Snowy Jeju Winter

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.


jeju winter snow

Probably not smart using a camera at this point during the blizzard, but someone had to capture the moment right?

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.


saxophone player

Kyle plays a mean saxophone and looks good doing it.



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


Hallasan Jeju Winter

This was taken on the Yeongsil Trail.

Hallasan winter

Layers of a Jeju Winter, Seogwipo

hallasan in jeju winter

This was taken from the roof of my apartment building in Ora-dong, Jeju City.

hallasan jeju winter

This was taken from the Eorimok trail.



Bonus: Finally, as I have been known to do in previous posts, I will share a relevant photo from my daughter Lila’s life.


Jeju winter

Lila was cold, sniffly, wet, and not exactly happy with the outcome of our first snowman. She’s a cutie and a trooper though, so there weren’t any vocal complaints 😉


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.

  • Agus SiahaanJanuary 29, 2016 - 10:11 am

    Hi Eric, I really loves reading your blog and all your photos are amazing. Me and my family visited Jeju for 3 days last year on April and it was an amazing experience. Someday we will visit again 🙂

  • Megan IndoeJanuary 29, 2016 - 1:03 pm

    Wow, thanks for sharing your blizzard photos. It’s been pretty disappointing in Seoul this winter, it was cold last week, but we’ve barely had any snow. I had no idea that there was even a blizzard on Jeju! You’re far braver than I walking 30 minutes in a blizzard, and I’m from Northeast Ohio too… But I guess after moving to California for a few years I became a sensitive baby in snow again. Haha The photos are great, as always! Thanks for sharing.

  • IzzyJanuary 30, 2016 - 12:07 pm

    I’m so impressed by the clarity of your photos. I know you are a professional but seriously, the photos are so vivid I feel like I was actually there! And the little pic with your daughter and the snowman, so precious! I think you might know my friend Alexis! She plugged a photo of yours on her instagram advertising your gorgeous shot of the tangerine against the white snow 🙂

  • Carol SingletonJanuary 30, 2016 - 11:42 pm

    Your photos are beautiful Eric. They let me view a world which I would never see otherwise. Your daughter is also a beauty and I love seeing her❤️ Carol

  • WendyJanuary 31, 2016 - 1:46 am

    The cutest, of course, is of your daughter Lila:-). The orange of the tangerine stands out so brightly in all of that white.

    We’ve only read in the news and the net about Jeju’s snow and the stranded passengers. It must have been unexpected since Jeju is supposed to be the warmest part of Korea. We didn’t have snow during the coldest days here but we were really freezing from all those days under -15.

  • EricJanuary 31, 2016 - 12:28 pm

    Thanks Izzy, yeah Alexis and I are good friends. She’s actually helped me get off the ground with social media because she’s good with things like that!

  • JackieJanuary 31, 2016 - 3:16 pm

    Your photos are amazing! I’m in Seoul and we didn’t suffer as much as you guys did over there, hope no one got hurt from the blizzard though. I’m amazed also that you still took your camera out, but I guess it’s part of the job. Keep the photos coming, looking forward to your future updates!

  • LauraJanuary 31, 2016 - 9:04 pm

    Lovely post! I hiked Hallasan in the winter of 2014. It was covered in snow and so difficult! I really love the idea of Jeju in the winter as I’m used to just seeing photos of it all sunny. It’s cool how all four seasons hit the island as well. Thanks for sharing!

  • Nathan AndersonFebruary 1, 2016 - 10:35 am

    Some awesome shots here! I particularly like that first one of the heavy snow falling, the one with the bokeh snowflakes, and the shot of the guy playing the sax.

    Glad you braved the elements and got some good shots! I love getting out and walking around once a place is covered in snow; the feeling of the place tends to change in subtle ways.

  • Stephanie HedgerFebruary 1, 2016 - 10:09 pm

    We were so close to making a trip to Jeju, but at the last minute had a change of plans. Heard that a lot of people got stuck on the island due to all this crazy snow. Thanks for braving the weather in order to get some of these pics!! Loving the one with your two little neighbor kids. I bet they were loving this snow!

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