Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Xmas Eve Sunrise Shoot

It’s been quite a long time since I've blogged about anything. Even though a lot has been going on in my photography hobby, I just simply haven’t found time to blog. In the past few months, I haven't even had the time to sort out all the backlogs.

In the early morning hours of Xmas Eve, my friend Arthur had the brilliant idea of shooting the sunrise since the sky was clear. He insisted that there would be a spectacularly orange sunrise. So I went along with the idea. And there we were, at five in the morning, at the very edge of Seawall (a local "park") to capture the sunrise. There were people jogging, doing group aerobics and taking a stroll after the last of the Simbang Gabi.

There were quite a few curious folks there that wanted to know what two guys with cameras and tripods were doing so early in the morning. Some even asked us to talk pictures of them. Of course, Arthur obliged and got some of his amazing jumping silhouettes. While he was so engrossed with shooting the perfect sunrise, I just wanted long exposures. I love how the water seems so calm when you expose the shot for more than five seconds. Then, there were the reflections / shadows.

It's amazing really, that I cannot comprehend how I got to be creative at such an unholy hour. Perhaps, I need to shoot more in the early morning hours. I'll get lucky one of these days and capture that perfect sunrise. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you.

Sea Wall Sunrise

Sea Wall Sunrise 2

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lightning: Nature's Awesome Fury

The reason lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place is that the same place isn't there the second time. -- Willie Tyler

Standing in the middle of a field during a lightning storm is totally wrong. Standing there with a metal tripod, your feet wet and an electronic gear in hand is just plain stupid. So I decided to relocate to the covered court nearby since I preferred a safer spot to shoot lighting; I'm not that lucky but I still didn't want to get hit by lightning.

I thought shooting lightning was long exposures and narrow aperture but it was the opposite. I did this shot wide open (f3.5 was as far as my lens would go) and used bulb mode. So, I pressed the shutter and waited for the magic. As soon as the lightning spread, I closed the shutter. It took me more than thirty raw shots to get this one shot. It’s not perfect but then again for me it’s awesome. Nature's fury captured by my tiny DX sensor.

Lightning Storm

Sadly, I got just one shot. Perhaps it is true that lightning doesn't strike the same place twice.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mr. X: The Big, Fat, Ugly Spider in the Garden

I am back! After being busy for a whole month, I finally found some time to blog again. And my comeback blog isn't about the nice creatures you find in your garden either.

For some time now, I have been looking for this spider. The name of this spider is the Black and Yellow Garden Spider or Mr. X as we fondly call it because it forms an X with its legs. I grew up knowing that this is the sort of spider you'd stay away from because of its bright yellow markings which often indicate that it’s poisonous. Whenever the neighborhood kids decide to venture into the grassy fields, we always kept an eye out for this spider and stayed clear of it. But after some research, I found out that a bite from this spider is actually harmless.

And for me, it was quite fun to take shots of this creature. It sort of got me scared a bit because since I was a kid, we feared this spider. Who wouldn't cringe at the sight of a six inch spider? If that doesn't get you scared, then try looking at it from the viewfinder of a camera with a 300mm macro lens attached; that will surely make your hair stand on end. But I do wish to take more shots of the not-so-nice creatures of the garden; there is something interesting about these creatures that strike fear into the hearts of little kids.

Mr. X

Mr. X2

Monday, June 21, 2010

Where Butterflies Hang Out

I am at home out in the grassy areas as I am in the street. Yes, wildlife and nature photography is a passion that is second only to street photography for me. I find it fun to shoot insects, birds and whatever wildlife I come across; even in the urban jungle. But my favorite spot to look for creatures is just across the street from our house. You’d find a host of insects like butterflies, beetles and dragonflies there as well as spiders and bugs. I really enjoy shooting these critters.

But this set is about a place for butterfly lovers, Davao City’s Butterfly Sanctuary. I know for the wildlife photography purists this is tantamount to cheating. But trust me, it isn’t that easy to capture great shots of butterflies when there are is a horde of people scaring them away. And just a sneak peak, my next butterfly set will come again from that patch of greenery in front of our house.

croc park (9 of 12)

croc park (7 of 12)

croc park (6 of 12)

croc park (5 of 12)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Current Events: Independence Day and School Opening

I haven’t had the time to shoot this past week since I had obligations (and a ton of pictures to screen and edit). But the shutter bug in me wanted to squeeze some shots into my busy schedule.

Independence Day

Last June 12th the country celebrated the 112th Independence Day. Yesterday was the holiday because there is a law that states that National Holidays are moved to the nearest Monday. And I took this shot because I thought about our independence. Are we really enjoying independence or are we still being manipulated by foreign powers? And as this man sells replicas of the Philippine Flag, is the government capable of selling our independence?

