Between Sunday and Monday January 4th Seoul got hit with 11 inches of snow.  From the Korea Times, “The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said 25.8 centimeters of snow had fallen in Seoul, breaking the previous record of 25.6 centimeters set on Jan. 28, 1969. Weathermen said that the snowfall was the largest amount recorded in the capital since data were first collected in 1937.”

On Monday around lunch time I decided to head out and take some pictures.  This is the first thing I saw as I walked out of my apartment building.

I really never expected to see this much snow.   It was pretty amazing . . . Then I saw the first of many Koreans with umbrellas.  I’m always surprised when I see this even though I know it’s a common practice in Korea.  I think one reason Koreans use umbrellas when it snows is due to pollution and Chinese Yellow Dust content that must be in the snow to one degree or another.  Since I’m from Canada and have lived in areas that get pretty good amounts of snow I still think it looks very unusual to see people using umbrellas when it’s snowing–in my mind umbrellas are for rain, but I can see why Koreans think it’s a good idea to use.

The thick layer of snow covering everything was awesome, and it was STILL snowing as I walked around outside.

I saw many cars, trucks, vans, and buses having a really hard time getting around.  I have to wonder how many Koreans keep a snow brush and shovel in their trunks during the winter when they don’t usually see this much snow.  I imagine this person having quite a time getting their car out of all that snow.

It seemed like ‘every’ Korean had an umbrella, lol.

I saw some cars with snow chains on their tires but most didn’t have anything.  Traffic was moving the slowest I’d ever seen in Seoul due to weather.

The really amazing thing is that the delivery motorcycle and scooter guys were still working!!!  I said to Julianne that I’d love to show this picture to a Canadian or American traffic cop cause I imagine their jaw dropping at the sight of a custom made motorcycle driving in extreme snow conditions–oh, and the guy standing on the back with no helmet too, lol.

I saw so many cars just left parked and covered in snow that I imagine many Koreans must have decided that public transportation was the best option to get to work.  The news media said that the subways were very busy, and later in the day I experienced it for myself; line number 1 was packed, and also shut down a few times.

It’s always fun to see the different types of umbrella patterns and styles . . . here’s one covered with hearts.

Then I saw something I never expected to see in Korea: snow plow trucks, wow.

I love how the snow can make an ordinary bush look beautiful.

There was so much snow that the national police were mobilized to help out.  I heard stories from friends about police helping to push buses that got stuck in the snow, and police shoveling and clearing sidewalks, etc.

Normally I describe the Korean winterscape as depressing.  It’s typically all browns and greys with very little snow.  It looks like this year might be different.

I love this picture of a snow covered scooter.  It’s looks organic, and the contrast and lighting are cool too.

The police were also directing traffic.  Good thing they were wearing neon yellow snow suits.

I turned left onto this street and saw a line of Koreans clearing snow from the sidewalk in front of their shops.  The guy in the front was using a big piece of thin wood to scoop and push the snow–good idea.

Later I headed over to Tapgol Park so that I could stand under the roof of a gazebo that sits in the center of the park and have some cover from the snowfall in order to take pictures without getting snow on my camera or lens.

There were a fair number of people in the park taking pictures too.

I kept hoping that I might get a few shots of the birds that are usually in the park.  I could hear them but they weren’t coming out of their nests.  It was too cold and snowing too much.

Today was the first time for me shooting using the RAW quality feature on my Canon 400D.  Later, trying to edit them was quite the eye opener about how much I still have to learn about photography.  Taking pictures is only one part of the entire process and I don’t have the first clue about how to edit RAW pictures . . . time to do more reading and playing with the programs I have for editing.

I love this grandfather’s multi-colored umbrella . . .

The snow covered roof’s whiteness contrasting with the colors and shapes of the architecture are really nice.  This might seem like an overly simple thing to point out but after being in Korea for five years the temple and traditional building colors and designs all begin to look the same . . . the snow makes for a nice change.

I wonder if the trees are being damaged by the heavy snow?  I haven’t really seen any big branches on the ground which is kind of something I’d expect to see . . . maybe it’s too soon?

I think the pictures I got on Monday are the first nice ones I’ve ever been able to get of life in Korea with snow falling in the shot too.

Julianne and I both really like this next picture.  You can really see the light and fluffy snow texture . . .

I really should have asked someone to take my picture with this awesome and unusual winterscape background . . .

I’m glad that the temperatures are staying really cold all week because the snow will actually stay for a while.  I’m thinking about going to check out Jogye Temple and some other places that will also make for really nice winterscape pictures . . . here’s a final shot of one of the statues in Tapgol Park.

This morning’s forecast said ‘feels like -25′ for 9am, and the afternoon is supposed to ‘feel like -17′ . . . not exactly good temperatures for my camera but we’ll see how it goes.

J

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