Gyeongju Photo Walk 2014

With the arrival of baby Ziggy I haven't had a ton of time to get out and take pictures, so I made it a point to get to the Gyeongju Photo Walk a couple of weeks ago.  Last year the walk was in Ulsan and was a great time, so I figured I needed to be there again.  It's a great chance to take some pictures and spend a few minutes talking with some of the best foreign photographers on the peninsula.  There seriously are a ton of talented people here who push me to be more critical of my own work, to slow down and think more, and to just be better.  It was a great chance to get out and see the gear that everybody works with and how they approach a particular scene.  So, here's my approach.

In general I don't like to photograph in Gyeongju, nor do I even like to go to Gyeongju.  The sights are all really cramped, extremely popular, meaning tons of people, and the skyline is full of electrical wires and ugly streetlamps.  The main attractions are bumps of grass and a stone observatory that's dirty, short, and you're not supposed to get close to.  Every time I go to Gyeongju I think, Ok, I'm going to fight all this crap and make some good pictures.  Then I get home and spend hours masking out electrical wires and people.  Plus the traffic between Gyeongju and Pohang is always gnarly, which means the day starts and ends with me angry and frustrated behind the wheel.  Sorry, Gyeongju, you are not for me.  But I'm glad the photo walk was there.  Taking pictures in a place with all those challenges makes you change your perspective and look for something different.  Angles that get rid of the crowds of people and the wires criss-crossing through the viewfinder, scenes that are simple and free of clutter, shots that take all the madness and frustration and cut them out completely.  I think with these pictures I accomplished what I set out to do.  Fight everything, and make a few good shots.

As always, here's 10 pictures and some foolish comments.

This bridge is actually the opposite of everything I just described.  It's peaceful, quiet, and picturesque.  This is a great spot to come and take pictures.

Korea is full of metal statues like this one and I can't get enough of them.  They just allow for some really simple shots.

Green fields!  Also, it's not fair to call Gyeongju's main attraction grass bumps.  They're actually the tombs of some of the rulers of the Silla Kingdom and date back hundreds of years.  They're an important part of Korean history and culture, but like the Cahokia Mounds in Cahokia, Illinois, they are green bumps.

It was a weekend, so there was some major festival.  This one involved kites and lanterns.  Very beautiful, very cool.

You're not allowed to be on the grass, so there were just dozens of kite flyers lined up along the edge flying their kites over the middle of the field.  

The sunset was spectacular, good colors and lots of light rays.  A perfect day for a photowalk.

Two of Korea's finest at work.  These guys are truly great, truly talented photographers, and the guy on the right, Jason Teale, organized the whole day.  Thanks, Jason!

You have to have six dollar coffee drinks to walk in the park, otherwise what's the point?

This is one of the very first times I've found a real reflection that looked this good.  To the left about ninety degrees is the bridge from the picture above.  I took about a dozen pictures of the bridge, waiting for the light to get just right.  Then I looked over my shoulder at a bird or something and went "Oh, shit," and caught this reflection.

Sara and Ziggy go just about everywhere I go.  He's just too cute to leave at home.

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