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I go on photography trips often. I usually try to head out once or twice a week to take night photos. It’s one of the biggest benefits of photography for me, it makes me explore, it makes me experience. I honestly can’t imagine ever visiting places like 응봉산 if it wasn’t for photography.
The other day I had my biggest photography success yet. My friend approached me on Instagram and asked if it was okay to share some of my photos on ‘a website he visits often’, and I agreed. I often don’t want to allow the use of my photos, but I guess that’s something every photographer faces. Should I allow free use of my images? Or should I possibly miss this opportunity? Well anyway, since he was my friend and he was just sharing my Instagram photos I figured that was totally fine.
The next morning I woke up after having gained about 250 followers and having received tons of messages. I had no idea what had happened until someone messaged me and said ‘I saw your photos on Kakao’. Kakao? I wondered how they got there. Well, it turns out my friend had posted the photos to Daum (A Korean search engine), and overnight they had gone viral. I asked the friendly person who messaged me where on Kakao they found me… They said ‘congratulations on getting on the front page of Kakao!’ Huh? They showed me the article and how they had found it.
For anyone that doesn’t know me or can’t read Korean, the bottom post is mine.
It turns out it had been shown on the front page of KakaoTalk and it had over 300,000 views just overnight. I was stunned! I don’t know what happened… If it just happened to go viral, someone influential found it, or if my friend is somewhat famous, but it was there! The kind person sent me a screenshot from Kakao (the front page changes very fast) and said I could share it anywhere I wanted.
I couldn’t believe it then, and I almost still can’t! 324,842 views. This was really a big moment for me.
So moving forward, I found a lot more inspiration to go out and take photos again. After a few photo trips, I got a message from my new friend asking if I had ever been to 응봉산. I said that I hadn’t and asked why. They sent me some pictures and the view looked stunning! I decided that it was somewhere I wanted to visit and decided to go in the next weekend.
After my friend’s recent offer to accompany me on any photographic trip I might take, I asked if he wanted to come with me again. He quickly agreed and we planned to visit at about 10 pm. It was a little late as the subways closed on the way home, but the mountain itself was quite populated. It wasn’t overly crowded, but there were a decent amount of people there.
The mountain is located right next to another river that splits from the Han River. Both of these rivers can be seen from the top though, as well as Namsan Tower, Lotte Tower, about 10 different Han River bridges (including, I believe, Banpo), and Seoul Forest. In short, you can see pretty much the nicest view of the city from here.
I often climb these mountains that are scattered around Seoul… Just look at my blog! Naksan, Bukhansan, Namsan, Eungbongsan, and hopefully more in the future. I believe that by now I have seen many of the views that Seoul has to offer (although, by no means have I found them all). 응봉산 surprised me though as I wasn’t really expecting much. I had seen the pictures when I decided to search it, but I wasn’t expecting this view!
The best bit about these mountains and views is that they are so easily accessible. The walk up 응봉산 is short and quite easy. You can either choose to walk up the road or to walk up the nearby paths. Either is a great option depending on your preference. Walking up the road you will come across some beautiful looking houses (with amazing views!), but taking the footpath will give you a nice view of the nearby river (and the Han once you get near the top).
It is hard to get the shots that I want when I am limited to a 50mm prime lens on my camera (a lens that cannot zoom in or out, it has a fixed field of view). A wide angled lens would be much better for this situation… Something that is actually capable of capturing the whole scene. But I tried my best to capture the moment with what I had.
There are a lot of trees near the top, so I had a hard time getting the perfect shot. (especially with a tripod when the plants are moving all the time). However, if you move around a bit and try different angles then it is definitely possible.
This is yet another place that I would recommend to anyone visiting Seoul, any photographer, or as a date location. It is off the beaten path for nearly all tourists, but it is easily (in my opinion) the best view of Seoul. Further, it is easy to get to and relatively central.
Every different side of the mountain provides a different view of the city. Looking south you will see the Han River, east is Lotte Tower, and to the west is Namsan Tower. I can’t say it enough, the view is very beautiful.
Thank you to my friend who took this photo for me. He also took my header image!
응봉산 Is located right next to the Han River (north side), next to Oksu and Wangsimni stations.
It is a very short walk to the beginning of the mountain, and a short 15-minute walk will take you to the top.
To reach the top of the mountain simply leave the station via exit 1 and follow the red line. It is an easy to follow walk and you wont get lost! Just head up.
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