Tag Archives: photography

Debunking some myths…..The pictures that I was encouraged to shoot in rural North Korea

It have now been over a month since I ventured into the mystical and isolated country of the DPRK, or North Korea that is better known. I got to shoot between 5 and 6000 images on my 11 days trip that took me all over the land. The funny thing for me is that I have posted quite a few images on my blog, Facebook and Instagram pages, and people seem surprised that the images that I have shot is from North Korea. (since they look like they could have been shot anywhere) One thing that I have not shown is the poor side of the DPRK. (The part of North Korea outside Pyongyang) The fact that the DPRK is a very poor country is well-known, and is a fact that have been depicted before. But in the media you get the impression that the “poorer look” of North Korea is how it is all over.

In this post I will show some pictures that are from the rural areas of North Korea, and it is one thing that is very important to point out. All the images that I have shot I got permission to shoot, and I even got encouraged to take them. 

I have no reason or understanding of why they did encouraged me to shoot the images. The only restrictions that I got was to: 1) not take direct  pictures of soldiers, 2) of buildings that was being built , 3) And  images of the leaders (or Pictures of leaders) should be “complete”.  Except for that , it was like anything  goes. So I think is that I get a bit frustrated when I get read news article saying “Look at the pictures North Korea do not want you to see”, or  “This photographer smuggled out these images from North Korea”. So it is important for me to emphasize that every shot is done in the open, with my local guides around, and I did no attempt to smuggle or hide anything during border crossings or in other ways. It is also important to say that some of the images in the story is shot from a moving  car by and have used telephotolensens according to the rules and regulations of North Korea.

Hope you enjoy, even if the images is not of the usual happy travel images this time.

This image is from the east part of where it is an agricultural community. Bicycle is still the primary form of transportation.

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The next is a typical farmers village. The crops of corn are green and lush. But the buildings have something to be desired.

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Next image is from the city of Wonsan , on the east coast. People are busy, and do their things.

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North Korea  is rich in minerals and natural resources. Here we see some kind of mine digging from the mountains.

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Here we have another kind of mine, located by the riverbed. Notice the worker with the ox and carriage in front  of the mine.

 

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One of the major issues that North Korea have struggled with is the power supply. On our way to the east cost they showed us four new power plants. Our guides where very proud of them. And they seem to do there job.

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When it comes to buildings in the towns in the countryside they where in many cases quite old, and had not been maintained for a while.

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A more normal set of houses would often look like this.

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And a typical view of rural North Korea looks something like this. You have a lot of mountains, and in the canyon you will find small villages. As you can see from the image, only a little bit of the land is possible to do farming on, so they use every little spot that is possible.

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You can never have a little story about North Korea without touching the subject of army and soldiers.  You can see them everywhere alongside the road, walking, hitching a ride with a truck or something, but you never see any army camps. (at least I did not…)

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So the big question is of course , where are all the soldiers.?? You see many entrances in mountains, so it is reasonable that there are camps located in mountains. But you also see a lot of more or less “improvised” huts all across the countryside. It seems logical that there is a connection here….

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So that was a little bit of images from all over the North Korean countryside. This was just a little sample of images, and to make one thing clear. Or guides where very proud of  their country.

-Ray

 

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Picture of the day: I know you are there

It is not always easy being a photographer. As in street photography, sometimes animals try to hide (that statement makes more sense the other way around… but you get my point). But this little fellow just made its message very  loud and clear. This is my turf, and I know you where you are there, and just keep your distance 🙂 Iguanas is just so amazing animals.

Shot in Galapagos a couple of years ago.

-Ray

Podcast of the week : Upcoming trip to Australia and photo tips

This week I tell a little bit about my upcoming new years trip to Australia and Tasmania. I try to connect the dots over to photography, and what gear I am considering to bring together with some street photography tips.

Hope you enjoy

-Ray

Picture of the day : Out shooting ….. photos

This image was taken at the Svalbard Islands in april this year. One of the activities that I did when I was up there was going on a photowalk together with a pro photographer. And one of the very cool things about Svalbard, is that you are not on top of the food chain. The top is the “Ursus Maritinus” , commony known as the polar bear, and for protection you have to bring a rifle if you are going outside the  safety of the town. And this image shows the photographer getting her gear out with her rifle within reach.

 

-Ray

Tip: What is in my camerabag…. , and how do I bring it with me on a longer trip

I have had a couple of posts before about packing and different types of camerabags for travel, and I have made it on of my specialites when it comes to travel and photography.  A lot of testing and failing when I have been travelling have made me find that I claim that the following characteristics is necessary for a good camera bag that you are bringing with you for travel.

