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Luminar 4: Is It Worth It?

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There are a lot of programs and plugins out there that many swear by or even swear at. When Adobe moved to the subscription model, there were people swearing up a storm. Some moved on to free software like Gimp others looked for an equally powerful replacement. The trouble is that up until now there has not really been a decent editor that could do all the things that Lightroom can do and still be affordable.

Enter Luminar 4. I have been a fan of Skylum products since they were still called Macphun and you have no doubt recently read my glowing review of their Flex plugin. In a slightly perplexing move, they recently released Luminar 4 and more recently the update 4.1 that in all honesty leaves previous iterations of Luminar in the dust. So the big question is… is it worth it? That is difficult for me to answer but it will have to depend on what you are looking for and how impressed you are with the following features.

What’s New?

Any app these days from your phone to your computer can sharpen, increase saturation, adjust the contrast, and crop. So for something to really rock the photography world it has to do much much more. Thankfully, Skylum was up to the task and knocked it out of the park with this update.

They are getting ever closer to high-grade editing with a single click and still giving you control to add in your own artistic touches. With the addition of the features below, Luminar 4 is quickly becoming one of the better photo editing tools out there.

Sky Replacement

This has been the prick of the trade for some time. Many instagrammers and landscape photographers will be reluctant to admit this but it is true. Many of those stunning landscapes that you have see where the sky almost seems too good to be true, probably isn’t. However, the reason that you don’t see me doing it is because it is hard to do in photoshop. Well, hard to do right. By that I mean relighting the scene, accounting for temperature and whatnot. Skylum recently came out with this feature that does a pretty darn good job of it.

It is almost too good in some cases as it caused quite a number of posts on Skylum’s facebook page. Say what you will, this is a lot better than their sunrays filter and a lot more useful. It saved a few of my shots from Tokyo when the skies turned grey.

AI Skin Enhancer and Portrait Enhancer

The overall look and feel of Luminar has changed and I will get to that in a bit. However, one of the sections that is now available is the new portrait section which offers a number of features directly designed to help make stunning portraits. I am not that kind of photographer but I did dabble with the features a bit and they are pretty impressive. Skylum has added cutting-edge features to make your portraits look amazing. I am not just throwing that “cutting-edge” phrase around either. There really is a ton of technology added to these features.

What they added is the ability to make quality “magazine-style” portraits without spending a lot of time airbrushing skin and whatnot. The results are really good if you don’t go overboard with the adjustments.

New Layout and Interface adds an AI Skin enhancer which can detect skin even on other parts of the body and effortlessly remove and blemishes or “defects” as they call it. However, it is the Portrait Enhancer tool that really brings this all together.

They have added so many great features, it might make me want to start photographing people more. The main thing that I love is that even I can get a nice looking image of a person… Now I just have to actually find people to photograph. I had to use the stock image from the affiliate area to show how this tool works.

AI Structure

I almost wrote this one off as I normally use the details enhancer for landscapes. However, while the details enhancer is still there, the AI Structure tool works really well. You may not see the difference right away but it is there. What the tool does is it uses the AI technology to find the areas the need a boost and then adds structure to only those areas. The most common issue that people have is when you are wanting to add structure and it adds that same structure to a human face.

For landscapes, this supposedly can detect water and other areas so that you can add more structure to the sky and but not have to deal with crunchy looking water. I tested this out with the image set above. You can see that it added more definition to the sky but added very little structure to the water. I cranked it way up in this case and overall it did what they said.

Everything Else

All of the updates that were introduced with Luminar 3 and flex are still there. You have the sunrays filter and the smart contrast as well as the Accent AI and the AI Sky Enhancer. Not to mention that you still have the ability to use the program as a plugin or as a standalone Digital Asset Manager (DAM).

This is shaping up to be a fairly robust SINGLE PURCHASE photo editor. With the release of Luminar 4.1, Skylum has also addressed a lot of the technical issues. However, people are still complaining about performance issues.

Issues

I only have a few issues with Luminar 4 and to be honest maybe I am being a little nitpicky. The first one is the removal of the custom workspaces. For me, this was a great feature to have as I have a certain style and I want to use my most frequently used tools right away. This also leads me to my more pressing issue.

Then there is the user interface… and well… it takes some getting used to. Essentially, they categorized the tools into different sets and tabs. This gets a little confusing because everything was switched around and recategorized. The sky replacement tool is in the “creative tab” but that would work better in the Landscape Enhancements area which is in the “Essentials” tab. The graduated filter is in the “Professional” tab but that to me is an essential tool. The golden hour tool is located in the Landscape Enhancer menu but the Sunrays tool is located in the Creative Tab.

I can sort of understand the logic in some cases, as the sky replacement tool and the sunrays tool are adding in new elements but they are also primarily used to “enhance” landscapes. The main issue is just that I now have to hunt around for the tool that I need and there is no clear indication of where to find them.


The bottom line here is that Luminar 4 is a great tool. It might not be the Lightroom replacement that people are looking for but it is a very powerful photo editor. I personally use it now for almost every single one of my shots. It is what gives the images a little more power in my opinion. It goes beyond just over-saturating them and takes them into a higher level in some cases.

If you are looking to test out Luminar for or pick it up then click my affiliate link button below to head on over to their site.

The post Luminar 4: Is It Worth It? appeared first on The Sajin.


Korean Particles for Everyday Use

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You may be new to the concept, but particles are a part of Korean that are used every day. In fact, these Korean particles are found in nearly every sentence you’ll hear, if not all!

But it’s important to learn how to use them correctly. We’ll cover Korean particles for everyday use that you should learn to become a pro Korean speaker.

multi-ethnic kids reading books at a table

~은/는 (Subject/Topic)

Let’s begin by going over the most basic (but also tricky) particles to learn, which are ~은/는 and ~이/가.

Why are these so tricky? Both of them are used to indicate the subject in the sentence, making them almost the same in use, which can cause confusion. When creating sentences you should be careful which one you’ll use, unless it doesn’t matter in that particular sentence. With practice you’ll get the hang of them!

The ~은/는 particles are also used to mark the topic in the sentence, which is where the meaning becomes different from ~이/가. Lastly, you can use when the last syllable ends in a consonant and when it ends in a vowel. Here are some examples of that use of ~은/는:

나 → 

선생님 → 선생님

One of the first ways to understand the difference between ~은/는 and ~이/가 is that with ~은/는 the main point of the sentence, or topic, is emphasized. It has this same function when it’s on its own in a sentence and also when it’s paired up with ~이/가.

Another clear distinction between the two is that ~은/는 can be used to state a general fact. However, ~이/가 cannot be used this way.

~이/가 (Subject)

As mentioned above, in many cases you can use the subject particles ~이/가 and ~은/는 interchangeably. With time you’ll learn to differentiate between the two just by noticing how each sentence sounds, but it’s still good to focus on how they are different.

