Last weekend I picked up a Canon EOS 1V film camera in the Chungmuro area of Seoul where there are several used camera equipment shops.  I put my Canon ES-71II 50mm lens on it (because it’s one of only two full frame lenses I have) and Julianne and I headed to Gyeongbok Palace to take some pictures.

It was a very unusual experience to be out taking pictures with a film camera because with digital you get so used to looking at the screen to check after each shot whereas with film you can’t do that.  It definitely forced me to THINK about what settings I was using, frame my subject fully and deliberately, and consider what flash settings I might want to use BEFORE I took the shot.  With digital SLR’s you can just snap away without worrying too much because you can just delete the shot and reset for another no problem . . .

I was pretty nervous to go pick up the film after it had been developed.  Images of overexposed blurry crappy shots kept running through my head, so I was extremely pleased to see the following pictures turn out so well for my first time out with a pro-level film camera.

It was a gorgeous day outside, and the green colors of spring were very powerful.  I’m VERY impressed with the vivid colors that the KODAK Ultramax 400 ISO and Gold 400 ISO film produced.

Julianne had her Nikon D50 with Nikon 600 flash (which she’d just gotten) and was playing with . . . I like this particular shot cause I’ve never taken one like it with the natural light and shadows behind a person with a hallway receding into the distance on F/5.0 . . . I think it turned out pretty well.  I was really worried about how I was using my flash to emphasize Julianne in the shot, but that worked out well too.

Again, I’m amazed at how vivid the colors are from film versus digital.

Here you can see Gyeonghoeru (Royal Banquet Hall)

The moat, trees, and mountains in the background make this one of the most picturesque parts of the palace in my mind.

In this shot I wanted to use my flash to eliminate some of the shadows from the tree above Julianne and yet at the same time not overexpose the picture–looks like it worked cause Julianne looks great here.

If I remember correctly this shot of a ceiling (below) was taken in Gangnyeongjeon (King’s Quarters).  There was no lighting inside, just natural light coming in from outside, so I used my flash on its lowest setting and got this . . .

This is a shot of Geunjeongmun (Gate) and Yeongjegyo (Bridge).

Julianne and I both found the sculptures (totems?) sitting on different parts of the palace grounds interesting . . .

Here you can see Geunjeongjeon (Throne Hall)

This is a shot I took earlier at the entrance area of the palace . . . I like the rich hues of the costumes.

Some more sculpture shots .  .  .

Interior shot of the ceiling in Geunjeongjeon (Throne Hall).

I put my camera on F/22 because I wanted to see how much detail it would produce–amazing.

I think this is one of my favorite sculptures .  .  .

Another interior shot of a ceiling mosaic–now THIS is what I expect to see when going inside a HISTORICAL building/temple/palace in Korea.  All too often, though, the paint job is fresh.

After finishing walking around the palace Julianne and I headed to the National Folk Museum of Korea which sits directly behind the palace.

During the summer you can see performances of different Korean cultural acts.  We were just in time to see a martial arts performance.  I put my EOS 1V on high speed (10 frames per second), and went through film like there was a mini-Niagara Falls inside my camera.  It was SOOOOOOOOOO FAST!

If I had just been using my Canon 400D that takes 4.5 frames per second I don’t know if I’d have been able to get the shot above, or the ones below, because the guys move so fast.

The streamers of hay flying after the passage of the sword made for some very cool shots.

I like this one in particular because you can see the sword movement is BLURRED!  And I’m using a high speed camera!

A lot of fun to watch and take pictures of .  .  .

A friend of mine who also is into photography said he’s never been to Gyeongbok Palace or National Folk Museum of Korea and he’s been in Korea for 3 years . . . these two places are definitely ones I’d say you ‘must’ visit if you’re in Korea and have the time.

And on that note: FOUR DAYS till the lotus lantern parade.  Click here, 2010 Lotus Lantern Festival and Parade to see what I’m talking about.

Click on this link to find more info about the festival and parade.  Click here for more info and a map of the parade route.

It’s gonna be awesome.


You can also see more pictures and read about the festival and parade in these posts.

Daily pictures of life in Korea #21: Lotus Lantern Festival Parade 2006, Fire Breathing Dragon

2010 Lotus Lantern Festival and Parade for Buddha’s Birthday coming soon — preview of the lanterns at Jogye Temple, Seoul

2009 Buddhist Lotus Lantern Festival — Preview of the lanterns at Jogye Temple, Seoul

2009 Buddhist Lotus Lantern Festival — Cheonggyecheon stream lantern sculptures at night