Friday, September 27, 2019

My Back Pages



For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. - Ecclesiastes 9:5

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Continuing Story of Juzno and Miss M


 Juzno fakes his own death while Miss M continues to save the world using her witty writing power.  While on a mission to catch the nefarious Dr Bad Grammar, she found Juzno stuck in a basement somewhere in Erie, Pennsylvania trying to reform a follow-up 60s band with remnants of the Oneders. Miss M tries to convince Juzno that the world still needs a blogger.  One who feels the pain of a crushed ant.  Juzno paused, turned to the band members and then asked a question, “Was that a G chord?”

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Friday, September 06, 2019

Heraclitus as a Young Philosopher


Heraclitus was a pre-socratic philosopher famous for his insistence on ever-present change as being the fundamental essence of the universe, as stated in the famous saying, "No man ever steps in the same river twice".  This is commonly considered to be a key contribution in the development of the philosophical concept of becoming.  Heraclitus's idea can be summarized in these few words:  Everything changes except the law of change.  He called this the Logos.  Centuries later, a Jew by the name of John used the same term and applied the Logos to Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

I had share this idea with Rose years ago and we both loved the concept of Logos both from John and Heraclitus.  So when a little runt came to our lives, we had to call him Heraclitus.  Our cat lived up to his adopted name, and so became the smartest cat we ever had.  He is no longer with us.

The image above must have been shot using the Nikon FE film camera around 1994.  I think I used Kodak 35mm color film.  I found this image a few days ago, scanned and processed it digitally using the Silver Efex Pro.

Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Acid in my Coffee


Suddenly, I feel like somebody drop acid in my coffee.  Yeah ... 



Well, you don't know what
We can find
Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

3, 3 and 12

See if you can break the code. 3, 3 and 12.  What does the sequence mean?

Monday, September 02, 2019

This was brunch


Baked Salmon with Fennel and Pesto Sauce.  Balsamic vinegar on the veggie consisting of slice Mangoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumber topped with Feta Cheese.  I would pair it with a glass of chilled Savignon Blanc if it were not too early.

Bon appetit.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Are we blur?



An early effort.  Shot in 2010 with a crappy Canon Rebel XT and a 18-55 kit lens.  At that time too I began to take photography seriously.  Seeing this kind of blur as art, I thought I was on to something.  Never been processed until now.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Friday, August 30, 2019

When is the best time to drink white wine?



When is the best time to drink white wine?

A.  When it's five o'clock somewhere.

B.  When you notice that it's a good wine.

C.  When it's chilled.

D.  All of the above.

Portons un toast!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

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Happy Thursday.  Prior to retirement, Thursday was my favorite day of the week.  It was so close to Friday, which meant the beginning of the weekend.

Hope y'all having a good day.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

An Unexpected Guest



Guess what we were having for breakfast?  An unexpected guest with eyes that bulge as wide as eggs go over easy, festive hairstyle reminiscent of Chiquita Banana and a cheery grin to amuse us along the way.  Please pass the salsa.  Bon appetite.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Sagada



A lot of things have been written about Sagada.  The most famous perhaps is the hanging coffin, the traditional way of burying the natives.  Nowadays, this once quiet town has been converted to a tourist attraction.  

I came back to Sagada in 2013.  It appeared smaller than what I can remember.  The last time I was there was in the early 80s.  I had just lost my job, denied a student visa to study in the States, and I wanted to re-evaluate the meaning of my life.  With a few change of wear and a Sony Walkman that I had packed, I boarded the bus one morning.  I remember standing inside the crowded bus all the way through.  The trip took like eight hours.  By the time I arrived in town, it was almost nighttime.  I managed to rent a small room for a few pesos.  My dinner consisted of fresh garden vegetable.  Jobless sort as I was, I thought things were ridiculously affordable.  

That night I wandered around the town and met some travelers.  They were all going to one of the caves the next morning.  I asked if I can tag along.  They were happy to have me.  Back then it was easy to make friends at this quaint little town.  The place was not yet known to the tourist world except for a few adventurers.  I suspected that we came to this place for different reasons.  But I thought we had a common bond.  We were all strangers looking for something to authenticate our lives.

To be continued.