Here’s one simple trick to explain the difference between ~는/은 and ~이/가:

  • While you can use ~는/은 to describe someone’s profession or nationality and the like or describe someone or yourself with an adjective, you cannot use ~이/가 to do the same. Think of ~는/은 as the subject markers to use with descriptive sentences.
  • Similarly, when you want to describe that you or someone else will do something, it’s better to use ~이/가 rather than ~는/은. So think of ~이/가 as the subject markers to use with actions.

But remember, this isn’t always the case. It’ll become easier with practice so check out these examples and see if you can recognize the difference.

Example Sentences using ~은/는 and ~이/가:

학생이에요 → I am a student

(naneun haksaengieyo)

행복해요 → I am happy

(naneun haengbokhaeyo)

우리 선생님 미국인이에요 → Our teacher is American

(uri seonsaengnimeun migukinieyo)

주문 할게요 → I will place the order

(naega jumuneul halgeyo)

~을/를 (Object)

This particle is used to indicate the object in the sentence. When the last syllable ends in a consonant, you use 을, and when it ends in a vowel you should use 를.

Example sentences using ~을/를:

나는 책 읽었어요 → I read a book

(naneun chaekeul ilgeosseoyo)

바나나 먹어요! → Eat a banana!

(bananareul meogoyo!)

Notice the subject particles in these examples? Multiple types of particles often come into play in a single sentence.

man running against the clock

~에 (Time/Location)

This particle indicates both time and location. For location, it can express where you are or were at, or where you are going, or where something is. And for time, it can express the time or day something happens.

Example Sentences Using ~에:

저는 학교 있어요 → I am at school

(jeoneun haggyoe isseoyo)

우리 월요일 부산 갈거에요 → We will go to Busan on Monday

(uri woryoire busane galgeoeyo)

Something you’ll need to get used to is understanding the use of particles (and also different vocabulary) based on the context of the sentence. In the above sentence, you can recognize the two separate uses of 에 based on the words it’s used with, 월요일 (Monday) and 부산 (Busan).

~에서 (Location)

Although ~에서 also indicates location, its use is quite different from ~에. When you use ~에서, you are stressing the location you are doing or did something in, excluding when the verb of the sentence is 있다, in which case is used.

Example Sentences Using ~에서:

카페에서 숙제를 했어요 → I did my homework in the cafe

(khapheeseo sukjereul haesseoyo)

You can also take advantage of ~에서 when describing how something is like somewhere. For example:

물가는 노르웨이에서 높아요 → Prices are high in Norway

(mulganeun noreuweieseo nophayo)

~에서 can also be used to express “from”. For example:

저는 인도네시아에서 왔어요 → I am from Indonesia

(jeoneun indonesiaeseo wasseoyo)

Note the nuance of how the location is stressed when using 에서.

Lastly, for 여기/거기/저기, only attach ~서.

~께/에게/한테 (To give someone something)

These forms all indicate you are giving someone something.

Example Sentence Using 한테:

오빠한테 돈을 빌렸어 → I lent money to my big brother

(oppahante doneul billyeosseo)

The difference between each one is simply their level of politeness. is of honorific level, 에게 is formal polite, and 한테 is informal and casual.

~께서/에서/한테서 (To receive something from someone)

These markers possess the same level of politeness as their counterparts above. Technically you do not need the ~서 attached to the end to make the meaning clear, but it’s good to keep for differentiation when you’re still a new learner of Korean.

~도 (Also)

~도 indicates an additive, in the form of “too” and “also”. You can drop ~는/은 or other particles when using ~도.

Example Sentences Using ~도:

빅뱅을 좋아해요 → I like Big Bang, too

(nado bikbaengeul johahaeyo)

연세어학당을 다녀요 → I also attend Yonsei Korean Language Institute

(nado yeonseeohakdangeul danyeoyo)

영국사람이에요 → I am also from England

(nado yeongguksaramieyo)

young boy looking at a map

~으로/로 (Direction and multiple other meanings)

~으로/로 is a multi functional particle. For starters, you can use it to express the location where something is happening at, making its meaning similar to ~에. For example:

우유를 슈퍼 사러 가려고 해요 → I intend to go to the supermarket to buy milk

(ujureul syupeoro sareo garyeogo haeyo)

You can also use it to express the tool, method, language and so on that something is being done in. For example:

기차 이탈리아에 갈거에요 → I will go to Italy by train

(gicharo italliae galgeoeoyo)

수채화 그림을 그렸어요 → I painted using watercolors

(suchaehwaro geurimeul geuryeosseoyo)

그사람한테 한국말 대답을 줬어요 → I answered to that person in Korean

(geu saramhante hangukmallo daedabeul jwosseoyo)

You can even use this particle to express what you ate for a specific meal. For example:

맨날 아침식사 죽을 먹어요 → I eat porridge for breakfast every morning

(maennal achimsiksaro jukeul meokeoyo)

By attaching ~(으)로 to you will create the meaning “the direction of_”. You can attach with nouns and also some direction words. For example:

으로 → that way

(geujjokeuro)

으로 → toward south

(namjjokeuro)

사람으로 → toward people

(saramjjokeuro)

~부터 (Start)

The most common use for ~부터 is to indicate when something starts.

Example Sentences using ~부터:

저는 지난달부터 한국어를 배웠어요 → I started learning Korean last month

(jeoneun jinandalbutheo hangukeoreul baewosseoyo)

~부터 can also be used in a similar fashion to ~에서 where the difference is more so in the nuance of the sentence rather than the meaning. It is usually reserved for sentences where you would include ~까지 in its structure. For example:

부터 학교까지 걸어 다녀요 → I walk from home to school.

(jibbutheo haggyokkaji georeo danyeoyo)

In fact, it is common to combine ~부터 with ~까지 where ~부터 indicates the starting point and ~까지 the end. For example:

기말고사는 내일부터 다음주말까지 있을거에요 → Our final exams will start tomorrow and last until the end of next week

(gimalgosaneun naeilbutheo daeumjumalkkaji isseulgeoeyo)

Lastly, you can attach the word 처음, which means “first”, to ~부터 to express “from the start”. For example:

영어를 배우기가 처음부터 어려웠어요 → Learning English was difficult from the start

(yeongeoreul baeugiga cheoeumbutheo eoryeowosseoyo)

~까지 (Until)

~까지 typically means “end”, more specifically “until” and it works for both time and place. You can also use it to mean “to”, often used together with ~에서, although the use of ~에서 isn’t always necessary and ~까지 on its own will remain clear in its meaning.