First Day Funk

Today is the first day of classes for all public schools in the country. I saw this kid walking home at noon and it made me wonder about the quality of education they are getting now. Or perhaps this kid just got bored and went home early.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Freedom in the Streets

Rules are made to be broken…

In my last entry, I was ranting about those that took photography and made it a science. And to be honest, that piece was a bit technical too. But last Sunday I had an opportunity to break rules and let my creativity (or lack thereof) run wild. We had a photowalk which I helped organize, as practice for the Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk in July and for the Kadayawan Festival in August.

Not having rules on composition and technique is what I love about Street Photography. Out in the streets, you really do not have the luxury of time to think of a plan for your shoot; you make do with what is in front of you. I really feel free when in the streets; not having to be bound by rules makes the experience a whole lot more fun. Spontaneity has always been one of my strong points and in Street Photography it is a valuable asset.

Here are some of the shots I took at Sea Wall, Davao City. And in the spirit of Photojournalism, they say that a picture is just as good as its caption; so I’ll write a bit of a commentary on these photos.

Looking UP
Looking Up
We all have to search for inspiration somewhere, why not look to Him for some?

Missing Piece
Missing Something
I went about observing this man for some time. He seemed engrossed at watching the couples and the children play. Perhaps he misses someone or something; maybe he misses home.

Fishing 101: The Fit N Right Way
Fishing 101: The Fit N Right Way
This kid fishes with improvised tools: a plastic bottle for his spool, some nylon, a hook and a piece of metal as sinker. But he didn’t catch anything today.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Using Negative Space: Motion

Fly High

I must admit something, when shooting I do not really think much about composition, framing and whatnots. I rarely even worry about my camera settings; I just shoot what looks good in my eyes. Never will I be very technical about taking pictures. For me, the scientific approach to photography dulls out the fun in taking pictures. Shooting should be as fun as seeing the final output.

The picture above is an example of what I mean when I do not worry about much. All that blue sky is what photographers and artists call negative space. The space is empty and in a single color. Sure the picture would have been much cooler if there were some clouds or other objects to depict the height of the plane. But seriously, you won’t have much time to think about that until after taking the shot; which is too late.

I will present to you another way of looking at it. We know the plane is flying and the negative space especially that which is a straight line from the plane’s nose is the direction it is heading. The negative space depicts motion in this still image because the mind will eventually think of where the plane is heading.

Being technical and saying that there is too much negative space or another angle would have been better is asking too much; especially when it involves capturing subjects in motion. This is a subjective hobby; and you can’t please everyone. What matters is that we enjoy and make others smile as well.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Golden Hour

There is such a thing in the photography world as the Golden Hours. That is when the natural light is soft enough that you can easily work with it. Here in the Philippines, it’s usually around 5:30 to 6:30 in the morning and around 5:00 to sunset. I prefer to shoot in the mornings but the thing is it’s hard to wake up early.

And recently, I have been trying to shoot in another little window during the Golden Hours. There is about five or ten minutes of every day when the sky turns orange. It is absolutely the perfect time to shoot dark silhouettes of objects such as trees and buildings.

I wish to shoot more at the Golden Hour. If only my day job permitted me to do so, I’d do it every day.

scooner in the sunset...


orange sunset

Friday, May 28, 2010

Life's a Beach

We are at summer’s end. One more beach outing before school opens again and the last flights of the tourists depart. There is my last beach set for the summer of 2010. Perhaps the next time I will be in the beach, it won’t be as crowded and hot. I’ll try to explore new beaches; those hidden from the public’s eye.
And I need to go back to street photography because in two and a half months time it will be Kadayawan. Also I am enjoying the Urban HDR genre right now; I’ll practice landscape later.

Paradie (1 of 10)

Paradie (4 of 10)

Paradie (5 of 10)

Paradie (6 of 10)

Paradie (7 of 10)

Paradie (8 of 10)

Paradie (9 of 10)

Paradie (10 of 10)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Urban HDR

I do not know much about art. Combining colors and showing depth with a brush or pencil isn’t my thing. The only “art” I can do is graffiti; which isn’t exactly mainstream art.

And the same goes for digital art. I do not have time patience for vectoring or flash animation. I guess it is all about attention span in my case. If I can’t finish something creative in 30 minutes then I won’t ever be able to finish it at all.

And then came High Dynamic Range photography. Now, this is something that interests me. It is art and photography rolled into one; and best of all, I can do it in less than 30 minutes. It’s amazing how a set of similar photos shot at different exposures, an HDR software and a little Photoshop can do. Finally, here is an art for someone who loves photography and has a poor attention span. Urban HDR here I come!

This is just my first try at HDR. I hope to post more soon!

grunge copy

Mi Casa

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Pearl of the South

“Trust me, it's paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It's probably worth it.” – Leonardo DiCaprio (The Beach, 2000)

The beach is one of those places that I will never be sad. The waves keep my spirit calm, and the wind keeps me cool. It is for me, a sanctuary; a place where I can find peace. Nothing ever bothers me when I’m walking along the shore or when I am sitting and watching the sunset.