Monday, August 26, 2019

Portrait of a Blacksmith in Toledo


A remake.  I have  been going back to some of my previous images and re-editing them.  My post-processing skills have evolved.  I would like to think that it's for the good.  I still miss the black and white shoe polish portraits that I have rendered in the past.  I find it interesting that those images are what put me in the map in Flickr and other social medias.  I may do those type of renditions again.  But probably not anytime soon.  Anyway, this is a throwaway.  Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Randomness and Determinism


My English teacher taught us that we ought to never start a sentence with an apology.  I am deliberately going against this rule.  Because I think I really need to apologize.  I'm sorry that I have not been active in posting on this blog for several weeks.  There has been life changing events that compelled me to go on a hiatus.  Partly because I was struggling with innermost angst, which I'm not going to get into.  I'll spare my readers my self-indulgence.  Partly as well as I have run out of materials to post.  Sad as that may seem.  I'm not sure how I can keep this blog active.  But for what?  It has been dark times for me lately.  For that, I am truly sorry.

Cheers.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Old School Dating



Not the kind of dating you might be thinking of.  But dating documents with a rubber stamp.  Millennials are familiar with the term "rubber stamping" but more likely will not know where its origin came from.  This was one of my early efforts taken in 2011.  It was more or less a test shot.  I have just purchased the Canon 60D and the Zeiss Planar T 50.  I wanted to get an industrial look so I brought the lens as close as possible to the subject.  No macro attachments.  This lens is so amazing.  Hand held with all settings on manual including focus.

Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Lo-fi Wild Flowers


Sometimes I wonder why I use expensive camera equipment to get real sharp and nice color image, only to render the final image as though it had been taken on a grainy film with a cheap camera with plastic lens.  For the record, the image was taken with a Zeiss Zeiss Planar T 1.4/50 lens mounted on a Canon 60D.  The camera was set on a Manfrotto tripod.  Camera settings were at iso 100, f/1.8, 1/500 sec, manual focus.  Try getting that setting on a cheap Holga.  And yet at the end of the day, I decided to process the image as though it was taken with a film camera that would give a bit of fuzziness and grain.  This is a method that most non-photographers will never understand.

Hope your day is going well.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Reflection at Frederiksberg Palace


Frederiksberg Palace  (not to be confused with Fredericksborg Castle) is a Baroque residence, located in FrederiksbergDenmark, adjacent to the Copenhagen Zoo. It commands an impressive view over Frederiksberg Gardens, originally designed as a palace garden in the Baroque style. Constructed and extended from 1699 to 1735, the palace served as the royal family’s summer residence until the mid-19th century. Since 1869, it has housed the Royal Danish Military Academy.

As crown prince, Frederick IV had broadened his education by travelling in Europe. He was particularly impressed by the architecture in Italy and, on his return to Denmark, asked his father, Christian V, for permission to build a summer palace on Solbjerg as the hill in Valby was then known.

Juzno is still under the weather but he thought it might cheer his spirit if he go back to photo editing.  To his shock, majority of the image files that were cataloged in Lightroom were missing.  It must have been wiped out when he updated to the latest version of Lightroom.  The whole revelation made his illness worse.  Oh well, he thought, it is what it is.  Que sera sera.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

On the Way to Geiranger


I believed we were still in Sognefjord at this time.  On the way to Geirnager.  Norway is the most scenic of the Scandinavian countries.  The weather changes rapidly depending on where one is.  This image reveals the snow cap mountains.  A few miles after, the snow would disappear and it is replaced by the green landscape.

Right now, Juzno is not feeling so well.  Perhaps coming down with a flu and maybe exacerbated by developing an allergy to the Texan weather, commonly called ad the Cedar Fever.  So for the time being, there might not be any new posts on this blog.

Thank you for your visits.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Leikanger Commune



The Leikanger Commune is located on the north side of the Sognefjorden, the king of the fjords.  A charming little farming village in Norway.  The industry in Norway is mostly agricultural and is subsidized by the government.  A farmer cannot just sell his farm to anybody but his or her eldest son or daughter.  If the son or daughter does not want to buy the farm, it is sold to the next in line, and so on.  When nobody wants to take over the farm, only then can it be sold to an outsider.  The paperwork is pretty lengthy from what I'm told.  Also, the farm cannot be used for anything else except for farming the original crop.  For example, the buyer cannot plant potatoes if the farm was producing barley.

Hope you enjoy.   

