Monday, June 4, 2012

Korea Photo Dump #2

Today's photo dump theme: long exposure shots. Lots of fun :)

To take shots like these, you need the following:
  • A tripod or something completely still to set your camera on. That means no movement whatsoever.
  • A camera that can take exposures in excess of 10 seconds. For many DSLR's, you can go in upwards of 2 minutes, and if you want to get longer you can invest in a remote shutter that will hold that thing open for as long as you want.
  • Patience. It takes some time to set up shots like these.

This first shot comes from those hot summer nights in Korea, where staying inside on a Friday night just isn't an option. I had the privilege of living about an hour outside of Seoul, so I had an urban playground that was open literally all hours of the night. That usually meant me going out with friends and my camera to play around.

This night was no exception. Myself, Danielle (the girl on the left), Alex (the guy on the right), and Jonathan (the guy watching my camera so nobody hits it) decided to explore Namsan Tower: a giant tower on a mountain in the middle of Seoul. It is a really spectacular place, with people admiring the city lights below and taking in all the locks on the rails (I'll show you those later).

Usually I don't carry around a tripod with me, but this night was an exception. That meant we were going to have some fun. I set my camera low to the ground and cranked down the ISO really low. I kept the aperture pretty small as well, because for long exposure shots like this you are letting an phenomenal amount of light into the camera. We timed it for 30 seconds and had Jonathan count out loud for us. We would stay perfectly still for 15 seconds and immediately jump a couple feet to the left for another 15 seconds. This created the illusion of us looking at ourselves. Cool, right?

Also, if you look at the clouds, you can see light from the city bouncing off the sky. Long exposure lets in a ton of light, and so light pollution is something that you should account for. In this case, it actually makes a normally black sky look more vivid and alive.

Much like the last one, this was taken on those restless summer nights in Korea. This is actually my street in Wau-Ri, which runs right down to the University of Suwon. I always loved this street because, although we were in this small and tiny town, this place always seemed to come alive once the sun went down. It was rare to see it without college students walking up and down the streets.

This was one of the rare occasions where I had a nearly empty street in Wau-Ri. It had just stopped raining and the temperature dropped a good 20F. The air had this stillness to it that was very uncharacteristic with the season. I loved it.

One cool thing about this shot is the lights. I love the star patterns they create when you expose a picture for more than 10 seconds or so. Also, the rain puddle was still and cool, and I was able to capture some of the street lights in its reflection.

This picture brings back many memories of this wonderful little neighborhood I found. It was my neighborhood. I knew the people and the shops. I lived there. To me, this place will always be home.
Tune in tomorrow for another couple pictures from abroad!

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