Finding your light

Sri Lanka – Gone Fishing, Fujifilm XT-1, f/10, 1/8, ISO400 (Photo by: Arlene Donaire)

It’s always good to talk about photography over coffee. I had a chance to chat with Ms Arlene Donaire one afternoon and even after long hours of photography talk, it seems like the conversation keeps getting interesting. She asked to meet me in Harbour Square because of the chance to shoot the golden sunset of Manila Bay but we were lost of time with the never ending photography talk.

Indonesia – Zenphone, Mt Bromo spewing white smoke at sunrise (Photo by: Arlene Donaire)

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Pixel Dimension

More than megapixels and digital image, photography is still an art and no amount of technology will replace the eye of a photographer. Master photographer and Fujifilm ambassador Rommel Bundalian captured this timeless scene in Leon, Iloilo using a medium format Fujifilm 50s.

When you started learning about photography you probably asked what is the pixel dimension or megapixel of your camera. Of course, the assumption is always the more pixels the better the camera. It’s quite obvious that camera in cellphone is mostly promoted to have more pixel thus better quality images.

While it’s true that pixel dimension adds to the quality of the image, it’s is just a part of how an image is measured in quality. There’s also how big the sensor and how much noise can it avoid even in low light condition. There’s dynamic range that can really kill the quality of the image. All these considerations is part of how the quality of an image is assessed. Continue reading “Pixel Dimension” »

Dynamic Range

A famous term in photography is backlight. Even a non photographer would know that shooting with the light coming from the back is undesirable. Whether shooting with the most expensive camera, backlight issues are known to mess up your shot. Unless if it’s intentional like silhouette, then you can get away with it.

Aerial photography is trending lately. The technology of drones has opened an opportunity to photographers in offering a different perspective. Respected photographer Dr. Erwin Lim has covered photography from underwater to land and air. (Photo by Dr. Erwin Lim)

We experience the same situation when the sun is low and beaming straight towards us, most likely we cannot see what is in front of us. Just the same as when an approaching car’s headlight is set to high. Our eyes cannot see the extent of brightness and low light at the same time.

This is the same dilemma when using a camera. What’s worse is the camera has a narrower range between bright and low light compared to human eyes. Often times, we can still see it when we look at the scene with bare eyes but the result comes out with flat shadows and shows no details. Continue reading “Dynamic Range” »

Camera Phone

Photo taken using OPPO F1s Expert Mode, f/2, 1/5, ISO400, Snapseed (Camotes, Bukilat Cave)

Over the long weekend, we travelled to Camotes Island. It was my second time to visit the place. The first time was a commissioned travel to take photos of tourist destinations. I was travelling in full battle gear. My pack was around 15 kilos or even more since my tripod was like a tank. I totally love the scenic views of the island. Continue reading “Camera Phone” »

Photography Reborn

The rising and setting of the sun is always a fascinating experience. It’s always a special moment for photographers. (photo taken by: Nelo Marasigan-Manzo)

I have the tendency to influence a photography student to take fashion photography. It’s really not intentional. Maybe I’m just too deep in this passion of mine that all I see is coated with it and students are inspired with the overflowing appreciation of my kind of photographic genre.

When I’m asked when I started photography, my answer is always high school. Truth is, it was the time that it was introduced to me and that’s it. No love for the art just pure curiosity during those times. The experience of doing something with chemicals and images that appear out of the white photographic paper is just an awesome thing to witness.

I never planned to be a photographer. I never imagined that I’d be investing a lot of my time pursuing this passion. I never expected that an artist in me will be brought out of the open. My long term goal then was to climb the corporate ladder and become a successful executive. We can never be certain of what’s ahead. Continue reading “Photography Reborn” »

What lens to buy?

I always have a difficult time answering to photographers who asks me what lens to buy. Not that I don’t want to help, it’s just that the answer need a more serious sit down and discussion to ge explain it right. Lenses are specialized based on your specific needs. That is the major advantage of having a replaceable lens camera.

17-40mm is the go to lens when it comes to landscape but in this shot, I used a 14mm lens. It offers a different perspective with just enough distortion. It’s a very interesting lens for landscape.