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Ice Plant LBO


Found this just today.  I might have posted this image some time ago.  It's an old one I shot in 2010 using the Original Lensbaby mounted on a crappy 8 megapixel Canon Rebel XT.  Everything was shot manually including the focus, the shutter speed and aperture.  Surprisingly, I managed to get a decent shot here considering I was just starting to get serious into photography at that time.  I learned so much about capturing images using the Lensbaby.  Focusing is selective and very difficult.  Everything had to be captured using manual settings.  The Lensbaby would not communicate with the DLSR.  So it forces one to persevere or give up.  As for me, I was loving the process and the results.

Hope your day is going well

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Last Days of the Sunflowers


The wild sunflowers on our front yard have grown taller than us and our olive trees.  It was time to chop them off before they got out of control.  We had to do the gig quickly as the weather was unforgivingly hot.  After a few minutes, I thought I was going to have a heat stroke.

The image above are some of the flowers I managed to cut from their branches.  They make for great photo op but they usually won't last long.

Hope your day is going well.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Old meets the New in Kaupmannahǫfn




I love the eclectic character of this image.  Captured in Copenhagen, Denmark.  The old building represents the old era - brick walls and pompous tower that sits in juxtaposition next to the turn-of-the-century lamp at the center and the modern scaffolding behind it.  Where else but only in Europe can one find these elements in the same context.  

Copenhagen's name reflects its origin as a harbour and a place of commerce. The original designation in Old Norse, from which Danish descends was Kaupmannahǫfn.  Now try enunciating that as fast as you can.  Kaupmannahǫfn.. Kaupmannahǫfn... kfrprhhmmmffffnn... kpfttttttt....

Hope your day is going well.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Still Life with Cider at Leikanger


Our hostess treated us with cider at the Leikanger Commune in Sognefjord.  I liked the ambiance here.  Even though this was shot inside a house at daytime, the window lighting and the relatively dark room gave the elements a vintage mood.  Sort of like a scene from one of Ingmar Bergman’s later movies.

Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Nyhaven


Colors ... it’s what attracted me to Nyhavn.  A lovely district in Copenhagen, Denmark.  It's a charming place to hang out, get a suntan and drink chilled Savignon Blanc.  A lot of images have been captured of this place so I decided to give it a different twist.

Enjoy your day.

Friday, June 28, 2019

We are Family


Still in Scandinavia.  This was taken at a charming tourist shop near Sognefjord where we were headed.  I like taking pictures of cute little shop items that are pretty worthless yet expensive.  Don't know why people buy them.  Maybe because these people are tourists.  So likely they are for souvenirs or giveaways when they return back to their home countries.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Instagram 190628


Happy Thursday.  It's my favorite day out of the six days of the week.  Monday is the blues.  Tuesday is moody like the Rolling Stones song Goodbye Ruby Tuesday.  Wednesday is ashen.  Friday is long time a-comming.  Saturday is time for bath.  I sort of lied.  Sunday is my all time favorite.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

This Way to Hans Christian Andersen's House


This street art tells the tourist where Hans Christian Andersen's house is located.  A rather brilliant way of directing how to get there since this art work is a graffiti on a temporary wall where construction is being done.  Pretty soon, I'm sure the wall will be removed and so will the graffiti.  Quite frankly, the house is not that remarkable so I'm not even going to post an image of it.

HCA was a prolific writer but better known for his fairy tales like "The Ugly Ducking" and "The Little Mermaid".  The stories are channels of his life.  He was ugly.  And he was gay.

The often melancholic Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard remarks that Andersen is characterized as, “... a possibility of a personality, wrapped up in such a web of arbitrary moods and moving through an elegiac duo-decimal scale [i.e., a chromatic scale. Proceeding by semitones, and therefore including sharps as well as flats, such a scale is associated more with lament or elegy than is an ordinary diatonic scale] of almost echoless, dying tones just as easily roused as subdued, who, in order to become a personality, needs a strong life-development.”  Somebody please explain that to me.  

Hope you are enjoying your day.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Liquid Lunch at Odense


This was at Odense in Denmark.  Home to Hans Christian Andersen.  You know the guy who wrote all those fairy tales.  He was a bit of a fairy himself.  But that's another story.

