Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ephemeral - Quote of the day (ii)

Ansco Prontor, Kodak BW400CN

"Consider that photographs, as ephemeral as they may be, are often used to try to preserve things that have even shorter lives." (from TOP Blog)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Composing Amanda

Canon EOS 60d, EF 135mm L

This is one of those moments when I wished I have a zoom lens.  I was roaming around the church kitchen just looking for some candid shots when her mom called her, "Amanda, he's taking your picture."  Suddenly, it wasn't candid anymore.  With a pose like her, who could refuse that?  The problem was I was too close to her and my back was already on the wall.  I would have wished a lesser cropped shot.  Preferably showing her neck and some background.  Nonetheless, I think it was a great capture.  This image was really a composite of two shots.  One shot was framed properly but was blurry (I had the focus on manual so I had to guesstimate the focusing).  The second shot was sharp but part of her cheek was cut off.  So I put together the two images to get this one.  Ah, the magic of Photoshop.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Living Dangerously

Canon Rebel XT (350d), EF 50mm f1.8 ii

Taken late last year when I went to the Philippines.  This is the how most people in the province commute.  Sometimes, one can see more than 6 passengers on one of these tricycles.  Very dangerous if you are seated behind the driver as most of them are known to drive the cart next to a bus within a few inches of clearance.  I’ve heard horror stories about them.  Actually, it’s very dangerous to sit anywhere as they have been known to hit dogs and water buffaloes crossing the road.  But people seemed to be used to this.  Ah, they must have mastered the zen of living dangerously.  Hope you enjoy.  Cheers.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's hee somewhere

 Canon EOS  60d, EF 135mm L, iso 100, f8, 1/125
I don't even know who she is.
I thought I know her parents.
My wife told me, "no, she's not their's."
I love taking candid photos.
I love street photography.
I love photos that tell a story.
I'm finding out I love taking pictures of people.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Drive My Car

canon 60d, Carl Zeiss 50mm
I always wanted to have a Mercedes Benz. So, my wife got me one for this Valentine’s Day.
Oh, lawd… wont yah buy meh eh Marshedesh Bench

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What to give this Valentine's Day

Iloilo City, Philippines

Since Valentine’s Day is coming, it would seem appropriate to ask the man who is an expert in gift-giving during this time of the year. 

Juznobsrvr:  Mr. Meat Bossman, you’ve been in the gift-giving business for how long?

Mr. Meat Bossman:  35 years  I’ve been in this business.  Will that be a pound or half a pound of pork belly?

J:  I’ll take half.  Now tell me… what would you suggest as a great gift to my wife?

M:  Normally, I’ll recommend a variety of stuff like ribs, loin and belly fat but since you’re a repeat customer, I’ll have to say get her the fat back.

J:  Why is that?

M:  It’s the best part.  You can make them into pork rinds and lard.

Disclaimer:  If you are a puckerbutt or if you are offended because you are a Jew, Vegetarian, or non-meat eater because of religion or diet or preference, then I apologize for this silly satirical banter.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Where is love, respect and understanding?

Where is love, respect and understanding? Why so quick to judge?  Who among us does not have a plank in our own eyes?  When people talk about their struggle and sin, why are we so quick to prescribe the cure… just do this or do that… live in Godly fear and things will be all right… yet do we really stop and ask the “why” before we say these things?  I don’t mean just understand the sin but do we really try to understand the sinner?  Lord have mercy… 

Monday, February 07, 2011


Panasonic DMC-LX3 (before it got baptized)
 I feel I could identify with these leaves.  They're ubiquitous.  Yet no one seems to notice.

"The tree has let go of it... it will never be a part of the cycle anymore but a mere end of it." - Siefred Polido

Time for another stiff drink.  Cheers. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Lo-fi Technique in bouncing light: Study 110131

Captured with Panasonic DMC-LX3, Wide Angle Adapter

This is one of my study shots on indoor lighting and perspective.  To get this shot, I used the following:

  1. a chess board with chess and checker pieces
  2. Panasonic DMC-LX3 Point and Shoot Camera
  3. Wide Angle Adapter
  4. table top tripod
  5. incandescent light lamp
  6. Holga Flash
  7. a relatively dark room

I mounted the camera on a table top tripod and positioned the lens as close as possible (a little more than an inch) to the pieces so I can get that distorted perspective.

The only sources of light were the indoor ambience and the incandescent lamp, which was at the left side of the chess board that provided the main lighting.  It cast a harsh shadow on the chess board so I needed to soften the light.  In order to diffuse it, I could do a couple of things.  I could place a cloth on the incandescent bulb - but since there was not much light to begin with covering it would mean raising the ISO on the camera to keep the exposure correct.  The other option was to bounce an additional light to the wall or ceiling as fill-in on the chess board.  The second option would allow me to keep the camera ISO low enough for better image quality.  ("Better" is really a relative word since shooting digitally at low ISO and long exposure time can also result in grainy artifacts.)

I didn't have a shoe mount flash that I could sync with the camera.  To solve this, I used a cheap Holga flash as an external source of light, which I could hold and manually bounce unto the ceiling.  Since the flash cannot sync automatically, I would need a window of time to manually fire the Holga flash while the subject is being exposed.

The low indoor light setting was advantageous as it would allow me to shoot at long exposure.  I set the camera at aperture priority.  At f8, the light meter in the camera indicated that I needed at least 1.6 seconds to expose the subject.  At this setting, the histogram on the camera shows the graph is at the extreme left, which means the exposure would be under.  This is actually good setting to start because I knew I was going to supplement with fill-in light.  I just hope that the fill-in light would be enough to compensate for my desired exposure, i,e. to get the graph on the histogram at the center.

I have a window of less than 2 seconds to manually bounce light from the Holga flash unto the ceiling.  I took advantage of the Panasonic's time-delay to give me a few more seconds to ready the flash.  I set the delay to 2 seconds.  Since I know that it would take about 1.6 seconds to expose the subject, I have less than 4 seconds to fire the flash once I hit the camera shutter.

My ceiling was high so I just hope for the best when I bounced the light.  With one hand, I held and positioned the flash with one finger on the trigger, while I hit the shutter button on the camera with the other hand.  (I only have two hands so...)   At time delay mode, the LCD display on the camera tells me when it will begin the exposure.  As soon as it indicated that the shutter went off, I immediately fired the flash unto the ceiling.

The first shot resulted in an underexposed image.  The Holga flash has a fixed power output so I couldn't adjust it further.   I increased the EV on the camera by +1/3 to compensate for the underexposure. This meant increasing the exposure time from 1.6 seconds to 2.2 seconds.  Not much of an increase but it should do the work.  It took a couple of more shots until I nailed it.

The image was captured in RAW so I didn't worry about the White Balance.  Besides, I didn't have correcting gel for the cheap flash.

I imported the file in Panasonic's software (some weird name I couldn't remember) and converted it to TIFF format.  Then I played around with the TIFF in Photoshop Elements (PSE).  Cleaned it up a bit with the clone tool and adjusted the tonal contrast.  The B&W rendition was an afterthought but I think it seemed to work well because of the contrast.

Here's another image using the same Lo-Fi technique: 

If you find this post useful, please drop a comment.  Cheers.

See more comments here and here.