Sometimes I go out with the intention of taking informative photos. Photos that will be helpful for visitors and photos that help explain my writing. However, the other day I needed some new photos for Instagram and I thought that the Han River (more specifically, Yeouido) was the perfect place. I asked my friend if he wanted to visit with me, and to my excitement, he agreed. The river is amazing at night and I took a lot of photos, some of which I want to share.
I labelled this post as a ‘photographic’ journey, rather than a normal post. But what does this mean? I want to try to show the splendour of the river in photographs instead of writing. They say a photo is worth a thousand words, so this is going to be a very wordy post! The intention of this post isn’t to provide useful information to visitors. Rather it is to show the beauty of this amazing country and city.
If you would like some information though, feel free to ask as always. I will make a visitor orientated post in the future, so don’t forget to sign up for emails (on the right hand side of this page) to keep updated in the future! (sign up here! https://seoulinspired.com).
My friend and I headed out to Hapjeong at about 6:30 so as to reach the river as the sun was setting. We took our skateboards to ride and I took my tripod and camera in my backpack. We got to the river just as the sun was setting… Really it was perfect timing! The river wasn’t very busy, but there were a fair few people out and about, enjoying their evening.
After spending about 30 minutes by the Hapjeong bridge we decided it would be really cool to skate over to Yeouido, which is essentially an island sitting in the middle of the river. It’s very famous in Seoul and popular as a (very crowded) picnic location. Many people visit here in summer to enjoy chicken and beer and to experience the nice atmosphere that the river provides.
We weren’t sure initially if we could actually follow the bridge across the river since it was hard to find any stairs, but we did find some in the end. One of the best parts of the bridges crossing the river is the stunning views that they provide. Every bridge has such a unique yet beautiful view out over the river.
I underestimated the brightness when we first arrived, and to my dismay, I wasn’t able to get any nice long exposures. The light was far too bright to increase the exposure, and I don’t have a filter for this lens yet. However, after the sunset, we could see the amazing sight that the river beholds.
I wanted to get right down to the water level. Meaning I had to climb down the concrete bank. There were signs that distinctly said no fishing within 50 metres, but the fisherman that I was taking photos next to didn’t care at all. Considering how dirty the water was though, I wonder if there were actually any fish!
I have been across many of the Han River bridges in the past few years. As a photographer, they naturally attract me. From the harrowing experience I had on Banpo Bridge, to the nighttime beauty of Dongjak Bridge, every bridge is unique and provides a completely different view of the city.
Further, all of these bridges (to my knowledge) have footpaths and can easily be crossed on foot, bike, or whatever you prefer. If you would like to take some amazing photos, then I would recommend these bridges to everyone! Along with Namsan Tower, and maybe Lotte Tower, they provide some of the most picturesque locations in Seoul.
I love night photos, I don’t know why, but I do. Maybe it’s because you have to be patient to get the perfect shot? (making it feel like you really worked towards creating the photo). Or maybe it’s just because there’s a different type of beauty at night. I have no idea, but they are definitely my favourite.
It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a photo that I really liked. Well… Honestly, it’s been a long time since I even took one that I felt proud of! But finally, while walking across the bridge, I got a new photo that I really like. It’s funny, but nearly all of my favourite photos come from the Han, and they are nearly all night shots. Maybe it just shows my love of long exposure photography!
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