This post is part of a series on my visit to the Korean Folk Village on the fourth day of my Holiday in Seoul, Korea. If you haven't read the first part, that's here: Korea Day 4 Part 1 - Seoul Metro.
There are a number of regular performances that they hold at the Korean Folk Village, with each event being held twice each day. The performances are:
- Acrobatics on a see-saw
- Tightrope walking
- Pungmul Farmers' Dance
- Traditional Korean Wedding
- Equestrian Feats
The only event we saw while we were there was the Equestrian Feats, which was very enjoyable to watch. The event started off with them doing a sort of synchronised horse dance to music.
Then a couple of riders went round the circular arena and showed off some fancy riding.
The riders also do a move where they jump off the horse, then back on while the horse is still going round. Next they picked up flags from the floor as they rode round, which is quite a difficult job.
After that they showed off their spear throwing skills by hitting a target with a spear while riding round. They also often show off their archery skills in a similar style at these performances, but they didn't do any archery this time.
And finally they did more fancy riding, such as riding standing upside down:
Riding with another person on their shoulders:
And riding standing up:
Unfortunately I didn't get many good photos. I think there were a number of reasons for this:
I think they had already started the show when we got there, so there wasn't much space to stand. I stood to one side of the arena, but it was still busy there, and some of my photos have fellow spectators impinging on the sides of the frame.
The location wasn't good either as it was away from the main stands, which is where the riders were putting their attention, so I mainly got shots of the riders with their backs to me.
Although I had a relatively slow shutter speed for my first few shots (around 1/40s), after a few shots I opened up the aperture from f/8 to f/5, which increased the shutter speed. Personally I much prefer the ones taken at a slower shutterspeed as the blurred background (from panning the shot) gives a greater impression of speed and draws your attention more to the subject.
Panning is also something I need more practice with as quite a few of the shots are composed badly due to my panning not keeping up with the horse.
Some of the photos are also badly composed because I was keeping the center focus point on the subject. Many cameras have an autofocus option so that if the subject you are tracking moves off the autofocus point you have selected, the camera will still continue tracking the subject. I think for the camera I was using (Nikon D200) this would have meant enabling Group Dynamic AF.
Many of the photos are out of focus. There are two things here:
- I could have changed my continuous autofocus settings so the shutter would fire only when the subject was actually in focus.
- A better camera and lens probably would have helped get more shots in focus
Just about all the photos were crooked. Not sure why, I guess I just wasn't seeing straight! I have straightened most of the ones I considered worth keeping when I processed them.
Some of the shots would have been better with a different focal length. The 18-70mm (28-105mm in 35mm terms) zoom lens I was using was a good choice in terms of the focal lengths it offered, just I wasn't good at choosing the best focal length to zoom to for each image.
I think it would also have been a good idea to use a longer focal length lens for just a few shots, to try and get some close-ups of the horses' and riders' faces.
So quite a few things I would try to do differently if I was trying to photograph this event again. The main thing that would help me improve is lots of practice.
When the event had finished we wandered off and came across the Seonangdang, the village shrine.