I’ve recently edited seven rolls of film, and out of those many, many photos, there are about thirty that I feel comfortable sharing. Thirty is probably too many for one blog post, so I’ll post about half today and half next week. Never say I’m not kind.
There’s no special theme to these posts. They are mostly just photos of things I came across while out on walks.
I don’t remember where I saw this bus. Downtown? I guess it must be, since that’s where all the tallish buildings are.
I have a nice Italian bicycle with racing wheels on it. But Gangneung’s sidewalks can be rough and I sometimes wish I had a mountain bike with front and back shocks. This was made, I think, on a riverside cycling path.
This dog came out to say hello when I passed by a greenhouse / flower shop not too far from my apartment building. The owners of the flower shop dump their empty boxes and other garbage in front of the property instead of behind the greenhouse where it might not be seen by customers.
Sadly, I didn’t get any good photos of the bell, so here’s the pavilion.
Looking towards Hillstate Apartments. This was made with Kodak Portra 800 and it’s amazing how much highlight and shadow detail I was able to get from the film. Good stuff.
This sign hangs over one of the main roads into Gangneung, and it shows Gyeongpo Beach.
Like this cloud, I wandered lonely through the streets making photos of the neighbourhood where I used to live.
Also in the neighbourhood where I used to live.
Several years ago, the city converted a large area of land into wetlands for a park and a conservation area. It’s a lovely spot to walk around and there are lots of birds to look at. This boat is for the caretakers to use.
Many parts of the wetlands are off limits to visitors and some parts are even protected by a wall so that animals are not disturbed by passersby. A bit more depth of field here would have been nice . . . .
Here’s one of the more dangerous beasts in the park. The bearded film photographer. Listed as nearly extinct. In my hand (it’s a self portrait — thus the head chop) is my D810 that I brought along as a very expensive light meter.
Condominiums are going up here and there in the tourist areas of the city. The one in the background is huge and an eyesore, but I guess it’s what tourists like. They can watch the sun rise out of the sea in the morning from it.
One side of Gyeongpo Lake has many of these trees. Whatever they are. Anyway, they are very nice.
After leaving the lake I came across these paintings on the side of a building. Odd.
I’ll leave you with those images to haunt your dreams. Next week . . . . kittens!
My choice of photographic subjects is mostly limited to Gangneung because I have no car. I have a fairly large collection of photographs showing the streets of Gangneung, but I wanted to do something more specific. Gangneung’s Central Market seemed like a good candidate because it’s not too far from where I live, there are some interesting things to see, and markets have always had an attraction for me. Two of my favourites were the Saturday morning market in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and the Sunday market by the river in Brisbane.
I thought I would take a year to thoroughly explore Central Market and get enough photos for an exhibition or at least a gallery on this website. I started going whenever I got a chance and my camera of choice was the Nikon D810 because the market is quite dark inside and high ISOs are needed. I made a few decent photos but after a couple of weeks I abandoned Central Market as a subject for an exhibition. There are some photogenic scenes, to be sure, but mostly the market is an unorganised, dingy place that brings me no joy.
Despite that, I managed to make a few photos that people might want to see. For better or worse, here they are.
Because the market is fairly large, there are many deliveries throughout the day. This driver has parked decently but others are not so considerate and getting into the market can sometimes be a chore. Random Fact: The two large hypermarkets in town close two days a week to help encourage people to use the traditional markets. This is voluntary, but maybe voluntary in the way that students are required to volunteer in order to complete their requisites for graduating. When the hypermarkets are closed I just go to the Co-op because they are always open.
I’ve posted this photo before but I’m including this and other earlier photos because want this post to be The Compleat Market report. There are lots of things for sale on the outer edges of the market complex. Mostly seafood, as far as I can see, though this friendly fellow is also offering cakes and dried persimmons. I’ve printed this photo to give to him the next time I’m passing by.
This woman has a good laugh at me every time I take close-up photos of her dried fish. And rightly so, I guess. Her little stand is located just a few metres from the young man above.
And this woman is next to the one above. I’m surprised that none of these people told me to shove off but maybe they are used to cameras. The Central Market is a bit of a tourist attraction because of some of the restaurants inside.