Restaurant Grønttorvet.  I was surprised that the restaurant had Indian Pale Ale on tap, which I tried.  I think Rose ordered some light fruity beer.  At this time, my mind is foggy about what had taken place.  I also think we shared a salad or something because the service in Scandinavia was very slow and we had to catch our tour bus in less than half an hour.  So for the most part, our source of nutrition was the beer.  An old German guy we met in Munich told us that beer is liquid lunch.  Good enough for us for the time being.

Hope your day is going well.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Existential Thoughts in Oslo


So I have been thinking - like I always do.  Why does the sun shine brighter in Norway?  A country that has a lot of resources.  They are big agricultural producers.  They are sitting on an oil mine. The country is financially the envy of the world.  The Norwegians are one of the happiest people on earth.  Why is it that they get to enjoy all these while the rest of the world suffers.  Surely they are not religious - even though majority of people are register Lutherans but so few ever worship or visit the church.

Then you may ask: What does this post have to do with the above image?  Actually, nothing.  It's my blog so I get to post anything I want.  Heh.

Hope your day is going well.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

You A'int Seen Nothin' Yet


Crazy weather in Georgetown, Texas.  It's normal from what I've been told.  It's going to get worse in the coming days.

It was late in the afternoon - closer to the evening, and the temperature was still hot, and yet it was raining, and the thunderstorm are causing the mushrooms to sprout on random places, the critters are looking for shelter.

This morning we found a lazy scorpion crawling straight to our bedroom.  It was a good three inches with its pointy pincher ready to find a soft human flesh - preferably that of a non-Texan native.  Freaked out the rest of the day.  I'm not one of those eco-activist who loves to hug trees and leave the rattle snake alone.  I mashed the scorpion to smithereens with one of my old sneakers that was laying next to it.  So now we are forced to wear shoes inside the house.

Hope you are having a wonderful day.

Friday, June 21, 2019

City of Umbrellas


In my previous post, I mentioned that Bergen is called the City of Umbrellas.  Indeed.  It rains a lot.  This image is proof of persistent rain.  No kidding.  I ended buying a raincoat to get through the rainy weather.

But the moments of intense rain is quickly forgotten when the sun breaks through and the city glows and twinkles.  As they say: get an umbrella, wear water repellent shoes, a light water repellent jacket and a good attitude looking forward the rain. Experienced Bergen-people don't leave home without their umbrellas.

Hope your day is going well.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Still Life with Wild Sunflowers and Glass of Savignon Blanc


Another find at the field near our house.  I decided to place the wild Sunflowers on a nondescript bottle of Savignon Blanc. Lately, I have gravitated towards this variety of wine.  It is refreshing - not as sweet as the California Chardonay and not as dry as other French wines.  Perfect for the hot and humid weather here in Texas.  This one is from Marlborough, New Zealand.  I love the SVs from this place.  The chair on the background was installed yesterday.  It took me a while to assemble it as the directions were in Chinese.  It's a nice looking bar stool but a pain to assemble.  There are two more to assemble.  The setting is at our counter top. Rose and I always wanted to have one where we can enjoy appetizers and wine.  We are loving our home in Georgetown.

Hope your day is going well.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Sven Svenson


A Swedish working man who drove us to Trollstigen, Norway.  His name is Stig.  But we shall call him Sven Svenson.  He doesn't like being associated with the Trolls.  I don't blame him.

Hope you are having a great day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Wild Flowers Near our front Yard


Picked them up this morning at a vacant lot near our front yard.  Don't know what they are but I thought they looked interesting.  There are plenty of wild flowers growing near our house.  I hope they come back next year.  Although that's highly unlikely.  New houses are being built everyday around our area.  Pretty soon I'll have to hike or drive farther to see the wild flowers.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying them.  

Reminds me when we lived in Southern California.  It used to be all dirt road and wild poppies everywhere around us.  The poppies would even grow on our backyard.  That changed when we left for Texas.  Home developers kept building houses in the city.  The 100 year old oak trees were rooted out and replaced with box houses.  I speculate the same will happen where we now live.  It will only be a matter of time.

Hope your day is going well.

Friday, June 14, 2019

21st Century Scandinavian



21st Century Scandinavian.  He traded his eye contacts for a retro bicycle spectacles.  He quit smoking tobacco on his Danish hand crafted pipe.  Nowadays he just indulge in some rolled up unknown leaves while enjoying a pint of diluted beer.  Memo to self:  Must go back to Denmark to purchase more adult beverages.  He is conscious of his beard.  Memo to self number 2:  Been at the barber two days ago so it’s time to return.  Is it also time to take a holiday to the south?  Memo to self number 3: Check weather in Nice, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.  Life is good.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Garmo Stave Church


Have lost track of our days in Scandinavia.  I do know that at this time we are in Norway.  Lillehammer to be exact.

