I began to put together another post on our cherry blossom hunting adventure when I realized I have yet to say anything about the Sewol ferry tragedy that occurred a couple of weeks ago. Korea has incredibly fascinating culture, so different from the Western world in many ways, yet so similar in many others. I really should have been posting a little more about moments of life in Korea, and I plan to do that soon, but for now I should at least mention that this country has been deeply affected by the hundreds of schoolchildren lost in the ferry accident.
The incident is still being investigated, but any celebrations and festivals have been postponed or canceled in order to respect the tragic loss of life and give people proper time to mourn. If I haven’t mentioned it yet, Koreans are a very passionate, emotional people, and grief and mourning is no exception to this. They need time as a country and society to blame themselves and wallow a bit before they can understand and overcome what happened. (I don’t say that lightly or mockingly in any way.) The whale festival here in Ulsan was postponed, and celebrations of Buddha’s birthday on Tuesday have been canceled. We will have to wait to see how the investigation unfolds and what happens to the captain and crew who somehow made it to safety despite the hundreds of children left stranded on the ferry with no hope of a way out.
On a lighter topic, I’ve got some portraits to share with you of us and our fellow travelers to Japan. Part of the reason I was really looking forward to going to see the cherry blossoms was to exercise the lessons I’ve been learning in my photography and editing classes online. It was a great opportunity to get to know my equipment a little better and get more used to working with Photoshop. I am not out to become a professional photographer by any means, but with the opportunities we have to travel, I really wanted to do more than point and shoot.
Our first stop was to see the big, ‘weeping’ cherry tree in the center of Maryuma park. It was a gorgeous tree but way too many people around to get some good close ups of each other, so we took a pit stop at a tree nearby.
This park was the one where we got some good dumplings and had a ‘picnic’ in the blossoms. There were a lot of spots to pop a squat and get some photos.
It wasn’t the easiest thing to avoid having lots of strangers in my shots because the areas were just so packed, but we found one neat spot with a little creek running between paths, though no less people also meant no cherry blossoms.
I also managed to scope out a somewhat isolated tree with low hanging branches for some cute couple photos. I was really upset with myself because my first round of shots of our dear friends Rob and Hannah turned out with totally overblown exposure, and I had managed to capture some really cute expressions between the two of them.
I was able to recover a little bit in the editing process, but it was a little too far gone to get it where I would have liked. However, once I adjusted my metering a little bit, I still got some cute, correctly exposed shots of them.
I swapped out with Hannah, who has been taking the classes as well, and she got a little bit of yours truly. (Side note, if you’re looking for an online photography course, I’ve got a great recommendation!)
Denise and Dustin were up next, and they did great with the posing, even though the guys complained left and right about having so many photos taken. I think it was worth it, don’t you?
Krista and Sean caught up with us after the above tree but we still managed to get a couple of them at Maryuma and the Philosopher’s Path.
And with my editing I realized there’s just something about black and white… even in the pink overload!
Photography takes a lot of work, and now that I’ve been trying to expand my skills, I have a lot more respect for the cost of a good wedding photographer or even family photo shoot. From planning outfits to all the factors that affect your lighting – time of day and weather being only two components – it’s a lot more complicated than buying your equipment and leaving it on green-box auto mode. If you can’t tell, I’m nowhere near perfect at any of it yet, so if you’ve got any good tips, let me know!