1) Space for a lot of gear
2) Easy to bring along on day hikes.
3) Sturdy
4) “Air port security” sensible
5) Cabin luggage approved
6) Discrete
7) Rain cover / Weather protected

So , I have Pelicases, suitcases, small backpacks, special camera backpacks with ziplocs towards the back for added security, with weather sealing for hiking, and different smaller types bags for spesific  camera types. But if you are going on a longer photo trip. Non of them will be without compromise.

First of,  let me show what I am planning to bring on my next trip.  I am going on a short trip to South East Asia in a couple of weeks.

In the main compartment

– 2 DSLR bodies
– A small handycam
–  5 lenses (1 big 120-300,  70-200, and there more normal sized lenses)
– A teleconverter
– A external flash
– Two Blackrapid Rstraps
– A couple of external harddrives

 

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In the smaller compartments

– Cleaning kits
– Extra batteries
– Extra memory cards
– Different cables and chargers

And in the outside compartment, I am bringing a small laptop or tablet.

Lowepro Pro Runner 450 AW Pro Runner Backpack

So why did I end up with this bag? The main reson was the amount of gear that I wanted to bring, and the most practical when you are on the move is a backpack, and since it is cabin luggage approved it is possible to bring even on smaller regional airlines too. Another  major advantage with the backpack is when we do the security check at the airport. Bringing a lot of electronic gear is a true and valid way of getting picked for a closer securty inspection, so one of my favourite features is that I can open the backpack as a suitcase , and the inspectors can check that everything is as it seems without removing it. When I have used smaller backpacks for camera gear before I often end up taking everything out, and that can be a little bit stressful in a crowded control.

The backpack also have other features that are well known from Lowepro. Compression straps in the front to make a snugger fit, a “cup” for a tripod, and a raincover that can be pulled over the pack at your convenience.

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All in all , a very nice bag that I hope can bring me many good images from all over the globe..

-Ray

 

 

Another photography tip: Safe transport of a Sigmonster (or other gigant lenses)

Note! I am in no way affiliated with the brands that I mention here. This is just my personal opinion.

When I travel, I enjoy the art of taking pictures. And when I travel I need to bring my equipment. One of the major issues with photo equipment as everyone knows is that it can be very difficult to both bring, and to transport many or large lenses, tripods or other large items. One lens I will talk a little bit about is my beloved Sigma 300-800 F5.6 aka the “Sigmonster”. It is a gigantic lens , and to be quite hounest it can be challanging to bring along.

More info on the Sigmonster you can find here

One especially difficult bit is how you transport them on a plane since it is impossible to bring it in your carry on.  My solution have been to get a Peli case 1650. Peli is a famous brand for making military spec protective cases, and in my opinion they are absolutely worth the money.  They are sturdy, rough, and can realy handle a beating…

It is one more feature that I realy like about the cases, and that it can hold two pad locks in addition to the seven hatches on the case. My advice would be to get the TSA aproved types if you are going on air travel. Then you dont have to  worry about people opening it without you knowlegde (since the TSA locks leaves a trace color if opened with the TSA key) , and the TSA agents can expect it if they need to.

More information on the Peli cases can be found here.

http://www.peli.com/en/maletas-grandes-para-equipos-sensibles-1650.html

Take care

-Ray

A photography tip: Carrying multiple DSLR

Hi

I wanted to try something different today, and try to write a short photography tip.

NOTE! I am in no way sponsored by any of the brands that I mention here, but I give credit where credit is due.

For those of you who have followed my blog, you know that I love to travel, and that I enjoy the art of photography. This have taken me to many places off the beaten track . If we are talking about mountains of Norway, or the Amazonian jungle, I have been there taking some photos, and in those conditions I think it is one major issue regarding the usage of your trused DSLR`s. That is changing lenses when you are in a hurry , or you are in places that or not all that easy or in some way troublesome  to switch lenses. My solution is  that I have started to use is the Blackrapid R double strap.

You can see a  video  from Blackrapid here:

I have been using the original R-stap for a long time, and I enjoy the way to carry my camera, differing from strap that comes standard with the camera.

I usually go with the following setup of my cameras:  one for wide-angle shots, and the other either for macro or for zoom shots. In this way I can switch cameras without the need for exchanging the lenses. Another nice feature of the straps is that it allows for you to have your arms free when you are not taking shots, and you can rest a little bit. I find this very practical when I am in envirements where I anticipate that I will be needing different lenses for taking my shots.

-Ray