Welcome to our Asia Photo Guidebook. Enjoy exploring the beauty of Asia.
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A Trip to Biei, Hokkaido with Photographer Courtney Esson
Courtney takes us with her on her trip to Biei, Hokkaido: ”The small town of Biei in Japan’s most Northern main Island, Hokkaido, is filled with picturesque landscapes merely waiting to be captured and explored. It’s winding countryside lanes lie between endless rolling fields where the trees are famous for creating simple compositions. This desolate and timeless canvas is heaven for minimalist winter photography.” (more…)
Courtney Esson: ”Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest mountain, dominates the sky at Fujigoko. My gaze couldn’t stop searching for it, as I explored the Northern foot of the hill, its small towns, forests, and lakes. Fuji’s beautifully symmetrical ridge lines lead up to the snow-capped peak, as clear as day on a sunny Winter morning. Strong icy winds rendered my travel-sized tripod useless as I searched for compelling compositions. It drives an array of weather through the countryside, drawn like a magnet to the summit of the mountain. Winter at Fujigoko sees unexpected frequently changing elements. I watched in wonder as, within minutes, bright blue skies became dark, swirling storm clouds engulfing the volcano. My frozen fingers hurriedly worked to accommodate the sudden decrease in light with more prolonged exposure, presuming that once Mount Fuji had completely concealed it was unlikely to reappear again.(more…)
Courtney Esson shares her photographs and reflection on the lives of the people of Kampong Phluk, ‘the floating village’, Cambodia.”To create a connection to the lifestyle of local people, I prefer to travel out of the cities and into rural towns to get a taste of local flavor. In the village of Kampong Phluk, locals live in wooden houses built on high stilts along the rivers. Locals learn to operate colorful boats at a young age to adapt to living on floodplains. Taking a boat through the village offers an insight into the hardships and adversity locals face daily.”(more…)
Shanae explains about her brief encounter with the Sea women of Jeju: “I couldn’t help but gaze in awe as I snapped shots of the Haenyeo (Jeju women divers) entering the ocean to harvest their food. This wasn’t the first time that day I had marveled at these women. Prior to their descent, I had watched the women divers sway back and forth with their nets and floats, mimicking the motion of a rocking boat as they sang their jovial labor song, “Ieodo-sana”. It was almost impossible for me to capture this moment on camera, as their contagious movements and merry voices bewitched me. After the group had finished their song, I locked eyes with one of the women and we smiled at each other. The music had briefly connected us, even though we didn’t speak the same language.“
Courtney Esson tells us about her travels and observation of the Khmer Monks living in Phnom Kulen National Park, Siem Reap, Cambodia:
“It’s no surprise that some of my most influential images of South East Asia come from the people of Cambodia, a culture of welcoming, open, and humble people. Khmer monks occupy their own social class and are highly respected. They live privately, studying, working, and housing together in pagodas and abide by a monastic way of life. Brightly clad in orange robes, they create a fascinating subject, unmistakable among the country’s’ religious monuments. Within the sacred mountain of Phnom Kulen they join the multitude of tourists and locals come to enjoy nature, but in a secluded corner by a waterfall. The monks cool off in the water away from tourists, social engagement with women, something that requires careful attention, and locals maintain their highly regarded views.
Here I felt as though I had been allowed to witness something wonderfully intimate. The moments of genuine, pure emotion I was able to capture reflected my thoughts of the Khmer people. Despite a history of hardship, there was always an environment of sincerity and warmth that came to define my experience and make Cambodia one of my favorite travel destinations. These images were not taken to shock or impress but reflect an authentic, candid moment of identified and genuine emotion.”(more…)
Coming to South Korea is an amazing adventure. One of the biggest sites in Seoul is the first palace, built at the start of the Joseon dynasty. It’s one of my favorite places to go and photograph. Relax and explore, look for something interesting to shoot. When the sun sets the palace gates are lit up beautifully. Using slow shutter speed and waiting for the right moment, I photographed the gate with a middle-aged woman quickly passing by to escape the cold winter air.(more…)
We arrived in Japan at Osaka airport and quickly departed for the city first to check out a few sights before grabbing a bite at that popular Kyukatsu place. With a bit of time to spare we took a little look around some of the small back streets. The signs, the Japanese script, the bright lights and contrast presented to us the opportunity to take my favorite type of photograph. The high contrast, black and white photographs. Setting up a tripod on the spot, adjusting the settings, and getting that beautiful slow motion shot of the locals strolling by. Though Satisfied with some gorgeous photographs, I eagerly look forward to returning to explore further the beauty of Osaka City. (more…)