Sunday, December 7, 2008

THE GIFTS SERIES 6: Edwin Loyola Solo Exhibit

Multi-awarded photographer EDWIN LOYOLA is hailed as the "Dark Artist" for his penchant for dark tones. A veteran at staging exhibitions, Loyola is self-taught and embodies what passion for the craft involves --- by relying on instincts to create a work of art. The range and dimension to which he expresses his creativity is evident in his portfolio, where one will find a spectrum of ordinary elements turned into extra-ordinary images. Loyola is a proponent and a staunch advocate of giving back what God has provided, using his talents to create art, whose main beneficiaries are the charities he supports.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Of Frogs, Frodo and Photography

By Raneil Antonio Ibay

Once upon a time or just last Saturday, October 18, 2008 to be exact, the 2nd Canon PhotoMarathon Asia jousted off at the MMLDC Compound in Antipolo City. In this on-the-spot photo contest, photographers are given a set of 3 theme assignments, each theme to be completed within the allotted time frame only. More than 2,000 registered participants were raring to battle it out to capture the best photograph, thus began the photo challenge. When the smoke and dust cleared, our very own Arnie Aranjuez emerged as the 2nd Grand Prize Winner. He even bested some photographers who will do everything, short of kissing a frog just to find that elusive prince of a win.

For Arnie’s valiant effort, he wins a free photo clinic with professional photographer Triston Yeo to the land of Frodo, which is New Zealand (if you’ve been living under a rock, this is where they filmed J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings). He, along with 1st Grand Prize winner Chi Busque will have the enviable fairytale opportunity to photograph the natural beauty of South Island, experience the Southern Alps at Mt. Cook, the country’s highest peak and be wowed by the Fox Glacier, the longest of the awe-inspiring West Coast glaciers.

Inspired as he was, he shot his winning entry for the first theme, Nature’s Wonder. With a 50mm macro lens mounted on his Canon EOS 30D set on Manual, an exposure of 1/125 at f/10 and an ISO setting of 400, he shot this simple yet beautiful image just across the building where the registration, briefing and downloading of photos was conducted. This only shows that we can find beauty anywhere; we just have to look for it to see it.

Framed Shots Camera Club members who also competed in this challenge include Chito Cleofas, Nick Olayao, Kenneth Si, Rose Razon, Alex Regaspi, Joseph Leña and last year’s winner and one of the club’s newest members, Joel Garcia.

For Arnie, winning the 2nd Canon PhotoMarathon Asia is not equivalent to a “happily ever after” ending but a “once upon a time” start of a really good story.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

THE GIFTS SERIES 5: Borj Meneses Solo Exhibit

DENNIS BORJA MENESES is indeed a disciple of the craft. Pushing himself to learn the technical aspect of photography, Meneses is a proficient glamour, fashion, portrait and conceptual artist. But more than that, he weaves special images that aim to reflect social relevance and make a statement, while sometimes infusing his artistry with graphic designs. Meneses is a believer of the freedom of expression and original ideas, saying that art may be imitated but it should never limit one to strive and create better photos.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Hero

By Raneil Antonio Ibay

Everyone needs a hero. Someone you can look up to and emulate. Someone who inspires you to be better. You’re thinking about someone like the Batman, right? Well, yeah he can qualify as long as he inspires you.

Seriously, I do have my heroes in photography. There’s my dad, Galen Rowell, David Muench, Art Wolfe, Frans Lanting, George Tapan, Bien Bautista, Hans Nelemann, Jim Hanson, John Chua, Dean Collins, Monte Zucker and most recently, Joe McNally.

From my dad I learned the value of documenting the family especially when I see our old pictures as we were growing up. He recorded moments in our life that we can all go back to just by looking at them.

For travel photography, I have George Tapan and Bien Bautista to look up to. Looking at Tapan’s pictures in Mabuhay magazine made me want to travel to those places and shoot them. On the other hand, I admired Bautista’s sense of design in a photograph.

I wanted to be a great advertising photographer like Jim Hansen and John Chua. Hansen enjoys his work immensely but takes his job of image making very seriously. From him I learned the importance of texture in food shots. Chua is a former boss from whom I learned that you are only as good as your last photograph so always try and do your best. He demanded perfection and this made him one of the most sought after advertising photographers in the industry.

