2019: Roll 4: Hanok Village

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

Roll 4. It was a wild ride, this one.

Well, kinda.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

My wife, her friend, and I decided to go to Jeonju’s Hanook Village to shoot a video and take some photos. My wife’s friend has basically become my videographer. She’s been great. If I were a little less lazy about the editing part we’d be golden.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

The day started off rough with my wife breaking her traditional shoes. Considering how much they were I think it should be labeled a national tragedy.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

As per usual, after the shoe crisis was resolved we headed straight to a coffee shop. Starbucks, in this case. I’d gotten a free meal there from one of my Leica Akadamie students. Not sure what happened on the photo above. The flare seems to have gotten her right in the eye. She hates that photo, ha.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

Hanook Village in Jeonju has become a tourist hotbed in the past couple of years. Every person there is walking around in a rented Korean tradition hanbok and a selfie stick.

I should have mounted my Leica to my newly acquired Gorillapod thing.

To fit in.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

After the coffee we escaped the tourist nightmare to a high point (on top of an arcade) that my wife had read about. It was definitely a big improvement from the streets below.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

As you might be able to guess, she hated the first one ๐Ÿ˜‰ I say that, even though it was HER idea to make it horror movie-esque.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica Sofort, Leica Colour Instax film.

So, one of the main points of the video was to shoot a little bit with this:

Leica Sofort.

Before the pitchforks come out and you blast me for the fact that this is basically a Fuji camera in a nice dress hear me out:

While it might be very well that, it is nicer looking in my opinion haha. That goes a long way with whether or not I’ll pick up a camera in the first place. Full review on this camera coming soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

She was happy, and I guess that is most important innit?

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

After the top of the arcade we made our way back into the busy streets.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

Unless you’re Korean this photo probably won’t mean much to you. The chap in the photo is wearing a traditional Korean police officer’s uniform. The woman is wearing a traditional Korean prostitute’s dress. I thought this was an interesting choice for a leisurely Sunday stroll.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

In my opinion, the best place to take photos in Hanook Maeul (Village) is the fort-like (someone may correct me) structure in the middle. It costs a couple of thousand won to get in and it is an interesting place to shoot.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

It definitely feels a more “traditional” than the streets outside. It does suffer from some modern touches though like bathroom signs and “do not enter” signs. These signs once ruined one of my favourite photos.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

While it is better than the outside streets, it is still touristy inside the gates of the fort. Lots of this kind of thing to contend with.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

I basically spend my time here chasing people until they disappear from the cell phones and rubbish bins. These little girls were cute in their traditional garb.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

He was pretty good too, aside from his Nike’s, ha. Standing guard quite well, I reckon. He didn’t move for the two or so minutes I was here waiting for my wife to finish gift shopping.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

She really, really wanted me to get her shoes out of this photo. I blamed the 35mm frame lines on the MP using the 40mm lens. Confusing stuff, that.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

She did take some photos herself as well. More on that during the Sofort review;)

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

On our first pass around the edge of the fort we saw this couple. I thought it was kinda neat that they decided to go 1920s with their look instead of 1600s. I later found out that this was due to the popularity of a Korean drama.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

There wasn’t much to see after that couple. A whole lot of kids running around. One guy recognized me from Instagram though, my wife gets a kick out of that when it happens.

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

At the end of our loop I saw this couple again. I was still under the impression that this was their magic idea so I asked them to take a couple of portraits. I still think they look cool ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

As always, there is only ever one bell of the ball in my eyes. My wife was a star on this dreary day in Jeonju. With her “real” modern hanbook she took photos with several people during the day. No rented garbage here.

The above was my favourite photo of the day.

I’m biased, of course.

Somewhere between Iksan and Jeonju, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron.
HP5 @3200.

I forgot to include the photos I took before we left our house with Seonju in her hanbok:

Iksan, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.
Iksan, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

Oh…

And the last photo of the roll as per usual:

Iksan, South Korea. Leica MP, 40mm Summicron. HP5 @3200.

