Tag Archives: Daegu


Daegu? Where’s that? South Korea.

It’s Korea’s third biggest city and also known as the oven of Korea as when it is hot in Korea, it is hotter in Daegu. It is a colourful city and Korea’s quirkiness is very much in evidence. It has good restaurants and like most places in Korea it has an an abundance of cafes and food stalls.

Daegu (shot on iPhone)

I love shooting in Daegu. I have this series of images going on of elderly gentlemen in Daegu. I just find them to be so cool. They are snappy dressers and ooze class and attitude. These guys have lived through a lot. I imagine a lot of these men might have seen active service in the Korean war. I love how some of them shout – “Hey, buddy!” or some other American-style greeting to me when they see me. I wish our exchange could extend beyond this and allow me to get to know them a little more.

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

Young Koreans have their own style. Put one young Korean guy in a room of other Asians and the Korean will stand out. Their fashion style can be unique and geeky. Got to admire that.

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

Another series of images I have going on from Korea is one focussing on couple culture. I am always struck at how many couples you encounter on the streets in Korea. Very often they will be sporting a ‘couple look’ where both will be dressed in identical clothes. These two are cooler than that though.

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

As I said – it gets hot in Daegu and Koreans will do everything to keep themselves protected from the sun. Just wait until you see the beach fashion when I do my blog post from Busan. This guy was cool. He just loved getting his photo taken. His reaction when he saw his image was just too cool.

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

Cafe culture in Korea is big. There are just so many cafes and while the coffee is good, it sure is not cheap. Anyway, the big glass fronts of these cafes make for good photo opportunities.

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

My shooting style changed over the past 12 months. Now, I really enjoy engaging with people on the street. This guy just could not understand what I wanted to do when I asked if I could take his photo. He kept reaching for my phone – thinking I wanted him to take my photo. It was a little battle to get him not to hide the cigarette also. Ya, smoking kills, but they look good in photos.

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

Recently read an article about street photography cliches. This shot below fell into the category. But hey, I cliche, you cliche, we all cliche.

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

And leaving Daegu…

Daegu (Shot on iPhone)

Next up is Busan. Korea’s second city. Expect lots of beach shots!

Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, iPhone, iPhone photography, Street Photography, Summer 2017, Travel Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

iPhone street photography

I have come to love the iPhone for street photography.
Working on my presentations for upcoming talks in The Royal Photographic Society of Thailand and Jakarta, I have been looking back at my photographic journey, focussing particularly on street images.
The shot below was a difficult shot to get. Picture the scene. I was on a crowded subway train in Korea’s third city: Daegu. It was summer and it was hot and I had nowhere to sit.
The Nikon DSLR was swinging from my neck as I tried to find a secure place to stand. As I was doing this, I was struck by the calm exuding from this elderly gentleman sitting to the right of me. Instinctively, I knew I had to make the photograph.
Directly in front of me was this woman who scowled at me when I hoisted the DSLR to frame the shot. The train bobbed from side to side as I tried to compose. Each time the camera slipped from my face I could see her glaring at me. With one hand on the overhead railing and the other on the camera; one eye peering into the viewfinder and the other shut tightly, I shot off a few frames.
I got the shot, but it was challenging. Contrast this with the iPhone and it would all have been done with ease and without intrusion.
Another reason why I believe the iPhone is the best camera there is for street photography.


Posted in iPhone, iPhone photography, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

September 30 2014

I got the new iPhone 6 yesterday and today my thumb is paining me. To navigate the bigger screen is not that easy. To get a good grip on the phone is not that easy and I am thinking to get good shots on the street will not be that easy. The iPhone 5 fitted perfectly in my hand and all areas of the screen were reachable with my thumb. This new iPhone 6 requires a little readjusting to reach those areas. I suppose with a little time I will get more used to it. I have taken one or two snaps of family with the camera and there is a noticeable improvement in picture quality. But the quality will only be noticeable when I feel comfortable with its size. Perhaps Apple should consider developing the iThumb; a fit-on extendable addition to your existing undersized-for-this-digital age thumb.

From thumbs to feet, here is an image I took on a subway train in Daegu, Korea. I like titles a lot. I think clever titles can add to an image and elevate the impact to another level. Conversely, poor titles limit a viewer’s imagination by corralling them into focussing on one aspect of the image to the detriment of others. When I am posting photographs, I think about titles. Sometimes they scream out at me and no time is lost. Other times, I take a little time just staring at the image and titles come. And then there are the times when nothing comes. These times, I usually give a location as the title. Lately, some photographs have been given the same title – as they are being worked into a series of images, such as Committed to the Future, This Nagging Knowingness, Today, I will be mainly hiding from myself, and my favourite – Trees need to cheer the fuck up! They do really!