Making me aspire to be a great portrait photographer are Dean Collins, Monte Zucker and Joe McNally whose styles vastly differ from each other yet are distinctly their own.

And lastly, I’ve always dreamt of following the footsteps of nature photographers Galen Rowell, David Muench, Art Wolfe and Frans Lanting. A lot of heroes I must admit, but they all shaped me to be the photographer that I am today.

One thing I noticed in them is they all have a hunger. A hunger to capture that one shot that no one did before. A hunger to come up with the best shot possible. A hunger to be a better photographer tomorrow than they were yesterday.

The late Galen Rowell couldn’t have said it better in an article I’ve read in Outdoor Photographer way back in April 1994. In it he talked about an important trait that successful photographers have, “the size of their rats”. The phrase was coined by British mountain climbers to account for why some of them became more successful than others. “The size of the rat refers to the voracious creature gnawing at a person’s stomach from the inside that drives them to leave the comforts and security of their civilized life to challenge themselves in the natural world. Without a big rat, a person stays at home with the family and is content to be a shopkeeper.”

Rowell further writes that the British Antarctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Gerrard also describes the same factor in the last paragraph of his book, The Worst Journal In The World. Written in 1910 after a trip to visit an Emperor Penguin colony in the dead of winter in minus-70 degree F temperatures. Oh, and yes, done in total darkness. He wrote: “The desire…for it’s own sake is the one which really counts…Some will tell you that you are mad, and nearly all will say, ‘What is the use?’ for we are a nation of shopkeepers, and no shopkeeper will look at a research which does not promise a financial return within the year. And so, you will sledge nearly alone, but those with whom you sledge will not be shopkeepers: this is worth a great deal. If you march your Winters Journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin’s egg.”

Like that Emperor Penguin’s egg, great photography is the result of the photographer’s personal commitment and that personal commitment is the size of his rat.

I’d like to end this article with a chorus from the Foo Fighters’ song My Hero: “There goes my hero, watch him as he goes. There goes my hero, he’s ordinary.”

Heroes are also ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things. Who are your heroes?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Maranao Epic in Classical Dance

By Raneil Antonio Ibay

Last May 13, 2008, a group of FPPF photographers headed by Chairperson Eduviges Y. Huang and Project Director Lito Beltran were invited by the Phil. Ballet Theater to photograph the dress rehearsal of PBT’s adaptation of “Darangen ni Bantugen” at the CCP Main Theater. “Darangen ni Bantugen” is a Maranao epic set in classical dance with live music by the Philippine Baranggay Folk Dance Troupe and world music pre-recorded and composed by Jesse Lucas. Local tribal instruments like the kulintang, dabakan and diw-diw-as were used along with percussions to create ethnic rhythms that the performers danced to.

Excellent stage lighting by Jonjon Villaruel Jr. effectively portrayed every cast member with a play of colors for moods and story shifts while the minimalist and modern looking set was designed by National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal.

Gener Caringal masterfully choreographed the dances and assisted by Ronilo Jaynario. They used a lot of props for the dances often associated with the South like the kris, fans and malongs.

The lead role was played by Jared Tan as Prince Bantugen and supporting him are Katherine Trofeo as Princess Datimbang, Abigail Tan as Diwata and Joan Ayap as the Bird. Anatoly Panasyukov, PBT’s ballet master gets to plays a cameo role as the Angel of Death. Marvin Arizo plays the cross-dressing Magali and completing the cast is Peter San Juan as Mabaning.

It was a great experience to photograph this Maranao epic dance presentation as you are not always allowed to shoot in these kinds of performances, especially at the CCP.

With cameras mounted on tripods, we clicked away as the performance unfolded before us, appreciating the dancers’ graceful movements as we try to capture them.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Gifts Series 4: JP Sarmenta / One Man Show

"I am a restless soul, painting the world with its light and shadow...."

There is a surprise waiting for anyone willing to see the world in monochrome. In draining the colour of my photographs, I have worked, fashioned, shaped and infused them with a new life. Everything comes in grades and shades of darkness and light - I play with their constant struggle and simply let them define who I am.