This lady has no shop or stand. She simply brings her fish on a two-wheeled cart, sets them out on the sidewalk, and sits on her cart for the day. (I don’t think cart is the correct term, but I’m losing active English vocabulary for things I don’t often talk or write about.) She didn’t mind me taking her photo at all, and smiled after I had finished.
Another lady with no shop. She’s set up in front of a cosmetics store. I think this was a Sunday so the shop wasn’t open for business. Closed shops attract street sellers who know they won’t get driven away
This take-away shop is located across from the main entrance to the market complex. It’s more popular in winter when it’s cold but there are usually quite a few people around, even in summer.
I squatted at the entrance and waited for someone interesting or at least colourful to come out of the market. This woman has an interesting look so I made the photograph. I think she looks quite annoyed with me, but my wife says it’s almost a smile. In front of every shop is a yellow line that merchants are supposed to keep their goods behind so that it doesn’t interfere with foot traffic. This line is routinely ignored. The blue sign above the woman’s head says, “If we stay inside the line, we get more customers.”
You can see the yellow line on the left and this shop has more or less kept inside it. The line seems to be covered by crates on the right. The biggest barrier to customers getting around it, as you can plainly see, is the row of women selling vegetables in the middle of the aisle. These women used to sit on the sidewalks next to the high street and sell their vegetables and fish. The city wanted to clean up the sidewalks but maybe didn’t want to take away these women’s livelihoods so they moved these women to the aisles of the market where they are now more in the way. Not only that, scooters are going up and down these aisles all day, covering the produce with exhaust and probably giving these women lots of health problems.
Most of the market aisles are covered but at intersections there is no covering or just some tarpaulin. Some of the intersections have shopping carts (good luck getting around with those) or benches and flower pots for resting. Others, like this one, are just open and become parking spaces for scooters.
You can see in this photo how close these dirty scooters come to the vegetables. You can also see this guy brakes for nothing and the woman in the orange coat is trying to get out of the way. The back of this three-wheel scooter is full of pig meat. You can probably see a pig’s head on the left. I don’t buy meat in the marketplace. Or vegetables, for that matter.
One of the benches I mentioned earlier. The cart she has is based on a baby stroller. Many poorer old women use abandoned baby strollers to do their shopping. Some company has obviously used the idea but made a good version with brakes on the handle and covered compartments instead of a seat.
I don’t know.
Sisters? Good friends? The shop with the big pink sign is a fried chicken shop. There are a number of them along that aisle and they have long queues at the weekend. The shop in the foreground is definitely not observing the yellow line.
This is quite a sad scene. A woman of her age should be retired and relaxing at home or chatting with friends in a park. Instead, she’s falling asleep in the middle of an aisle and breathing scooter fumes all day. Korea’s welfare system has improved in recent years but it’s not good enough yet, and old people didn’t have time to pay into it. Income tax here needs to be higher and the government should hire ‘enforcers’ to make sure all businesses pay their share.
I thought this was quite a nice scene.
This baby has no interest in sweets and biscuits but my camera and I seemed to be quite curious.
Although the market is grimy and there are many obstacles to getting around, there are quite a few delicious foods to buy. Each aisle has its own specialty. One aisle has fried chicken, another has ox-head soup, another has chicken rice soup, and another has traditional foods such as this vegetable pancake. Yum yum.
The market has good and famous fried chicken and fried chicken in sweet and spicy sauce. Good stuff, and reasonably priced. You can have this shipped by courier anywhere in the country. This fried chicken is delicious but I don’t know why you’d order it from another city since excellent fried chicken can be found anywhere at all. It’s worth coming to Korea just for the chicken.
I can’t remember what kind of soup this was. Probably ox-head soup or chicken. The food in these restaurants is delicious but you should probably never look directly at the kitchens.
Chicken soup in these pots.
At the far end of one aisle, past many fish-mongers, is a doughtnut shop. These are made from rice flour. They taste good but can be a bit greasy.
