Find the city view of Soul taken with T/S Lens.
Robert Koehler writes and takes photograph for Seoul-based publishing company Seoul Selection,
where he is the editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine SEOUL.
A native of Long Island, New York, he has lived in Korea since 1997.
FIND THE CITY VIEW OF SOUL TAKEN WITH T/S LENS.
Written by Robert Koehler
Few objects made by human hand fascinate, awe and terrify like the skyscraper.
The moment you step foot outside of Manhattan’s Penn Station, for example, your gaze is drawn upward, toward the heavens,
towards the tops of man-made valleys lined by towering cliffs of concrete, glass and steel.
In that instance, existence breaks its bond to the terrestrial plane. Life becomes vertical. To view a skyline is like gazing upon a flying city.
Though the United States birthed the skyscraper, it is in the great cities of Asia where high-rise towers are truly flourishing.
China alone completed 705 skyscrapers over 200 meters tall in 2017, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Korea, too, completed seven such towers last year, the third most behind China and the United States.
Home to many of Korea’s tallest buildings, including the recently completed Lotte World Tower, the fifth tallest building in the world at 555 meters, Seoul presents plenty of opportunities to photograph high-rises, both from above and below. For me, skyscrapers are strong, imposing subjects, the figures they cut against the horizon symbolizing the heights of ambition and human achievement. They are excellent platforms from which to shoot, too, vantage points with unparalleled views of the city below.
A sprawling city akin to Los Angeles, Seoul isn’t quite as vertical as New York, and its skyscrapers aren’t nearly as old – the Big Apple’s distinctive skyline goes back to at least the early 20th century. What Seoul’s cityscape has, though, is a youthful energy. If New York is a city of Gothic spires and Art Deco facades, Seoul is a city of soaring glass and steel, of digital light reflected in towering curtain walls, a city that offers a glimpse of the future.
a New Yorker, I feel an affinity for the Yeouido district, where the dense cluster of skyscrapers, many the headquarters of securities firms and other financial institutions, recalls the awesome verticality of Manhattan.
The observation deck of the 249 meter high 63 Building offers some of the best views in Seoul, not to mention some opportunities to have fun with the Samyang TS 24mm, using its tilt function to create diorama illusions of the city below. Open roof tops also provide vantage points to take in Yeouido’s glass and steel forest.
From below, the reflecting ponds of Yeouido Park and Yeouido Hangang Park beckon the cityscape photographer. The Samyang TS 24mm’s shift function comes in really handy here – it not only keeps my vertical lines straight, but also makes makes wonderful panoramas without the distortion that occurs when using non-TS lenses.
One of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, the Lotte World Tower naturally draws plenty of photographers. I enjoy shooting from the top of the tower and photographing the tower itself from the neighborhoods below. Seokchon Lake is an obvious spot from which to shoot, especially at night, when water reflects the tower’s colorful lights. The Lotte World Tower is big, it goes without saying, but again, the Samyang TS 24mm makes shooting panoramas easy.
Though the newer, posher neighborhoods south of the Hangang River host many of Seoul’s skyscrapers, the older, grittier districts north of the river boast many skyscrapers, too. In the historical Jongno, Myeong-dong and Eulijiro districts, the old commercial center of the city, soaring glass towers loom over webs of alleyways illuminated with the glow of neon and LED light. Around Gwanghwamun, high-rise office towers coexist in uneasy harmony with royal palaces and Confucian shrines centuries old. Here, every rooftop, every alleyway, every window tells a story, a story of a city running towards tomorrow, even with one foot firmly planted in the past.