It feels far too soon for it it to be mid 2019 already, but on the same note January feels like a light year ago. It's been a decent half year so far in terms of photography and I'm touching all the wooden objects I can get my hands on in hope the second half of the year pulls through too. Come on camera, keep them photographs coming!
SEOUL: New Years
I travelled to Seoul for the New Year, a few days of pre-holiday before jetting off to Japan. I'd spent a good while vacantly staring off into space on the subway, trying to decide where was best to set up my camera for the New Year fireworks, and figuring out how I'd get back to my accommodation at that time in the morning. Seoul is home to about 10 million people, so can you imagine all those beings trying to catch taxis in one go? I've seen Ajumma's (older ladies) get on buses and I don't fancy being rugby tackled while trying to flag down a cab.
So I had a better idea.
'Wake up at 4am and climb a mountain for the first sunrise of the year! Sure it'll be freezing, but you don't particularly like your feet anyway.'
And that's what I did! You do tend to question your sanity when you're clambering up a mountain at 4am, getting there early so you can ensure the best spot. Luckily I did managed to get to the viewing point of Maebong mountain before all the people, who also wished to see the first light of the year, squeezed into a rather small pavilion. Heat packs in my pockets and in my boots the waiting game commenced. Sometimes outdoor photography can involve a fair amount of idly standing around waiting for the perfect conditions. Patience is a skill I've had to learn.
I was extremely pleased when the sky filled with bright colour behind the clouds, spilling onto the Han river. A little mist hung around the distant buildings and some of the night lights were still lit. Maebongsan offers such a stunning view of Seoul and the river that flows through it, I couldn't have been happier with the photograph that got this years photography collection started.
JAPAN: Hokkaido, Tokyo, Osaka...the world!
I cannot describe how excited I was to travel to Japan for the first time with my heavy bag of camera gear in tow. I had 17 days to see as much as I could. I started my trip in Hokkaido where I have never seen so much snow in all my life. The efficiency this rural province has in terms of going about their daily lives normally with the insane amounts of snow fall they have each winter is impressive.
The small town of Biei was the main reason I travelled there. A picturesque postcard town that offered some stunning minimalistic photography. Not only did I get a peaceful break in the beautiful snowy countryside where the trees and buildings were just waiting to be captured by camera, but I also got to experience frozen nose hair due to the extreme temperatures. It's an interesting sensation.
But I didn't just go to Japan for Biei. I present to you....
The moment I saw this magnificent mountain from the bus window I'm pretty sure the rest of the passengers thought I'd had a heart attack. I was so excited to get the chance to photograph this stunning mountain. SO. EXCITED.
I spent two days walking around the 5 lakes at the Northern base of the mountain searching for compositions, while being blown away by the magnificent views and the winter storms. It is my most enjoyable photography experience so far and I'd do anything to go back. Anythiiiiiiing.
The weather kept me on my toes, the winter winds pulling in dramatic clouds and then pushing them away again. I could have done with a telephoto lens for the snow capped ridged peak as the detail, even from afar, was awe inspiring.
The sunsets on these two days were nothing too spectacular but still wonderful to witness. I came away very happy with the images I took from this trip and honestly flash them around every chance I get. I photographed mount fuji... look. LOOK.
SPRING: South Korea.
I'm not sure anything could beat photographing Mt Fuji, nothing has yet come close however the confidence those images gave me had me spending every moment of Spring possible exploring South Korea with my camera.
It was a race against time as the cherry blossom trees arrived, the flowers only lasting a little over a week due to the April rains. As the Spring festivals concluded in Gyeongju city I decided it was a good time to visit. What? I don't like crowds okay? I admit...those patience skills disappear when a crowd wanders into my landscape shot.
So I headed East and exhausted my Fitbit parading about the historical town of Gyeongju. It's such an intriguing little city, full of endless compositions yet you feel as though you've travelled back in time due to its lack of modern high rise buildings. I took some time photographing the traditional Korean Woljeonggyo bridge in the late afternoon while eating some TV made famous Kimbap. I admit I now have a growing collection of this bridge and I'm not sure whether to be proud or worried about my dedication of photographing this structure.
I made it my mission so far this year to visit somewhere every weekend once the teaching week is finished. A no-sleep sunrise hike to Jirisan National Park had me praying I'd never think it was a good idea to do it ever again. Seems like I'll never kick the habit of needing 8-10 hours of sleep to function, which is why sunrise photography is a rarity for me.
I can only hope the second half of the year brings more, and hopefully better images I can gleefully shove under peoples noses who probably don't care all that much. Unfortunately there will be no Japan trips *sobs and wails echo in the distance* but who knows where the Korean bus system may take me!
Thank you for taking the time to browse my photographs from the first half of 2019. You can keep up with my work on my instagram here and check out my Youtube for some Photography vlogs arriving in the near future. Below are a few more snaps because I couldn't seem to narrow down which images I wished to showcase in this blog entry.