This is a Gangneung speciality. It’s a buckwheat pancake with gimchi (pickled cabbage) and welsh onion. It’s served flat like in this photo or rolled up. Long ago, the staple crops in this mountainous province were buckwheat, potatoes, and maize. So foods like pancakes and stuffed dumplings are more popular here than in other parts of South Korea. Nowadays, modern farming methods allow rice farming.
This cabbage will likely be made into gimchi. Lots of the restaurants in the market make their own gimchi and it’s very delicious. Just the thing to go with a nice bowl of chicken soup.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m losing some of my English vocabulary and can’t remember what this is called. But here it is.
The market is an interesting place and I’m sure it’s possible to get some good photos there. The goal of photography for me is to make the ugly and awful look beautiful or at least interesting. I don’t think I have the patience to do this in the market. But who knows? Maybe next year or the year after I’ll have the urge to go back and practise documentary photography. It isn’t something I’m good at but I would like to be.
Thank you for reading this rather long photo essay of Gangneung’s Central Market.
Nothing to do with baking, in case you arrived here by web search looking for biscuits.
I don’t much like going to festivals because of the noise, the crowds, and the drunkeness, but it’s sometimes interesting to walk through the festival grounds early in the morning when everything is quiet. These photos are from the 2017 Dano Festival.
There is a whole section of the Dano Festival dedicated to blanket and pillow sellers. I don’t know if it is true or not, but someone told me that some of these vendors can sell enough blankets during the festival week to keep them in money for a whole year.
This vendor hadn’t showed up to open his/her stall that early in the morning. I think I passed through about 8:15 in the morning. No one is shopping at that hour anyway, so time enough for a lie-in.
This was a different day and I had my digital camera with me. This large truck was parked so it was difficult to get past. I think I was on my bicycle as well, so it was more difficult to get around.
This photo probably looks okay on on a web site but seen at a bigger size you can see the cyclist was too fast for the shutter speed and the woman in the distance is very fuzzy because of the shallow depth of field. I had the camera set to ISO 64 for some reason. There was no reason to make such an amateur mistake when the D810 looks great at ISO 1600 and higher.
This man is also slightly blurred but I think it was because I had a slow-ish shutter speed. The tents appear to be in focus. I’m shy about making photos of people so what I often do is choose a background that I like, prefocus, and wait for someone to walk into the composition. When the person is in a good position I press the shutter release button. This doesn’t always work, especially with younger people. Most people are fairly snap-happy so they are aware of other photographers and avoid walking in front of cameras so they don’t spoil the picture. Even though I want them to be in the frame. Other times, people will stop just outside the frame and wait for me to finish taking the photo. Foiled again . . . .
This guy is slightly out of focus, but it’s okay. I metered off the pavement so the bright tents wouldn’t cause the camera to underexpose. This guy stopped outside the frame but I told him to just pass on by. I made several photos at this spot but this was the most interesting person to pass by. In the wrong direction. There was a cart pusher that came my way but he turned off and went down another lane.
Tents require a fair amount of rope.
The last tent photo, I promise. Like any festival, there is plenty of booze and some of the liquor companies are official sponsors.
Okay, it’s more tents, but they are far away. The city closes off one of the river’s small dams to keep water around the festival grounds. The blue and yellow tent across the river is for a circus. I’ve never been inside because it’s a bit expensive and I don’t really like circuses (circos?). Still, it’s a nice balance for the yellow pontoons of these paddle boats.
I highly recommend Kodak Portra 800 when it’s not too bright out. Or even when it’s bright out, if your camera has high shutter speeds. It gives good colour, good contrast, and the grain is pleasant.
This is the first time I’ve seen deep-fried whole crabs at the festival. I didn’t try one, but I suspect the top shell is removed and batter poured in before frying. It doesn’t look like a thing that would be pleasant to eat, even if you like crab.
Fomapan is a cheap black and white film made in the Czech Republic. It’s only about half the price of Kodak and Ilford films. It can be very grainy and the negatives are a bit thin if you set your camera ISO to 400. I say ‘set your camera to 400’ because the cannisters don’t have the DX codes for automatic cameras. Saves on costs, I guess. I set the ISO to 320 on the last roll of film I used and the negatives look much better. I haven’t made large prints using this film so I don’t know how much grain would be in the print. I like this flm because it’s supposedly an old formula and gives photos an old-fashioned look.
