Some of the most magical times of the day are early mornings when the world is still waking up. It is serene, peaceful, calm and it goes well with a nice cup of tea too. Pyongyang is not your usual place for landscape photography but that wasn’t the case when I was there. Pyongyang is a city that makes you wonder all sorts of things. “Why on Earth was I doing there in the first place?” I would always ask myself. Fueled by a high level of curiosity, every moment spent in the DPRK was an opportunity for photography. I would just wake up extremely early in the morning, walk to the curtains and take a peek outside the window just to see what I had missed out. If I saw something I like, I’d just quickly set up my camera gear and start shooting away. North Korea is just a bizarre place to be and if you look carefully enough, the landscapes are to die for. Pyongyang has an interesting city layout and the morning mist makes it surreal. Often times, I would set up my tripod and snap whatever gorgeous lighting I can get from the window of my room. The sunrise is always different every morning and is filled with endless beauty. As philosopher Heraclitus once said “The sun is new each day”.
Before the sun comes up, the capital is in an idle state. People are still asleep and there is little to no traffic. City lights are scarce except for the brightly lit Tower of Juche Idea and the Kim Portraits. The only sounds came from the mechanical cranes and working ships along the Taedong River. The city is modest and calm. However at 6am sharp, a melancholy melody can be heard from a distant. The tune “Where are you dear General” is played from the Pyongyang Railway Station which acts as a wake up call for the trains and the city (Click here to watch the short clip of the 6am scene). At 6:30am, people gather along the roads with music for their morning exercises. The mornings are the best time to catch a glimpse of North Korean society.
Enjoying the city skyline in the early hours was absolutely fantastic. As the sun rose, I could see the gorgeous transformation of the city. Due to the lack of busy traffic, it felt like it was always a weekend. Pyongyang is unique and it never fails to amaze me. I’ve compiled a few of my favourite morning shots of the capital below, enjoy.
If you’d like to photograph and experience Pyongyang, you can join me on a 8-day adventure in August 2017. If we manage to get more than 8 in the group, everyone gets to ride on a helicopter across the city of Pyongyang. CLICK HERE to learn more about the trip and cost. Or you could check out the videos below to listen to the gorgeous sights and sounds of early morning Pyongyang.