With camera in hand, I went to Suwon on Sunday evening to photograph some blue hour shots of the Janganmun Gate. Which, for those keeping score at home, is Korea’s largest city gate.
Sadly, I shot a lot of my shots using a circular polarizer, just to experiment. The results looked like crap. Which means I pretty much wasted my trip.
This one, taken without the polarizer, looked OK, though:
Inspired by this guy’s fine work, I tried a compositing several shots (without the polarizer) using GIMP to produce more dramatic light trails.
I’m sure I can do a lot better with this using layer masks, etc., but I was pretty lazy last night. Some of the left side of the fortress look a bit blurry, too. (UPDATE: Went home last night and did it again using layer masks—looks better this time). This is pretty much my first experiment with compositing, so any tips would be welcome:
The point for the shot was a small, fourth-floor window above a PC room across from the gate. Luckily, it was only me and some dude from Daegu that evening. I imagine it can get crowded sometimes.
I also went to the nearby Hwahongmun Gate, the fortress’ unique water gate. It is not only functional—serving as both a bridge and a flood prevention device—but also possesses an architectural beauty. It makes for a nice nightime photograph, too. It was the first piece of the gate designed by famed Joseon scholar “Dasan” Jeong Yak-yong, and I’ve read—granted, in Catholic sources—that the seven arches represent the rainbow with which God marked his covanent with Noah to never flood the world again. Jeong was one of Korea’s first Catholic converts, and in fact spent much of his life in exile for it. It’s a fun story, but I’m not sure I believe it—Koreans have been building arch bridges since the Three Kingdoms Period—an architectural tradition believed to have come to Korea from the Roman Empire via Persia and China (through the Silk Road).
I’m sure it’s nicer during the blue hour.
Now, the following shot is more a cry for help from people who know what they are doing:
This was taken using my Sigma wide angle with a hood and no filter. Yet there’s still a lot of ugly lens flare. Why is this, and what can I do to stop it?
If you live in the Gyeongnidan area, you know the place has been moving up in the world. One of the nicest additions to the Itaewon dining scene has been the Baker’s Table, right next to the overpass on the road to Namsan Tunnel No. 3 (i.e, practically nextdoor to Chez Koehler). Run by a third-generation German baker, it does hearty European breads, not the oversweetened stuff you find elsewhere. It’s got a good brunch and all-day dining menu, too.
This was one fine chicken burger.
It ain’t a big place, but the plate glass windows give it a bright, airy feel, and the outdoor seating is nice, too.