Monday, October 31, 2016

Walls and Windows

The Lan Su Chinese Garden is the result of a collaboration of Port_lan_d and its Chinese sister city Su_zhou. One of its many striking aspects is the way in which openings are inserted in walls, allowing carefully chosen views of the scenes beyond, while also bringing admiring attention to the windows themselves.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chinese Garden

The Lan Su Chinese Garden occupies a walled block in the Old Town Chinatown district of Portland, Oregon. It's a short walk from where I live, but I'd been there only a couple of times in the past few years. Recently I thought it might be a good subject for a photo project, so I went there last Monday, when I figured—correctly—that crowds would be at a minimum. I was not disappointed: it's a visually remarkable place. I'll be posting photos from that visit for the next few days, and plan to return regularly to focus on specific aspects and seasonal changes.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Back to Green

For these photos from a recent hike in Forest Park, I think color works better to pick up different hues of green and to distinguish green from brown. Maybe color gives us more cues to make sense of complexity, and provides more sensuous pleasure. In any case, it was a good hike!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Works Both Ways

 The light, gesture, and contrast are about the same in these two versions, and I find them equally effective. Perhaps the yellow leaf in the lower left corner of the color version is a little distracting, but not too much.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Green in Black and White

A couple of scenes in Forest Park, photographed in black and white. It's interesting how gestures (clustering of ferns, arching of a branch) stand out more strongly than in color.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Black and White or Color?

Sometimes one works better, sometimes the other is called for. At the Portland Farmers Market.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fall Foliage on Campus

The Portland Farmers Market is held each Saturday on the campus of Portland State University. The trees on the campus mall were ablaze with fall colors set against the deep blue sky.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall Still Lives at the Portland Farmers Market

Back in Portland, we made our usual Saturday trek to the Farmers Market. It was a sunny day, and the colors were vivid. A couple of examples:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Last Sights in Seoul

Day 25  Oct 5

After a western breakfast at our hotel, we took the subway again, transferring lines to get to the Korean Museum of Contemporary Art.   Nice shops of contemporary art objects, but the exhibition of the best artists of the year was most interesting.  They were large scale installations, one photographic, one of textile art in multiple frames of issues around the north and south, one of framed items in the shape of a galaxy representing the diversity of Korea, and one a mockup of a studio.  Finally, a well done installation and video presentation about urbanization of rural areas; building over forested areas and flooding by a reservoir and destruction of natural areas.  This is really the story of the economic success of Korea but at the price of destruction of nature.

 We had lunch at the art museum and then went to the other palace, Changdeokgung, built in 1405 during the Joseon dynasty.  It was originally constructed by the grandson of the first Joseon king.  He did not want to live in the original palace because his grandfather had killed the siblings of the second king (who then became a monk).  It was much quieter than the other palace and easier to see.  It is a UNESCO world heritage site; quite a lovely setting.  The layout was very similar to the other palace but more spread out with more park areas.

 We made a last shopping foray to the Insadong craft shopping area, returned to our hotel where we had a western dinner; getting tired of Korean food even though we liked it.

Days 26-27  Oct. 6

Packed and were off to home from Seoul to Seattle and then Portland.  A pleasant and challenging trip to east Asia with much diversity; the wilds and wildlife of Siberia; the far East of Russia in Petropavlovsk and Vladivostok, and the dense urban life with a deep history of South Korea.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fish Market and Department Store

Day 24   Oct 4

We decided to have breakfast at the local Starbucks for a change.  Oatmeal with onions and mushrooms!  Interesting.  We set out to learn how to use the subway to go to the Seoul fish market.  It was pretty easy, after we learned how to use the machines (which had an English option).  The subways are really nice; new and efficient.  

We found our way to the fish market; two huge buildings with tanks of live fish and shellfish; really overwhelming in variety, larger than that in Busan.  However, while there were large fish, we did not see the huge tuna, shark, etc. that we had seen in other Asian fish markets.  Are they fished out?   Or did we miss them because they were sold at the auction which happens at 1 AM?

We returned to our neighborhood by subway, and walked to the Shinsegae department store.  It is similar to the Japanese department stores; much designer and upscale merchandise and of course the requisite food and restaurant department in the basement.  We chose to eat nori rolls stuffed with vegetables and tuna salad and chopped spicy meat.  They were good, but unfortunately a few hours later Vic began to feel sick.

We walked around the huge Naemdemon market which is an extensive market with more stuff than I could imagine anyone could need.

After a rest at the hotel, although Vic was feeling queasy we went back to the market at night to have noodles there.  They were very good; fun because we struck up a conversation with some Koreans who spoke English; they had spent many years in Vienna working at a pensione.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Back to Seoul

Day 23.  Oct 3

As we left Busan very early for Seoul this morning, we skipped breakfast at the hotel and had a snack on the road.  

It was a four hour drive with no rain to speak of ; this was lucky because there were heavy rains in Seoul which had abated by the time we arrived.  First we went to the Bukchon Hanok area.   This is a residential neighborhood with the typical hanok houses (traditional tile roofed houses); some very lovely and set in a hilly region with a view of the mountains.  However, it was mobbed with Chinese tourists (It was said that there were going to be 250,000 Chinese tourists in Seoul in October).

 We then went to visit the National Palace Museum followed by the main palace of the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung.  It was built in the Joseon dynasty which reigned until the modern period for 500 years.

We saw the changing of the guard; a fifteen minute ceremony with Joseon period marching guards and band.  

Afterwards, going to the palace, it was very crowded but full of interesting buildings such as the throne building, the council building, the king’s residence,  the queen’s residence and the concubine’s residence outside the walls.    

We also visited the National Folk Museum with historical and cultural artifacts.

We said goodbye to Chris, our guide, checked back into our excellent hotel, and ate at a pretty good "healthy food" restaurant nearby.