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” »

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” »

Hassles in fashion photography

In the recent workshop that I conducted for PCCI in Makati, the students asked me why I chose fashion photography over the others. I told them that I like the pressure. The idea that I will almost always call it quits everytime fuels my passion to even play harder. Above all, it’s the satisfaction that I get producing artworks with style.

My challenge to my students during the fashion photography workshop was to shoot the subject in style and capturing the motion. It’s about finding ways to shoot it differently.

Behind every fashion photo you see is a mix of beauty and style. The problem that arises in and out of the set is as simple as missing memory card to one of the creatives decided not to show. There’s weather if you’re shooting outdoors and equipment failures here and there. But in the middle of chaos, a work of art is brewing. Continue reading “Hassles in fashion photography” »

Thought Process

I’m occasionally asked about my thought process when shooting. I would hear the same question when watching photography video tutorial. When I was just starting up, that’s what I always ask every time I meet somebody I look up to. When learning photography the photos are output of the photographer’s creative process. Continue reading “Thought Process” »

Phottix Indra Hi Speed Sync

One of the limitation of a focal plane shutter, both used by mirrorless and DSLR, is that it can only allow shooting with strobe at 1/200 shutter speed and below. The maximum shutter speed that the camera can allow with strobe is called flash sync. Should you decide to shoot faster than the flash sync, you’ll see a block of line in your shot..

Well it’s quite easy to digest that as long as you’re below the flash sync, you’re safe. However, what if you want to shoot at faster shutter speed? What if you want to open up your aperture to create a shallow depth of field and increase the shutter to control the exposure while using strobe to fill in the light?

Perfect for shooting portraits. Beauty dish mounted on a Phottix Indra500 set on hi speed sync. 1/1600sec, f/1.8

Continue reading “Phottix Indra Hi Speed Sync” »

Monitor Calibration

Few weeks ago, I was reading a thread about a photographer crowdsourcing on how to match his prints against his monitor. He positioned his photo side by side his monitor to show just how much injustice there is to the imagery. He also said that it looks perfect in the monitor only to find out it looked terrible in print and to other monitors.

This is a typical scenario that many photographers experience. This is a situation that you cannot be saved by crossing your fingers, hoping it won’t happen when doing commissioned shoots. Fortunately, no need for rocket science to figure this out. Just a plain understanding and a particular device called monitor calibrator.

Even mobile devices can now be calibrated. The operating system for both Android and iOS accepts ICC profile to be loaded to the video card so color can be consistent up to mobile devices.

Given the different monitor calibrators available in the market today, there’s more than one procedures to follow. What’s important though is the processes involved. You need to understand it more than following the step by step procedure. Continue reading “Monitor Calibration” »

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” »

New year, new learning

During the holidays, I was teaching my niece how to pose and project in front of a camera. Family members are the best practice models when you’re starting up.

Just before the end of 2016, I had a meeting with a fellow photographer in my hometown in San Francisco Agusan del Sur. I was interested to know how the photography industry is doing and the skills of photographers in the area. My idea was to conduct a workshop so I can contribute additional knowledge about photography and improve the skills of my town folks.

Learning in photography is forever. There can only be a start but never an ending. A photographer will always be a student no matter what level of proficiency he is at. The basic principles can be learned in a matter of day and pretty much, you’ll be shooting with you camera the following day. However, it’s the art and style of photography that goes on and never ends. Continue reading “New year, new learning” »

Outdoor Location Shoot

For those photographers who have a hate and love relationship with natural lighting, outdoor shooting can only go two ways, disaster or perfection. I know the feeling, I’m one of them. Although natural light is still the best light and cannot be perfectly mimicked by artificial light, it can also be a headache when you mix it with your strobe light.

We found this open space in north reclamation area with an old junked Koashiong bus. Looks like an eye sore for passersby but a gold mine to the eyes of a photographer. Natural light with a mix of strobe light. Model: Eva Maria.

We found this open space in north reclamation area with an old junked Koashiong bus. Looks like an eye sore for passersby but a gold mine to the eyes of a photographer. Natural light with a mix of strobe light. Model: Eva Maria.

I know and understood it long time ago that mixing natural and artificial light is a recipe for disaster but it’s irresistible not to do it. You know that natural light will change intensity without any warning and suddenly one of your light source is off the mark while the strobe is not compensating. However, if both natural light and your strobe blended correctly, the result is impeccable. Continue reading “Outdoor Location Shoot” »