The worst snowstorms in 32 years hit Jeju this past weekend. The three days of blizzards and gale force winds shutdown the airport for the weekend, and most schools were closed on Monday. Perfect time to step out into the Jeju winter and get some cool photos.
Having lived half of my life ten minutes away from Lake Erie in Northern Ohio, I’m no stranger to blizzards and snow. However, I must say that I was very impressed and exhilarated with this storm in the middle of my third Jeju winter. There were times when I would look out my window and I’d barely be able to see ten feet in front of me. Then several minutes later, I’d look back out and it’d be clear with snowflakes gently falling. It was on and off like this for three days straight.
Several weather records were broken as well. Quoted from the Jeju Weekly’s article Coldest January since records began lead to travel chaos – “The Korea Meteorological Agency says that Jeju City recorded its lowest ever January temperature on Sunday, Jan 24, when the mercury dipped to minus 5.8°c.” It was quite a formidable snowstorm to say the least, and not what I have come to expect during a Jeju winter.
Being the curious and active photographer that I am, I couldn’t help but venture out into the heart of the storm to capture some exemplary shots. I first went out just before the sun set on Saturday to capture a few shots of the snowstorm around my apartment. Below is a gallery of those first images (click any shot to view as a slideshow).
Soon after I returned home, the editor of The Jeju Weekly messaged me, “Are you able to get any shots of this madness??” He then went on to tell me that he had to get his car towed after skidding on an icy road, and he’d appreciate some traffic-themed shots for the paper to show the ‘madness’ of it all.
I was already getting ready to walk the 30 minutes from my house to the Jeju City Hall area to meet some friends for dinner, but I wasn’t planning on taking my camera out during the snowstorm. After the text though, I changed my mind and took out my Canon 60D (my backup camera, but still weatherproof!) with the 50 mm f/1.4 lens (a great, sharp, light, inexpensive lens for daily use) and plunged into the night snowstorm.
It was preeeeety crazy out to be honest. It was an adventure though and I’m really glad I took my camera out at the times I did, even though it was bitingly cold, windy and quite dangerous. Below is a gallery of photos from that walk.
Side note: After dinner, there was a great open-mic show and party at a local bar named The Factory. I took some photos for fun and even managed to play a couple Johnny Cash songs. Check out the photos here on my Facebook page if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
Final Days of the Snowstorm
The next two days were spent vegging out, watching movies, editing photos, eating food hidden in the freezer, and then one more adventure out to capture more of the madness of the snowy Jeju winter. The rest of my shots are below.
That sums up the photos from the three day blizzard. I’d just like to share a few more photos of the Jeju winter that I’ve taken in the past couple years. As you can see, every shot shows snow in it, but only at or near the top of Hallasan, Korea’s highest mountain. In my experience, that is the norm – if you want to see snow in a Jeju winter, you must go up the mountain and into Hallasan National Park. Last weekend proved this ‘norm’ wrong though.
Basically, the past weekend was very exciting but also abnormal. As I sit here finishing the post with the sound of heavy rain outside my window, I can’t help but wonder when the next snowstorm will be, and also about how much man-made climate change had to do with all of this. That’s a topic too deep for my writing brain, but I am going to plug an excellent book here, which you most definitely should read if you are interested in learning more about climate (change) vs. capitalism. Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything.
Bonus: Finally, as I have been known to do in previous posts, I will share a relevant photo from my daughter Lila’s life.
Have you ever experienced any snowstorms or abnormal weather events? Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed and thanks for commenting and sharing if you can.