Photography is my ultimate form of self-expression and art. It allows me to unleash my emotions, let them loose. My art and heart flow together. The oceans of sorrow and loneliness raging deep within that define my existence right now, I can only explain through my images. I am finding catharsis, and yes, happiness, in all that photography entails.

I adamantly believe that art, beyond emotions, should be elevated into the realm of thought. I want my black and whites to provoke thinking, and maybe, just maybe, lead you to action, whatever that may be. Then I will have completely fulfilled this black and white universe.

"I am most free with my art in my right hand and with heart in the other."

Opening Night
6:oo pm / Wednesday
13th August 2008

Philamlife East Side Lobby
Philamlife Building
United Nations Avenue, Ermita

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

August 2008 Club Meeting

2nd Floor PBSP Bldg.
Magallanes corner Real St.,
Intramuros, Manila

August 3, 2008, 1:00 PM

PWC Theme: "Rain"

On-the-Spot Photo Contest:
"Glamour Photography"
Featuring 2 female models from Ms. Bikini Philippines and 1 male model from Slimmers World's Great Bodies

1. Please bring your camera equipment and portable lighting gears.
2. You may also bring your own props for the OTS.
3. Please update your membership dues.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Waiting for Magic
By Raneil Antonio Ibay

“Isa’t kalahating araw na naghihintay ang traffic, isa’t kalahating oras na naghihintay ng magic (One and a half days of waiting for the traffic to move, one and a half hours of waiting for something magical to happen)”. So goes a line in Sandwich’s song “Jetlag”.

This is usually the case with us photographers. Waiting for the magic hour, waiting for that magic moment, waiting for something magical to happen. Always waiting.

Nothing wrong there as most of these times we are rewarded with some of our most fantastic images to put in our portfolios.

But sometimes we need to create that magic moment, to look for that shot. We can’t always wait for the “magic hour” or for the rain to stop before we start shooting. We need to take an active stand if we are going to be lucky to nail that “magical” shot. We all create our luck. The more we go out there and shoot, the more “lucky” we get. The more we practice, the “luckier” we get.

Practice. Now that’s another word I often encounter. Why do you think doctors and lawyers call their work “practice”? And for that matter, why do you think they get paid an awful amount of money for “practicing” on us? Maybe that’s just it, they practice a lot. They go out there and just do it and it makes them better doctors and lawyers.

Michael Jordan (do the kids out there know who he is?) or (let’s make this more relevant to these times) Kobe Bryant didn’t become an excellent basketball player by sitting on his behind waiting for his fairy godmother to bestow some magic upon him. He had to work. Really work hard and sweat it out on the court shooting hoops, working on his moves, learning more skills to be where he is now. No amount of hocus pocus or mumbo jumbo can replace plain hard work.

I guess that for something magical to happen in our photography, we first you have to master our craft and learn new tricks, second is to go out there and practice a lot and then while taking a breather, go practice some more.

Friday, July 4, 2008

THE GIFTS SERIES 3: Med Ferrer One Man Show

“I am a wandering soul…

I recognize I have the fortunate opportunity to travel the world with my camera on hand.

The intention of documenting places I have visited has made my discovery of the world much more fulfilling. From landscapes to architecture, to capturing the place’s culture --- my subject is varied, the world is my palette.

Sometimes, I spot once-in-a-lifetime views of a subject I may not be able to photograph again. And I’m glad I was restless enough to stop and shoot.

Sometimes I take a photo without realizing that there is a potential masterpiece in there.

But on any angle, Mother Earth is one beautiful subject; and my work is a testament to her beauty.

See the world through my eyes…”

THE GIFTS SERIES 3: Med Ferrer / One Man Show

Opening Night:
6:00pm / Friday
4th July 2008

Philamlife East Lobby
Philamlife, United Nations Avenue

Exhibit Date:
July 4 to July 23 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

July 2008 Club Meeting

2nd Floor PBSP Bldg.
Magallanes corner Real St.
Intramuros, Manila

July 06, 2008, 1:00 PM

PWC Theme - "Still Life"
Side Theme - "Ilocos Road Trip"

Parc Cruz
Borj Meneses

Please bring your notebook computer if you wish to follow the exercises/samples during the lecture.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book Review: Photographing The Drama Of Daily Life

by Raneil Antonio Ibay

First, this book is old. It was written in 1984, way behind the digital age, so most the techniques discussed here were written with the manual SLR camera in mind. But, not to discourage everyone, I think these techniques still apply for our digital cameras.

