Han River Traffic
Korea,  Outdoors,  Photography,  Seoul,  Summer

A Photographic Journey Along the Han River.

Sometimes I go out with the intention of taking informative photos. Photos that will be helpful for visitors and photos that help explain my writing. However, the other day I needed some new photos for Instagram and I thought that the Han River (more specifically, Yeouido) was the perfect place. I asked my friend if he wanted to visit with me, and to my excitement, he agreed. The river is amazing at night and I took a lot of photos, some of which I want to share.

I labelled this post as a ‘photographic’ journey, rather than a normal post. But what does this mean? I want to try to show the splendour of the river in photographs instead of writing. They say a photo is worth a thousand words, so this is going to be a very wordy post! The intention of this post isn’t to provide useful information to visitors. Rather it is to show the beauty of this amazing country and city.

If you would like some information though, feel free to ask as always. I will make a visitor orientated post in the future, so don’t forget to sign up for emails (on the right hand side of this page) to keep updated in the future!

(If you would like to see the images in a bigger resolution, please click on them and give them a few seconds to load)

 

My friend and I headed out to Hapjeong at about 6:30 so as to reach the river as the sun was setting. We took our skateboards to ride and I took my tripod and camera in my backpack. We got to the river just as the sun was setting… Really it was perfect timing! The river wasn’t very busy, but there were a fair few people out and about, enjoying their evening.

After spending about 30 minutes by the Hapjeong bridge we decided it would be really cool to skate over to Yeouido, which is essentially an island sitting in the middle of the river. It’s very famous in Seoul and popular as a (very crowded) picnic location. Many people visit here in summer to enjoy chicken and beer and to experience the nice atmosphere that the river provides.

 

 

We weren’t sure initially if we could actually follow the bridge across the river since it was hard to find any stairs, but we did find some in the end. One of the best parts of the bridges crossing the river is the stunning views that they provide. Every bridge has such a unique yet beautiful view out over the river.

I underestimated the brightness when we first arrived, and to my dismay, I wasn’t able to get any nice long exposures. The light was far too bright to increase the exposure, and I don’t have a filter for this lens yet. However, after the sunset, we could see the amazing sight that the river beholds.

 

 

I wanted to get right down to the water level. Meaning I had to climb down the concrete bank. There were signs that distinctly said no fishing within 50 metres, but the fisherman that I was taking photos next to didn’t care at all. Considering how dirty the water was though, I wonder if there were actually any fish!

 

 

I have been across many of the Han River bridges in the past few years. As a photographer, they naturally attract me. From the harrowing experience I had on Banpo Bridge, to the nighttime beauty of Dongjak Bridge, every bridge is unique and provides a completely different view of the city.

Further, all of these bridges (to my knowledge) have footpaths and can easily be crossed on foot, bike, or whatever you prefer. If you would like to take some amazing photos, then I would recommend these bridges to everyone! Along with Namsan Tower, and maybe Lotte Tower, they provide some of the most picturesque locations in Seoul.

 

 

I love night photos, I don’t know why, but I do. Maybe it’s because you have to be patient to get the perfect shot? (making it feel like you really worked towards creating the photo). Or maybe it’s just because there’s a different type of beauty at night. I have no idea, but they are definitely my favourite.

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a photo that I really liked. Well… Honestly, it’s been a long time since I even took one that I felt proud of! But finally, while walking across the bridge, I got a new photo that I really like. It’s funny, but nearly all of my favourite photos come from the Han, and they are nearly all night shots. Maybe it just shows my love of long exposure photography!

 

 

That’s all for today, but I would love to know what you think of this post. I wanted to try something a little new, and I would love to see what everyone has to say! I will definitely be heading out to take some night shots again soon.

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23 Comments

  • Odessa

    The river definitely has plenty of cool spots along it and it invites photography. I think evening shots are naturally more dynamic, more organic contrast in the play of colors, shadow, and light. That’s why it’s such a great time for pictures. I like the long exposure you got of the traffic.

    • Ethan Brooke

      I would go as far as to say it’s the best place in Seoul to take photos. Yeah, I totally agree with that. I guess that’s why the call it the Golden Hour! Thank you 🙂

  • Alla Ponomareva

    I also really like your long exposure shot, simply because its one of those things that you have to truly plan for. Bring a tripod, pick a spot, set it up, then figure out your exposure and keep shooting until you’re satisfied. Sometimes its the first, sometimes its the last shot, but I think that’s what photography is about – preparing, doing and repeating 🙂

    • Ethan Brooke

      I totally agree with that! I think the difference between a photo and a work of art is the (usually – sometimes spur of the moment shots are fantastic!) planning to get the perfect shot. Usually these shoots take me over an hour… just because each separate photo is over 30 seconds!

  • Don

    Nice work, looks like you had a successful and fun trip out to the Han, creating new ‘miracles of the Han’, if you know what that means. Call me up sometime, I’ll gladly come out and join you if your friend is not available!

  • Hallie

    The Han River at night really is beautiful. I like how the light reflects on the water. Quite beautiful. Some of my favorite shots are from night on the Han as well. You should try to go again when the big Yeouido fireworks fest is taking place. The light reflecting from the fireworks is really stunning along the lights from the banks.

  • Majid

    Stunning pictures… your pictures literally made me fall in love with Seoul even more.. btw what camera are you using? coz even the ones captured at night are so perfect..

    • Ethan Brooke

      Thank you very much! I use the Sony A7Rii… I love the camera so much. I was using Nikon DSLR’s (and Canon before), but after going Sony I’ll never go back.

  • Eliza

    What beautiful pictures! They really do justice to the beautiful views of Korea. The sun setting and the rivers here provide such inspiration for photographers (even newbies like myself). I always find myself stopping to enjoy the views because there are so many beautiful ones. Thanks for sharing your views! I’ll definitely have to do a walk along the Han river to see them in person! Very inspiring!

    • Ethan Brooke

      Thanks so much! I’m glad I can inspire some people… that’s my favourite part about blogging and photography, so that means a lot to me. Thank you!

  • NATASHA

    I really like the last two photos, particularly, the last one. I also like enjoying night scenes by water cause I think it’s quite peaceful. Nice work.

    • Ethan Brooke

      The last one is by far my favourite. I love the contrast between the bright yellow and the dark black. And the reflections too… thank you 🙂

    • Ethan Brooke

      I’m glad you are enjoying them! It’s a lot of effort to always be posting images like these, but I am trying my best to keep up haha.

  • Karla

    Those are great shots! I’ve been to Han River many times but I only use camera phone to take pictures. LOL. Take a picture of the Banpo Bridge’s Rainbow Fountain too. <3

    • Ethan Brooke

      Thank you! I think that anything can make good photos though, it’s just a matter of time (and at night a tripod haha). I have tried to take photos there before, but every time I go the lights seem to be off!

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