When I took the iPhone shot below I had the title as soon as I saw it on the phone. Defeated in Musical Chairs.


Defeated in Musical Chairs

A little bit of mystery with my DSLR shot today. Taken in Kyoto after dark.



Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 28 2014

Let’s start with the iPhone image today for a change. I usually start with the DSLR, but let’s mix things up a little. Somedays I think I am crazy having two separate accounts on Flickr for my iPhone and DSLR work. It all started when I first got into Instagram back in February 2011. I loved the way you could connect a Flickr account to it and upload the images to there directly from the app. The easiest thing was to set up a free account on Flickr. In those days, they had free accounts which allowed you to upload a maximum of 200 images. It all seemed good. Back then I had no idea that mobile photography would be something that I would get really into. It was just a bit of fun. Initially the photographs I took were snaps of things that got my attention, but after a while the potential to create more than a snap became apparent. Over time, the images I was shooting became better composed, more purposeful and the post processing improved also. Then while in Asia in 2012, it all took off. On the streets of Tokyo, Hong Kong, Hanoi and Seoul I really became addicted to using the iPhone 4. I knew I was in project mode and I knew that what interested me (people on the street) I was able to get with ease and discretion with the phone that was also a camera.

When I got back to Ireland in May 2012, is when I really began to think about the images I was posting on the iPhone account. Around that time, I started to pair an iPhone image with a DSLR image. Most days it works, but days like today, the images are not related, and that is fine too. Posting two images each day can be chore. At times, I get frustrated (OK more than at times – photography frustrates me all the time) as appear to be running out of quality images and I think to myself that I could make it easier by posting just the one image each day, be it a DSLR or an iPhone image. But I continue to post both.

Today’s iPhone image was taken in Daegu, Korea. When I went to Asia in spring I promised myself to be brave and to do all I could to get that shot. I did not want to get back home with regrets of not pushing myself to get in close to get a photograph. By and large, I was true to my promise, but of course, many shots went uncaptured. They always do! Not this one below, though. I spotted these two young fellas as I was wandering around. You got to love the fashion style of young Koreans. It is unique. Their hair overgrown and those dark and heavy-rimmed glasses. These two guys were in the back alley having a cigarette – I doubt it was anything illegal, as in Korea you do not encounter that. Everything about the scene called me to photograph it. The guy’s Hello on his t-shirt and two matching bags they were carrying. I entered the alley, focused on them and said “anyoung-a-sey-o” (Korean for hello), they turned and looked at me. Eye contact! And I snapped. Then I gave a little bow, which was returned, and thanked them with a smile. They muttered something in Korean and I went on my way.



The DSLR image is one of the last few images I will post for a while from Tokyo. I have some unconnected photographs that I like that I will post, but they don’t form a series like some of the recent images I posted from there. Or if you want, a series of unrelated images. I guess they have the fact that they are all taken in Tokyo in common.

This one is all about the colours for me, and the eye contact of the pedestrian opposite. Also, I love it because I know that my time in Tokyo is coming to an end (it was the last full day) and I am a nostalgic fool who gets all nostalgic without any adherence to the appropriate time to be nostalgic.

Have a good Sunday!




Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

August 22 2014

Rain! A good thing or a bad thing when you want to get out on the streets and shoot? Different opinions on this, I am sure. Some love the reflections and colours wet roads and footpaths create (pavement, sidewalk, footpath). For others, I guess standing about in the rain getting soaking wet is not that appealing. But hey, sometimes it has to be done. You get itchy to get out and the weather is not going to hold you back. Last winter, when I ventured out on the streets of Cork it seemed to be raining all the time and coming from a place where rain seems to be a constant threat sunshine and bright light is a treat.

Heading to Asia, I was dreaming of sunshine and hitting the streets. But it didn’t always work out like that. When I got back from Japan to my wife’s hometown, I was met with incoming storms with the most torrential rain and the next four days the rain did not let up. After two days of being stuck in home I was itching to get out, itching to get out and get some new photographs. So, I buckled up and braved it. I got one of those shower caps they leave in hotel bathrooms and used it to cover the camera. I knew this would give a lovely distortion to the photographs, which it did, but it also made it hard to adjust the settings on the camera.

Am running a little series of these over the next few days on Flickr. This one below was taken as I stood in a doorway out of the rain. When I peered out to survey the scene, I saw a kid on bicycle, on his way to or from school, pedalling past me with a transparent umbrella over his head. A little late as I would have preferred to have got him coming towards me, but still I like it.

I have processed all these images similarly. I imagine I will post three or four of them on Flickr and the full series here when I am finished on Flickr. As I was saying yesterday, I find interest in any series of images I post dwindles after day 4.


