Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains

Looking north across the DMZ into North Korea on a very rainy day.

I’ve been to South Korea twice and the thing that strikes me about the country is the mountains. They’re absolutely everywhere! Often obscured by the smog, they’re always beautiful and are the homes to many of the country’s great temples. The great metropolis of Seoul yields to its many mountains — its many districts are defined by the steep and uninhabitable mountains that provide a natural border between the neighbourhoods.

A district of Seoul as seen from Bukaksan.

A district of Seoul as seen from Bukaksan.

View from Bukaksan of the wall around Seoul.

Wall detail as seen from Bukaksan.

A rocky peak as seen from Bukaksan.

A rocky peak as seen from Bukaksan.

View from my in-laws' apartment in the Nowon district of Seoul.

Yet another view from my in-laws' apartment in The Nowon district of Seoul. The Samsung logo on the pink building means that it was built by Samsung's Construction division. The building I'm taking the picture from carries the Hyundai logo, which made it easy to find my way home after exploring the area.

Sunset from the in-laws' apartment.

Zooming in on "my in-laws' mountain".

The view looking south from near the western part of the DMZ.

Posts for drying fish in north-east South Korea.

A cemetery in Gyeonggi-do. Note the mounds on top of the graves. Followers of Korea's traditional religions believe in reincarnation so the mounds represent the Earth's belly swollen in pregnancy, preparing to give re-birth to the departed.

Another view of the Gyeonggi-do cemetery.

Gyeonggi-do cemetery, one last time.

An inscription on this gate in a mountaintop Buddhist temple says that by passing through one leaves all earthly troubles behind.

And this is Baekdamsa Temple. Apologies to those who have already seen this photo posted elsewhere on my blog.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little gallery of Korean mountain photos. If you enjoy hiking, mountain or rock climbing, or even just sitting on a resort’s patio with a great view of mountains, or valleys if the resort is on a mountain, I highly recommend a trip to South Korea!

About HoaiPhai

I'm up late digging up the dirt. View all posts by HoaiPhai

12 responses to “Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains

  • elmediat

    Interesting post. I had not realized that Seoul was that close to the mountains.

    • HoaiPhai

      Oh yes, there are many mountains peppered in and around Seoul. If you ever go there, you must visit Namsan [literally, “South Mountain] where there is a tower and a magnificent view of Seoul.

  • Martina

    I’m in awe…!

    • HoaiPhai

      Thanks, Martina. You and your guy might consider a trip to Korea… there are many really romantic places there! If you ever need travel advice, just ask!

    • HoaiPhai

      Thanks a million! Unlike you, whenever I’ve been to Korea I was staying at my wife’s family’s homes and engaged in family-oriented activities so I didn’t have much of a chance to roam around taking pictures. We were there primarily for my wife to catch up with her family and she was uneasy when I’d go out alone to take pictures. Most of my pictures were taken on family outings and I didn’t have a lot of time to “get into the zone” and concentrate on photography. It was all I could do to snap pictures while trying to keep up with my in-laws.

      I am planning on putting up some more “seoulful” pictures at some point. I posted these as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge and this week’s topic was mountains. I have much more interesting photos of other things Korean!

  • Hippie Cahier

    These are fantastic. I really enjoyed the wall photos and the striking contrast of the Samsung building juxtaposed with the ancient mountain. And, absolutely no apology necessary for re-posting the temple photo — definitely worth the re-post!

    • HoaiPhai

      There are all kinds of old/new contrasts in Seoul. The city was originally walled with four gates. There is one, Namdaemun (The Southern Great Gate) that is right downtown with a six-laned road going around it and skyscrapers all around. Nearby there’s an open air market where you can get all kinds of stuff from traditional medicine to Coach handbags. There’s also an amazing food court with a great variety of mostly Korean food. There are many different areas like one where the Imperial Palace is (and you can walk around the grounds and enter the buildings) and an area that is for bohemians… that’s right, the Korean answer to modern hippies!

  • The Hook

    Those are some kick-ass mountains!

    • HoaiPhai

      Thank you kindly! The first time I was in Korea, I thought that it was so strange that the landscape actually looked like the old paintings you see (sort of along the same style as Japanese paintings). I had thought the paintings were stylized interpretations of what the artists saw but they were actually remarkably accurate.

  • xeriouslywtf

    The picture of Baekdamsa Temple…insanely cool. This reminds me of a similar scene I saw in a mountain village outside of Osaka.

    • HoaiPhai

      Thank you. The Baekdamsa Temple shots is one of my personal faves. I used a process called high dynamic range imaging, in a nutshell, I took nine shots of the same scene at different exposures and then crunched the whole thing through software that selects the proper tone for each pixel. The prints of this are much better, the nicest being one I printed on metallic paper (the paper looks like pearl-white car paint).

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