Example Sentences Using ~까지:

집에서 여기까지 걸어서 왔어요 → I walked until here from home

(jibeseo yeogikkaji georeoseo wasseoyo)

시혐결과를 내일까지 기다려야 해요 → I have to wait until tomorrow for the exam results

(sihyeomgyeolgwareul naeilkkaji gidaryeoyahaeyo)

우리는 8일부터 12일까지 부산에 있을거에요 → We will be in Busan from the 8th until the 12th

(urineun 8ilbutheo 12ilkkaji busane isseulgeoeyo)

If you wish to combine ~까지 with the previously mentioned 처음부터 to express “from start to finish”, the word to attach to ~까지 becomes 끝, which means “end”. For example:

하루안에 그 책을 처음부터 끝까지 읽었어요 → I read that book from start to finish in one day

(haruane geu chaekeul cheoeumbutheo kkeutkkaji ilgeosseoyo)

~들 (Plural)

The marker indicates plural. However, it is solely used as a marker when talking about people (it’d be weird to use it with a noun like a fruit). In fact, apart from people, it is not that common to use a plural form and isn’t totally necessary to use with people, either. In the cases you would want to indicate plural, check out the examples.

Example Sentences Using ~들:

오늘 친구을 만나요 → Today I will meet with my friends

(onweul chingudeureul mannayo)

은 다른 나라에서 살아요 → They live in another country

(geudeureun dareun naraeseo sarayo)

It is possible to add the possessive form, which we will introduce to you soon.

~만 (Only)

This marker is used to express the word “only” and it is attached to nouns.

Example Sentences Using ~만:

어제 맥주 마셨어요 → I only drank beer yesterday

(eoje maekjuman masyeosseoyo)

그는 거짓말 해요 → He only says lies

(geuneun geojitmalman haeyo)

하루종일 공부 했어요 → I did nothing but study all day

(harujongil gongbuman haesseoyo)

~의 (Possessive)

Fairly straightforward, the ~의 particle indicates possession. It is attached to the person who possesses the object, similarly to ‘s in English.

Example Sentences Using ~의:

선생님 차 → the teacher’s car

(seonsaengnime cha)

그 사람 여자친구 → that person’s girlfriend

(geu sarame yeojachingu)

집 → my home/my house

(nae jib)

In the case of “my”, specifically when using the more casual 나, you can shorten from 나의 to 내. Like this:

고양이 → my cat

(nae goyangi)

four adolescents standing together

~과/와 (and/with/as with)

You use these particles to indicate “and” or “with”. ~과 is used after a consonant and ~와 is used after a vowel.

Example Sentences Using ~과/와:

아침식사로 죽 커피를 먹었어요 (achimshiksaro jukgwa kheophireul meogeosseoyo) → I ate porridge and coffee for breakfast

오늘 남자친구 영화를 보러 가요 (oneul namjachinguwa yeonghwareul boreo gayo) → Today I will go see a movie with my boyfriend

~이랑/랑 (and/with/as with)

This particle is nearly identical in use with ~과/와. You should attach ~이랑 (irang) with a syllable ending in a consonant and ~랑 (rang) with one ending in a vowel. The main difference between these and ~과/와 is that ~이랑/랑 is more casual to use and is also more common to hear spoken than to see in text.

~하고 (and/with/as with)

~하고 (hago) is another particle meaning “and” and “with”. It can be used with both vowels and consonants.

~고 (connective)

The ~고 particle is used to connect two actions, happening one after another, into one sentence, attached either to an action verb or a descriptive verb.

Example Sentences Using ~고:

샤워하 잠을 잘거에요 (shawohago jameul jalgeoeyo) → I will take a shower and then go sleep

You can also use this particle to connect two adjectives describing the same topic or two sentences describing a similar topic into one sentence. For example:

그 사람이 똑똑하 부지런한 학생이에요 (geu sarami ttokttokhago bujireonhan haksaengieyo) → That person is a smart and diligent student

And yes, you can also use the ~고 particle together with the past tense!


Phew! That was quite the lesson, don't you think? How many of these particles did you already know and which were brand new to you? Try to make some of your own sentences in the comments and we'll check them for you. We'd love to see them!

The post Korean Particles for Everyday Use appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.


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Tokyo Travel Photography Guide

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If you have read my previous articles about my last trip to Tokyo then you might be wondering about where the best places to go are. I am not sure why it took me this long to actually go through all of the locations that I shot that trip. I think mostly because there are probably better people out there that can do it with a lot more skill and finesse. At any rate, here are my recommendations.

Where To Stay

First, let’s get this out of the way. Tokyo is HUGE! Tourist areas are overpriced for hostels and hotels. Many of my searches just ended up confusing and leading me to over-priced capsule hotels geared towards smelly backpackers. So I reached out to famed travel photographer Elia Locardi and he offered some great advice to stay around the Minato City area.

I soon found a reasonable hotel a short walk from Ueno Station and where the train drops you off from Narita Airport. I found this area to be perfect for a number of reasons. The first being that Ueno station is a major station in Tokyo and is centrally located. So it is only a few stops from many of the major sites. Also there was a Yodobashi Camera across the street from Ueno Station. I could pick up anything that I needed on my way out too.

For me, this was a good location as I don’t like lugging around my bags long distances. I did that too many times when starting out. I just as soon get to my lodging as fast as possible and then get ready to shoot. I stayed at the Hotel Centurion, which was your typical Japanese business hotel. It was not too expensive, but you can certainly find cheaper hotels or hostels on sites like Booking.com.

The hotel was a short walk from Ueno Station, Ueno Park and several subway lines. This meant getting around was a simple process. I prefer this to areas that might be cheaper but are far from the places that you intend to photograph. Also it was a little off the tourist map in some ways. So cheap food and quiet places were easy to find.

My Locations

The main purpose of this trip was to really update my travel portfolio. I had not been to Tokyo in many years and when I did I was extremely sick. We also didn’t really hit Tokyo as much as I would have liked. So this trip was a way to get the shots, albeit touristy ones, that I missed many years ago. I was not going to waste my time trying to find “hidden gems” as I really didn’t have much time to spare. I wanted to get a lot of the shots that people are familiar with and add my style to them.

Seonso-Ji Temple

This was top on the list as I saw so many wonderful shots of this temple over the years. I got up at 4 am and headed out to the subway station. Keep in mind that the Tokyo subway system starts running at 5 am and it will take a while to get to you. On this day, it did not really matter as it was rainy and there was no sun to be seen. I later swapped out the skies using luminar 4, which helped make a better looking image all around.

Tip: Get there early or really late unless you want to be stuck in the crowds. The temple is open 24 hours a day so for me, sunrise was the best. There were hardly any people there, only a few tourists and the weirdos twerking in the garden…

Shibuya Scramble

This was more of a tourist stop for me. The last time I was here I was on a large dose of some random allergy medication. Waking up on a subway train surrounded by cosplayers and exiting into the madness that is Shibuya pretty much melted my brain. So this time around, I wanted to have a better experience. During my time there, the weather was still acting up a bit but sadly it wasn’t raining enough to get out the umbrellas. It was just a hazy grey mass of meh. So I did what I could to make the most out of the situation.

I went to the infamous starbucks, got an iced coffee and fought the influencers and Rugby players for a spot overlooking the street. I then took some time lapse shots. I checked out a few locations to find the best angle. Sadly, other than the starbucks location, I really didn’t find a good one.

