Capturing Korea: Ulsan
Groove Korea is teaming up with the Seoul Photo Club to give readers tips on where to get the best snaps on the peninsula. Our photographers will share advice on how and where they shoot. To compete in the Photo Challenge and win great prizes from Groove Korea, head on over to the Seoul Photo Club on Flickr: flickr.com/groups/seoulphotoclub
Give us a little insight into the photographer and the man that is Jason Teale.
I have been here since 2003. I have always been a teacher here, but the photographer in me has grown with the people that I’ve been hanging around with. I was trained as a film photographer before coming to Korea, but the true passion really started to form once I arrived.
I have been trying to improve my skills and learn as much as I can. I feel as a person and a photographer, I have grown a lot. Photography has allowed me to see the beauty in a city that is commonly known as a boring place to live.
Have you always been in Ulsan since arriving in Korea? How would you describe it?
Years ago, it was tough to live in Ulsan. It just wasn’t a very exciting place to live, but I feel that has changed greatly. Every year Ulsan seems to give itself a facelift, and it is always getting better. With new parks and bike paths across the city, it is becoming a better place to live. This is also attracting a lot more businesses, especially ones that cater to the needs of foreigners. The Ulsan of today is nothing like it was when I first came. There are tons of great places to eat and see.
You work a lot in HDRi, and produce some hyper-realistic views of your city. Why HDRi?
When I first started using HDRi, I was pleased with the results and loved the detail that came out. I felt that by bracketing the exposures I could somehow keep the detail and the light in control.
When I started shooting the city from above, I realized that HDRi was the perfect tool to show all of the elements that make up the views that I was seeing. The color and details were all there, I just brought them to the surface a bit more.
As I learned more about the technique, I found that cityscapes were the perfect match for HDRi, and the colors of Ulsan really popped. I know that some do not like HDRi, but for what I am using it for, I feel that it is a good match.
What are the big three things to photograph in Ulsan, and why?
The first would have to be the industrial area in Onsan … most people think that is all Ulsan is. However, there is more to the city than just the industry. With that said, at night the petro-chemical factories look really cool and I think that draws a lot of people out there.
The second place I would suggest would be Taehwa River Grand Park. The city has invested a lot of money into making this area beautiful, and I feel that they have achieved it. There is a lot of ground to cover, but the shining star is the futuristic looking walking bridge. The design with the large circle makes it a real eye-catcher and there is no shortage of photos of it.
The third would be Daewangam Park in Bangeojin. This park is nice and situated close to the Hyundai shipyards. The small bridge out to the rocky little islands is beautiful, especially at first light.
Any hints and tips for those visiting Ulsan with a camera in hand?
The biggest thing is to find transportation. Ulsan is spread out and all of the areas that I have mentioned are located a good distance from each other. A scooter or motorcycle is probably your best bet to get around Ulsan. There are also a few good locations that are just outside of Ulsan that are easily reached — if you have transportation.
If you are looking to go roof-topping, look for buildings that are older. They are the ones that will not have the coded entry systems and will allow you to get to the roof. Many of the high-rise apartments look tempting but are difficult to get up to.
Lastly, give Ulsan a chance. There is a lot of beauty here and a lot of hidden treasures to shoot. I have been here almost 10 years now and I am still finding interesting places to shoot.