Anapji Pond, Gyeongju


Anapji Pond in Gyeongju is one of the most photographed places in Korea.  It's a truly photogenic place, someone was really thinking when they put everything together.  Absent are the ugly power lines and power boxes, trash bins or any of the usual obstructions to picture cleanliness.  The lights and fences are uniform and straight, they work with the design of the place, rather than against it.  It feels like whoever designed the place was thinking, "people will photograph this, it needs to be perfect."

All that being said, this place has been photographed to death. Nearly every angle and in every condition, there are high quality, professional photos of Anapji Pond.  My goal in photographing the place was to find a way to make a unique image.  Find a way to take a picture no one else had done.  I don't know if I succeeded.  Maybe one or two of these are original, I don't know.  

Anapji Pond was originally built 1300 years ago sometime in the seventh century.  It was designed as a park for royalty. Rediscovered and restored in the 20th century, the place is now one of Gyeongju's crown jewels of tourism.  It really is a beautiful place to spend a sunset.  Couples walk the tree lined paths, photographers setup tripods and snap picture after picture, and teenagers shoot selfies, trying to capture themselves, a friend, and the pond, if they can.  It's peaceful, quiet, and beautiful.  As always, here's 10 pictures and some foolish comments.
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We've had some great sunsets recently.  A lot of color, deep blue in the sky, pinks and oranges in the clouds.  We're fully into fall and once again I'm reminded that it's by far the best time to be in Korea.

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I wanted to try as many styles as I could, looking for that original photo.  

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One of the other things I'm trying to do is embrace noise in my photos.  I'm pumping up the ISO, which allows more light into the camera, and just letting things be noisy. This one's a pretty good example, as the clouds have a lot of grain.
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As the sun started to set I had to get into some longer exposures.    This one's a 13 second exposure.  I really like the movement of the clouds.


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After the sunset we walked around to get some different angles.  This is a  twenty second exposure of the main building from the other side.  The weather was awesome that night and the place was packed, even as it got towards nine o'clock.


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This one might be my favorite.  Thirty seconds, a lot of light, and look at those stars.  


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This is another thirty second long exposure with my wide-angle lens.  


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Here you can see what I mean about the cleanliness of the area.  There's not a lot of junk surrounding the buildings, and the fences are all straight and uniform.  It's a refreshing change from a lot of places here, where you constantly have  to shoot around trash or wires or weird sheds full of machinery.


Whenever I get the chance to use my flash, I take it.  This is a long exposure with the flash fired remotely at the end of the ten second exposure.  Basically, you expose for the background, and set the flash to light the foreground subjects, firing at the end of the shot to kind of stamp the foreground onto the background.  It totally would have worked, except the guy taking pictures next to me fired his flash and set off my remote flash before I was in place.  Then my camera flash triggered the remote flash and I look like a ghost.
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This is a twenty-six picture panorama of the main attraction.  It's not the greatest picture, but it's got a ton of detail.
Just around the corner from Anapji, this bridge is being built.  I'm not sure if it'll be for cars or just for people, but it's really pretty.  This shot is a panorama, only two pictures, both with exposure times of twenty-five seconds.

I never shoot at night, Sara and I are usually back home by seven o'clock, so this whole little trip was a bit of a challenge from a photography standpoint.  I really don't know what to look for at night, or how to setup a shot using my flash.  Plus I never use my tripod so I was fighting with that thing all night.  Everything turned out ok, but I realize I've got to get out more at night, both with my camera and without it.

2 comments:

  1. these are pretty awesome Zach! can't wait to see pics from your vacation this week.

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  2. Stunning! We're planning a trip to Korea in September next year, and I've been wondering what kind of lighting we might get.

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