Tip: Head there around blue hour and get some long exposure shots. I found that daytime shots are not really that great as the appeal of this area is more the mass of people crossing the street surrounded by the tall buildings and the flashing lights. Blue hour would emphasise the lights and still give you details in the street below.

Odaiba Beach and the Rainbow Bridge

For years I had wanted to get this location and finally check it off my shot list. Thanks to a few helpful recommendations and Elia’s video, I managed to find a great spot. Thanks to my lack of sleep and poor planning, I also missed my stop and also the amazing sunset. However, I worked with what I had.

The Rainbow Bridge at blue hour was the shot that I was going for anyway but the sunset that night was absolutely amazing (as I saw from the train). The reason why I suggest this shot at night is for not only the bridges lights but also the yakatabune boats that light up as well.

Odaiba beach is a great place to start and probably one of the most common places to photograph from. There is also a replica Statue of Liberty there as well. The biggest issue that you are going to run into are the crowds and the islands. However, at night they sort of blend into the darkness a bit.

Tip: If you want to get an unobstructed view or rather less of one, walk around to Dai-San Daiba which is the little island visible from the beach. It will take you some time to walk out there but it is a popular spot. I was not a fan of the angle that I saw from google maps, so I stayed on the beach.

Gundam Robot Statue

Ever since I first visited Japan, I was fascinated with gundam robots. I am not into anime or anything but I just loved the detail and variety. I actually build them from time to time because the process is somewhat therapeutic to me. At any rate, getting a chance to see a life-sized one blew my mind. It is also quite close to the Rainbow Bridge and it lights up at night. So you can shoot it after the bridge.

Tip: There are a few times that the robot will move and change colours. Check online and try and time your arrival for the last show so it will be dark enough to catch the lights and the movement.

Nezu Shrine

If you follow my work then you know that I love temples and shrines. This time around I wanted to really see something new and the Nezu Shrine was recommended. It has a large number of tori gates which line a path along the edge of the grounds and that is a shot that I have been wanting to get for a while. It’s not quite as big as the ones in Kyoto but it was a great spot to spend the morning.

Tip: Keep in mind that this is not a tourist attraction and does not exist for your photographic needs. Be quiet and polite. I was quite disgusted seeing the twerking couple at the Senso-ji Temple. Places like this are smaller but still deserve your respect.

The Imperial Palace

This is a wonderful site but sadly it was closed when I went. However, I was still able to photograph the Seimon Stone Bridge there. The front grounds surrounding the palace are also always open and that is a plus. However, do check the times before heading over there. There is a ton to see surrounding the palace as well. If I get a chance to go back I will certainly spend more time in that area.

This is also a tourist spot and high on the influencer hit list. So it does get quite busy. It was interesting to see the influencers/wanna-be influencers work the site. At any rate, they can be an indication of where or where not to go at these locations.


Tip: There are swans in the waters surrounding the palace. Timing the shot right so that you have a few of them in the frame would add a lot to the image. Like most things, it is a waiting game. This is also a location that I would say looks great during the day time. So you can slot it in after your morning shoots as I did and still come away will decent shots.

Tokyo International Forum

If you are looking for some unique architecture this is one spot that a number of people go to. Overall, I would say that it is nothing special but I did find it interesting. However, to be honest it does not really scream “Tokyo!” for me. It was a nice calm space to get some shots and take a bit of a rest.

Tip: Bic Camera is right next door to this place as well as the subway station. So be sure to pop in if you need anything on your way to your next location. You can walk to the forum from the Imperial Palace too.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

This is a great spot for cityscapes but you have to shoot through a window. It gives a great view of the city in almost every direction. The issue here is that it is also hugely popular, so long lines form and people tend to get a little pushy around sunset and blue hour. Also there is a “no tripod” rule in effect and they will yell at you for using any kind of device to stabilize your camera.

Tip: Bring a scarf or a towel to wrap around your lens to cut the reflections from the glass. If you are trying to get a steady shot, huddle in and over your camera while resting it on the ledge. I found that the security guards only checked on me when I was alone and in clear view. If they tell you to stop, just stop. There is no point in getting thrown out for a shot like this.

Shinjuku Nights

If there is one place that you should check out that clearly says “I am in Tokyo” then it has to be Shinjuku. It gets pretty crazy at night and there are a ton of flashing lights and people. Perfect for those street shots. I had this one image in mind (below) when I went there and really had no idea how to find it. I just walked to the flashing lights and found it… along with a group of other photographers getting the same shot. So not the most original shot but one to check off the list.

Tip: Use a wide-angle lens here. Shooting tight does not give the scale of this area and how flashy the buildings are. Also if you are using a tripod be careful that you don’t trip people here. It gets super crowded at night.

Bonus Tips:

If you are looking for cheap sushi, check out Kura Sushi, they have a number of locations around Tokyo and are the standard rotating sushi place but they are also cheap. Usually about 100 yen per plate and they will have English menus.

Google maps is your friend here. Tokyo is huge and google maps has a lot of information and directions. This may seem obvious but if you travel through Korea, google maps is useless.

If you are staying for a short time, get the 3-day subway pass as part of the ticket package when you get the Skyliner into Tokyo. I am pretty sure that I saved a small fortune with that pass. You can order it online and pick it up at whichever airport you are flying into.


The bottom line here is that Tokyo is a massive city and a great one to check out. This is only a small chunk of mediocre advice but I hope that it is useful. You could easily spend a week or two in Tokyo and still not cover everything. So picking and choosing your locations is a must.

If you have any other tips and advice for Tokyo, please drop a comment below.

The post Tokyo Travel Photography Guide appeared first on The Sajin.


Parts of the Body in Korean

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Do you know how to name the different body parts in the Korean language? Knowing the difference between a leg and a finger is an important part of any vocabulary.

Whether getting a check-up with the doctor or just chatting with friends, you’ll want to know these important words. So let’s learn them today!

boy with different body parts identified

Body Part Vocabulary Words in Korean

The word for body is 몸 (mom) = body. You might also hear the word 인체 (inche) used, but this is a more technical term. For quick reference, check the two body diagrams below.

Let’s start at the top, and work our way down!

머리 (meori) = Head

머리 (meori) = Hair

머리 can mean both “head” and “hair,” depending on the context. If you want to distinguish the two, then you can use 머리카락 (meorigarak) for “hair.”

얼굴 (eolgul) = Face

(nun) = Eye

눈썹 (nunsseop) = Eyebrow

(ko) = Nose

(gwi) = Ear

(ppyam) = Cheek

(ib) = Mouth

입술 (ibsul) = Lips

이 (i) = Teeth

(teok) = Chin

(mok) = Neck

어깨 (eokkae) = Shoulders

(pal) = Arm

팔꿈치 (palkkumchi) = Elbow

손목 (sonmok) = Wrist

(son) = Hand

손가락 (songarak) = Finger

(deung) = Back

척추 (cheokchu) = Spine

가슴 (gaseum) = Chest

(bae) = Stomach

허리 (heori) = Waist

엉덩이 (eongdeongi) = Butt

다리 (dari) = Leg

무릎 (mureup) = Knee

(bal) = Foot

발목 (balmok) = Ankle

발가락 (balgarak) = Toes

You might also want some other descriptors for the parts of the body.

