Dusk and Dawn on Cheongwansan

 

Cheongwansan means "Crown Mountain". I look at it everyday; its rocky crags overlook the town of Daedeok and my home. The peak elevation is 723m (2,241ft). Here are a few shots of a great sunset and sunrise from the top of this precipice.

Chinese characters carved into the rock

The magnificent view from the top of Nine Dragon Rock.

My good friend Jeanette "LeRoodles" relaxing and watching the sunset. This rock is known as "Nine Dragon Rock" because of as the legend goes, nine dragons landed on this rock and left their foot prints in the stone. You can see one of the deep footprints here just below Jeanette.

The sun falls behind a smokey curtain. This time of year, the farmers of Jeollanamdo burn the excess material in their fields to prepare for the new growing season.

This is a long exposure of the clouds forming.

Sunrise


Burning of the Joss; Longhua Temple, Shanghai


A woman is deep in prayer between the flames at Longhua Temple.

The scene was surreal. Surrounding me were thousands of people, holding burning joss sticks and praying for the start of the Lunar New Year. Every minute a bell would ring. GONG. The entire crowd would bow simultaneously with the bell. It was an epic sight to see. The mood was solemn as everyone was focused on their prayers. I was overwhelmed. The masses. The fire. The striking bell. Not only was it intense just to be in the middle of it, but the photographer in me was going crazy trying capture its magnificence. In between firing off shots, I was trying not to trip over people or get burned by the fiery sticks in everyone’s hands. Wafts of smoke were overtaking my nose and lungs, and my eyes were tearing up in the stinging heat. It was powerful and truly an awesome event.

Longhua Temple is the oldest and largest temple in Shanghai. Joss sticks are a type of incense that is used during prayer. Here are some shots from what is one of my most favorite photo experiences yet.

When the fires became too big, a crew of firefighters was ready with hoses to keep things in check.

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Sunday afternoon in Maryang

It was a beautiful day and I just had to explore. I looked at the map and Maryang called out to me. It's a harbor town in Gangjin County not to far away from my place. So I went there. I stumbled into a fish auction, ate some octopus, and was given a ridiculously nice sunset. A lovely afternoon indeed!

This guy was a friendly local. I was walking by and he just wanted to say hello and welcome me to his town. We used the translators on our phone to communicate for a few minutes. Wish I could have talked longer but the sunset was exploding into magnificence and I had to head to the harbor the catch the shot up at the top of this post.

Bidding for baskets of fish and other sea creatures

Seduced by Seoraksan, the Crown of Korea

Ulsan Bawi is a spectacular spine of stone. I woke up at 3 a.m. to reach this place for the sunrise. Though the sunrise itself was slightly underwhelming, the rock and view was fantastic, and the light was beautiful. I had also woken up that morning to a bad case of what I will refer to as "bibimbap explosion", which, I will not go any further detail other than saying that it made spending a long time up on this rock really difficult with no toilets in the vicinity. My hike back down was a fast, fast pace.

One of the most enchanting places I have been to, Seoraksan National Park is an impressive garden of jagged peaks and granite spines surrounded by forests and mountain streams. My experience in this place was one that I will always hold high on my list of great things I've done. Though it was not without its challenges, I mostly felt like I had died and gone to heaven. You see, I have a deep deep love of mountains and rocks, which is Seoraksan's specialty. As soon as I stepped off the No. 7 bus from Sokcho City, I knew we were meant to be together. I spent three days exploring this wondrous playground, and I would have stayed much longer had I ignored certain responsibilities. But life is long (hopefully), and I shall return someday for another dance with this magnificence.

It was the Chuseok Holiday while I was in Seoraksan. Chuseok is a harvest moon celebration and is compared to Thanksgiving in America. This photo was taken on Chuseok night's full moon, which also happened to be a super moon. I was lucky to have clear skies and a beautiful landscape.

Dragon Tooth Ridge - A panoramic stitch made with an 85mm lens and a D800 shot vertically. I wish I could upload the image at full resolution because the detail is awesome. There are people standing on top of a rock in the middle of the frame. I will be making a very large print of this.

Valley of the Twelve Buddhas

SINHEUNGSA TEMPLE

Daecheongbong Peak

I was very fortunate to meet Mr. Youn the day before the hike. Mr. Youn generously gave me his time and some excellent information about this hike. If I hadn't known that the shelters on this mountain sold bottles of water, I would have been carrying a lot of unnecessary liquid weight up this rather grueling hike. With an elevation of 1708m (5,604ft) Daecheongbong is the 3rd highest peak in Korea. The hike to the peak from Seorak-Dong is 11km (7mi) and a 1500m (5,000ft) vertical rise, which is a somewhat serious undertaking. I starting hiking at 3 a.m. and I lucked out with a beautiful day.

Even at the top of a long, strenuous hike, there were plenty of people enjoying the day.

Flies!

Gwongeumseung

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Hello Korea

My first few months in Korea was a phenomenal experience. Being immersed in a new country and culture is like jumping into a lake. It's shocking and exhilarating. Life is refreshed and the feeling is incredible.... something new for the soul. Here are some shots from my first few adventures.


I was wandering around Seonunsa Temple early in the morning and three cleaning ladies were sitting outside this temple drinking coffee. They motioned for me to come join them. I happily did, as I always love hangin' with the locals. They gave me hot coffee and apple slices. We relaxed and enjoyed the morning for a while, and even though I couldn't understand a word they said, it was wonderful company. I snapped this shot as they were shining up this gorgeous building.

Morning sun is warming up the river at Seonunsa Temple.

Drying fish and incense in Sokcho.

I was hanging out by this close-line-style drying squid in Sokcho because it was an interesting subject. This kid was curious in a different interesting subject, which had orange hair and a big camera.

Fresh fish and a lovely lady at the Jangheung Saturday Market.

Surrounded by bamboo in Damyang.

A vine crawls up the bamboo.

Puppy Love in the city of   Mokpo  .

Puppy Love in the city of Mokpo.

Hanging out in a city park in Mokpo.