This book also shows that anyone can access the skills needed to photograph daily life. The pictures and topics range from news events to just shooting ordinary people.
It was written to involve us in what is happening in each picture. This book also tackles techniques on how to improve your reaction time and skill in taking unposed pictures relying mostly on watchfulness than on complex equipment.

Second, this book is part of a series of books called The Kodak Library Of Creative Photography, so there are more of these books with different topics.

Third and best of all, it only costs P310.00 at your local Booksale stall. Not a bad bargain for a book where you can learn a lot from.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Framed Thoughts: What kind of Photographer am I?

by Rosy Villasanta-Ibay,

What kind of a photographer am I? What do I want to do? I find it pathetic that until now, I do not have yet that single driven vision of what I want to be as a photographer. For example, Roselyn is very clear in her intent to be a travel photographer; Edwin aims to be instantly recognized for a certain distinctive style that he’s developing; the venerable Aurelio from the Lopez clan is on his way to being another Panchito, a hotshot wedding photographer. What about me?

Over the years, I have discovered that my forte is catching, freezing life as it went at the exact moment with perfect timing. In fact, the very few awards I have garnered were all life in progress that I managed to suspend in eternity with my camera. This kind of photography leans towards photojournalism – but I do not want to be a photo journalist!

I do take decent still life photos. In fact, some of them are more than just decent since a couple or more have won minor awards also. Hmmmmm. I like my travel photos although that’s subjective since we should love our own ahahaha! Of course I am no George Tapan! As they say, marami pa kong bigas na kakainin before I can even get close to what he can do in travel photography. E pano ‘yan, I’m on a no-rice diet right now. Does that mean I have no future in travel photography? tsk tsk It’s getting more and more pathetic.

I like what I call “patience” photography. I like waiting for the most impressive lightning to strike the sky; I can stay virtually motionless and not breathing waiting for that pretty bird to fly; when taking portraits I prefer clicking the shutter repeatedly until I have caught that enchantingly natural smile.

I am an analyst by profession but the irony is, I am having a real hard time evaluating my own photographer self. In the industry that I am in my day job, no matter how big the problem is and how different these are from one another, there is always a formula you can go back to. But humans are way too complex - their thoughts like quicksilver, their emotion fleeting, So that’s already declaring that I am a character ahahaha!

But I guess that’s it! That’s my common denominator – emotion! No matter which aspect of photography, whether candid or set-up, I always want to infuse emotion or something equivalent that would give my photograph its own unique character. It could be a shaft of light lending that uninteresting box of posporo a shroud of mystery or a play of shadows rendering the azucena petals more fragile than usual.

There always has to be a story and behind each play of emotion, every single move, every breath on this earth, is a continuing saga.

Now I’ve lost steam. Tiredness has caught up with me and I don’t have the energy anymore to finish this blog and make a digestible conclusion.

So what kind of a photographer am I? I don’t know. All I know is I like taking photos that look astoundingly beautiful to my eyes. I guess I am not driven to do anything profound with my photography because simply, this is my refuge, my sanctuary. In short, no pressure on this one please.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Loco Over Ilocos

By Raneil Antonio Ibay
Photos by Raneil Antonio Ibay, Rosy Villasanta-Ibay, Emil Valdez-Tan, Rose Razon and Arnie Aranjuez

A Northern Luzon road trip painstakingly organized by Roselyn Roldan with some help from Lea Ricolcol along with fellow Framed Shots Camera Club members Arnie, Rellie, Michelle, Edwin, Rina, Tin, Doc Emil, Willy, Allan, Rose, Joey, Irma, Doc Rose, my wife Rosy and I takes us on a photo safari to the land of Pinakbet that is Ilocos. From April 30 to May 04, 2008, our journey took us from the old town of Vigan up to the last town of Ilocos Norte, the idyllic Pagudpud.First stop was at Villa Angela in Vigan where we stayed for the night as we arrived at around 3 o’clock in the morning of May 01, Thursday.