The kitters ๐Ÿ˜‰

First Roll of 2019

Frame 1: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

This was the first frame I took this year. My cat sits on the air purifier while I sit at my desk. I guess she likes the fan. We should have called her Marilyn. The light from the window to her left was particularly strong. I’m happy I got a full frame from this considering it was first. My wife said “how can you make the cutest kitten in the world look so scary?..”

Frame 7: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

So my plan for this post was simply to go through most of the photos from my first roll of the year. I had a bit of a contemplation during the end of last year. One thing that continually came to me was how much I needed to shoot film. I don’t know what it is honestly. It isn’t some hipster nonsense “look” or anything of the sort. It just works for my brain. I was sitting down last night scanning these mediocre photos and I felt near-on giddy.


Frame 3: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

These photos aren’t in any particular order. I’ll probably share 20 or so. The way I shoot film is I shoot 4 to 5 frames of most scenes. Even mundane stuff like my lunch (the Soju bottle actually houses sesame oil ;)). I got in the habit of doing this because I shoot without a meter. I guess you can call it self bracketing.

Frame 5: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Would I benefit from a camera with a meter? Maybe. I never end up using them after the battery dies. I never agree with the meters either. Maybe I’m weird. I end up second guessing myself with a meter. I prefer to just trust that I’m right.

Frame 18: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.
Frame 19: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

My way of developing is quite strange too. I develop a roll based on my brain’s version of what it thinks the roll was shot like. For example, if I feel I slightly over exposed the more memorable photos in the roll I will develop the roll slightly less than I might normally do.

Frame 9: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

People hate watching me develop because I don’t use a thermometer, don’t clean my negatives, and only use a wall clock for timing things.

Frame 10: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

As I developed this roll a friend from Seoul was watching me. He was cringing the whole time constantly saying I’m crazy. I changed the developing time midway because I remembered something from the roll. He wanted to bet with me that they wouldn’t turn out.

Frame 24: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.
Frame 25: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I don’t want this to come off as I’m some kind of mad genius. In fact, I’m quite lazy, hate maths, and lost my thermometer years ago. The fact of the matter is, black and white film is so forgiving that it is a joke to care so much. At least for me.

Frame 27: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

One thing I’d say is clean your negatives before you develop. I never do aside from a slight dip in my magic sauce (classified information and no dirty ideas it is safe for work ;)). This is basically the reason for the cloudy look of my negatives.

Frame 14: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Well, that is what has been hypothesized by those whom have watched me develop. Who knows. I just keep doing the same thing. I hate being introduced to new developers or fixers. I’m too lazy to learn something new.

Frame 15: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Ah, I guess then I should tell you what I do use. I use T-max developer and Ilford fixer. I love Tmax with Tmax film but these days it has just become too expensive. It is also okay with HP5 like this roll was.

Frame 21: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I didn’t shoot much street on this roll. It was the first roll with a camera I wasn’t used to. Wish I would have shot more “normally” though considering every frame (exposure / focus wise) came out great.

Frame 22: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Forgot to mention some big news! Yesterday I started shooting the introduction for my YouTube channel. I know I’ve promised this many times. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever taken it seriously.

Frame 23: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I even hired someone to take care of the filming outside. Yesterday was supposedly the “practice” session but there was lots of useable footage from the day.

And yes, I know you video guys are going to tell my the Olympus camera I have sucks for video. I’m sure it does. Basically it is what I have and it works. The footage looked fine to me. Maybe later I’ll get something “better.”

Frame 30: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

That’s about it for today.

What’s up next?

Well, I’m waiting on my 40mm Summicron to come back from service to shoot another roll of film. In the meantime, I’ve got two reviews coming up. One of the Leica C-Lux and another of the Google Pixel 3.

You can expect the Pixel review by the end of the week. Small spoiler, the camera is really, really good. Really good. Like, really. The Pixel has never been available in Korea so I’d never even held one until recently. I don’t know how I can go back to anything else.