The image is the Garmo Stave Church situated at the Maihaugen museum at Lillehammer in OpplandNorway.  It is one of the buildings that Anders Sandvig brought to this place.  We were told that Sandvig must have bought over 20 houses at this place because he can.  Just kidding.  Actually, he did buy the properties in this area but I forgot the reasoning behind his purchase.

A word or two about church life in Scandinavia.  There are lots of churches - mostly State Lutheran churches.  More than 80% of the population chose to be members of the church and yet almost all do not attend worship service except for baptism and/or first communion.  Quite frankly, I find this very strange.

Nota Bene:  A stave church is a medieval wooden Christian church building once common in north-western Europe. The name derives from the building's structure of post and lintel construction, a type of timber framing where the load-bearing ore-pine posts are called stafr in Old Norse (stav in modern Norwegian). 

Hope your day is going well.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Bergen Harbor - the City of Umbrellas


Third day in Scandinavia:  Landed in  Bergen from Copenhagen via ferry.  They say Bergen is a City of Umbrellas.  The Bergians are proud of it.  Sure enough it rained the whole time we were there.


From rain to alcohol:

Norway is interesting when it comes to alcohol restriction.  It's hard to buy alcohol in Norway.  Unlike in the States, one can easily buy alcohol beverages in grocery stores.  Norwegian law is very strict.  Perhaps to a point that alcohol consumption is discouraged.  That's why Norwegians go to Denmark to buy wine and liquor.

We had light lunch at the harbor in Bergen, and the only beer one can have in any restaurant is 2.5% alcohol.  That's not even beer in my opinion.  I seem to remember in chemistry class that alcohol has to be at least 5% to be called beer.  I couldn't find wine except at the hotel.  Very expensive.  Like four times the price of a bottle one would pay here in the States.  I suppose that's typical across the board.

Still I think Norway is worth visiting.  The country offers scenic landscapes and fjords.  It's one of the most beautiful places I have seen.  More on this on the next post.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Sofie's Choice


Just give her sunshine so she can get a nice tan.  (Scandinavian women love a nice tan to a point of skying topless.)  She is happy with sipping a mixed cocktail outdoor at Nyhaven, which might just be the convenient place to get a tan.  Maybe a piece of Danish bun.  Or Hygge.  She has a tendency to shut the outside world and commune with her inner self.  A followup coffee from Costa Rica - but don't tell them where it came from.  She a girl from Randers, Denmark.  Maybe somebody could write a song about her.  Much like the Girl from Ipanema.  Life is good.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Quaint Norwegian Village


Charming little village in Geiranger, Norway.  Perhaps my favorite of all the places we stayed at while in Scandinavia.  Serene waterscape with the snow capped mountains behind it.  Fresh heavenly air, green hills and laid back countenance.  Away from it all.  Sooner or later, the solitude it offers will go away.  I try to enjoy it while it lasts.  Later on at night, the cruise ships will start docking.  Then in the morning I'll have to deal with the rude tourists who just arrived.  Suddenly it felt they invaded us with their oversized down jackets and pointy cheese cutter hats and their atrocious manner and ubiquitous selfies. Ugh.  Nothing lasts forever.

Hope your day is going well.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Dapper Danish Mystery Man


He's a mystery man.  He wears his yellow straw fedora slightly tilted so it's hard to see his eyes.   In fact, he has no eyes.  His face turns green just before he disappears from the public view.  He ties his scarf in twirls of eight - only he knows how to do it.  He strides to the rhythm of Mussorgsky.  He is a Dapper Dan.  And he is Danish.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Lovely Oslo


Historical.  The place where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, natives are tall and blond and have blue eyes, herring is a must-eat, pickled herring, herring with mustard sauce, raw herring, a place where everything is expensive, bottled water costs $5, price of diluted beer is not too far from that of water, a glass of wine costs three times the price of the bottle in the States, almost everything is regulated, a farmer cannot just sell his farm to anybody but to the oldest child, the maximum alcohol content of beer is 3.5%, some are less than that, one cannot name their children apart from the list that the government provides, almost everyone is registered Lutheran but never visited a church except a few times in a lifetime such as baptism and first communion, a happy place to be in - if you are a Norwegian.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Wild Sunflowers in our Neighborhood


Just arrived from our 19-day excursion in Scandinavia/California.  It was the first time I didn't bring my pro cameras.  Just my faithful iPhone 7 plus.  I'm actually happy with some of the images I captured but they would require some minor post processing.  I'll try to post some images on this blog as soon as they are processed.

