Day 2 – Damyang Bamboo Festival
You know you have bitten off more then you can chew, when you promise to blog an event, then end up taking over 878 photos. Sitting down to this daunting task I have no idea where to even start. I have to somehow narrow the collection down to 8 – 10 main pictures and possibly 25 for the gallery. Such is the life of a blogger I guess.
I guess I was more tired then I thought I was, and once again time slipped away sleeping in. We did not get started from the hotel until after 10am. The Korean Tourist website was spot on with the directions for once, and we were able to find the correct bus at the back of Gwanju Station. It would have been possible to take one of the first KTX trains from Gwanju, which would have put us at Gwanju Yak at about the same time. However arriving the night before and staying in a hotel was definitely the right choice to make. It also allowed us to stay later at the festival.
Traveling out of the city of Gwanju on a completely packed bus for about 40 minutes brought us right to the festival. I always am amazed at the Korean public transportation.
The festival was broken up into two parts, On one side of the bridge there was the Bamboo forest and cultural exhibit that is open year round, which includes the bamboo forest and Korean Cultural village. On the other side of the river there was set up the entertainment portion of the festival. This included a bamboo raft ride (Which of course was not operating.), fishing with bamboo baskets, Native North American dancing (I am as confused by this as you are.), and a demonstration of traditional Korean dancing and music
We decided to tackle the Bamboo forest first, though crowded it was very comfortable hiking along the trails with tall bamboo on both sides. I would not mind coming back to the
park during the week when there is not a festival occurring to take in the full experience.
During our journey we met a troupe of friendly circus pandas, who were nice enough to lead us to some refreshing waterfalls, and introduced us to more members of the family and I was able to practice some more waterfall photography.
We then came across a Korean Village cultural exhibit, and observed the intricate process of fan making. The artist had quite a number of families around him, and it was allot fun of photographing him. Whenever I go these places it is hit and miss as far as how comfortable they are. So you start our conservatively and slowly work around to getting the shot you want.After finishing our trek through the Bamboo forest of Damyang, it was time to head over to the entertainment side of the festival. Now here is where I really started having some fun with the camera. As you can see I literally used every lens in my kit this weekend. Which is rather surprising since I normally do not take my 70-200 f4L with me any more.. However I am very glad I did, because I did use it! Again once I felt comfortable with were I was alowed to shoot, the 50, and 85mm lens’ were put back on.
Going to the entertainment side of the river we will start out with the bamboo basket fishing. I was not dressed for the occasion so I was not able to participate. So I just sat back and practiced with the long lens, watching others have all the fun. I was trying to get Mi Jung to take part so i could get some good pictures of her, but it was not to be.
Walking away from the river, letting our be our ears be our guides, led us to the entertainment pavilion, where I was shocked to find a Native American Dance / New Age fusion band playing.
It wasn’t long after I started photographing the Native American band that the main traditional Korean Performance started. Again not knowing were my boundaries as a photographer stood. I started with the 70-200 f4, and after they moved back to the stage I felt more comfortable going in with the prime lenses.
The musical performance broke for a Taekwondo Performance. I normally do not put the camera in spray and pray mode, but one of the areas, of photography I would like to get into is sports.. So I figured what the heck. time to go to 1/2000 of a second Shutter Priority (Tv), and see what happens.
Immediately following the Teakwood demonstration, the Korean Drummers took the stage for an exciting finale that included the Buk, this is the large drum center stage that is similar to the Japanese Taiko. Which is used as a temple Court drum. The spiritual purpose is to chase away evil spirits. After a few establishing shots with my long lens. I switched to the prime lenses and shot directly in front of the performers right up to the stage. I had to laugh because there was a drunk man dancing at the foot of the stage.. I used him as cover, figuring if security was not removing him that meant I could go up and take pictures. At one point when I was using the 85mm. He started dancing right in front of me. One of the professional photographers that were with the event. We shall call him Nikon Man for the purpose of the blog came up and bodily moved him away. Nikon Man did not say anything to me, so I guess I was OK.. J Perhaps with my 5D and red ringed lenses he figured I was with foreign press.. (One can dream..)
We decided to call it a day after the performance, and returned to the hotel, knowing that we still had a long day ahead of us at Unjusa the next day. I enjoyed the festival, and had a great day playing photographer. I would really like to go back to the park when there was not a festival going on. The environment seemed like it would be very relaxing.
Directions to Damyang Bamboo Forest:
From Seoul – Take the KTX from Yangsan Station (Yal) to Gwanju or Gwanju Songjeong station, take a taxi to the bus terminal at U-Square, then bus 180 or 181 to Damyang Bamboo Forest.