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.