Vigan, a World Heritage Site is the most intact example of a Spanish colonial town in the Philippines. It is well-known for its cobblestone streets and unique architecture that fuses Philippine building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning.

We slept for a couple of hours and woke up at 6 o’clock for an early morning shoot at Calle Crisologo.

After breakfast it was off to the burnayan where the famous Vigan pottery is made. They were kind enough to demonstrate for us how these beautiful pottery is made. We then had lunch at the Plaza Burgos where we also had some of the famous Vigan empanada and okoy. Next stop, Bantay Church where we went up the belfry and took in the site. We were surprised that Quirino Bridge is visible from up there. Minutes later and it was time to go to Paoay where we shot what else, Paoay Church. At this point I was already feeling like a contestant in The Amazing Race.

There were a lot of tourists and this made it a little hard to shoot the church. We had some halo-halo first before running to the La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag for the sunset. This is where Fernando Poe Jr.’s Panday movies were shot. We got there with enough time to explore the place a bit.

In Ilocano, the native dialect of Ilocos, "Laoag" means "the place of light or clarity". And true to it’s name, the sunset and twilight here was spectacular. It clearly was a place of light.

Still high from our shoot but now feeling hungry, we had dinner at La Moda, a panciteria in Laoag where we had some pancit, crispy pata and pinakbet. Our group then checked in at the Java Hotel. Some chose to sleep early, it had been a long day after all. While some of us relaxed a bit in the pool and then transferred to the Eagle’s Nest Bar for some drinks and videoke singing before calling it a night.

The next day, May 02, Friday, we started with a late breakfast, checked out and headed for the Laoag market to buy food to bring to Bangui. We also had lunch here before going to the 116-year-old Cape Boreador Lighthouse in Burgos. Completed on March 30, 1892, it was one of the first lighthouses to be put up for adoption by the Phil. Coast Guard for its project to rehabilitate and maintain these once-proud lighthouses.

We arrived at the Northwind Power Development Corp., the first commercial wind farm in Southeast Asia at Bangui Bay at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and met the plant manager Mr. Dino Tiatco. We then proceeded to the windmills and shot them until the sun set. God not wanting to disappoint us, gave us another glorious sunset. It is during these times that I thank God for the talent he has given me, to be a witness to his greatness, to record these images and share it with everyone.

Back at the plant, Mr.Tiatco gave us a short lecture about their company and its operations after which we pitched our tents and started cooking dinner. It was a hearty meal of rice, longganisa, inihaw na mais, saging na saba at danggit, diced green mango with tomatoes and onions, and some soft drinks. After dinner, we had a few rounds of beer with Mr. Tiatco and we turned in our tents for our much needed sleep.

Morning of May 03, Saturday came and I woke to the sounds of everyone hurrying to break camp and prepare breakfast. It’s 5:30 A.M., w e had just missed sunrise and we were trying to catch some of the beautiful early morning light at Kapurpurawan. A magnificent sight of limestone rock cliffs and waves crashing on its sides greeted us. Everyone scattered to take pictures.

Our group next split up to two. One group went to shoot the Bangui Windmills from a cliff nearby and our small group consisting of Rina, Tin, Rose, Arnie, Allan and I went back to the Northwind plant and meet up with Mr. Tiatco, we were going to climb up one of the windmills. They were going to service a windmill and we will just go with the staff to shoot from up there while they do their maintenance work. It was a rare chance as only authorized personnel can go up there. I also considered it as bragging rights. Many could say that they’ve shot those windmills. But how many could say that they’ve gone up and shot from those windmills? Thank you to Mr. Niels Jacobsen, President of Northwind Power Development Corp., Mr. Vincent Perez Jr., Chairman of Alternergy Partners, Pte. Ltd., Mr. Dino Tiatco, Plant Manager and his staff for giving us this truly memorable opportunity.

Everyone was so excited as the staff prepared the harnesses and briefed us. The tower is 23 stories high and the only way up is a steel ladder where you, wearing a harness are hooked up, a safety measure just in case you slip. One has to be physically fit though to climb as it can be quite tasking for the arms and legs, not to mention the heat of the controlled humidity in the tower. This humidity is needed to protect the tower from rust because it stands on the shoreline. The sea can be unforgiving to anything metal. The view from the top is indeed great. From here we can see the vast expanse of the Luzon Sea and rest of the 15 windmills all lined up on the shores of Bangui Bay.