근육 (geunyuk) = Muscle

(ppyeo) = Bone

피부 (pibu) = Skin

혈액 (hyeolaek) = Blood

Knowing these will make it useful for describing if you happen to feel ill about anything. Let’s look at some examples.

Korean Example Sentences

Here are some examples sentences for body parts in Korean to immediately get you more comfortable using the above vocabulary.

가 아파 My stomach hurts.

(nae baega apa)

어제부터 피부가 많이 가려워요 My skin is itching a lot since yesterday.

(eojebuteo pibuga mani garyeowoyo)

이 벌써 일주일동안 아프고 있어요 My back has already been hurting for a week.

(je deungi beolsseo iljuildongan apeugo isseoyo)

운동했을때 발목을 삐었어요 I strained my ankle while working out.

(undonghaesseulttae balmogeul ppieosseoyo)

혈액 검사를 해야해서 긴장되고 있어요 I am nervous because I need to take a blood test.

(hyeoraek geomsareul haeyahaeseo ginjangdoego isseoyo)

넘어져서 무릎을 다쳤어요. 지금 무릎은 많이 아파서 울고 싶어요. I fell and hurt my knee. Now my knee hurts so much I want to cry.

(neomeojyeoseo mureupeul dachyeosseoyo. jigeum mureupeun mani apaseo ulgo sipeoyo.)

어제 자전거를 타고 넘어졌을때 을 다쳤어요. 다행이 헬멧을 써서 머리를 안다쳤어요. Yesterday I rode my bike, fell and hurt my arm. Thankfully I wore my helmet so I didn’t hurt my head.

(eoje jajeongeoreul tago neomeojyeosseulttae pareul dachyeosseoyo. dahaengi helmeseul sseoseo meorireul andachyeosseoyo)


There you have a quick rundown on the parts of the body in Korean! Now if your neck, foot or hand hurts, you can explain it to your friend or your doctor! Do you think you can make some sentences using these words? Show us your best sentence in the comments!

And if you have a part of the body you want help with in Korean, let us know and we'll get you an answer.

 

Image Credit: Bigstock

The post Parts of the Body in Korean appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.


(Ep 69) Criminal

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Have you ever wondered what might happen to an expat if they were arrested in Korea for possession of marijuana? My guest on this episode was arrested, jailed and tried for his crimes, facing a minimum sentence of 5 years behind bars. He joins me to tell his story from start to finish. We talk about the arrest, the miserable and crowded conditions of his cell, his case and the trial. We talk about the emotions he went through during the whole process, and how it had affected his family and friends. Even through such a troubling and depressing time, my guest continuously focuses on how incredibly lucky he was and expresses endless gratitude toward the people on the outside who helped him remain positive even through the tougher times. If you enjoy the show, tell a friend about it, and please leave a review on iTunes or whatever app you listen to podcasts on. I’d really appreciate it!

My Top 9 Most Liked Images from Instagram

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Before I get into the discussion about my images, I want to share a little exercise to help you in 2020. First, make one of these images here and see which images people liked. Look for any trends that you can see. What patterns can you find? What style of images connected with people last year? I am not an instagram influencer by any stretch of the imagination, so that is exactly why I am doing this little exercise as well.

Moving on, you will see a lot of these posts floating around instagram and facebook right now. However, I thought it would be best to go through each of the photos and tell you a little bit about them. Hopefully, they can give you a bit of inspiration or a location to go to in 2020. If you want to make your own grid you can download the app “Best 9” or visit their webpage and go from there.

Morning at the Jukseong Dream Church

The first shot in the grid is the Jukseong Dream Cathedral. This is a very popular location for Korean photographers and foreign tourists. This shot is all about colour and contrast. Basically, I like the church in the background but what makes this photo pop is the fact that it goes from dark ( on the bottom) to light (on the top). The colours gradually go from purple to yellow which makes this more pleasing than if it was just a single colour. There is not a lot of detail here and I purposely made it that way to bring out the colour more.

Location: Jukseong Dream Cathedral, located near the town of Gijang just outside of Busan, South Korea. This building was built for the Korean Drama “Dream” and has since become a tourist attraction. The best time to go there is at sunrise. Then spend the rest of your day exploring the coastline back towards Busan.

Lily

This photo I was very surprised with. I went to Gyeongju not really expecting much. I actually wanted to catch the sunset at Weolji (Anapji) Pond and ended up getting a ton of shots of the lily pond out front. I really wanted to capture the sense of calm muted beauty and also convey a feeling of isolation in this image. I used one of Peter Mckinnon’s presets for the muted tones and then added a bit more of a vignette to really emphasise the “light in the darkness” sort of feel.

Location: This image was taken in front of Weolji Pond, which was formerly known as Anapji pond. There are lily ponds in front of the main gates and a larger set behind the pond. The shot was taken in July during the height of summer and typically this is when the area is overrun with tourists. This was also taken just before golden hour as people started to gather at the pond for the famous blue hour “Anapji Shot” which was one I managed to get printed by National Geographic a number of years ago.

Samgwangsa

This was one that I took a while ago and reposted. It is one of my favourite shots because it is taken on the other side of this impressive temple. Most photographers head to the main temple building in the background of this shot. However, I wanted to get more of the lanterns and just show the grand spectacle that this place really is. I wanted to show the colour and the sea of lanterns flowing from all sides of the image.

Location: This was taken at Samgwangsa in Busan, South Korea. It is arguably the most popular location for viewing the lanterns on Buddha’s Birthday. This event usually takes place around the beginning of May to Mid-May depending on the Lunar Calendar each year. It is a magical time to visit the temples in Korea. This location gets very busy during this time of year and I have seen photographers get a little pushy especially in the popular spots overlooking the temple.

Sunset in Ulsan

I took this shot out my back window. If you follow my work then you know that I take A LOT of photos out my back window. To be honest, when we were first looking at this apartment, I was most impressed with this view. What makes this image work for me is similar the Dream Cathedral shot. Colour and contrast. Here, it also has to do with the movement in the clouds and the leading lines. The bright reflection of the Taehwa River cuts through the darker buildings and diagonal movement of the clouds draws your eye to a similar point of the horizon.

Location: Ulsan is a great city and one that has many views like this. Thanks to the moronic efforts of some local photographers… perhaps even myself. Many of the rooftops are now locked. You could try and get permission but typically you will be turned away as they really don’t want to deal with you. This is why I shoot from my window more and more these days. It beats getting kicked off a roof or having the police escort me out of the building.