The slowest of jazz music

Something a little more upbeat for the iPhone image. This is taken in the underground in Daegu. It is a typical street scene with the billboard behind giving an interesting backdrop. The great thing about big cities is that you never have to wait too long for people to pass, and when there are crowds you can even steer them into your scene with a tactical positioning as they approach. Snapseed again here. Converted to black and white and little work done on the contrasts.

photo (10)


Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

August 21 2014

Life is difficult when there are choices. Back in the days of film what choice did you have in the processing of the images? You handed the film into a chemist (ya, a pharmacy. I was so surprised to learn that chemists in other countries did not offer this service) and they developed it and you had zero choice in how they did it. Today, with digital, it has all changed. The shot you take you can see immediately. Choose to delete it if you wish. Take another. Take a hundred others! Then when you upload it to your computer the fun begins. A single image can be manipulated in an infinite number of ways, but ultimately it can boil down to one initial choice – black and white or colour.

I remember the hours I could spend in the video rental stores overwhelmed by the choices of videos to rent. Processing images can be a bit like this. Slide this way, slide that. A little more, a little less. It can go on forever. I use Lightroom for processing my Nikon images and lately I am reducing the options. I read yesterday somewhere that processing an image takes on average 30 minutes. Wow! I don’t think I ever spent that much time on a photograph. I tend to get to a point where I say – “OK, that’s it!” – and I leave it.

I came back from the last trip to Asia with over 3,000 images. Granted many of these are either family shots or photos that are not that great at all and are never run through Lightroom. The hundred or so I am left with are from different locations, different times of the day, indoors, outdoors, blurred, not blurred and you know, I start off with the intention to step back, not post to Flickr, but take time to review the images and work on producing a coherent set, all similarly processed in either black and white or colour. The best laid plans and all that.

The way I work is like this. In the evenings when the kids are in bed and things are quiet, I sit at the computer while my wife watches TV or reads and I choose an image and I begin to work on it. This part of the photographic process is the one I enjoy most. I love watching the images come to life, take on different forms, reveal themselves. And I find it so relaxing! When I feel I have arrived at a good version of the image, I ask my wife for approval. This approval usually comes in a few seconds, but the waiting seems much longer. There is never a long-winded appraisal; maybe a nod of the head or a ya or an I don’t know. 

Happy with how an image is processed, I may then go back and select one or two other images taken at that same time and process them similarly. I love the Paste Settings from Previous Image option in Lightroom (and would love if Snapseed had the same option). With a click I can get all the images to look the same. Then I have a few images ready to go for Flickr, posting one a day. The curious thing is that when I post a little series of images, the first one always gets the most views, faves and comments. The final in the series the opposite. I imagine people get tired of the same type of images. A series rarely has more than four images.

Today, I am starting a new mini series. All processed in black and white. These were taken in Korea.




For iPhone images, it is Snapseed all the way. There are so many iPhone photography apps, but for me Snapseed is a one-stop-shop. The iPhone image for today was taken in the Daegu subway. Funny thing about this is that I have two versions of it – black and white and colour. I am posting both here. I wonder which you prefer, let me know in the comments below.

For Flickr I have gone with the colour version. I like this image for the connection I made with this character. He appeared to have no problem with my taking his photograph and when I was pointing the iPhone at him, he did not seem to endeavour to conceal anything. In fact, post shot as the train began to pull off, he threw a beautiful smile.


Daegu Subway


photo (9)

Daegu Subway (2)



Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

August 20 2014

When travelling, much to the frustration of my travelling companions, I am not a fan of guidebooks and maps can be like hieroglyphics to me (I just cannot understand them). I much prefer to ask for directions as I am on the go and when I am given directions, listening beyond the first ‘turn right/left’ is a challenge for me. I just know that I can stop and ask someone after that turn. Or even easier, if I am with someone else, is to let them listen. They can do it much more attentively than me. It can work out well. I have no problem stopping and asking people for directions, while some people prefer not to. So, I ask and they listen.

Same goes for guidebooks. I rarely read them before visiting a new place. But, I love to read them after visiting. Ya, this can result in being in places and missing out on some of the sights. It once took me three days to find the main street in Budapest! Luckily, I was travelling alone.

In many ways, I approach street photography in the same way. When I head out on a photo prowl, I do not have a picture in my mind of what I want to find and photograph. I prefer to be open to what may occur. And therein lies the frustration. Scenes and scenarios can evolve so quickly on the street and so many go missed. In densely populated cities, you can become overwhelmed so easily by all that is going on. In an instant so many things can capture your attention and your task is to isolate those split second scenes.

One of the challenges I face is the camera. Not the iPhone; that is set up for me, but the DSLR. As I like to shoot defocused images a lot, very often I have the auto-focus switched off and when something appears before me that I want to get in all its sharp glory, I miss the moment because the settings are not right. It drives me crazy. I tend to shoot on Aperture Priority mode a lot. I set the ISO to suit the light conditions and besides those two things the only other adjustment I make is whether to switch on or off the focus. What happens then is that I may work on out-of-focus shots for a while, then switch back to auto-focus and work on getting photographs that are in focus. Despite posting many out-of-focus photographs, I also do post quite a few in-focus ones.