We had late lunch at Pannzian Resort in Pagudpud and at around 3:00 P.M. we went to the Blue Lagoon Resort and headed for the beach. The waves were quite strong so we just soaked up and goofed around the beach. Willy taught us Tai Chi and Arnie, some yoga. It was a fun afternoon. We went back to Pannzian resort just before sunset and still caught the twilight at the beach. After dinner, everyone turned in early. We were supposed to have a bonfire at the beach but everyone was dead tired after all the traveling we’ve done.

May 04, Sunday, at 5:00 A.M. we all woke up for the sunrise. We caught it this time. One group went to shoot at the Patapat Viaduct, some chose to shoot at the beach. It was a nice early morning walk and shoot before breakfast. At 9:00 A.M. we departed for the trip back to Manila, stopping first at the Bangui View deck for a final glimpse of the windmills. Next stop was at Bacarra Church for a quick shoot and some ice cream. Late lunch was at Paoay and then off to Vigan for some quick shopping of pasalubong of Vigan longganisa, bagnet, chichacorn and empanadita.

Our final stop to shoot was at the foot of Quirino Bridge in Abra where we waited for the sun to set. The sun set at the horizon of what seemed like the construction of a new bridge, bathing the scene with a warmness that highlighted the texture of the dried riverbed, grass leaves and the bridge.

The ride back home was quite uneventful save for a blown out tire of our second van. We had to turn back and help them but other than that, it was all smooth thanks to our drivers Mang Jun and Mang Nilo. We arrived in Manila at around 3:30 in the morning of May 05, Monday still groggy from sleep or lack of it.

Getting home, crazy as it sounds, I was already thinking of uploading my shots on my computer but decided against it. Rosy would have killed me even before I turned the computer on. It will have to wait until morning. So ends one crazy trip. And if you ask me if I’d to it again, I say I’d be crazy not to.

Framed Thoughts: Why I Shoot Worthless Pictures

Text and Photos By Raneil Antonio Ibay

A fellow photographer once told me that it’s been quite a while since he’s shot “walang kwenta” or “worthless” pictures. By this he means shooting for a camera club, photo contests or just walking around with your camera on hand, shooting just about anything that captures your fancy. An old saying comes to mind, “Birds of the same feather, flock together”. This had me thinking, “Am I in a group of “mga walang kwenta?” (“Am I in a group of worthless photographers?”) Or “Is my photography walang kwenta?” (“Is my photography worthless?”).

Come to think of it, I do have a lot of those pictures. Mayanna leaves on a garden, shanties along Pasig river, a beached boat on a low tide shore and of course, the eternally shot sunset. All seemingly worthless I admit. Maybe worthless to another person or worse to another photographer. Some of them I entered in photo contests. Some won, most didn’t. Some didn’t even make it to the top 50. Do I consider the ones that didn’t win as “worthless”? As something better suited to be ripped apart and thrown into the fire to produce heat and thus have some semblance of worth? Or do I consider the ones that did win as “priceless”? As something to be framed, exhibited at a gallery and to be sold at an astonishingly absurd price? I don’t know if there’s any photographer out there not secretly dreaming of this scene. Maybe the ones that did win deserve to be framed at least. But for the ones that didn’t win, I don’t think they deserve to be thrown to the fiery depths of photography hell.

One thing they all did make me is, happy. Happy to have captured these moments and preserved them. Happy to have shared it with a group of like-minded people during club meetings or on online galleries. Happy to come home from an out-of-town adventure with them. Happy to just be there walking, camera in hand snapping away at these worthless scenes.

After looking at my pictures in these terms, I now don’t see them as “walang kwenta” or “worthless”. I had fun shooting them, I was in my element, I was having an adventure.

So will I still shoot worthless pictures? You can bet your Spongebob underpants that I still will. And speaking of which, the sign on the road says we’re near Calatagan already. It’s time to finish this article and start shooting some “worthless pictures”.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Photo Manipulation

by Nick Olayao
Banner Image by
Nick Olayao

In my own point of view, photo manipulation is, at a minimum, an integral part of
digital photography.