Sunset over Ulsan

As I mentioned earlier about getting kicked off the roof, well I had it happen when taking this shot. Typically, you can get into most buildings without a hassle. However, being a foreigner in Korea also means that you stick out like a sore thumb in many cases. Here, it was the fact that they now have CCTV everywhere. When the security guard found me, I just asked if I could say a little longer and he agreed saying that he’d come back in a bit to get me. What makes this image work is the balance. Light and dark, man vs nature. It was shot during golden hour which means that I didn’t want the sun to overpower the frame because I wanted to keep the detail in the buildings below. That pattern to me is very important.

Location: This image was taken on top of Ulsan’s many tall apartment buildings. Due to the popularity of rooftop photography, many of the places now have CCTV cameras pointed exactly at the popular photo spots. This tells me that a combination of popularity and poor manners resulted in the installation of the cameras. When accessing rooftops, please either ask for permission or failing that, keep a low profile. In my time, I have seen groups of people on helipads drinking and whatnot and that is the whole reason why they have taken steps to prevent people from going up there.

Bulguksa Temple in the Snow

It’s not too often that we get snow in this part of South Korea. So when we do, you have to take advantage of it. This day I went to a number of different locations and lucked out with Bulgulksa Temple. I have been waiting for a shot like this for a long, long time. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a snow-covered temple. However, this particular shot was taken simply because it is a popular angle. Out of all of the photos taken at this spot, I wanted this one to stand out because of the bright blue sky and the snow on the ground. The rest of the shots that I took that day focused on the snow and icicles contrasting with the temple architecture.

Location: Bulguksa Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Gyeongju. This is one of the area’s top spots and gets a lot of tourists, both domestic and foreign. It is really worth the trip out to see it because the temple itself is beautiful but also the grounds surrounding the temple are also wonderful as well.

Bulguksa Lanterns

This was a great day, when I took this shot. I just decided to head out to Bulguksa as I have not been there in a long time for their Buddha’s Birthday celebrations in many years. I ended up running into a number of great photographers there including Lee Kelly (check out his site!). The funny part about this shoot was that I had failed to check my batteries. So just has blue hour was finishing, both my camera and phone died. Basically, I just had to suck it up and enjoy the moment.

What I like about this shot are the lines. The lanterns create a very colourful and striking image but it is the lines that make this shot what it is. Also using a very wide angle lens will help show how impressive this display is. I shot this at 16mm at F2.8 which was intentional as I wanted the shallow depth of field to direct the eye to the lanterns and not the people or whatever in the lower part of the frame.

Location: This was again at Bulguksa in Gyeongju. It was taken during the Buddha’s Birthday celebration which was around Mid-May this past year. It was a great experience and I believe that the entrance fee was free and they kept the temple open later as it normally closes around 5 or 6 pm.

0V4B8116.jpg

This is another shot that I have wanted to take for a while. The Weoljeong Bridge in Gyeongju is now finally completed and they turn on the lights at night. For whatever reason, not many people were there and I loved the pattern that that the bridge makes when framed like this. What makes this image work is the compression from the telephoto lens. I shot this at 105mm, so I had zoomed right in using my trusty 24-105mm L lens.

Location: This is another favourite location on mine. Located near the Kyocheong traditional village in Gyeongju, the Weoljeong Bridge has taken a number of years to comeple but it was worth it. It is simply an amazing structure. The best times to photograph this bridge in my opinion are around blue hour or sunrise. This shot was taken at blue hour and is my favourite time to shoot it.

Morning Burst

This was an image that I almost scraped. However, I was experimenting with Skylum’s Luminar program when they added their famous “sunrays filter” which you can see has added a few long rays in the image. Compositionally this image works because of the rocks going right to left and getting smaller as they move upwards across the frame. The sunrays were added because overall this is somewhat of a boring image. Had the water been rough that day, I would have used a 10-stop filter and blurred the water. However, I had to make do with what I was given that day.

Location: This is one of my special hidden spots that I found simply by scouting out new lighthouses. Located near Jeongja Beach in Ulsan, this spot sits right by a little village around the corner from the famous whale lighthouses. It is just a small pile of volcanic rocks but for some reason they speak to me. Perhaps it is because you can drive up and walk right out to them. Maybe it is just because it is a quiet peaceful place where you can go and just take the view in as well.


The bottom line here is that I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about these shots and locations. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you want to know a little more about how to get to these places or how I shot them. I would be more than happy to take a group of you out and show you how I got these shots.

The post My Top 9 Most Liked Images from Instagram appeared first on The Sajin.


How to Introduce Yourself in Korean

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Whenever you meet a new Korean person, you’ll want to introduce yourself and at least the basics about you. So learning how to introduce yourself in Korean is one of the most important Korean lessons to learn!

How you’ll introduce yourself in Korean will vary based on the situation, we can get you started on the basics with formal and standard Korean, and you can add on your own additions as needed. Let’s start with those phrases!

four people having a worried discussion

Manners and Culture in Korea for Meeting New People in Korea

It’s good to go over a couple of points on the manners and culture in Korea before getting into introductions. After you’ve learned them, we’ll get started on explaining who you are in Korean!

1. Before anything else, greet them by saying 안녕하세요.

It is important in Korean culture to be polite and show your respect towards others. First impressions are everything.

2. Bow as you greet them.

This is another sign of respect that you should show towards the new person you are meeting. If you’re already acquainted with them or they’re a friend of a friend, just a head nod should do.a man bowing while shaking hands in the Korean fashion

3. If you shake hands, use your right hand or both hands.

Shaking hands isn’t awfully common in Korea outside of business, but they do sometimes take place in introductions. Use your right hand or both hands. You can show more respect by bowing and touching your left hand to your right or grabbing your stomach with your left hand.

4. It’s best to avoid direct eye contact with someone of higher authority in the beginning.

It can be considered rude to stare at someone in the eyes when you have only just met, make some eye contact but don’t stare them down.

5. Address them by their title or family name.

Koreans do not refer to each other by their first name unless they are close and even then they often go by ‘언니’, ‘오빠’ and so on. When you are meeting a new person use their title or family name. For a new friend, it may be okay just adding the 씨 (sshi) honorific to the name, you can always ask during self-introductions.

Basic Greetings in Korean

An essential part of any introduction is the greeting! These are the basics of what you can use, in both the formal and standard ways of saying them.

Standard

“Hello!” =

안녕하세요 (annyeong haseyo)

Formal

“It’s nice to meet you!” =

처음 뵙겠습니다 (cheoeum bwepkesseumnida)

Standard

“It’s nice to meet you!” =

만나서 반갑습니다 (mannaseo bangapseumnida)

Formal

“My name is…” =

제이름은 ______입니다 (je ireumeun ______imnida)

Introducing Your Age in Korean

Age makes a big difference in your interactions in Korea. You want to use more formal and polite language in introductions for people in a higher social position (your boss, your elders, etc.) and can use standard Korean with those who are the same age or younger than you.

Formal

“I am… years old” =

저는 ______살입니다 (jeoneun ______sarimnida)

Standard

“I am… years old” =

저는 ______살이에요 (jeoneun ______sarieyo)

Please note that as you introduce your age, you should use the native Korean Number System. We have a complete guide for Korean numbers here. But here’s a quick refresher if you need it.

