This past summer my family and I went on a trip to Jeungdo (전라남도증도), an island in South Jeolla province off the western coast South Korea. Jeungdo is a designated “slow city” due to its laid-back farming lifestyle and small population. It is also recognized by UNESCO as a special area for biodiversity conservation thanks to the abundance of tidal flats in the area. Overall, Jeungdo is a quiet, charming island that offers a unique Korean countryside experience.
For me, the initial attraction was the Taepyeong Salt Farm (태평염전), which is the largest sun-dried salt farm in Korea:
Exploring the island a bit more, you will find yourself surrounded by tidal flats, a.k.a. mudflats that gives the place a different feel from the usually hilly Korean terrain:
The tidal flats make a perfect home for animals such as crab and mudskippers. The aptly named “Mudskipper Bridge” (짱뚱어다리) takes you across the mudflats and gives you a great view of the landscape:
One of my favorite destinations on this trip would have to be Hwado “화도”. This is a small island to the south which has a unique feature: a land bridge that disappears during high tide! Take note this is the only way to get to the island besides taking a boat (or flying or swimming :D).
The bridge is about a kilometer or so long, and is best taken on foot IMHO. Proceeding slowly across the bridge will let you experience great views such as these:
Here’s a panorama of the bridge to Hwado:
Hwado itself is a very small island with some small pension hotels and a few interesting spots. The most famous attraction there is a house where a well-known Korean drama was filmed. I personally preferred the other sights:
These images only scratch the surface of the beauty that is Jeungdo. I was only there for three days and, as with any location, the more time you have, the better. If I were younger and single, I’d definitely prefer to explore the island on a bike or scooter. When you’re not out shooting photos or exploring, there’s a white sand beach there (우전비치) whose sand rivals tropical beaches. Overall, it was a short but sweet trip that left me wanting more.
Click here more information on Jeungdo, including how to get there, from Korea Tourism Organization.
As with any family trip, I packed light for this one. I brought along my standard travel kit, which consists of a Fujifilm X100s, WCL-X100 wide angle converter, Cokin P-series filter system, cable release and Joby Gorillapod. I have come to love this system and the space and weight it saves.
As for tips and tricks, the following points were utilized during this trip (basic stuff, really):
1. Timing is everything for landscape photos. Be in the right place before sunrise and sunset to get the best light.
2. For shots in not so ideal light, a graduated neutral density (ND GRAD) filter will at least help you balance the exposure for the land and sky.
3. Do you research. Maps, image search, and weather forecasts are all very valuable information. Google is awesome for this. Naver if is great too if you know Hangul. Seeing exact locations, tomorrow’s weather, sunrise/sunset times, and images that have been taken in those locations will help you plan your route and even your shots.
4. The family men will definitely be able to relate with this one. If you are traveling with your family, budgeting time to shoot is even more challenging. In an ideal world, we would be able to devote all our time for long solo treks shooting picturesque locations. We don’t always get that. When it’s a family trip, make it a family trip. Get up early before everyone else and get your shooting done before breakfast. Enjoy the day with your family then go see the sunset together.