And this is one of the best beaches here in my hometown; this is the Pearl Farm Beach Resort. Only forty-five minutes from Davao by boat, this is a very accessible island getaway. What you pay for here is money well spent. How I wish I could afford to go there every weekend; that way I won’t ever be stressed out.

I hope that I’ll take more trips to the beach this summer and that I can take more photos to share with you guys. Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Pearl Farm (1 of 11)

Pearl Farm (7 of 11)

Pearl Farm (5 of 11)

Pearl Farm (4 of 11)

Pearl Farm (3 of 11)

Pearl Farm (10 of 11)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Carnival Lights

Constant improvement is my goal…

I found some photos I took two months ago. It was from a local “peryahan” or carnival and I remembered that I was supposed to post this in my blog. As I was experimenting with the photos in Lightroom (boosting saturation and the likes), I found out that applying strong contrast to a subject that has motion blur makes it look like it is moving a whole lot faster than it actually does. These things are really new to me since I don’t really have much knowledge about post processing photos; but I am learning. Hopefully, I will get better at post processing with time and I hope to share whatever things I learn to anyone who wants.

Ferris Wheel



Just for the record, even if I am studying post processing, I still prefer only minimal editing to be done on my photos.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A True Bug's Life

“All bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs…”

I have proof that learning can be fun! Recently, I took photos of what I thought were beetles; though I never really cared what they were until after I was reviewing my shots. Since I have never seen such beetles before, I searched them on the internet. And after an hour of searching, I came up blank. Just as I was getting bored, I saw an article about True Bugs (Hemiptera). Then, I got to identify the creatures I shot; and learned about them in the process.

The blue metallic bug that I thought was a species of metallic beetle turned out to be a Metallic Shield Bug. And the sleek red bug was a Cotton Stainer. I learned about what these insects eat and where/how to find them. Also, I learned how to differentiate them from beetles. Beetles have strong chewing mouth parts (mandibles) while true bugs have tube like mouth parts (proboscis). And based on experience, I know that when you hold these bugs, they produce some foul smelling secretion that doesn’t wash away easily.

I wish to learn more; and have fun while I am at it. Perhaps schools should also adopt a similar path to learning. I hope that kids these days would care to learn about nature as much as I do.

Metallic Shield Bug

Cotton Stainer

Afternoon Delight

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Green Side of Things: A Bird, Bee and Bug

It’s amazing how green my images look once it’s been processed. It doesn’t look that way when I shoot or when I review it in my camera. Just adding a little adjustment here and there and then “Poof!” it turns green! I’m sure the Incredible Hulk and my Lasallian brothers and sisters would be happy with such a color.

But truth be told, I am not that much a fan of the color green. It is my school’s colors, yes, so I proudly wear the color; but I was never a green person. I’m more of the blue person. However, recently, I have had a liking for all things green. And here you see the results. This is one of many nature sets that I will post here.

I hope you like all things green; there are a lot more where this came from. (I just noticed, this blog has an orange feel to it.)


The Orange Bee

Orange Leaf Hopper

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hope for the Flowers : Butterflies

"How does one become a butterfly? They have to want to learn to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."
— Trina Paulus (Hope for the Flowers)

I am totally hooked! Macro photography is so much fun; even if it means I have to get up early in the morning to get the best shots.

Here is a collection of butterfly shots I took last weekend. I wake up at around 6:30am just so I can take shots in the soft morning light. It’s not as colorful as most would expect but at least these species are endemic to the playground / park in front of our house. I think there are only four different species in this set and I hope to shoot more next time.

There are other critters that I shot during my early morning walks but I’ll save that for another time.

Butterfliest (1 of 6)

Butterfliest (2 of 6)

Butterfliest (1 of 1)

Butterfliest (3 of 6)

Butterfliest (6 of 6)

Butterfliest (5 of 6)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stalking the Tiger

I was thinking of what to blog next and found out that today is Earth Day. So I made a decision to blog only about nature from today until the end of this month. Good thing that the previous post was about nature in the “macro” level; it goes with my Earth Day theme.

And speaking of nature, I went to a zoo and got a couple of amazing shots of a majestic creature: the tiger. It was for me a dream to be able to take close ups of a tiger; even if the tiger was in a cage. I really didn’t mind that this isn’t really its true habitat and that I was safely behind a steel fence. All I wanted were photos of this big cat; and that is what I got.

Oh, and in case you were wondering why I like tigers, it isn’t because of Winnie the Pooh’s friend Tigger (only girls like that character) but a certain jungle cat named Hobbes. He is one half of my favorite comic duo Calvin and Hobbes.

Stalking the Tiger