Monday, November 30, 2015
Friday, November 27, 2015
The Geommu sword dance has its origins in the martial arts and is considered one of the most ancient forms of Korean royal court dances.
According to the Asia-Pacific Database on Intangible Cultural Heritage:
Thursday, November 26, 2015
|Seonunsa - South Korea|
|The Great Wall - China|
|Shekhawati - India|
To explore incredible man-made wonders with friends - and even have a little fun.
To meet locals and put a personal side on travels, even if we can't speak the same language.
|Kashmir - India|
To witness such generosity and hospitality, freely giving and sharing what little they have.
To witness far-flung places at a time when it was safe to do so.
To shop with friends and share new experiences.
To be able to fly during holidays, transported to a new world and arrive back at school, refreshed.
To see some Wonders of the World and UNESCO World Heritage Sites
|HaLong Bay - Vietnam|
|Taj Mahal - India|
|Penang - Malaysia|
To view unique crafts being created, including those that are slowly disappearing.
|Ella - Sri Lanka|
Monday, November 23, 2015
When hiking through Seonunsa, I just couldn't help myself. Such incredible autumn foliage, echoed in the streams along the path. Even the rains couldn't dampen my excitement of the beauty around me.
Just think of how these scenes would have looked if the skies would have been under clear skies or during the "golden hour" of late afternoon...
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Thursday, November 19, 2015
The last several weekends have been wet ones in Korea. Unfortunately, this coincided right with some peak autumn colors. My plans for capturing the leaves with early morning or late afternoon light went right out the window.
Equipped with a rain jacket, I took a few photos of some of the trees on our school campus. I loved the complimentary colors of this image.
Raindrops collected and beaded up on the branches like pearls.
Even the puddles had their own beauty.
Monday, November 16, 2015
After a couple of rainy weekends, the sun briefly came out on Sunday after church. Although I had plenty to do, I felt compelled to at least go for a quick walk through the nearby woods and local temple. Perhaps by next weekend, the brilliant autumn trees might be devoid of their magnificent leaf display.
What a difference several weeks made; trees that were must beginning to turn colors were now just past their prime.
Pathways were carpeted with warm-hued leaves. The collection grew as the gentle breeze loosened more fiery-colored leaves, fluttering to the ground.
Yellows spotted by the door on the freshly-painted temple building were echoed in the nearby trees.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
On this very dreary Saturday morning, two colleagues and I toured Cheong Wa Dae, which means "The Blue House." The executive office and official residence of the President of South Korea, Cheong Wa Dae is set amidst a beautiful landscaped grounds.
It got its name from the 150,000 blue tiles adorning the roof. Each was individually baked to ensure durability of over 100 years. In the background is Mt. Bugaksan; however, the mists of the rain enshrouded the mountain.
We reserved a tour spot over two months ago. Passports were required, and a security screening was conducted at the time of reservation and a physical one repeated upon entrance into the grounds upon leaving the required shuttle bus. I had to leave my zoom lens at the security check. My colleagues and I each were given an English translation player, as the tour was only in Korean. Schoolchildren comprised most of those on the tour.
Before our English narration was even completed for each stop, we were herded to the next stop, always accompanied by tall, handsome security men in black suits. At one stop, we were given permission to take photographs in a certain direction, which included the umbrella-shaped bansong tree. One of the guards offered to take our photos, so we obliged.
At the reception hall, about 20 minutes after the tour started, we were asked to give back the required number tag around our necks. It was then that we realized that the tour was over. Another security person arrived with my zoom lens and our passports.
So long, Cheong Wa Dae!
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Yesterday evening I attended the Seoul Lantern Festival with some friends. Although I don't typically like to attend events during a school night, past experience convinced me that this was the only feasible time to go to such a popular event.
When we arrived prior to dusk, I was so pleased to see that we could walk right in the entrance and down to the Cheonggyecheon Stream. Contrast that to last year, when the decision to attend on a Friday night resulted in a packed wait in line for well over an hour and a mob of people pushing down by the stream. Not a very ideal photography scenario!
This year, we started at the far end where the first set of hanji paper lantern sculptures were geared towards kids. Cartoon characters popular in Korea, as well as some of a more international flair.
There were also some lantern displays with an advertising component and still others of different countries, including one of Mount Rushmore. It felt a bit out of place, but rather interesting to see such an iconic piece of Americana down in Seoul.
My favorite ones were of a traditional theme. The throne room of Deoksugung Palace was particularly impressive, in its scale, detail, and sculptural aspects.
Seoul Lantern festival. The display will be up until November 22.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
What a wonderful thing it is to live right next to such a beautiful campus. Although Yonsei University is an impressive campus at any time during the year, its well-maintained grounds is particularly notable during the fall and spring. In the fall, I look forward to seeing "my tree" (pictured above in the left side of the photo) blaze its tiny maple leaves in fire red.
By the old Tudor-style buildings, Gingko, chestnut, and maple trees abound. The vines on the buildings also turn crimson red, adding to the warmth of the scenery.
Sunday, November 08, 2015
It was a good feeling to have finished with report cards. Stepping outside of school, I saw how beautiful the late afternoon lighting was. So I did what any good photographer would do - dumped my school bag and grabbed my camera. The neighboring campus of Yonsei University did not disappoint. The warm "golden hour" sunlight dappled on some maple leaves near one of the older buildings. As it was on a steep slope, I decided to approach it from the bottom. As I walked on the narrow support wall, I spotted more photographic opportunities.
The chestnut leaves rustled gently in the breeze, strongly illuminated by the low sun. The glowing yellow leaves with a fairy dust of red Japanese maple leaves against the dark bark created a canvas only God could paint.
Even the various warm hues of the chestnut tree made for a great shot. Needless to say, I took a few more photos in this spot, observing the wonderful interplay of light and color.
Friday, November 06, 2015
Prior to coming to Korea, I had never tasted a persimmon. I prefer them dried. Interestingly, I read that the high quality fruits come from branches that have been grafted onto another persimmon tree.
Wednesday, November 04, 2015
As I walked through the main gate of the Bongeunsa temple, my eyes were drawn to movement at the stream to the left of the path. Just as with my spring visit, a creature was enjoying pleasures of the water. Perhaps it is because of the cat that the birds are not present to enjoy a bath...
|Bongeunsa Temple - May 2015|
Monday, November 02, 2015
Now in my fourth year living in Seoul, I have had the opportunity to revisit places in different seasons. This weekend I revisited Bongeunsa Temple to see how it had changed since last spring.
The dominant spring hues of pink and white were now replaced by varying oranges, yellows, and not-changed-yet greens. The colors weren't as intense as I'd hoped, but they were still enjoyable to behold. The morning was a cool, but very sunny one, the air incredibly (for Seoul) clear. This made the lighting feel very dynamic and full of contrasts.
Although it was a quick visit this time, I was glad to have come back to view the transformation. Which season do you feel best compliments the temple structures and statues?