After my Year in Review Part I and Top 10 Photos, this post will be my final look back at 2022 before I dive head-first into the new year. Picking up from where we left off, let’s start this post off in July of 2022.
Finally, after two years of limited movement, borders were opening back up and international flights were starting to return to normal. I had not been back home to the Philippines since January of 2020 and I was raring to go. My usual port of entry/exit, Gimhae International Airport, has relatively lower travel volume than Incheon so it took a while for them to bring back direct flights from Busan to Manila. I kept a close watch on this and when they finally announced flights, I booked the very first one out!
I actually didn’t take that many photos for myself during this trip. I focused on spending time with family and friends (rightly so). However, I was lucky enough to book a few days of work in Ilocos, where I shot photos for a coffee table book project. I’ll share those images when I can. Incidentally, a strong earthquake happened a few days after our shoot, which damaged some of the areas we photographed! Here are some of the few phone snaps (and one camera shot) I took during that trip.
Three weeks flew by and it was time to go back to Korea. However, a fairly large wrench (or ‘spanner’ as some of my friends would say) was thrown into the works. A day before my flight, I tested positive for COVID-19. I could not leave for at least another week while I completed my mandatory quarantine. Thankfully it was mild overall.
I actually had a pretty big shoot scheduled at Lotte World Busan, but because of COVID, I couldn’t make it. Fortunately, my supposed assistant for that job, Dylan Goldby stepped up to the plate and made the shoot happen. I continued to work from behind my computer, coordinating and eventually post processing the images. It was a success despite the situation. Thank goodness for friends and colleagues you can trust.
A week later, I finally made it back to Korea and back to work. I went over to Ahopsan bamboo forest in Busan to work with the Boyington family, who flew in from Canada. I had actually never been to Ahopsan before and kept wondering to myself what took me so long.
The next day, it was off to Goryeo Hospital in Tongyeong. The doctors needed some portraits to put on the hospital website and use for their ads. They opted to do composites for the finished products, so my task was to provide portraits on a plain background, one for each doctor.
Then it was back to Seoul for a couple of shoots. First was our regular gig with Foot Locker, followed by an engagement shoot with Leon and Valerie at Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung Palaces.
My next assignment brought me out to KINTEX to work with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (AusTrade). I was tasked with covering their booth at the H2 Meet hydrogen industry exhibition, as well as their tech seminar speakers.
Up next was the AVCJ Private Equity and Venture Forum at the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul. The whole-day event brought together over 500 participants from 20 countries.
Amidst the work, I still managed to get out and shoot some personal images. One particular day, I was just feeling kind of down, so I decided to take an evening walk and bring my camera along. It was a good decision and really helped clear the mind.
Then it was back up to Seoul to meet up with my good friend and colleague Greg Samborski. It was his first trip back to Korea since 2018 and it was great to hang out and work with him again. Cosmetics company Purito was launching a new product in Gangnam, and we were there to cover the event.
A few days later, it was off to the British Embassy in Seoul to photograph the BCCK Garden Party. This was another event that was brought back in full force for 2022. It was great to see the embassy garden bustling and in full decor once again. Greg Samborski was also there to provide additional images as well as good company between shooting. Always a pleasure, bud.
Then it was off to Busan to work with Kayla and family. This maternity and family shoot was actually delayed a couple of times due to the baby giving signals that he might be coming into the world very soon. The shoot eventually panned out and we had a nice afternoon shooting at Haeundae Beach, a mere couple of days before the baby was born. 🙂
October was a special month because my mom and sister came to visit for a few weeks. Of course, we had to spend a week in Seoul. I managed to get a few shots while we were wandering the streets.
One unexpected addition to my mom and sister’s Korea itinerary was a trip to the tattoo studio. Mom had actually been wanting to get inked since college, and now they could make that dream come true. We got in touch with a very talented tattoo artist to design and ink matching tattoos for them. Of course, I was there to document the special event and take portraits afterwards.
Between the touristy activities with my family in Seoul, I also managed to squeeze in a bit of work. One of these assignments was the Taste of Australia 2.0 at the Millennium Seoul Hilton. Following up its predecessor from a few months before, this event offered an even bigger showcase of Aussie food and beverage.
I also got to work with Dulwich College Seoul for a couple of sports-related events that week. The school welcomed Liverpool Legend Jason McAteer onto the campus for the SC Bank LFC Soccer School. There were several training sessions across two days with students from various schools participating.
Then it was off to various places across the country for some more sightseeing goodness with my mom and sister. An unexpected highlight of these travels was Geumjeong-Gu in Busan, which turned out to be one of my favorite street photography trips of the year.
Then we went to Sacheon air field to check out the 2022 Sacheon Air Show. The highlight of the show was the Black Eagles, the Korean Air Force’s special flight team. They put on an impressive show and I got to try a type of photography that I normally don’t do.
For the last leg of their Korean tour, I brought my mom and sister to the historic city of Gyeongju. There, we enjoyed the ancient architecture and nature, which of course includes the famous pink muhly grass.
November rolled around and it was back to work. The first assignment of the month was a 3-day conference with FWD Group. Any event coordinated by MCI is bound to be great, and this one was no exception.
Between jobs, I made sure to go out and photograph some autumn foliage around Tongyeong.
Then it was back up to Seoul to work with Joanne and family at Changgyeonggung Palace. We were able to catch the last bits of autumn foliage before winter rolled around.
Up next was the KGCCI Innovation awards, which Dylan and I have been photographing together since 2018. It was good to see it back in full for 2022.
Then it was off to the Floating Islands to photograph a media launch for an international cosmetics company. The photos from this event are pretty tightly controlled, but this shot should give you an idea of which A-List Korean celebrities were present.
The next assignment brought me back to Dulwich College Seoul for a graduation event. Immediately after, we did a portrait session with their Head of College, Gudmundur Jonsson. We picked a few spots around the school to do some environmental portraits.
At this point, the busy season was beginning to wind down for the winter. Nature gave me one last chance to take some landscape photos before saying goodbye to autumn 2022. I woke up one morning to some beautiful fog outside my window.
Closing off the year of assignments were a couple of jobs from my regular clients: the Dulwich College Winter Bazaar and the BCCK Christmas Lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul. Again, the flagship winter event was brought back bigger than ever for 2022 and did not disappoint.
I actually had some more shoots scheduled toward the end of December. However, I got thrown a curveball and the last couple of weeks of the year was spent mostly in isolation. Yup, I got COVID again – two times in the span of 6 months. I’m guessing I picked up the virus in a packed IMAX movie theater watching Avatar 2. It was my birthday weekend and I was feeling good. I let my guard down and enjoyed my popcorn and drink, barely paying attention to the person or people constantly coughing behind me. A few days later, I was hit hard with the virus, much harder than the first time.
I’m feeling much better as I write this. It was a humbling, perhaps necessary reminder that we are not totally out of the woods yet. As a result, I am entering the new year with a balance of enthusiasm and caution. Still, I’m really looking forward to what 2023 will bring. Things actually feel pretty normal overall after 2 years of weirdness. We are able to travel and do a lot of things we couldn’t for the past couple of years. The ‘new normal’ is becoming a reality and we are moving on.
Thank you for reading this far and joining me on my look back at my year in photography. I wish you all the best in the year to come!
2023 is here. Let’s dive in!
To see more Year in Review posts, click here.
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