I keep asking myself... Why am I standing here... Continuously taking photos.
For me, it’s not about creating unbelievable scenes, or mind-blowing photos either. I just want to tell a story.
So begins another hauntingly beautiful time-lapse journey through the landscapes and cityscapes of South Korea by Sony professional photographer, Jongmo Seo.
Jongmo has carved out a unique niche for himself in South Korea’s fiercely competitive commercial photography market. A mobile games designer by day, at night you will frequently find him perched at the top of one of Seoul’s landmark buildings capturing one of the visually striking time-lapse and hyper-lapse photography scenes that has seen him win a string of imaging competitions and high-profile collaborations with the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Burberry and Sony.
Time-lapse photography, especially at night, requires a steady hand and a very steady camera, even the slightest movement will be magnified many times over and can ruin an entire night’s work. Always on the lookout for a way to quickly set up and secure his camera with ultimate stability, he was intrigued when a friend took delivery of a new type of tripod from Sachtler – the revolutionary flowtech. Jongmo recalls, “I went to visit my friend to see the tripod on the day it was delivered, it was a flowtech75 with an FSB6 head. I set up the tripod, mounted my Sony Alpha a7iii camera and tried a few test shots. At that moment I decided I must have a flowtech too.”
Recording at the top of very high buildings brings with it a unique set of challenges. “It’s quite windy up there.” Says Jongmo, “And because I need my camera to be absolutely steady for an absolutely long time, I have always needed to use a heavy tripod to withstand wind vibrations. Now, with flowtech I have a lightweight carbon-fibre tripod that is amazingly stable and the FSB6 head keeps my camera firmly focussed on the scene.”
With flowtech I have a lightweight carbon-fibre tripod that is amazingly stable and the FSB6 head keeps my camera firmly focussed on the scene
Mountains in minutes
When he is not at the top of a tall building you can find Jongmo out on the slopes. The 2018 winter Olympics in PyeongChang brought the world’s attention to South Korea’s snowy peaks with their convenient pistes just a stones-throw away from Seoul’s city centre. “I can finish work at five and within an hour be up in the mountains skiing.” Says Jongmo. “I use flowtech to capture the fast-moving giant slalom and freestyle skiing action, the biggest attraction for me is the speed I can set my camera up to get the shot. The legs deploy so fast, I’m ready to record in an instant. The ground is often uneven with steep slopes, but I can quickly adjust and lock the position of each leg with a single lever at the top of the tripod.” Another advantage of flowtech in the cold mountain air is the size and shape of the leg brakes. Jongmo recounts, “The design and position of the lever is perfect, I don’t need to take my gloves off to adjust the tripod!”
Trick and treat
Jongmo’s next project in his quest to tell the stories of life in South Korea will see him team up with Ingun Yoo – AKA Kick Gun – a world champion martial arts tricker, to document the sport. Tricking combines South Korea’s national sport of Taekwondo with Gymnastics to create a fast and furious, high octane display of athleticism. “With super-fast action and high-speed photography,” says Jongmo,” I’ll also need to be fast and my camera be stable. flowtech is going to be my go-to tripod once again. It seems that every project I work on, flowtech is perfect for the job.”