. Especially on weekdays.

Ferry pulled up for the winter
Ferry pulled up for the winter

I wish I had brought my tripod because it was a little difficult to hold still and keep the composition I wanted while standing on rocks.

Children's hanbok for sale in Gangneung Central Market
Children’s hanbok for sale in Gangneung Central Market

I took nearly the same photo with a film camera last year. I leave my digital camera’s white balance on 5300K so that indoor lights look like indoor lights. Auto White Balance shifts the ligth to a neutral colour, which is not always what I want. The nice thing about using a digital camera is that I can increase the ISO setting at any time instead of having to leave it at ISO 400 on film and use a shallow depth of field.

Person walking down a ramp at Gangneung Central Market
Person walking down a ramp at Gangneung Central Market

I’m not sure if I like this photo very much or not. The lower left is too empty so it might not get printed. I should have squat down and made the photo. Too late now.

As the weather warms up I hope to get out more and make more photographs. It depends, I suppose on how busy I am at work.



December’s Photos

Here are my ten favourite photos from the month of December. Lightroom tells me I made 187 photographs in the last month, from two rolls of medium format film, three rolls of 35mm film, my iPhone, and the Fuji X-Pro 1. That number doesn’t include the large number of digital photographs I deleted while editing. I don’t delete photos from roll scans even if they aren’t good because I want to use Lightroom as a computer contact sheet.

Fish drying on pedestrian bridge Namdae River
Fish drying on a pedestian bridge. Fuji X-Pro 1

This bridge is near the downtown market area of the city and it’s not unusual to see fish hung from the wire rails to dry. I suppose it’s a good place to do it because there is often a good wind coming down the river and there is nothing blocking the sunlight.

‘Son Rock’, Town of Jumunjin. Contax 645, Kodak Portra 400.

This interesting rock formation is in the town of Jumunjin and is called ‘Son Rock’. A legend says that if you stand under this rock and make a wish it will come true. Many people used to (and probably still do) come here to wish for a child. Specifically a son. Thus the name ‘Son Rock’.

Girl walking past Son Rock. Contax 645, Kodak Portra 400.

While I was making photos a Korean man showed up with two non-Korean children. This girl is about twelve or thirteen and her younger brother was about eight or nine years old. Their father(?) spoke only Korean to them and the girl spoke decent Korean to him and fluent English to her brother, who spoke fluent English but little or no Korean. I thought about asking where they are from but they are probably asked that question every day of their lives so I let it go.

Short Alley, Gangneung. Contax 645, Kodak Portra 400.

There used to be a restaurant on the first floor. It’s hard to tell what building it belongs to or if it was just built between buildings. Just how many buildings are in this photo, anyway?

A tub of ginger in Central Market. Contax 645, Kodak Portra 400.

These ‘parking spaces’ are what the city made when cleared the main downtown streets of the grannies who were selling vegetables on the sidewalks. The old ladies show up with their stools and vegetables in the mornings and set up shop in these little spaces. Why these spaces are empty except for a tub of ginger, I don’t know.

Tubs of food around a fire hydrant, Gangneung Central Market. Contax 645, Kodak Portra 400.

A few years ago the city tried to increase the number of customers coming to the Central Market by building a roof over the market roads and drawing lines on the road to indicate how far into the road a stall owner could display his or her goods. You can see part of a  yellow line above the hydrant. The lines are ignored, as is fire safety. Hydrants are surrounded by tubs and many fire alarms mounted on walls and pillars have drying fish hung from them.

Children’s traditional dress, Gangneung Central Market. Contx 645, Kodak Portra 400.

There is also a clothing section in the market that sells rubber boots, coats, trousers, and so on. A few shops sell traditional clothes like these hanbok for children.

Gingko Tree, downtown Gangneung. Contax 645, Kodak Portra 400.

Near the market is this very old Gingko tree that looks beautiful in the autumn. (This photo was probably made sometime in November or possibly late October but I didn’t get the film developed until December). This photo only shows the trunk and the lower branches but it is several stories tall.

Paper collector parked in road
Cardboard collector, Gangneung. iPhone 6s Plus.

This carboard collector, who stopped for a fag at the crosswalk, figured that since his cart has wheels then it’s okay to leave it in the road. Once he finished his smoke he crossed against the light.

Daegu North Bus Terminal. Zeiss Ikon ZM, Kodak Portra 400.

Daegu is an industrial city and this bus terminal is located in one of the heaviest industrial areas.

And those are the photos I thought were the best for this month. After the New Year holiday I’ll bring the computer files to the lab for printing.

Tailor Shop Window

mannequin in tailor window
Fuji X-Pro 1, XF 35mm F1.4 R

A nice feature of the X-Pro 1 is the option to use a square frame instead of the usual 2:3 ratio. I feel more inspired when using the square format but I couldn’t tell you why. I really wish I could choose the 8×10 format in the camera because that is my all-time favourite. Not too long, not too short, and, of course, fits nicely on a sheet of 8×10 paper.



If you read my previous blog post you know that getting anything done with film is a royal pain in the arse where I live. And probably many other places. I didn’t go out and buy pencils and a sketchbook but I did put my Fuji X-Pro1 around my neck today instead of a film camera. (I got my digital camera ready before I knew that he wouldn’t have the film done because I had a strong feeling that my prints wouldn’t be ready based on past experience and I was feeling frustrated even before I left the house).

Downtown crosswalk, Fuji X-Pro 1, 18mm lens
Downtown crosswalk, Fuji X-Pro 1, 18mm lens

The above photo would be much better if the fellow with the mobile phone wasn’t there.

I don’t like most digital photographs because they are too clean and shiny. They are realistic rather than naturalistic, a distinction I picked up from Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art by Peter Henry Emerson. Realistic is just a copy of reality whereas naturalistic photos include an interpretation of the subject while still remaining true to form. Interpretation or not, I find digital photographs a bit boring because they are so perfect.

Basement Space for Rent, Fuji X-Pro 1, 18mm lens
Basement Space for Rent, Fuji X-Pro 1, 18mm lens

So I have been trying to find a way to make my digital photos less pristine and glowing. Many online photos have the contrast, clarity, and saturation ‘up on bust’, as we say in Newfoundland. I prefer more muted and natural colours, like Kodak E100G slide film used to produce. The nice thing about the Fuji X-series cameras is that they make good colours right in the camera. Perhaps all that experience making film carried over to their digital department. After lots of research and trying out this and that, I now set my camera to Standard film simulation (Provia), -2 colour, -2 noise reduction, +1 shadow tone, and +1 highlight tone. Reducing colour gets rid of ‘digital glow’ and produces more natural colour, lowering noise reduction produces photos with less smoothing and more detail (with more noise, which I don’t mind), and changing the tone just means less time adjusting levels in Lightroom later.

Used Car Dealership Advertising, Fuji X-Pro 1, 18mm lens
Used Car Dealership Advertising, Fuji X-Pro 1, 18mm lens

One thing I like about film is that once I’ve done my best to get the proper exposure and pressed the shutter release button I don’t have to do anything else. The lab processes the film and then makes prints. That’s why I am taking pains to get everything right before I press the shutter release button on my digital camera. Let the camera do all the work. I don’t want to spend time messing around with post-processing.

On a somewhat unrelated note, the photos above are snapshots I made today. Definitely not works of art. I want to spend several weeks using a wide angle lens but it’s not easy. I understand I have to be more careful with composition because there are a lot more things in the frame but getting lines straight is going to take some practice. I had to adjust angles in all of the photos above because I didn’t get it right when I made the pictures. Practise, practise, practise . . . . .