Best of 2019

As the year 2019 is coming to a close, why not spend a few hours culling through all the images taken this past year just to attempt to narrow them down into a few favorites. It’s an exercise I’d recommend to anyone, looking to take note of all the destinations, festivals, parties, concerts, accomplishments, ideas, and events they’ve been a part of photographically. At the end of the day, what is stronger — a memory or a photograph of that memory?! I’d vote the latter because it helps us freeze the people, the weather, the mood, the activities or sometimes all of them combined into a single, unforgetful memento.

What makes a photograph better than the others, in turn, making it stand out as the single representation of that place or event?

As a photography educator, I’d say mostly:

  1. Composition (there are many Compositional Rules out there (Check out Top 5 here), but what really makes for a compelling photo is when Composition is used to turn it into a 3D image. This not so easy to achieve rule helps the viewer visualize what it would feel like to walk through your image, from the foreground all the way towards the back).

  2. Mood/Light (I love when an image has drama, which is usually created with cloudy/stormy skies; or with a small source of light in an otherwise very dark image. On the contrary, an image may “feel” very light and airy, when shot with a lot of available light with low contrast. Also, warm tones in the photo can add to the feeling of comfort, homeliness, and joy.)

  3. One of a kind moment in time/story (this could be a special moment between two people, a silly look on your pet’s face while catching that much-wanted ball, a lightning strike over an empty field, a personal achievement, your kid’s first step, and the like).

  4. Your subjective point of view (I always tell my students to avoid comparing themselves to other photographers, because one person can be at the beginning of their passion for photography, while the other could already have years under his/her belt. So, I say, listen to your gut and don’t worry about the others, the only thing that matters is your own growth and improvement.)

No one ever said that picking your favorite babies was simple, so there it goes – five categories of the absolute favorite photos I captured in 2019:

Table of Contents

  1. The best of: Unforgettable Travel Destinations

  2. The best of: One of a kind wildlife moments

  3. The best of: Photography sessions moments

  4. The best of: Weather influencing my photography

  5. The best of: Self-growth through photographs

The best of: Unforgettable Travel Destinations

This past year has been the coolest: my husband Garrett and I have ventured all the way to Ballarat, Australia to house sit/explore/photograph/eat our way through kangaroo steaks and avoid giant sp-ah-id-az! We succeeded, BUT with a small bike accident, which left me with a not so cute scar on my knee. I call it an Australian keepsake 🙂 After Australia, we visited Hoi An, Hue and Da Nang in Vietnam (again) and spend a few weeks there with our awesome parents in law, who came all the way from around the world, just to hang out with us. Then, summertime brought us our annual trip to Montana, where a trip to Glacier National Park was a must, after 7-8 years of putting it off. My mom and I continued from Glacier to the gorgeous Kootenai Falls and Suspended Bridge. Near there, in Troy, we met some dope people, whose Airbnb and warm and kind atmosphere I hope to relive time and time again. If you ever make it out that way, you HAVE to let Tish host you, her quaint place by the river is the kitties titties 😛 Then there was autumn in Daejeon with its pumpkin-flavored, pumpkin-colored atmosphere, which is always best this time of the year at Hanbat Arboretum.

The best of: One of a kind wildlife moments

Lake Wendouree in Ballarat, Vic is a 544-acre man-made lake, which is home to various types of fish (trout, carp, perch) and some gorgeous black swans, which look particularly photogenic during the Golden Hour. Montana’s wild animals such as deer are very easy to spot while we’re puttering around our property – building or tending to our Airbnb guests. This year, though, I didn’t expect to catch one of them in her “Yoga Chair” pose and the other two having a tender ‘sniff-sniff’ moment. There was also that time we crossed a rushing river while on horseback at Cheff’s Ranch with my two moms. There was that badass moment when Colter, the 100+ pound Alaskan Malamute Mix puppy (only 2 years old) was playing with his ball in a pile of gravel. Korean pet owners go all out for their furry family members, taking them to beauty salons, regularly cutting their hair and fur into funky shapes, dressing them up in silly outfits and at times, even matching them with their own clothes. Myself? I’m guilty of most of those things if you count my husband too 😛

The best of: Photography sessions moments

There was a creative class of Photography at KAIST, where my students learned and played around with Light Painting. There was a Cherry Blossoms photography session with the Min Family, who I’ve known for years and who continue to gladly pose for me year after year. There was the newest Themed Session with my friend Christopher, whose creative mind, hands-on, prop-making techniques and insatiable enthusiasm for the perfect shot helped to create his newest character. There was an engagement session for Kaya and Jang Sik, who were very patient while I adjusted my lights and settings at a busy university campus in order to get one of my favorite couple shots to date. There was a very speedy photo session in Montana with my niece, Olivia, who keeps growing like a weed every year and continues to love when Aunt Alla comes to town to take her silly picture. There was (and is) a GIANT and awe-inspiring tree in Uam Park in Daejeon, which has been begging for me to photograph it in front of someone/or behind someone/near…, either way, tree, your wish is my command!

The best of: Weather influencing my photography

There was that one in your lifetime moment when you’re dozing off at 35,000 feet… near a @%$%&! rainbow in the sky. There was a perfectly clear milky way night above our newest build – The Blind on Airbnb. There was a cloudy day to add a little something extra to the Black and White shot of Daejeon city’s official bird – Korean Magpie. There was a beautiful morning fog, which covered mountains around Muju’s Hyangrosan Resort. There was that stormy day of driving through Glacier NP, but with a giant smile on your face because it’s more photogenic than the generic sunny Lake Macdonald. There was a generic sunny Saint Mary Lake (at GNP), but an unfathomably windy day made for an entertaining picture of my mom holding on to the pants of a stranger, who may or may not have flown away.

The best of: Self-growth through photographs

There was that paparazzi shot with my new super tall boyfriend. There was that time when I overcame my personal fear of large larvae, also known as Rhinoceros Beetle at Daejeon’s Nature Learning Center (천연기념물센터). Finally, there was my final selfie of the year, which kinda ended up looking like Annie Liebovitz took it at my home studio on a tiny budget. It makes me feel like a badass female, which I know I am. Speaking of which, in May of 2019 I climbed Korean highest mountain Hallasan, it had a puddle at the top, instead of a lake, but I was there just to make sure.


So that’s a wrap on my photographic journeys of 2019! I hope that you enjoyed seeing my year through the viewfinder of my Fuji and please tune in in the year 2020 for an upgraded/updated/kickass edition of this blog.

Happy Holidays fellow photogs and everyone with a camera in their pocket! 

#bestimagesof2019 #bestof2019 #bestphotographsof2019 #bestphotographyof2019

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