As soon as you set your capture format to jpeg for example, place a filter over your lens, decide on developing time, set a white balance, you are already altering or manipulating the photograph in some way.

However, this is only the creative way of using your camera, and photo manipulation is still a long process ahead.

During post production, some may consider dodging, cropping, blurring, levels adjustments, color enhancements, etc. as photo manipulation, but for me, these can be best described as "Photo Enhancement".

As long as the procedure is applied globally on the image, you are just enhancing the original photograph.

Photo manipulation is when you apply processes on an image and the effect is so extensive that it can be clearly distinguishable from the unaltered photograph. This is normally done thru the use of graphical imaging software like Adobe Photoshop.

Photo manipulation can consist of more than one image (layers), blended together in a way that exceeds digital darkroom techniques - in other words, photo manipulation no longer focuses on merely enhancing any given photo, but on creating something that is entirely new.

Now that we are living in the age of new technology where everything is laid out on the palm of our hands, why not start to enjoy and learn something new from it? Your manipulated work may not be acceptable to some photo contests, but there are other contests that are open to this kind of craft.

Editor's Note: This article kicks off the "Photo Manipulation Series" of our blog. Watch out for Mr. Olayao's contribution , "Teknik ni Nik", coming very soon! Those who wish to contribute to this series, please send your contribution to me via email.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

June 2008 Club Meeting

624 A. H. Lacson St.
Sampaloc, Manila
(see map below)

June 1, 2008 1:30PM


Judging of "Portrait of a Filipino" photo contest
Commercial/Advertising Photography Demo by Chie Zamora
Submission of entries for the "Bangui Windmills" photo contest


Please update your membership dues.
Camera and tripod for those who wants to shoot along the lecture.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

FS Wins in the Pagsalabuk Festival 2008 Photo Contest

by Arnie Aranjuez
Awarding Ceremony Photos by Ivan Santos
Banner Image by Edwin Loyola

The on-the-spot (OTS) photo contest was held during the Pagsalabuk Festival last May 22, 2008 in Dipolog City.

There were 300+ entries from participating photographers who came from Manila and Dipolog City. Judging was held last May 24, 2008 and the panel of judges was composed of Mr. Lester Ong, Dr. Vecinte, Didi Romano, Mr. Werner Lim and Atty. Selda.

The awarding ceremony was held at the Dipolog City Boulevard, which is the center stage of all activities during the festival. Mayor Evelyn Uy, the mayor of Dipolog, led the awarding ceremony.

There were four FS members who joined the contest and all of them made it to the top 30 and two figured prominently in the top 10. Chito Cleofas' worm's eye view shot of the street dancing participants in a close huddle won the top prize. Edwin Loyola's picture of a group of participants whose costumes create an interesting pattern placed 6th and another photo of a lone participant whose eyes were framed by his headdress and props placed 10th.

Rounding up the finalists are the entries of Nick Olayao and Rellie Lopez.


Below are the complete list of top ten winners:

1st Place Chito Cleofas
2nd Place George Tapan
3rd Place Dewey Sergio
4th Place Jim Giron
5th Place George Tapan

6th Place Edwin Loyola
7th Place Hermie of Dipolog
8th Place George Tapan
9th Place Dewey Sergio

10th Place Edwin Loyola

1st Place Chito Cleofas

6th Place Edwin Loyola

10th Place Edwin Loyola

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Riding The Bicol Express

By Enrico Gutierrez
Shooting with a Nikon D70

Last March we ventured on to the Bicol province. I must admit that this was my first time and needless to say I was excited. This was one of those trips where I was sure it was going to be tiring but fun.

The trip started out with a long bus drive…10 to 12 hours I think. I usually have a hard time sleeping on long drives, fortunately for me, Michelle ate a big box of donuts so she was hyper and talkative during the long drive : )

Excuse the picture. I was tired from the ride and it was raining hard. I used a 50mm fixed lens. Wrong decision.

We arrived in Bicol and it was pouring hard. The bus dropped us off at a make shift bus terminal because the drop off area was flooded. I think we were all kinda sad thinking that there was probably a storm brewing since Bicol was well known for that.

We transferred to a vannette courtesy of Ate Lea’s gracious friend. Our agenda this morning was to have breakfast, check in at our hotel and to swim with the whales.

