Photo Essay: Autumn in South Korea

Autumn in South Korea is one of the best times to visit. It’s not too hot or cold, and you’re treated to the most amazing display of colours. Over the past month I’ve visited two temples in the local region in order to shoot the autumn leaves. That’s fall for those of you who don’t speak proper English! It’s difficult to get a clear shot in Korea because of the high rise developments. There are apartment complexes even in the countryside. But temples provide a beautiful park space combined with oriental architecture.

My first outing was to Seoknamsa Temple near my home in Eonyang. It’s about 20 minutes on the bus, plus a short walk through a walkway of trees. When I visited, the leaves hadn’t changed much. But there were a few red trees that I took advantage of to get some close ups.

I’ve also been challenging myself to use more depth of field in my photography and shoot through things. The leaves create red shadows in the foreground while the focus is on the background.

I also experimented with impressionist photography styles, trying to recreate the feeling of brush strokes on the wind. It was quite a windy day and a good day to try out my new tripod.

My second temple adventure was to Tongdosa Temple, a much bigger temple complex. It’s the biggest temple in South Korea, which strangely doesn’t have a visible Buddha sculpture. Unfortunately Tongdosa had the opposite problem – the leaves had already fallen, even though I visited a week apart. But there were still some beautiful red trees in the hill, which I climbed to get some overhead shots of the temple.

Now that autumn is drawing to a close I will have to wait for next year! But next year I’ll be back in Australia, where we don’t have these amazing seasonal colours. Just another excuse to travel.

Kat Clay is an award-winning photographer and writer from Melbourne, Australia. Her novella, Double Exposure, was published in 2015 by Crime Factory. Her work has been published in The Victorian Writer, Literary Traveler, TNT, Travel Weekly, Matador Network and Weird Fiction Review. She loves inspiring people to be more creative in everyday life.

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2 comments

  • Tom @ Waegook Tom December 12, 2012  

    Love these shots. And fall IS the best time to visit Korea, not “one of” the best times, in my opinion anyway (summer’s too hot, winter’s too cold, spring is too wet). The autumn colours here make me happy as does seeing these photos…but later, I’ll have to go outside again and perilously slip and slide my way back home. Stupid winter.

  • Scarlett December 12, 2012  

    Absolutely gorgeous pics – the colours are beautiful xx

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