Trying Long Exposure photography

Monday, October 8, 2012
I finally got around to try something new, something I always wanted to do, but never really had the time or equipment to do successfully.
Last night everything came together perfectly - I have my tripod, my DSLR and a beautiful evening.

I rushed down to (Yoeinaru) 여의나루 station at about 5:30pm, just before sunset, as I knew it's about 35 mins away from school with the subway, excluding a huge transfer - I estimate it's almost a 1 km walk just to transfer at Jongno 5 -Ga station.

I finally arrived at my destination about 40mins later - the Yeouido Park in Seoul right next to the Han River. During day time, this park is filled with families and children who's out in the sun spending their days together. At night time, the scene certainly changed a bit - groups of friends sitting and having beers can be seen, couples sitting on the grass, and watching over the city skyline or even friends camping over for the night.

For me, it was all about the lights of the city - hence it's the reason I came to the park, with all my camera equipment. I luckily managed to find a spot with with a perfectly flat surface, an ideal place to mount my tripod.

After having setup everything, I realized - I have never done something like this before. Long Exposure shots is completely new to me. My first shot, came out completely blow out, white. Then I realized, I need to bump up my aperture to at least F/10, it did the trick, but it still seemed light. After about another 5 mins of trying to figure it out, I finally found it - ISO was set to AUTO , which means the it will automatically adjust the ISO based on the natural lightening outside - in fact, it made itself like 1600 iso, which is a big mistake for these kind of shots.
I manually pulled it down to 100 and brilliant, I finally have the balance! From there, you basically just place with the shutter time and aperture.

Here's some of my best shots of last night:

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Surf Memories

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Still remember my very last surf session before I left for Korea - it was a rainy morning in Scottburgh, moderate SW wind and low tide - the sand bar was shallow and waves was about 3-4ft.

My very last wave, I bottom turned, stalled for the barrel and I ended up getting lipped and sucked back over the falls. Probably half the ocean went up my nose - The man up there made sure that I'll remember that last wave!! #CravingSurf

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Photos - September 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

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Happy Birthday Mandela from Korea

Friday, September 14, 2012
South African's are known to be a culture who likes to interact with their own people at times - especially when you are in a foreign country.
Therefore, we have a "South Africans in Korea" facebook group, which consists of over 2000 people and is basically there to communicate just about everything, regarding your life in Korea, from organising get-togethers to asking where to find an english speaking doctor.

In April, someone posted that they need some people who's interested in videography (from video editing to filming) to help make a video for ex-ex president Nelson Mandela. 

Knowing that I have a passion for making videos and editing, I couldn't resist but to volunteer to help out. 

About 2 weeks later, I met Warren, also a very keen photographer and we actually have very similar interests. He was asked to produce the Happy Birthday video for Mandela. Of course I also met Reza from Cape Town, who was surprisingly also into surfing apart from the mutual movie making and editing interests.

We discussed some techniques over a cup of coffee at a tiny coffee shop near City Hall station.

About 2 weeks later, I met with Warren and his wife again, Gapyeong for my favourite Korean dish, 닭갈비 (Dalk gal bi) lunch in Gangchon, mainly to discuss some of the plans for the Mandela video. After the lunch we decided to go into a coffee shop to experiment with a few technical things, since I bought my camera and laptop along.

After some discussion, we realised that because there's so many South African's far outside of Seoul, we can't go and film everyone - so we came up with an idea: We asked people on the "South Africans in Korea" to film themselves and send us the short video clips - luckily, in Korea, most people have smart phones such as iPhones and Samsung Galaxy's which have HD video capabilities.

We decided to make a little video, to show people How to Film themselves, so that we get the best possible quality footage from the users. We actually filmed the "How To" video directly there in the Coffee shop in Ganchon.

Our "Set" at the Gangchon Coffee Shop.
We scheduled, a shoot with a few South Africans about 3 weeks later. We hired some equipment like a 50mm F1.8 lens and also a wireless microphone which connects to my camera.

We all met again near City Hall station. It was great meeting some South Africans again and of course I got to talk and joke in Afrikaans again - that alone was a treat for me! I was in my element, as I was surrounded by South Africans and Cameras! It was a rather long day for me, considering I only had 2 hours sleep (We had a party on the University), but never the less, I couldn't think of a better way to spend my day! 

That night we also took a few shots, at the South African restaurant, "Braai Republic" located in Itaewon. 

The following was my facebook after I got back home later the evening.
Such a long day in the sun, behind the camera, changing lenses, trying angles, laughing, talking some Afrikaans, figuring out the wireless mic, reading the script, going around in the subway all around Seoul and at the end trying to fight with a dying battery! 
But hey, the day ended off with a great Lamb Pie and Beer at Braai Republic - Oh, and I found it pretty awesome to hear the little korean waitrissie say "Dankie" and "Lekker"! :-) 
Now since I only got 2 hours of sleep last night, I think it's time to spend some quality time with my bed!

Karel (on the left) practicing his line, with Reza showing his directing skills.

Me, behind the lens, making sure everything looks fine.

Gotta love South Africans....

Proudly South African!

A few weeks later, there was a South African braai hosted by SAKorNet (South Africans in Korea network) at the Namji Camping Site, in Seoul.
We knew, it would be a great opportunity to do some filming for the video, because at a braai people would be more confident to talk in front of the camera.
I had both Warren and Reza, scouting for people who would be generous enough to say a few words to the camera from our script.
It was a very tiring day, filming people, trying to get some of them to cooperate with us, but at the end, we even got them all to gather round and sing the national anthem of SA!

Singing the National Anthem
Loving the jerseys!

Posing for a drink

The vibe

Recording like a boss!

After about 2 months of spending many hours behind the camera, Warren edited a brilliant little video for the Mandela.
Watch it here:

The video (or part of it) was also aired on SABC 2 in South Africa, which was our highlight!
Watch the extract from SABC 2 Afrikaans News here:

Thanks for reading!  :-)
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Wow, It's been a while...

Thursday, September 6, 2012
6 Months have passed since I arrived to Korea. Yes, time flies this side of the world - or at least, thats what it feels like. And yes, I apologize, that I haven't posted anything in over 4 months. 

But lets quickly compare now, to then. 

When I first came to Korea, I felt lost, uncomfortable and it just didn't feel right. I was unsure, if I made the right decision to come to Korea or if I rather should have stayed in South Africa.

It wasn't only the huge language barrier that 'scared me', but more the "Culture Shock" of suddenly being in the huge city, with millions of similar looking people all very busy, trying to do their daily tasks and getting from point A to B and just to add, the fact that it was -8c when I arrived didn't help much either to get comfortable.

So, considering that I came from a quiet little coast surfing town where 3 cars in front of the robot (traffic lights) was considered busy, coming into Seoul was a big change in scenery!

But now, 6 months later, I can finally consider myself "streetwise" - and to top it off, in a country where the majority of people that you'll come in contact with in your everyday life, will know VERY little to NO english. But thankfully for that Korean classes (even though I'm still HORRIBLE in Korean Language) I can get around with my broken Korean, from ordering food, asking directions and most importantly "Where Is the bathroom?". I still just haven't managed to call McDonalds in to Deliver yet - and yes, they don't speak English. So from being unsure and feeling unsettled here in Korea, I can finally say that this is my second home.

More Coming up soon!

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Lotte World

Friday, April 13, 2012
The company, 'Lotte' is arguably one of Korea and Japan's largest shopping groups.
And I'm not surprised, this company which was started just before the Korean War, by a Korean Business man, in Japan (The Irony), has evolved into a 50 Billion Dollar corporation.
Not only do they own many Department stores around Korea and Japan, but they have their own Soda's, Finance Services, Hotels, Fast Foods, large shares in Oil company and of course, their own Amusement Park, known as Disneyland, I mean, Lotte World.
So for a "field trip", the whole Korean Language class from HUFS, went to Lotte World, as a trip, to relax after a stressful morning during our Mid-Term exams.

In the event, that our tickets to get into the Amusement park, was only valid after 16:00 (bear in mind that this place stays open till 23:00), we somehow had to keep ourselves busy till then. It started off at 13:00, when we all met each other for lunch. It was a rather cool and windy day in Seoul, so wasn't very pleasant to walk around. We still had to walk a fair distance to find a decent place to eat lunch - well after the wind literally destroyed all of us, we dived into the first franchise restaurant that we saw, in this case, it was Subway, as it's close to the train station, that we needed to take to get to the other side of Seoul.

After about 40 minutes on the train, after 2 transfers, we finally reached the destination. As we got out of the station, that strong wind hit us, this time from an unprotected direction - it certainly was the strongest wind I've felt in Seoul so far.

We arrived about one and a half hours before we could go in. Luckily, (well, which was mostly likely part of the school's plan) their was a Korean Folk Museum, showing Korean Evolution.

 Quite a few interesting figures that I looked at. 

Walking through that museum and experimenting with the camera killed enough time and before we knew it, it was 4pm.
I was finally handed my Lotte World amusement park ticket, which we all anticipated for.
When I looked at the ticked, my very first thought was: "I wonder when we will see a Lawsuit against Lotte from the Walt Disney Company.", because the logo's is pretty much identical.

Lotte World 
Walt Disney Logo

Clearly someone at Lotte was paid to use the Copy and paste button.......

Anyway, I was quite surprised by the size of the park, considering it's known for being the World's Largest Indoor Amusement Park.

The park also has an outdoor section, with a few larger rides, but since it was pretty much freezing cold, we didn't spend too much time outside.

One thing about this trip made me realize - Never in my life, will I moan about queues of rides. You haven't seen a queue yet, until you've came here!

Another small fact, even though it's years since the last time I was at Retanga Junction or Gold Reef City in South Africa, there is way more 'mature' rides than at Lotte World. Maybe because at Lotte clearly focus more on small children? I wouldn't know.

After about 10pm, I finally ventured back to my room. Was a well spent day.
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