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Gyeongbokgung Palace



Gyeongbokgung Palace, one of Seoul's most beautiful by night

Gyeongbokgung Palace, one of Seoul's most beautiful by night
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3 Comments | Report
DeceptivelyBlonde
 
DeceptivelyBlonde May 10, 2014
How on earth did you get it with no cars? Admittedly, I never checked it out at night, but that is awesome! Great contrast too :)
Sladeamandak
 
Sladeamandak September 24, 2017
Living in Korea now and always looking for shooting buddies!!!
jasonteale PRO
 
jasonteale Mar 15
Lovely shot!

Behind The Lens

Location
Captured this shot in Seoul, Korea at the Gwanghwamun Palace.
Time
Although I'd visited this place heaps of times both during day, trying to capture it without the crowds of people was going to take a lot of patience. Planning some night sessions I came back late on a Sunday evening and literally stood in the middle of the road to capture the entrance without the distraction of people or passing traffic. It took a few goes to get a break in the traffic but eventually the street opened up. The entrance to the palace fronts the intersection of two main roads traversing through the centre of downtown Seoul so be careful not to stand too far from the pedestrian strip so you can seek refuge in between the sets of red lights.
Lighting
The Gwanghwamun Palace itself is very well lit and the streetlights also illuminate the street pavers which you can see in the foreground. The upward lighting on the palace really amplifies the intricate details under the roofing. No external lighting or flash required.
Equipment
My old faithful Nikon D90 with a 18-105mm stock lens that came with it. This gear is pushing on 8 years now but I really love it, especially for night photography as I can play around with the settings without having figure out where all the buttons are. Think this was also using my Manfrotto tripod and a Nikon infrared shutter remote.
Inspiration
Gwanghwamun was the first tourist attraction I visited when moving to Seoul. There's something special about how this part of the city is laid out, maybe it's Feng shui, I'm not sure, but the palace dates back to the Chosun Dynasty in the 1300's and the aspect of looking straight down Gwanghwamun square lines the palace up with Bukhansan Mountain in the background. The symmetry is perfect. When I took this shot I was coming to the end of my time in Seoul and wanted to capture the memories of some of these places to take back to Australia. You could find me most evenings just wandering around the city, revisiting the old sites.
Editing
Yes, one of the reasons I like night photography so much is the fun you can have with the light and then playing around with post-processing. Using some longer exposure times of 30 seconds and a higher f-stop along with shooting in raw gives some really rich images and colour ranges to play around with. I mostly use Lightroom for my workflow then jump into the develop module with the levels. My basic moves are bumping down the highlights, bumping up the shadows and adjusting the contrast to bring back some range.
In my camera bag
I'm usually guilty of carrying around more gear than I need but I've got a really comfortable Lowe Pro pack. In my pack on most photo missions you'll find my D90, a GoPro, an iPad mini, a Manfrotto Tripod, a couple of spare batteries, spare memory cards, and 3-4 lenses. It took me some time to build up my lens inventory. Starting with the Nikon 18-105mm which came with the D90 package, my next purchase was a 60mm Macro, then a 35mm f1.8, and finally a 14-24mm wide angle for landscapes. It seems like a lot of gear to lug around but I like having a bit of weight in the pack as it just feels more balanced.
Feedback
Seoul has some amazing night photography if you take the time to wander and explore, and on foot is the preference. Most of the monuments are lit up in the evenings, the crowds can sometimes be a challenge but Sunday evenings during the autumn and winter months are usually less busy. The whole city is awash with light, with neon signs of restaurants and bars seeking your patronage. There's also an intricate web of 6 lane highways throughout the city and the endless traffic makes for some impressive light trails. Pack your tripod, take your time and you'll be rewarded with some spectacular imagery.

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