Hwangudan Altar: Hidden Gem in Seoul, South Korea

Today’s guest feature is haunting to me because it is located in a place I have been and did not know it even existed.  This beautiful image of Hwangudan Altar in Seoul, South Korea was taken by Eddie Chow.  I love pretty much everything about this image.  The composition is great with the framing.  The shrine looks great with a fresh dusting of snow and the dragons in the gate just add that little something extra.

Hwangudan Altar

Hwangudan Altar is located in Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea.  It was built in 1897 to serve as a site for the performance of the rite of heaven.  The altar complex was designed to represent natural elements such as the sun and moon. The three-story altar is made of granite.   The altar was destroyed by the Japanese in 1913. Today, the Hwanggungu (Yellow Palace Shrine), a three-storied octagonal shrine built in 1899, remains together with three plaster drums, dragon decorations and a gate. The Hwangungu was designed for worshiping of Heaven and respecting Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty. The Hwangudan Altar was originally used for animal sacrifice.

Eddie Chow’s image

Eddie tells the story of how he got this great shot.

“Before I visit a city I usually use sites such as 500px and flickr as a source of inspiration and research the locations where other photographers had captured these beautiful photos.  Hwangudan Altar is one of those sites which I believe many would have given it a missed.  Being located on the grounds of Westin Chosun Hotel makes it a hidden gem and easy to miss.  It is in close proximity to other main tourist attractions in Seoul such as Deoksugung Palace, Seoul Museum of Art and City Hall so a visit could be easily be added to your itinerary. Best of all it is open 24 hours and admission is free.

The symbolic painting on the ceiling of the gate is so beautiful and caught my attention immediately.  Thus, I wanted to include the colourful painting in the frame and to do that I would have to shoot on low angle.  I also use the opening of the gate to frame the picture and the fittings on the wooden doors formed a leading lines that brings your eye to Hwangudan Altar.”

gear used

Eddie made this shot with his Leica V-lux 4 (Type 114), a great bridge camera that is perfect for a light travel set up.  It has a 20 mp sensor and shoots 4K video.  It can be picked up on Amazon for $1195.  Eddie shoots in raw and processes in Lightroom.

Eddie Chow

You can view more of Eddie’s great work on 500px or on Instragram at @chowe328.

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