It was a long two hour drive to see the whales and it was pouring hard when suddenly the rain stopped. Like magic, the clouds lifted and out came the sun. We arrived at the whale station and took a micro mini seminar, as this was required before you can swim with the whales. The guide made us sign a “release” form freeing them from any responsibilities in case the “butanding” decides that he’s no longer a vegetarian and goes for meat. The gist of the seminar, “oh sign nyo na, alis na tayo para ma abutan natin yung butanding.” With goggles and flippers in hand we headed towards the open sea.

Imagine this…when we got to the butanding site, the guide told us to ready ourselves. With flippers and goggles in readiness the guide pulled us closer as a butanding was nearby. I put my head underwater and I was shocked as a 20foot whale shark swam beneath me. He was literally two meters between my legs. It was AWESOME! My pulse was racing fast as he slowly glided beneath. Within seconds he was gone in a cloak of murky shadows. Wow, that has got to be the highlight of this trip.

We took turns whale spotting. After a while the water became choppy and cold so we called it a day. It was around 4pm when we docked inland. Tired, happy and hungry we grabbed some delicious Bicol Express. The hotel was approximately two hours away so we decided to relax a bit and wait for nightfall to shoot some fireflies.

Shooting fireflies was an adventure in itself. Our guide who was also our guide on the butanding, took us to a river where supposedly was infested with fireflies. We took a boat ride as dusk was nearing. It was a nice peaceful ride. The glow from the setting sun really added drama to the river. Interesting silhouettes surrounded our peripheral view. Unfortunately the boat was shaky to be able to shoot properly. Our guide directed our attention to some trees-which were cast in silhouette and was glowing. The fireflies filled the leaves. It was like watching lights on a Christmas tree. Another, highlight of the trip. We called it a day and headed back for some needed rest.

The road trip to our next destination was filled with stops and some exploration. We headed towards Bicol’s Landmark…the famous Mayon Volcano.

I have seen the Mayon in postcards and in TVonly. I was pleasantly surprised at it’s majestic, and mysterious allure. The locals say that the volcano erupts every ten years and each time taking with it many lives. With that in mind, countless urban legends have spun around its mystique. See for yourself...

I was shooting between Nick and Rance when this picture was taken.

We spent the majority of our time shooting the Mayon at different angles and locations throughout the day. Its fascinating to see it’s peak clear and with some clouds surrounding it. With each shot we tried to include a bit of the foreground, middle ground and some background. When night time came Ate Lea informed us that we were invited to her friend’s place for a little get together and some home cooked meal, plus a procession shoot of the station of the cross. Yummy more Bicol Express.

Next day came and we decided to veer of our agenda and to head towards Camarines Sur for some action phography.

Cam Sur was fun. We were going to attemp some wake boarding but unfortunately they were booked for the day. Around lunch time we have heard from the locals of a “virgin lake.” This was probably for me the most scariest of the trip. Not knowing if these people were legit or trustworthy we decided to go for it. Maybe the thrill of the adventure and the unknown got the better of us.

We found ourselves in a run down shitty boat on an equally shitty lake. In the movies you see clear and calm waters on a lake. Ours was dark and dirty. The boat chugged to an island. I noticed our guides had some interesting jailhouse ink on their bodies. And would constantly look at us, smile and talk bicol among themselves. I was uneasy at this point. We are, after all, in NPA territory.

We trekked in a single file through mud and tall grass. The sun was high above us. The path was getting worse and slippery. We were committed at this point and was too late to back out. With our camera gear, bottled water and slippers we pushed forward. At one point we were separated from the group. Our guide was lost and we were disoriented as well by the tall grass blinding our view. At a distance I could hear strong water sounds, I guess our guide was trustworthy. He whistled a bird call in the air and his friends signaled back. In a few minutes we were standing in front of the Virgin Falls…

Overall the Bicol trip was an adventure. Every minute was filled with surprises. It was very tiring and rewarding from a photographers viewpoint. From the butanding, firelies, Mayon Volcano, wake boarding, virgin falls and bicol express. This was an experience and thank you for the friends who made it happen. Ate Lea, Michelle, Rosllyn, Kuya Nick, Rance and Rosy.

Till our next adventure.