Panoramic Ulleung-do

     It's hard to do photographic justice to a place like Ulleung-do.  My lenses are never wide enough, the color never quite right, the final picture is always just an attempt at capturing the beauty of a place like this, the final picture never lives up to that moment, to that scene that caused me to point my camera and press down on the shutter.  I guess this is why I picked up the camera in the first place, to recreate a moment, to share it, with my family and my friends and my future self.  And yet the final results are never quite where I want them.  

     To that end, I'm trying new things.  I read about something, some technique, some shooting method, some editing style, and I go out and I do it.  Right now I'm spending a lot of time working on panoramas.  I always knew that panoramas were multiple photos stitched together, I just never realized how many photos a person could cram into one image.  A few of the shots below are fifty pictures stitched together.  They can take hours to make and they push my computer hard, but the level of detail is incredible.  Zoom in on the picture below and you can count the rocks on the beach.  Zoom in on the picture of Dodong harbor and you can read the phone numbers off the building signs.  It's an incredible technique that gets me one step closer to re-creating that moment, capturing the essence of what it was that made me want to take a picture in the first place.  As always, here's 10 pictures and some foolish comments.

At the top of the monorail ride in Taeha waits this beautiful view.  It was a tough place to photograph because I wanted to include so much in my pictures.  Just over 50 images went into this bad boy.  At full size it's over 100mb and far too big to post in any of the normal places I post photos.  But I love the detail.

I stood on the viewing area rapid-snapping picture after picture, 53 for this photo, while everybody kind of looked at me like I was nuts.  A family was waiting for me to finish, I don't think they realized it was going to take me minutes and not moments.

I took this picture with my wide angle lens, so it's more like three pictures stitched together and not fifty.  The results with the wide angle lens have a lot more distortion, but I think all that warping can give the photos a cool look.

I took thirty pictures of Ulleung-do's Elephant Rock for this pano, but this is a crop, probably about ten pictures here.  Ulleung-do has so many cool rocks like this, if that's your thing.

Here's another one with the 10mm lens, three or four photos.  The distortion is really strong here, as in reality, the road at the bottom of the frame doesn't curve like this, but instead is very straight.  I use the 10mm because it's faster to take three pictures than it is to take fifty with the 105mm.

Ulleung-do's Seawalk, from the cliffs at the top.  This one's dwarfed by some of the others on this page, but I like that I got all the little bridges that go up and down and cut into the rocks.

Nori basin, the fertile volcanic crater.  A cool spot to check out and have lunch.  We had some great bibimbap with a couple hundred other tourists.

The city of Dodong from the top of the cable car.  Stitch together three or four from the wide angle, and here's the result.  I really like the bending of the clouds, there's something naturally-unnatural about it, like you can actually see the atmosphere curling around the Earth.

Another one with a ton of pictures, forty I think.  I don't love the composition of this one, but I do like how deep the detail goes.  Zoom in and count the people on the dock, or call one of the motels, whose number you can read in the sign.
When I shoot these panoramas, I try to think in every direction.  Left, right, up, and down.  This is an up and down panorama, three or four images from my 35mm of Bongnae Waterfall.  The biggest problem here was that the light was funky.  The sky was really bright, but the waterfall was in dark shade.  This is the best I could pull together.  The purple fringing in the trees at the top has me saving my money for a lens that can better handle a shot like this.

     I could post pictures of Ulleung-do for another month, but I'm moving on.  The trip was amazing and there are a half dozen more great places to see, including the cable car, a walking bridge to a whole different island, and the biggest outdoor rock climbing wall I've ever seen.  If you're interested, all my pics from Ulleung-do are living over at  Next up are a few of my shots from Anapji Pond in Gyeongju.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there; just stumbled upon your photos--awesome! I was fortunate enough to travel to Ulleungdo this past summer, but it was cloudy--beautifully atmoshpheric, but I'd love to return one day to bright scenes like you captured...well done!