How did you get into photography?
I got into photography through curiosity. I spent a university semester studying in the south of France and I had my father’s camera to document my time there. After I got the prints back, (this was before digital cameras) there was a photo that I had taken of the Duomo in Florence, Italy that when I looked at it, I asked myself, “How did I do that?”. I then wanted to find out how to control the camera so that I would be able to make that type of shot again. It was at that time I knew that there was a lot more to photography than just pressing a button, and I wanted to learn everything there was to learn.
What is your favorite photograph you have taken?
Wow, that is a tough one. I suppose the photo I took of the Duomo that got me started, will always have a special spot in my heart but the photo of the one chipmunk with its arm around the other has to be at the top. I watched those two play for about 10 minutes and then to see and capture that special moment between them was definitely a once in a lifetime shot.
What is the best thing about photography in Korea?
There are a few things that I love about photography in Korea. The best thing is the amount of variety in such a (relatively) small area. I live in a town where when I go out of my front door, if I turn left, I can be at the seashore in 5 minutes, or if I turn right, I can be in the mountains in 5 minutes. There are temples and palaces that are hundreds of years old and there are landscape formations that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else. The climate here, as well, allows for a lot of different moods, whether it be sunny, or foggy for some mystery, or snowy, or the fall foliage. To drive from one corner to the other isn’t going to take more than 10 or 11 hours (Sokcho to Mokpo), coming from Canada, that’s not that far of a drive.
When you photograph a landscape what is your thought process?
Some of the landscapes in Korea are well documented and very well visited. So I usually have a 2 pronged process. The first is to choose whether or not to go to one of the well visited areas or to try and find an area on my own by wandering and exploring. If I go to one of the well visited spots, I am always checking for weather and sun and moon angles. My goal for when I go to a popular photo spot is to come away with a unique shot, from a unique angle at a different time of day, or even night, if possible. Weather will of course always play a big factor sometimes it’s the weather that will make the shot unique.
When I get there, I will set up for the popular shot, which will allow me some more time to evaluate the place. Sometimes the reason why it’s the popular photo is that it really is the only angle possible. But I’m always looking to the sides and even behind me. I will sometimes literally stalk the area like a tiger looking at its prey and slowly walking around it, hunched over or standing tall, never taking my eye off of the scene.
The other thing that plays a heavy role in what it is I decide to shoot is conservation. I always try to get the best photo that I can to show the beauty of a place: to show how special the world is and how fragile it can be and how important it is to try to maintain it so we can continue to enjoy these sceneries. This is why I also like to get different angles, in the pursuit of finding something that others may have overlooked or not deemed important enough to photograph.
Aside from photography what do you do in your free time?
The beauty of photography, for the most part is what I do in my free time. I love it and if I’m not out shooting or on the computer editing or writing, then I’m reading about photography, trying to learn everything I can about it: different techniques, how to improve how I photograph things as well as how I look at and see things. Even most of my time on social media is spent related to photography in one way or another.