SEOUL – Seoul’s Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) palaces are not only the city’s most iconic structures and its most must-visit tourist attractions, they are picture-perfect paradises for photographers – especially at this time of year.
Seoul-based US photographer Tom Coyner has been photographing Northeast Asia’s Autumn leaves since he first made landfall in the region as a student in Japan in 1970.
This year, he returned to one of his favorite locations: Changdeokgung, or Changdeok Palace.
Built in the early 15th century, “The Palace of Prospering Virtue” encompasses the famous Biwon or “Secret Garden.” (Also known less evocatively as Huwon, or “Back Garden”). The walled-in garden comprises a forested trove of trails, ponds and pavilions. In classic Korean style, it is landscaped as minimally as possible: Here, nature is the artist.
Though Coyner has previously presented a gallery of the palace in its winter coat, it is arguably at its best every Fall when the leaves change color, sheathing the landscape in a short-lived but spectacular psychedelic livery.
A UNSECO World Heritage Site, Biwon is today an oasis of bucolic calm amid the roar of downtown Seoul. The garden, once exclusively reserved for the relaxation of royals, is now open to Everyman. The main entrance awaits visitors just a few minutes’ walk from Anguk Subway Station.
For more photographs of Changdeokgung and Biwon by Coyner, please click here