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” »

Just Relax

I always witness a photographer or art director, maybe the agency rep tell the model to relax. This also happens in any type of shoot whether shooting couples for prenup or a teenager for her pre debut pictures. “Relax lang” is what I always hear hoping the subject would loosen up and project a more ideal result.

Unfortunately, asking the subject to relax never results in a more confident subject. It’s not a magic word that changes the state of mind. I wish it would but it won’t. We encounter this a lot during shoot when subjects would just freeze in the set and you’d wish that they’d relax and show more confidence.

First time in front of a camera, Danny Romero told me that he doesn't know how to pose. I told him "you don't have to, let me worry about that". After a short pep talk, he was in the zone and did really well.

First time in front of a camera, Danny Romero told me that he doesn’t know how to pose. I told him “you don’t have to, let me worry about that”. After a short pep talk, he was in the zone and did really well.

Continue reading “Just Relax” »

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” »

Photoshop Update

I have a friend who’s into graphics and photography that uses Photoshop 7. This is way back late 90s just before CS and CC versions. He said that he don’t need any of the new features and all the tools that he needs is there. True, in my use of Photoshop, the essential tools are normally enough for me but I also take advantage of new features that can speed up my task.

No matter how much retouching is needed, I always start with Lightroom and do my retouching in Photoshop then back to Lightroom again for final correction and export. Credits to Danny, Anastasia and iioffice Cebu.

No matter how much retouching is needed, I always start with Lightroom and do my retouching in Photoshop then back to Lightroom again for final correction and export. Credits to Danny, Anastasia and iioffice Cebu.

Some photographers that I know, uses Photoshop exclusively only as a base application for third-party filters. The moment the file opens, they just dive into the world of filters and plug-ins. No quarrel on that, it’s always the final result that matters. Continue reading “Photoshop Update” »

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” »

What’s in your heart

Choosing the right genre in photography is as complicated as finding your partner in life. While the basics principles of photography applies to all genre, the differences in terms of subject matter are extremes. Expertise from different discipline is one-half of the needed skills to master a particular genre, the other half is the technicalities of photography.

I don't normally shoot in my own workshop, maybe I do some demo but not to the point of zoning in. Some of the rare times that inspiration to shoot is too strong. I had to steal half an hour after the workshop to take some of the imagination out in the real world.

I don’t normally shoot in my own workshop, maybe I do some demo but not to the point of zoning in. Some of the rare times that inspiration to shoot is too strong. I had to steal half an hour after the workshop to take some of the imagination out in the real world.

I started shooting when I was in high school just for the fun and curiosity of taking pictures and developing it in the dark room. In college, I was shooting for a publication and I was shooting products during my early working years. I never had a genre that really fired up my interest. Something that will inspire me to do it all over again no matter how many lifetimes. Continue reading “What’s in your heart” »

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” »

Rejections

Sliding off the norm, I overexposed this shot to get a washed out effect. Yacht Club, Roxas Boulevard. f8, 1/160, 70-200, 5D.

Sliding off the norm, I overexposed this shot to get a washed out effect. Yacht Club, Roxas Boulevard. f8, 1/160, 70-200, 5D.

When you’re a photographer or any type of artist, you’ll go through many challenges and one of them is rejection. The issue is worsen by social media. However, perspective matters and if you reposition your thinking, you’ll see it in a different way.

I was scrolling through my facebook feed and read a post from Mai Pages, it says “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.” – Dita Von Teese. After reading the line, I felt the waves went through my past experiences and released a ton of stress. Continue reading “Rejections” »

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” »