During the entire trip, I felt liberated without a camera strapped on my neck.  As I mentioned in my previous post, photography is a young man's sport.  It requires waking up early to catch the golden hour, a lot of walking while hauling a couple of cameras, maybe an extra lens for backup, photo gears such as filters and cleaning kit, maybe a tripod, more walking -  all of these guaranteed to eventually break one's back as time goes on.  Thanks to advancement in technology, the handy smartphone can capture some decent photos when done appropriately.  But I'm not ready to get rid of my photography equipment.  Not just yet.

This sunflower arrangement was taken with the iPhone.  Found and took some home today while fetching our mails at our mail box, which was a bock away from our house here in Georgetown, Texas.  A lot of these are just wild and they're huge.  As they say: everything is big in Texas.   Hope you enjoy.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Children are the Future



Between December 16, 2012 and January 3, 2013, I traveled back to the Philippines with my family. My wife arranged this time so we can have reunion with relatives and old acquaintances, trace our roots, and see the sights in various places within the country. Having lost contact with relatives on my side of the family, I did not care much about tracing my roots or meeting relatives. However, I was definitely interested in touring the country, to see both its rural and urban landscapes. Was this interest driven mainly by nostalgia for what used to be familiar, some sort of a pilgrimage to one's native land, or was it simply my passion for street photography? I don't really know but for whatever reason, I was drawn to the idea of traveling to take pictures of places with people in various settings and lifestyles. This photo excursion covered half the length of the Philippine archipelago, starting from Panay island in the mid-section of the archipelago to as far north as the town of Sagada in the Mountain Province. Photos taken were varied, consisting of people in market places of local towns, in rice fields, beaches, mountains, urban malls, slums, city sidewalks, etc.; all showing common people in various walks of life.

Throughout this photo-op I was surprised by the reception from the local folks. Perhaps it was my graying hair or my Westernized bearing, but most local grown-ups looked at me with leery eyes, suspicious of what I was up to. Twenty-five years of absence from this place has made me an outsider. That must explain why the natives gave me those dirty looks, or turned their backs away from the camera, or maintained such phlegmatic faces. I shot their pictures just the same. But the children were different. They looked at me directly, with that candid curiosity wondering who this stranger could be that visited their village. Some were more daring and called me out as "Cano! Cano!", short for "Americano" even though my gray hairs were no closer to the typical blonde hair expected of a foreigner. Others interviewed me, asking my name and where I was staying. They seemed to be open to know and befriend me. They were drawn to me as I was to them, for they were eager to show what they do and where they live. More so, I was captivated by this quiet contentment that they exude. They all seem to be satisfied with what they have and confident with what they can take on whatever the circumstance may be.

I wanted to highlight my encounters with these children. Hence, although I did take pictures of people of all ages I decided to come up with a short series limited only to photos of children. For this series, I shot mostly at a close range. Most of the images here were shot with myVoigtlander 20mm lens on a full frame Canon 5d Mark ii. The 20mm I have can only be operated on manual focus so it was a bit of a challenge although I was not so much concerned about the sharpness of the image as I was focused more on the feelings associated with the moments of capture. Also with the wide angle lens, I was forced to shoot real close to the subject, which I really loved because the results usually provided more intimate views. Plus it allows for interesting dynamics with the subject. If I'm smiling and happy, usually the subject will reciprocate the same sentiment.

The series documents their stories. Although the images were captured in different places, there is a commonality to all. There is intrinsic beauty in the simplistic lives of these children. In the end, it's about them -- in a time when God placed them. I chose the title "Bukas Na Kami," which is a play on words in the Pilipino language. It could either mean "We are open" or "Tomorrow it's us." I'll let the viewers decide which translation they like.

© 2016 Rob Castro

Original essay appeared at Jpg.com. January 25, 2013