Friends in Japan wanna be on call to send me one when needed ๐Ÿ˜‰ ?

Anyway, kitten picture to end the day.

Manbo. Google Pixel 3, Portrait Mode.

Peace kids.

-Jt

2018: Top 10 Photos (1-5)

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

5

This is a photo of my mom. My mom came to Korea for the first time in 2018. I cherished that time with her. We didn’t have a great relationship when I was young. She’s a bit like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. Tons of heart but extremely strict and can be borderline scary. She was a high school teacher and the type that you’d imagine still might have a belt lying around. That said, she has softened much in her old age. I took this after my wedding reception. She was hungover. My mom literally never drinks. Well, Junku bro and friends had her drinking at my reception and she was feeling the effects. She stayed like this for a whole day. She’s coming back this may. I can’t wait.

Iksan, South Korea. July 2018.

4

I shared this in my last post as well. I absolutely love this photo. When my wife cleans the floors she dances like a ballerina. It is one of the most beautiful and graceful things I’ve ever seen. She clears the floors of obstructions, plays a classical piano arrangement and floats through the rooms with a cloth and some water. I’d never been able to get a very good photo during the routine. She’s embarrassed by it. I haven’t a clue why.

Iksan, South Korea. February 2018.

3

This was also taken during the unusual snow storms that plagued Iksan for a couple of days in 2018. I was on my way to class when I saw this loan man just kind of standing there contemplating his plight. I took this without much care to be honest. I was cold and had no gloves so I wasn’t much in the mood to be taking photos. I’m glad I did. Prints of this now hang in many countries throughout the world. It was my most requested photo from this year. Generally I don’t agree with those numbers but in this case, I love this photo.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

2

So the last two photos were taken one right after the other with the above having been taken second.

I took this photo of my wife on our wedding day. I didn’t take many photos during the day, perhaps 10. Every time I see this photo I am filled with happiness. She was talking to a friend or something but I couldn’t see anything but her.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

1

This is my favourite photo of 2018. It isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken technically. It is a photo that I would describe as an amalgamation of compromises. I took the photo in our then unfinished living room. The lighting was a simple placeholder light that struggled to light the entire room. I had 400 speed Ilford film loaded in my camera and no flash. I’d shot the previous 15 photos on the roll at 400 because I’d dreamed of my wedding photos being “clean.” Realizing this wasn’t going to work I just said f%$k it and decided to shoot this at what I’d thought to be 3200 (no meter on my camera). I think continued to take 6 photos of her during the next 3-5 minutes (number 2 on this list being also taken during that time) at what I judged to be 3200. I developed the film as such and just threw out the rest of the negatives. I only wanted these photos. They are grainy, and show the lack of dynamic range in the film at 3200. I don’t care. I wanted to get those photos. Do I wish they were digital? Not at all. I can’t tell you how much happier it makes me to look through my book of negatives and see these photos. Those pieces of film were there with me at that moment. Cheesy? Maybe.

I could give a f%$k.

Hope you enjoyed this year’s top 10. I didn’t take many photos this year. Around 500 in total. That’s okay. I love the photos I did get. Nowadays I’m more than happy to get 2-3 photos a year I consider to be good.

Much love.

Josh

๋ฒˆ๋ฐ๊ธฐ (Silk Worm Pupae)

2018-06-18-0016-Edit
๋ฒˆ๋ฐ๊ธฐ Double Exposure. Seoul / Iksan, South Korea. Voigtlander Bessa-R, 35mm Color Skopar. HP5 at 3200.

I’m out of film. So I decided to shoot this roll again.

Beondegi is a pupa. A silkworm pupa, in fact. It is a popular street or drinking food in Korea.

Beondegi is often sold in a cans. It’s served when people drink.

She likes it. She told me it is like the Korean Vienna Sausage.

Only healthier.

Seoul / Iksan, South Korea. June 2018.

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