EnglishKorean
ONE
TWO
THREE
FOUR
FIVE다섯 (daseot)
SIX여섯 (yeoseot)
SEVEN일곱 (ilgop)
EIGHT여덟 (yeodeol)
NINE아홉 (ahop)
TEN열 (yeol)

Introducing Where You Are From in Korean

Something that will often come up when you introduce yourself, your speaking partner will probably want to know where you’re from.

Formal

“I am from…” =

저는 ______에서 왔습니다 (jeoneun ______eseo wasseumnida)

Standard

“I am from…” =

저는 ______에서 왔어요 (jeoneun ______eseo wasseoyo)

Example Countries

You can fill in the blank with the country that applies to you. For more countries you can check our post about how to say “country” in Korean.

United States = 미국 (miguk)

Canada = 캐나다 (khaenada)

United Kingdom = 영국 (yeongguk)

Australia = 호주 (hoju)

The Philippines = 필리핀 (philliphin)

Singapore = 싱가폴 (singgaphol)

Introducing Your Occupation in Korean

Work is important in Korean culture and it’s likely to come up when you introduce yourself. Either during your self-introduction or as a question after you finish.

Formal

“I am a ______” =

저는 ______입니다 (jeoneun ______imnida)

Standard

“I am a ______” =

저는 ______이에요/예요 (jeoneun ______iyeyo/yeyo)

You can use this sentence to introduce your name as well as to explain your occupation. Just replace the X with what you want to say.

Example Occupations

Student = 학생 (haksaeng)

Teacher = 선생님 (seonsaengnim)

Engineer = 엔지니어 (enjinieo)

Part-timer = 아르바이트생 (areubaiteusaeng)

Web-developer = 웹 개발자 (wep gaebalja)

Nurse = 간호사 (kanhosa)

Hairdresser = 미용사 (miyongsa)

Salesperson = 영업 사원 (yeongeob sawon)

Clerk = 사무원 (samuwon)

five happy people talking at a table

Conversation Topics

After the very basic questions Koreans will ask, you might want to introduce some other topics to keep the conversation going. Here are some basic sentences you can use.

Formal

“I learned Korean in…” =

저는 ______에서 한국어를 배웠습니다 (jeoneun ______eseo hangukeoreul baeweosseumnida)

Standard

“I learned Korean in…” =

저는 ______에서 한국어를 배웠어요 (jeoneun ______eseo hangukeoreul baeweosseoyo)

Formal

“I live in…” =

저는 ______에서 살고 있습니다 (jeoneun ______eseo salgo isseumnida)

Standard

“I live in…” =

저는 ______에서 살고 있어요 (jeoneun ______eseo salgo isseoyo)

“My hobby is…” =

제 취미는 ______이에요/예요 (je chwimineun ______ieyo/yeyo)

“…is one of my hobbies” =

______은/는 제 취미 중 하나예요 (______eun/neun je chwimi jung hanayeyo)

List of Hobbies

Reading = 독서 (dokseo)

Cooking = 요리 (yori)

Hiking = 등산 (deungsan)

Soccer = 축구 (chuggu)

Basketball = 농구 (nonggu)

Baseball = 야구 (yagu)

Piano = 피아노 (phiano)

Guitar = 기타 (githa)


Did you find today's lesson useful? How many opportunities have you already had to introduce yourself in Korean? What do you want to learn next? Let us know in the comments!

four multi-ethnic kids jumping with joy

The post How to Introduce Yourself in Korean appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.


2020: Photography Goals, Resolutions and Thoughts

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Sunrise: Jan. 1st 2020

I wanted to wake up early on New Year’s Day and photograph the sunrise from Gampo, South Korea. It is one of my favourite places and not too far away. However, that did not happen.

I did wake up before dawn but I just stayed in bed thinking about how bad the traffic would be and how cold it is outside. If it wasn’t for my cat desperately trying to get up to feed her, then I probably would have stayed in bed longer.

It was an amazing sunrise and I should have been out along the coastline photographing it. Instead, I shot out my window at the sun rise over the city and thought about how I could improve myself in 2020.

Goals

My biggest goal for this year is to get more jobs. I always enjoy being sent out on assignment for a site or a magazine. 2019 was a slow year but if I am realistic, I didn’t actively seek out any new work either. I just sat back and hoped that I would magically get some more work by the end of the month or something like that.

So in 2020, I am going to actively seek out more publications and clients to work with. This is going to be a humbling experience for sure but it is one that I am willing to take. Afterall, if I want to get better, I have to push myself out of my comfort zone.

The second big goal for 2020 is to complete my lighthouse project that I started last year. This was a great project but one that I admit wore me out by the end of the year. Hopefully, now I can catch up on some of the few remaining lighthouses in the area and find a few more. The final part of this goal will be to publish a book about the lighthouses.

Resolutions

1 – Shoot More Video. After getting the Canon EOS R, I fell in love with how sharp the video is. Coupled with the work that I do with cinemagraphs and my drone, I am starting to love video more and more. No, I will not be launching a new youtube channel. I will simply be making more videos about the places I travel to. These will mainly be for my other site, Ulsan Online.

2 – Travel More. For years, I circulated around the same places and reshot the same locations. This is great for practice but not so much for improvement. Over the last few years, I have managed to do a couple of trips outside Korea and a few within. It was a great experience as they were mainly photography based trips and it gave me time to focus on my work and pad my portfolio.

In 2020, I want to travel more. A few more photo trips within Korea and maybe a trip home to Canada as well. These would be part vacation and part photo-trip. It should spice up the portfolio a bit more.

3 – Update My Website… Again. Years ago when I had a number of harsh critiques of my work, one writer mocked my website saying that it “looks dated, a bit Geocities circa 2000 and not engaging, and that’s a turn off” and he was right. I have since updated my website a number of times but I must keep up with it. This time around, I am going to update the blog section as it is looking a bit rough.

4 – Stop Teaching Photography – This is a difficult one for me. However, looking back a few years I realized that my heart is simply no longer in it. After 2017’s harsh realization that my photography and my lessons were crap, I really stepped back and wondered if this was the right path. Kishore Sawh noted “The creative world is rife with talent at the moment, and there really are so many people out there capable of creating images that are technically exemplary and, more importantly, artistically and culturally relevant.” Basically stating in his article that I had a long way to go. It was a nice way to say “keep your day job” and in truth, he was right.

I tried and failed at that and it is time to pivot. Not to mention, that in reality if I have to fight hard to show people that I am capable of taking great photos and also teaching people how to do it, I must be doing something wrong. That being said, I have closed up my tutorial site and will focus less on tutorials unless there is a significant demand… which I highly doubt.

Here is hoping that 2020 is a great year for everyone.

5 – Gain Credibility – The last resolution here is basically to gain credibility within the industry. I have been doing photography a long time and I still feel that people don’t really take me seriously as a photographer. Despite working with some big brands like Visa, having been published in a Nat Geo book, and being a brand ambassador for Flixel, people still take pot shots as if I know nothing.