Korean traditional rituals sometimes involve a pig’s head. Supplicants put envelopes of money or bills into the mouth and then bow while asking for a blessing. Some people who buy new cars will perform this ceremony in front of their cars on the side of the road.
Nothing to do with Dano Festival, but this house is on my walk to work. I spot metered off the odd white wall in the foreground and added about a +1 stop to get a good exposure.
The last ‘biscuit’ in this baker’s dozen. Not art I imagine, but I noticed that the wall stain on my office wall matched up nicely with the chair. Digital photograph. You wouldn’t want to waste a piece of film on this.
A couple of weeks ago I decided that I would rather edit photos by looking at prints rather than a computer screen. I got prints made straight from my digital camera card and prints, not scans, from my film. It didn’t work out like I wanted, though. For one thing, the order of the prints got messed up on the way to me and, as a result, I couldn’t be sure which print belonged to which frame when they were very similar. Also, the lab cropped quite a bit when printing, as I realised when I got the film scanned later. The Nikon F6 viewfinder is 100% and I compose very carefully so having cropped prints is not acceptable. Also, prints cost a fortune. So I decided to just get film scanned at a lowish quality (good enough for 4×6 prints and web viewing) for editing and get very good scans (50MB) of the best photos later. My digital prints didn’t get cropped but if I’m looking at film scans on the computer it’s just as well to look at digital photos on the computer as well. So, I’m spending more time on the computer but I’m saving quite a bit of money and seeing all of my film frames.
I have recently made two trips to Seongyojang. Once with the F6 and once with the D810. For colour, the Provia 100F film I used has a distinctive look but the digital looks good as well. And printing on good paper makes them look even better. But for black and white I don’t think digital comes anywhere near film yet. The Fomapan 400 film I used looks really grainy (maybe it’s the low quality scans?) but it’s an oldish formula and I really like the look. More experimentation is needed.
I kept my distance and used a 180mm lens to cut out all of the distracting things around this museum building. I’ve never been in the museum, even though it’s included in the price of admission to the grounds. I go to Seongyojang to photographs the buildings and the landscaping. I’m not that interested in the history. I suppose I shoud go in once, just to see what I’m missing.
I think I like this photo. There’s nothing especially wrong with the composition but . . . but . . . something’s lacking. I’ll probably figure it out after I’ve paid a lot of money to get a good scan and print . . . . There are so many trees and things like paths and lamps near the wall that I again used a long lens (180mm? 85mm?) to cut out distractions.
Mmmm, film . . . .
I like the idea of this photo but the highlights in the top of the photo are too bright. I might try this again with digital the next time I go back.
I like this one and I like the colours produced by the Provia film, even though they are not accurate colours. There’s probably soy bean paste or chili paste in the two pots to the left.
I like this vertical view of the pots and house as well, but it lacks the breathing space of the horizontal view. This one feels crowded and less relaxing.
Let the film vs. digital flame war begin! Here is more or less the same photo from the D810. Interesting that some colours in both photos, the tall plant’s leaves, for example, are the same but others are quite different. The clay walls are really different. The digital colours are accurate.
The wall with the clay tiles on top surround a building, whereas the other wall is to keep a hill from sliding down into a path.
Flame War II! The D810 version of the photo above. You may notice that there is more foliage in the film version of the scene. That’s because 35mm film has a ratio of 3:2 but I’ve set my digital camera for a ratio of 5:4, the same as large format cameras. I like printing on 10×8 paper and the photo and the paper match perfectly so there is no cropping. Also, I like the ‘stubbier’ frame for most things.
This is a knot in an Asian pine tree. It’s interesting to look at the texture, but I’m not sure this one will make it to the large print stage.
I’m not so good at landscape photography and this was the best I could do all morning. The left tree trunk shouldn’t be touching the left side of the frame, maybe. I used a wide angle lens, so it was hell to compose.
I saw this on the way out. It looked better before I posted it here . . . .
