Monday, July 28, 2008

Photoshoot Anyone?

The photo above is a shot I took at the Photography Living Gallery Exhibit at the National Museum of Singapore. This is the kind of studio camera they use to photograph people back in the 19th century (Thank God for compact DSLRs nowadays). The second photo (below) is a picture of the device they use to manually retouch the photos, somewhat like the darkroom processing of films. Talk about manual photoshop. Basically, these were some of the more pertinent equipment that a photographer needs to produce a sound photograph. Anyway, it's just amazing how these things are preserved so that younger generations such as ours will be able to appreciate and see the creations of the past. My visit to that museum was particularly extraordinary. It was very modern, hi-tech, creative and educational at the same time.

* More photos and stories from Singapore soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cig Lighter

This is my dad's cigarette lighter, although he already quit smoking for years. It's nice to have one of these things around for display or for still life subjects. I was practicing with the flash mode of my camera. I'm trying to utilize the flash effectively without making the picture look "washed-out" or too white because of the built-in flash. One thing I've realized in this exercise is the importance of the use of white balance. In Manual mode shooting, it is best to adjust the WB according to your shooting environment to have the best results, in this case I used the flash white balance option. I still have to work out on the glare seen when shooting shiny, metal surfaces --- the natural way, meaning no photoshop.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Paoay Church

St. Augustine Church, more commonly known as Paoay Church, was built in 1964 by Augustinian friars led by Fr. Antonio Estavillo. Completed in 1710, the church was built of baked bricks, coral rocks, tree sap and lumber. Local materials used inlcuded mixing sand, lime sugarcane juice. These were boiled with mangeao leaves, leather and rice straw for two nights. Considered as the most outstanding variant of the Earthquake Baroque, this site is now included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The belltower of the Paoay Church was once used by Katipuneros in 1896 as an outpost and was used again by Filipino soldiers during the World War II. This was one of the first churches that I have visited in Ilocos. The massive structure of the church was just breath-taking. We only spent a couple of minutes here and took some pictures. It just great that we were able to preserve such structures which is just awesome. Below is a shot of the interior of the church.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Paoay Lake

Paoay Lake (panoramic view). Well, sort of. I've been bitten by the blogging bug. After a month of only a couple of posts, here I am with my third post for July. I've been bonding with my CS3 lately and I compiled three shots of Paoay Lake to form this one single panoramic shot, which shows a portion of the lake. Malacanang of the North overlooks Paoay Lake, which is said to be shaped like a horse, although, you can't see it from this angle. As I've read, in 1969, Pres. Marcos declared it a national park. Anyway, there has been a lot of fuss about an emerging photoshop artform, which is an HDR (high dynamic range) image, which is a blending of photos shot at different, bracketed exposure values. I have not yet produced a genuine HDR photo, however, I've tried experiementing to create an HDR-like photo by follwing the procedure I've read on Adobe Photoshop User and tweaked it to my own liking. Here is the HDR-like version of the panorama above. Feel free to C&C.

Malacanang of the North

Malacanang of the North. Last May, I went to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte and stayed there for several days. It was my first time going there and I was extremely excited. We stayed at a budget hotel just a 5- to 10-minute tricycle ride outside Laoag City proper and took a budget Cebu Pacific flight. Though it is cheap, we waited for more than 3 hours just to pay, book, get confirmation and print the ticket for the flight. I would've tried driving from Manila to Laoag if only the gasoline prices weren't soooo high --- now, that would've been a great road adventure. Anyway, this was one of the first famous tourist spots we went to, the White House of the North. Overlooking Paoay Lake, Malacanang of the North is one of the 29 summer residences that former President Marcos built during his term. It's a great feeling visiting such places where once famous and important people have been to. Anyway, I'd be posting more photos of the other places I've visited. 'Til next entry.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bread and Fish

"They all ate and they were satisfied..." Mark 6:42.
Five loaves of bread and two pieces of fish. This is my still life attempt on fish, given as a photo assignment last May. It took me more than two days to figure out how to interpret the topic. Finally, I decided it would be interesting if I can tell share the story of Jesus feeding 5000 people with just 2 pieces of fish and 5 loaves of bread in just one picture. I had to find a nice basket to place the bread and fish. The bread is actually spanish bread and the fish are little "galunggong tinapas" I found at the supermarket. I arranged them and after employing the painting with light technique, I shot about 100+ shots to get the perfect one. When we were taught how to shoot still life with nothing but a flashlight, I was fascinated by it. Couldn't wait to try it at home. And once I tried it, I realized it wasn't as easy as it looked. It took a lot of trial and error to get a really good shot. That's why it took me more than a hundred shots. At first, most of my shots were way underexposed. Eventually, I got the hang of it after about a dozen shots. Anyway, when the time came for judges to critique our work, I received some interesting comments on my picture (which was fun by the way). There were some who appreciated it. Some even suggested ways for me to improve it. Some of course didn't like it. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but it was all good. Great learning experience, especially from the experts. There's just one comment I would certainly never forget. I remember one judge saying the the fish doesn't go well with bread, it should have been shot with garlic rice on the side (famous Filipino breakfast). I tried containing my laughter, but perfectly understood where he is coming from. We all have different perspectives and interpretations on what we see. He just happened to be an advertising photographer (forgot the name though), thus, he wanted to see a material more inclined to advertising or promoting a product, I guess. Anyway, I'd be definitely doing more still lifes shot this way. It's totally cool, fun and at least something new to me.


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