Apr 062024

Chooch keeps arguing that no one in his class has gotten proper senior portraits taken and even if that’s true (doubtful), I was not letting him get out of this. It’s MOMMY’S LAST CHANCE to photograph her surly son, you know? Let me have this.

Anyway, I wanted to get some nice pictures of him while we were in Korea because of the aesthetics of course, but also because it’s meaningful. I haven’t decided which ones to get printed for friends and family yet, but here are the contenders!

We took these at one of the smaller palaces, RIGHT when it opened to avoid the surge of tourists. However, we had to contend with a throng of older Asian gentlemen who were lining up at the gates with their big-ass paparazzi camera equipment. Was there going to be a celebrity appearance at the Changgyeonggung Palace? NOPE, just spring blossoms. You guys, the older population go NUTS over cherry blossoms, magnolia blossoms, any type of colorful blossom in March is subject to exploitation. And when I say they are packing $$$$$ lenses, I mean it. It’s like TMZ-levels of photography.

These first three photos were taken on the walk to the palace:

I had to take this one extremely fast because the pap were gaining on us.

If we’re Instagram friends, you might have seen that Chooch actually let us buy him a jacket while we were there! NOT because he was cold, don’t even think that. But we wandered into a vintage shop in Insadong and the sweetest halmeoni helped Chooch decided on a jacket. She even gave my arm a loving squeeze at one point and said we were a pretty family and gave us candy and called me umma – this was the best trip to Korea yet. I felt like I belonged there this time more than ever, like what even was my past life because I am sure it involved Korea somehow.

It’s the only explanation.

This palace was just as beautiful as the other more “popular” ones. My tip to you if you ever go to Korea, if you want great pictures without a million tourists in hanbok milling about in the background, come to this one when it opens at 9 and enjoy the serenity and peacefulness. (We were there in March so this might be just as nuts in the summer as the other main palaces, so don’t come for me!)


Obviously this isn’t a contender for senior portrait prints, but I liked the composition of this one!

Celebrity blossoms.

I like this one because you can see the city and a glimpse of Namsan Tower behind his head. It’s nuts how much ancient history is interspersed with the modern city. Seoul is amazing.

Also! We finally saw our first  (AND ONLY) squirrel in Korea here in this palace! Chooch took this photo for me and when one of the old guy photogs saw Chooch pointing the SLR at a tree, he came scurrying over not wanting to miss a bloom I guess. But then when he saw the subject matter was a squirrel, he still seemed into it so he joined Chooch and started snapping away, as well. It was kind of adorable.

I posted a picture of the squirrel on Instagram using what I thought was the Korean word for squirrel, but Jiyong saw it and corrected me via Kakao Talk because the word I used was actually for chipmunk! Fuck you, Google Translate! Jiyong said that actually, most Koreans don’t even know the word for squirrel and just default to chipmunk and that there are more squirrels in the US than in Korea, apparently! What a great morning and learning experience.

I have more non-Chooch pictures from that day so we will revisit with more words (yay for you) at some point. Wow, look forward to that!

Say it don't spray it.

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