I think I’ll go back to Seongyojang again before too long because I want another crack at the wall and maybe those two old trees. Someday I’ll make a photo of them good enough to cover a wall with.
There are a few other photos from the rolls of film that I want to share but don’t have anything to do with Seongyojang.
I pass this house and puppy(?) on the way to school every day. He’s very friendly and always appreciative of a head scratch.
Low light and no tripod, but I managed to hold the camera steady enough to avoid blur.
The composition is okay and the shallow depth of field (no tripod) and the film grain structure really give this an old-fashioned look. I made this photo to test how much detail I could keep in the bright spot in the background and the dark pots in the foreground. The film passed with flying colours.
I think the bags were put there by city council workers who pick up garbage by the river and leave it in bags for pick-up later. I don’t know what that drak stain might have come from.
The photos in this post don’t have much in common except that they were all made in May and they are film photographs. I guess it would be nice to present a nice photo essay about something like the redevelopment of the tourist areas (or whatever) but sometimes you just take a few decent photos while out for a walk or standing in the bathroom.
I was brushing my teeth or drying my face when I noticed this patch of morning sunlight on the tiles of the bathroom floor. I ran to the cupboard to get my Nikon F6 and make this photo before the sun moved and ruined the photographic moment. This was made on Kodak Portra 400 film and very likely I spot-metred off the brightest part of the tile and added +1 or +1.3 stops of exposure.
The Winter Olympics are being held in Pyeongchang County and Gangneung City next year. It’s officially the Pyeongchang Olympics but ice rink sports such as hockey and curling will be in Gangneung and things like skiing will be held in Pyeongchang, where the ski slopes are. This stadium was built at the university where I teach and when the Olympics are done the facilities will be used by the students and by the public. I was leaving school one day when I noticed the beautiful reflections in the windows. The campus is filled with pine trees and new flower beds have been installed around the stadium. I searched the bottom windows for my own reflection but I guess I was too far away.
Just before I made this photo I ran into a small group of students and I got them to huddle together for a photo. Last week I got prints made and gave them to the students. They were really pleased, and I think that people are quite grateul when you go through the trouble of making a print and giving it to them. Clicking ‘send’ on a phone application takes no effort and people do it all day long. I hope they have the prints to look at long after their phones are obsolete and they’ve lost half a lifetime’s worth of memories.
I was out for a walk when I came across this well-maintained Korean traditional house with modern apartments in the background. I like this sort of contrast between the old Korea and the new and I made a few photographs. The curve of the traditional roof and the zig-zag placement of the apartments gives this photo a slight dynamic feeling. The tree in the lower left is a nice touch, but I’m not sure about the utility pole on the right side of the frame. I guess it’s not too bad because there are power lines on the left side of the frame and they balance out. Made on Kodak Portra 400 with the Nikon F6. Probably a 50mm lens since that’s the one I usually have on the camera when walking around.
The apartment complex on the right is the same complex that’s in the previous photo. I think it might be the same day, but I’m not sure because I don’t keep careful notes. Any notes. I waited around for a while for people to come by and cross the bridge. I was lucky enough to get people going both ways and meet at a compositionally pleasing spot in the frame. This photo was made with the F6 on, yes, you guessed it, Kodak Portra 400.
This detail of the bridge was made at the far end where there’s little or no water and the grass has grown up. F6. Portra 400.
I’ve lived in Gangneung for a long time and sometimes I feel tired of going to the same markets, the same historical houses, and the same harbours for photography. I have no car so I’m limited in the number of interesting places I can visit. But, amazingly, sometimes just hanging a camera off your shoulder and wandering the seen-a-thousand-times city streets can result in some new perspectives and good photographs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The hanging-bit of the crane. I don’t know what any of the parts are called.
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.
What one of these giant turbines looks like at the top of the mountain.
I’m not sure if this is another Ceres or not. The front looks like a newer model.
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?
It’s a shame those wires are in the way.
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.
We all do them, even if we despise them. In fact, people have been making selfies since 1839, when they were known by the more distinguished name of self-portrait. The photos I’m sharing today are just silly, so I’ll call them selfies.