Ewha kittenThose who know me, make sure you’re sitting down: I spent a lot of money at the weekend. A decent camera is something I’ve been promising myself for quite some time now, and with a trip to picturesque Canada coming up (I hope – we’re supposed to be leaving next week and all flights are still booked solid) I reasoned it was time to get something I could actually adjust the focus on. One trip to Namdaemun Market later, I was one used Canon EOS 350D (styled the Digital Rebel) heavier and several hundred thousand won lighter. I quickly discovered that I had been sold a duff USB cable, and the world was denied my first photographs for 24 hours while I went and got a new one.

Seoul sunsetWith few demands on my time on Sunday, I took a walk around Ewha Womans University’s leafy campus and tried to get my head round what constitutes “good” light. I am a very, very long way off using my camera on manual mode, or even being able to judge suitable aperture/shutter settings, but took some pride in not using the fully automatic or pre-set modes. Taking genuinely good photographs will require significant time and study, and I look forward to not being someone who owns a reasonable camera and doesn’t take advantage of the creative control it offers.

Korea is chock-full of amateur photographers, and it’s a rare day when I don’t pass several people heaving gigantic telephoto lenses around or posing for a quick shot. I suspect I’ll be quite overwhelmed for the first few months (but apparently gained some street cred among people who know their photography by eschewing the sub-standard kit lens and going with a standard 50 mm) but am quietly happy to have this pastime at last.

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