The collision of coincidences that must occur for a good street shot is so rare, but the one thing that you have to control is your readiness to click. The one thing you need to develop is your sensitivity to scenes and that is a constant challenge. In many ways cameras can be an obstacle to getting a good shot. Life is difficult when there are choices and cameras, particularly DSLRs have a multitude of options. That is another reason why I like the iPhone. It limits those choices. As you can imagine, if I struggle with reading maps, then the numerous combinations and calculations of settings in a camera can leave me befuddled. With cameras, I am a bit like a grandmother with a TV remote control. Once you can change the channel and adjust the volume, what else do you need?

Today’s photograph is not the best. I would have preferred to have the guy a little more in focus, but then if I had readjusted the focus he would have walked out of the frame. So, I didn’t. I just clicked. That collision of coincidences was a little misaligned in this one. Still, I like it.


This collision of coincidences


This iPhone shot is from the street market area in Haeundae in Busan. One of the techniques I use to blur images on the iPhone is to leave the top of my index finger on the lens as I have my thumb of the shutter release. Then I take my finger off and snap. The results can be nice sometimes.

photo (7)


Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

August 12 2014

Continuing with the short series of blurred out passersby on a pedestrian street in Daegu, South Korea. This one is important, in that over the past few months I have realised that people walking into the frame can actually enhance a photograph. Before I would lower the camera when scenes became a little busy or too full. But now I feel it can add rhythm and fluidity to a scene. I like isolation of characters in my photographs, drawing the viewer into the scene with the focus just being on one individual. This one is a little different. It is cool. I am beginning to see how to see things differently. Pleased with that.


Magnetic Mishaps

The iPhone photograph for today comes from Korea also. When I first posted this on Instagram I gave it the title “Anarchist”. I was struck by the petrol can to her right and the look of innocence she projected. I imagined her plan. You can imagine it too.

Photography is fun, no? And giving street images titles is part of it. But street photography must be the only art form that gets all snooty about giving titles. All art forms have titles – it is funny the one that documents human activity in its dynamic form has to be stripped of the artist’s interpretation and a uniformity of titles with only the place name and date are considered OK.

How bland – how cold is that!? How void of personality – how conformist – how utterly lacking in imagination – how full of pretension that the image needs to speak for itself. A good image will speak for itself no matter what.

The street photographers on Flickr whose work I follow kill me with titles. So often their images suck me in and stop me and when I read the title I am elevated, brought to places with a cleverness, a wit, a vision that is genius. You can click on the links to see their work.

Ya, there are images that have place names and dates that are class, but the photographers must have felt something when they took the shot and when they viewed the image. The image must have sparked some emotion in them. Why not couple that with the image? Why not let the viewer into that part of the story? I do not get it. Can someone fill me in?

And you know, it has affected me. At times, I m trying to be inspired by my image to attach an appropriate title and I chicken out and just give it the title of the place where it was taken. This has to stop!

photo (5)





Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

August 9 2014

Each day I post two photographs to Flickr. I have been doing this for the past three years or so. One iPhone photograph and one DSLR photograph. I rarely miss days, unless I am too busy with work or away on holidays. I love the discipline of it. It forces me to produce and to fight my laziness and love of procrastination.

It is silly having a blog and not posting these images here also. It is silly not to give some background information on the photos I shoot.

Today, I posted this DSLR image of a person, who I cannot recall if it was a man or a woman as it is blurred beyond distinction, walking perpendicular to my position. The photograph was taken in Daegu, a large city in South Korea. For a number of years now I have been photographing pedestrians passing perpendicular to me and blurring them out. Why am I attracted to these scenes?


Invisibility in the everyday sense

Working with two cameras is fun, but they compete for attention. Each has its appeal. I love the iPhone because it fits. It fits so perfectly in my hand and I can do it all with that one hand. I can get in close and not startle people in the way a hoisted Nikon can. This photograph was also taken in Daegu, a city full of the coolest old dudes. Men who I imagine saw war in their lifetimes. Men who exude attitude. This guy I saw on the train with me. He sat opposite where I stood, hands on his knees and his legs open, his gaze straight ahead. When we made eye contact it was confrontational. I guessed he knew I wanted to photograph him, but I rarely ask. I don’t like to convert the scene.

Luck had it that we both were getting off at the same station. He alighted first and I followed and amidst the crowd I got ahead of him and waited and snapped as he passed. He didn’t seem to notice or perhaps he did and didn’t care. I knew immediately that I liked the shot.


Daegu dudes


Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , |