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

Continue reading “In The Zone” »

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” »

Wider Perspective

Adjust your aperture manually in the lens and set the shutter speed based on the camera metering. Estimate the distance of the subject and set it in the camera then shoot away. Sayang 14mm.

Adjust your aperture manually in the lens and set the shutter speed based on the camera metering. Estimate the distance of the subject and set it in the camera then shoot away. Sayang 14mm.

In my last few articles, I mentioned that I have issues on what’s the right lens to bring when shooting travel photography. It’s always been a hit or miss in my case. Recently, I went out for another travel photography project and made some adjustments. This time, my Samyang 14mm joined the gang.

I normally just bring my 70-300, 17-40 and 24-105. I’m most comfortable with these lenses and the level of sharpness and contrast is just enough for me to get the results I wanted. The issue of whether to bring two camera bodies was resolve in my last trip. I have decided that two camera bodies helps a lot in minimising changing lens in the field. Continue reading “Wider Perspective” »

Getting the Right Exposure

When shooting landscapes, the idea is to sharpen up to the background. By reducing the size of your opening or aperture, you get a longer depth-of-field which leaves you with the shutter and the ISO to control the light. f/16, 1/110, ISO400

When shooting landscapes, the idea is to sharpen up to the background. By reducing the size of your opening or aperture, you get a longer depth-of-field which leaves you with the shutter and the ISO to control the light. f/16, 1/110, ISO400

I think that every photography book has fully explained that there are three functions in every camera that controls the amount of light. These are shutter, aperture and ISO. They are also known as the exposure triangle. Their only function is to control the amount of light coming in and incidentally, they have a side effect.

The shutter controls the light through duration of time. If you allow the light to come in a little further, then you’ll have more light. If the light intensity is so strong, you can control it by limiting the time it passes through the shutter. The side effect when controlling light through the shutter is motion or blur. This is normally used to freeze a moving subject or capture the motion. Continue reading “Getting the Right Exposure” »

Basics of Photography

A friend and a student of mine few years back asked me what course to take for his niece who’s interested in photography. He mentioned if it was a good idea to take an editing course after getting the basics. Although I think that editing is part of photography, just like developing a film and printing it in a photopaper in a darkroom is part of photography, I think that understanding the light for a particular genre is a more effective training.

Canon G11, 1/400, f/5.6 ISO80. Equipped with my compact camera, I took this shot on our way to one of the island destination in Mactan. I preset my camera settings before the trip so I can just click anything that interest me.

Canon G11, 1/400, f/5.6 ISO80. Equipped with my compact camera, I took this shot on our way to one of the island destination in Mactan. I preset my camera settings before the trip so I can just click anything that interest me.

Like a painter who spends years of mastering brush strokes and colors, photography is no exemption. Seeing the light and understanding its characteristic takes time. You must experience it and take it as part of your tool in order for you to appreciate and capture it in its artistic form. Continue reading “Basics of Photography” »

Backpacking In Our Own Backyard

Enchanted River, Hinatuan Surigao del Sur

I’ve been planning to visit the Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur since December 2014. The trip was cancelled due to a strong typhoon that made its landfall in Hinatuan itself. I promised myself that this year, I’ll definitely find time to visit the mystical and enchanted river and I did.

In this article, I’m going to focus on my experience as a photographer and the difficulties you may encounter. Although the place has a lot of stories to be shared, I’ll probably find another avenue for that. My first advice when you travel is to plan your gears. Continue reading “Backpacking In Our Own Backyard” »

The New King of Full Frame

f_4, 1_60, ISO A7S

f_4, 1_60, ISO A7S

The evolution of digital camera totally changed the landscape of photography. Of course, it was dominated by the two popular brands, Nikon and Canon. Both camera manufacturers offered a product that ranges from newbie to professional use. Because of the size and weight of DSLR, compact cameras came in as an alternative.

It started out being called Bridge cameras. It was suppose to bridge the gap between a point and shoot camera to DSLR. They’re compact and fully loaded. It has the feature of a DSLR minus the size and weight. It’s mirrorless and comes with an electronic viewfinder. It was an instant hit and definitely filled up the gap with a bang. Continue reading “The New King of Full Frame” »

Planning Your Landscape Shoot

Divisoria, Cagayan de Oro. f22, 20sec ISO200, 17mm?

Divisoria, Cagayan de Oro. f22, 20sec ISO200, 17mm?

After weeks of preparations and some few addition to my gear, I was ready and excited to take landscape photos in Surigao Sur. My plan was to insert a trip during our holiday vacation but like any other landscape photographer would know, weather is one major factor. Unfortunately, I’m inexperienced when it comes to landscape photography.

I was lucky because the storm came a day early before my scheduled trip. Later, I realized that even if there were no storm to hinder my landscape escapade, the timing was not right since many people would travel during holidays and swarm every local tourist destination there is. It would have been a disaster either way. Continue reading “Planning Your Landscape Shoot” »