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?” »

Breaking Barriers

Photo taken using Fujifilm GFX 50s body, GX120mmF4 R WR lens by Jan Gonzales.

Last year, when Fujifilm announced their medium format mirrorless camera, I have to admit, I had no excitement at all. I know that it’s going to be great just like the other medium format cameras in the market today but I was also sure that it’s going to be out of reach in terms of price. However, I was wrong, Fujifilm always makes product with the consumers in mind.

First stop, size. During the launching of GFX 50s, I tried it and it feels like holding my Canon 5D. Size and weight is very similar except for the 1.7 times bigger sensor inside. It felt good in my big hands and easy access to camera settings with the straight-forward dials which Fujifilm is known for. Continue reading “Breaking Barriers” »

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” »

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” »

Post Processing Internally and Externally

I understand that editing your photo has been an argument even back in the days of Ansel Adams when Photoshop did not even exist. Some editing comes to the point of reconstructing the image that the art of photography is exploited. Advertising images has been criticized about false advertising due to mis-representation of their product using too much Photoshop.

I carry a small point and shoot camera with me when travelling so I can take quick snaps along the way.  Shooting raw using canon G11(small sensor), 1/60, 5.6, ISO 100. Edited in Adobe Camera Raw.

I carry a small point and shoot camera with me when travelling so I can take quick snaps along the way. Shooting raw using canon G11(small sensor), 1/60, 5.6, ISO 100. Edited in Adobe Camera Raw.

While it’s sad to know all about the negative effect of photo editing, it also has it’s highs. Photo editing allows you to correct and enhance your image and fills in the camera’s limitation. By putting photography first and polishing it after with editing, you’re keeping the art. Continue reading “Post Processing Internally and Externally” »

Lighting Technique

One thing you should be aware about lighting is that the more you work with it, the more you can’t shoot without it. Not all photographers are into artificial lighting, there is natural light that we all enjoy and it takes another skill set to master what you cannot control. A different paradigm when it comes to creativity.

There are moments when everything just falls into place. The lights, the camera settings, the model and makeup was just right on target of what I had in mind. These are times when Photoshop becomes irrelevant. The objective is to do it right when shooting so you don't spend too much in post processing. (Model: DJ NIsh, HMUA: George Villamor)

There are moments when everything just falls into place. The lights, the camera settings, the model and makeup was just right on target of what I had in mind. These are times when Photoshop becomes irrelevant. The objective is to do it right when shooting so you don’t spend too much in post processing. (Model: DJ NIsh, HMUA: George Villamor)

I was cleaning up my backup files lately and I had a chance to review my shots from five years ago and it was a mix of emotion. I felt proud to have seen some good shot even when I was just starting up. I also felt embarrassed with a lot of my shots, I can’t believe that I even shared the photos in social media.

Everybody has to start somewhere and definitely you cannot start an expert. I am wherever I am because of what I’ve been through. In every shoot, you always encounter difficulties and from that experience you gain your experience no matter if you solved it or not. The next time you encounter it, you know if it’s solvable or at least know what needs to be done. Continue reading “Lighting Technique” »

Bigger sensor, better quality?

I congratulated a friend of mine on his purchase of a full frame camera. He said that he’s been saving and waiting for it for a long time and finally his new camera came and he’s excited to try it out. Why would photographers upgrade to a bigger sensor and expect better results compared to cropped sensor.

It is a known fact that a larger sensor would give you more dynamic range. This means that you’d be able to capture more gray levels or tones in your image. Since a digital sensor’s weakness is dynamic range in comparison to film, a better sensor will at least minimize the gap but film is still king.

Recently, Hasselblad, known for its medium format size, released a mirrorless version making the bulky camera more compact and ready to go outside of the studio. Medium format camera has an entirely bigger sensor size than full frame cameras. It’s not your everyday camera, prize is just too steep that you can buy a decent car out of the camera body alone.

Smelted. Winning shot of Victor Kintanar during the Global Fujifilm Photowalk, June 2016 - Cebu Leg. Fujifilm X-T10, 35mm, 1/160sec, f/2.8, ISO800.

Smelted. Winning shot of Victor Kintanar during the Global Fujifilm Photowalk, June 2016 – Cebu Leg. Fujifilm X-T10, 35mm, 1/160sec, f/2.8, ISO800.

Continue reading “Bigger sensor, better quality?” »

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” »

Boils down to Taste

Shooting with the warm sunlight at the back of my subject. I had this image in mind but it came out a bit washed out, I had to bring back most of the details in highlight using Lightroom. When shooting raw, you have a lot of latitude especially in the highlights. (credits to Cherry Maine Balagtas)

Shooting with the warm sunlight at the back of my subject. I had this image in mind but it came out a bit washed out, I had to bring back most of the details in highlight using Lightroom. When shooting raw, you have a lot of latitude especially in the highlights. (credits to Cherry Maine Balagtas)

With the explosion of the mirrorless cameras in the market today, photographers are given more options on what device to use or to add to their arsenal. If you’re new to photography, it would be best to try as many camera in your hands as you can before you decide which one best fit your taste.

With the geniuses in marketing, a product can be really enticing and often times very convincing. Then the hype comes and suddenly you see photographers around you starts using the same brand. You probably will end up getting one. That’s ok. If it will help add confidence in you to make the shot, why not. Continue reading “Boils down to Taste” »

Sharpening the Saw

In our backyard, I asked my team to pour in their creativity. We painted the wall with kalsomine and applied corrogated carton to add texture. Styling was designed to contrast the background. Shooting tethered in Lightroom, everybody pitched in their thoughts. It was one fun day. 85mm with ND8, one strobe light with standard reflector. color toning applied on the fly.  (models: Zorena, Cherry. HMUA: George Villamor, Styling Jennifer Cataraja Asst: DJ)?

In our backyard, I asked my team to pour in their creativity. We painted the wall with kalsomine and applied corrogated carton to add texture. Styling was designed to contrast the background. Shooting tethered in Lightroom, everybody pitched in their thoughts. It was one fun day. 85mm with ND8, one strobe light with standard reflector. color toning applied on the fly.
(models: Zorena, Cherry. HMUA: George Villamor, Styling Jennifer Cataraja Asst: DJ)?

One of the books that preach when I was still working full time in corporate environment is Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits”. One of the habits there is sharpening the saw. No matter what level you are in your profession, because of the changing times, what you know will become obsolete or your competitor or the market will move on and you will be left behind.

On times that my schedules are loose and seems like not much bookings are coming in, instead of feeling bad about myself which I sometimes do, I try shake it off by experimenting and stretching and exercising my creative imagination. At the end of the exercise you get a ton load of new learnings and maybe a smile in your face to bring in the clients.filmstrip
Continue reading “Sharpening the Saw” »