The rule when buying lens is that quality and durability will always speak its price. There are variables that needs to be considered, focal length and aperture. There’s also the zoom and prime lenses. Here’s a list of lenses and their usage based on a 35mm sensor. Continue reading “What lens to buy?” »

Finding the genre that fits you

Travel Photography is one genre that still captures my heart even if I think of a model subject to add to the composition. (Hermit’s Cove, Aloguinsan, Canon 5D, 17-40)

First of all, I would like to congratulate all the winners of Sinulog Photo Contest 2017. The effort, skill and talent all rolled together to emerge as winners out of the thousands of participants. Sinulog is always a spectacle that photographers cannot resist. I can only wish though, that we can be more disciplined next year.

Photography has a lot of genre for you to choose from when you’re a greenhorn. Sometimes there’s too much for you to try that you end up doing everything but hasn’t mastered one. Any photographer can easily get interested about anything about photography, especially if they see a work of a master photographer. Continue reading “Finding the genre that fits you” »

Rookie Mistake

Photo by Reginal de Guia. Last week I asked Reginald to talk to me about his love for landscape and using filters shooting it. After a short talk over coffee, I learned so much. Will share it in my coming articles.

Photo by Reginal de Guia. Last week I asked Reginald to talk to me about his love for landscape and using filters shooting it. After a short talk over coffee, I learned so much. Will share it in my coming articles.

I can probably say that in my current state as a photographer, I have charged a fee in exchange for my service and my client trusts my ability to deliver relative to their expectation. I’m a professional photographer, but despite of all my long experiences, I’m not exempted to mistakes just like any other rookie out there.

In one of my commercial shoot, I was surprise to see the settings of my camera at ISO1600. There’s nothing wrong using high ISO especially if your camera is capable of shooting better ISO or if your intention is to shoot it at high ISO. But if you were unaware of your settings, that’s where the problem comes. It only means that you were not checking your settings before you took the shot.

Sometimes when you’re too dependent on the LCD display and you just wait and see what you’ve got so you can adjust accordingly, it only means that you’ve become reactive to the situation rather than being proactive and be on top of it. You tend to miss the moment when you react to the situation. Moments that could have been the shot you’re after. Continue reading “Rookie Mistake” »

In The Zone

It’s quite an experience to be able to teach photography to students coming from different background. I normally ask them how they end up wanting to learn photography and their answer just adds to the complexity of why people love photography. There is really no pattern, just the same end in mind.

The bridge between starting up and gaining confidence with your shots is long and full of doubts. One student of mine told me that her shots looks really bad and it seems like photography is not for her. However, in that long journey of discovering and doubts, you’ll also experience moments of euphoria from exceptional photos you’ll get once in awhile.

This will drive you for another long haul til the next jackpot shot. Then you will realize that the gap becomes narrower and suddenly you’re in the zone. The thirst for getting the best shot is still very much the goal and mediocre becomes intolerable as your audience are left in awe with trail of amazing photos you’ve shot.

Reflections. One of the interesting ways of shooting landscape. Lake Danao, Camotes

Reflections. One of the interesting ways of shooting landscape. Lake Danao, Camotes

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Sensor Size and Dynamic Range

Recently, Fujifilm released their version of a medium format mirrorless camera. I very much agree that indeed, the camera is definitely better than any full frame camera. Just the same as Hasselblad and Phase One who has been in the medium format industry for the longest time, bigger sensor is always better.

What makes a bigger sensor better is the ability to collect more light in a surface plane. The more light collected, the more data you get out of a single shot. Do we need all the data collected or how can we take advantage of the available data? It’s quite surprising that not all the data will be displayed.

On my way to Camotes Island, I saw this pack of dolphins swimming gracefully and synchronised towards the boat. Shooting with a full frame sensor and 70-300 lens.

On my way to Camotes Island, I saw this pack of dolphins swimming gracefully and synchronised towards the boat. Shooting with a full frame sensor and 70-300 lens.

Our monitor cannot display all the available data due to limitation and this also applies to print. Even if the monitor can display it, our eyes is not capable of seeing more than 16.8 million colors. A normal 14-bit file can capture 4.39 trillion colors. Then you would wonder where would I use all the extra data that I get when using bigger sensor? Continue reading “Sensor Size and Dynamic Range” »