So again, there must be something that I am saying or doing that is making people feel this way. Thus, in 2020, I will work at gaining more credibility within the industry here hopefully get a bit of respect along the way. That will mean simply focusing on making my work speak for itself and stop trying to win people over.


The bottom line here is that in order to improve, I must change. I must work hard at improving my craft and everything else that comes along with making a living from photography. This is something that we all must try and do at some point in our career.

My advice for your this year is to take some time and really think about what you want to accomplish with your photography this year. It may not be as serious as mine, it may be like Squamish photographer, Alenka Mali. Take a look at her post and make your own goals for 2020. Also drop a comment on her post and let her know what you think.

If you have any photography goals or resolutions for this year, share them in the comment section below. I would love to hear what you have in store for the new year.

The post 2020: Photography Goals, Resolutions and Thoughts appeared first on The Sajin.


2019: A Year in Review

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What can I say but 2019 was a great year to end the decade on. It came with it’s fair share of challenges and but overall I am happy the way it all turned out in the end. Here is basically how the year went for me.

Like most of the blogs that you will read at this time of year, I am going to back through the year and talk about what I did and the more memorable photos that I have taken. It is a sort of a weird thing to do when you really are not as accomplished as some photographers out there. However, I want to go my thoughts on the year and the images that I think defined 2019.

In The Beginning…

The year started off with some new projects and clients. Most notably, I started a new instagram account “Korean Lighthouses” where I put all of my shots of the interesting lighthouses that I have found around the coasts of Korea. This was something that had been on my mind for a while.

Korea has some of the most amazing lighthouses around. Each has a theme or a particular design. From giant crabs to baseball gloves and event robots. There are a ton of different lighthouses to photograph.

It was and still is a great project but I sort of burnt myself out nearer to the of the year when I realized that I had to travel 4+ hours in order to get the last remaining lighthouses on this side of the country. However, I will be heading out to more places in 2020 as I plan on making a few more photo trips closer to those areas.

Snow!

One of the more interesting things that happened early in the year was the fact that it actually snowed in this part of Korea. I jumped at the chance to capture some images that showed the snow on some classically Korean buildings and locations.

This search lead me to Gyeongju, a favourite location of mine and one that I went to numerous times throughout 2019. I took a chance and photographed a Holly’s Coffee shop just down the road a ways from Bulguksa. I say “I took a chance” because witch the evening light and the snow on the ground I could have blown my chances to get a memorable shot. It paid off in the end or rather a few months later.

Spring Blossoms

During the spring I found myself searching out new and old locations for scenic shots. This is one of my favourite times of the year as it is a beautiful time in Korea and the weather is perfect.

One of the newer locations that I found was near Yangsan, was Wondong Station. This is quite a popular spot with Korean photographers but I had yet to visit. Even though I was a little bit early for the blossoms, it was still wonderful to find such a beautiful location.

I later hit all of my usual locations like Beomosa and Gyeongju. This season went by really fast but I did my best to capture the beauty of spring in Korea. Gyeongju was especially beautiful this year and the Daereungwon Tomb park is not to be missed if you are in the area during that time.

Photowalks

One of the more unexpected gifts this year were the numerous photowalks that were organized throughout the year. Thanks to a number of great members of the local photography clubs, we were able to get out as a group of photographers a number of times throughout the year. Meeting up with people in real life is something that I am still not really used to as I prefer to go out alone. However, it was great to see a lot more interaction among the group members even if I did not always make it out.

This year I organized the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk in Busan at the beautiful Gamcheon Culture Village. It was also perfect timing as I had also been in contact with a production agency working for the BBC. So during the walk, I did a bit of acting and got to meet a great group of people who put together a great commercial to help boost tourism in Korea. Sadly, my footage did not make the final cut but it was a great experience nonetheless.

Client Work

This was a little more sporadic this year but it was a successful year in my books. The shot that I took a chance on of the Holly’s Coffee shop in Gyeongju ended up getting me a new client. They had seen the shot which Holly’s had shared and contacted me about a shoot in Busan. Sadly, the conditions were not that good for the shoot but we did our best to please them. In the end it was a great experience working with that particular client and getting to put my drong through its paces.

This year I also did my best to pay it forward so to speak. If you read my blog then you know the style of work that I do. So a number of jobs that did not suit my skill set were passed on to my fellow photographers. Typically, these were couple shoots that I am really not that into. If you are in the area and are looking for a photographer let me know, I can put you in touch with the right photographer.

Tokyo

Throughout the year tensions were higher than normal between Korea and Japan. That meant that flights from Korea to Japan were dirt cheap. Actually, they were ridiculously cheap. So I decided to head to Tokyo at the worst possible time of the year, when I was supposed to be visiting my Korean In-Laws. So for the most part it was a clandestine trip but a great one at that.

The first high point was purchasing a new camera. My trusty 5D mk iii was nearing the end of it’s lifespan so to speak and needed something more. My wife mentioned that I should pick up a new camera at duty free on my way over to that country that shall not be named in front of my wife’s family. That was all the permission that I needed. The apps were downloaded, payments were given, and my sweet EOS R was in my hands as I flew over to Tokyo to photograph all the places that I had wanted to see since I first went there 10 years ago.

Tokyo was great and I pushed myself hard to get to all of the places that I failed to do the last time. I even had a chance to meet up with one of my favourite people and arguably one of the best travel photographers out there, Andy Faulk. It was great to briefly sit down and chat with such a talented photographer. If you want to see what I aspire to, check out his year end blog here.

Fall

I have to say that fall is one of my favorite times in Korea as a photographer. The colours are really amazing and it forces me to get out and enjoy nature a little bit more.

My favourite place currently is near Cheongdo and Unmunsa Temple. I feel that it is an area that is rather unique to Korea and it almost reminds me of home in some ways.

Of course, no fall season would be complete without a trip to Gyeongju. This year I went out with some great photographers and really captured the fall season in a fun way. It is always great to get out with good people and do something that you all love.

Winter

This year I really struggled with my creativity and the past few months have been hard. I have forced myself to get out but I really was not happy with the shots that I got. To me, there were very few “wow” type shots.

I struggled with the feeling that people do not take me seriously as a photographer and mock what I do and/or write. This eats away at me each and every time that I have gone out recently. While some photographers are enjoying a period of popularity, I feel that I am slowly regressing with my work or simply becoming irrelevant.

I managed to get out a few times and get some ok shots but I am planning on getting out a bit more in 2020 to break away from all of this negative self talk and see if I can make any progress. Armed with a new camera and hopefully a fresh perspective, I can only hope that I can make some progress in 2020


The bottom line here is that I really am excited for 2020. I have a couple of projects in the pipe and am waiting to hear back from a few clients. So, 2020 should start off busy but I am looking at this coming year as a way to push forward and take my photography into new areas.

The last sunset of 2019

The post 2019: A Year in Review appeared first on The Sajin.


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