GEAR TALK: Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Lens

I wouldn’t recommend photographing animls with manual focus lenses. But when I aquired the classic, exotic Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 I couldn’t resist photographing a feline visitor in available 12 watt florecent light at night. If you love rotating lense barrels like I do, then it becomes a passion and obsession heh heh heh! I find out-of-focus background and highlights (“bokeh” in Japanese) visually addictive. In Shane’s photo (cat's name, above) her body is immediately blurred into creamy oblivion by using the widest aperature of f/1.2! This "fast" glass is now part of my arsenal in extreme low light photography. Kudos to Nikon for being backwards-compatible with manual lenses!

Happy 2009 New Year To All!

Let’s all hope again for a brighter, better new year. Here is a quickie fireworks photo I took in just outside my apartment hand-held! Due to unregulated fireworks practices in our streets I just had to quickly hide indoors again. Very few families “hide” in hotels or go to their home province during the new year celebration to protect themselves from random, falling bullets (fired from guns). I should too-if I can afford it. I wish you all a prosperous new year ahead!

Nice Prints is Top 2008 Wedding Booker

Congratulations to Nice Prints studio and Charisse Tiño for being the top wedding booker for 2008 in the Philippines. What a meteoric rise from obscurity! When it comes to value-for-money wedding photo/video services, Nice Prints is hard to beat. And Filipinos know that-it shows. It does feel good to be a part of their roster of photogs. 2009 looks even brighter!

Revising Stage Lighting

I got permission to stategically place my two Nikon Speedlite flash units onstage for the preliminary event of the Mr. and Ms. Slimmers World 2008. T’was my chance to improve and prove that stage par lights can be dramatically improved-with the proper permission from the organizers. Have a look! I placed one flash at the back (far left-side) of the stage while I placed the other off-stage on my far right side (with moi facing the stage) The TriStar radio trigger tripped the two Nikon strobes wirelessly.

Glenn and Lizza Loraine

It's December and it's peak season for Philippine weddings. That's good news for freelance photogs like moi. I'd like to congratulate the gentle couple in Glenn and Lizza for "taking the plunge" finally. It was sheer joy and pleasure documenting their special event. I'm looking forward designing their elegant photo album soon. May your tribe increase guys!

The University of the Philippines at 100

My alma mater the University of the Philippines (or UP in Diliman, Quezon City) celebrates 100 years of liberal education this year. It just saddens me that I couldn't attend the colorful Lantern Parade last December 17 with my College of Fine Arts (CFA) as the perpetual Hall of Fame finale of the said parade. It was in the hallowed halls of the UPCFA that inspired all my photographic vision and aspirations. Congratulations and thank you to my beloved alma mater! May your light of knowlege and wisdom shine brightly in our land forever.

GEAR TALK: Film Fever with Nikon FA

Shooting with the Nikon FA SLR camera gave me that feeling of nostalgic romance with photography all over again! Somewhere along digital "robbed" me of that a bit. Hmmm. Here is my Nikon FA (photo above) with a MD-15 dedicated motor drive. The FA was revolutionary in 1983 as the first manual SLR camera to incorporate the "Matrix" ("Evaluative" in Canon) meter-the defacto technology for superior exposures. The FA is perfect for color and B&W negatives as it tends to over-expose in contrasty situations. Eventually, newer SLRs refined the first-gen Matrix. Grabbing this tank gives me that feeling of professionalism and machoism. Will post some images taken with the FA soon...

Fashion at the Nayon Pilipino Park

It's possible to light-up your fashion photography shoots with just Nikon Speedlite units. For my MOD magazine fashion photography at the Ngayon Pilipino in Subic, Pampanga, I just used two Nikon flash units! Unlike some famous, well-off magazine photogs I had to cut-down drastically on gears and personel without sacrificing on image quality and be economically viable at the same time. The TriStar radio trigger tripped the Nikon Speedlites wirelessly within 50 feet-indoors or out. Any wider than that would mean that I need to procure the expensive Pocket Wizard flash trigger. Posted above are my prefered shots. Buy the December issue of MOD for only Php 100 to see more. Happy Holidays!

GEAR TALK: Nikkor 55-200mm VR Lens

I used to own a heavy and pro Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D lens. Now my new Nikkor 55-200 VR lens is a joy to use because it’s lightweight, cheaper yet as sharp as my old Nikkor, even when used wide open at f/4. But it’s made of plastic and has a “slow” f/4-5.6 aperature. Good thing modern DSLRs have better sensor and vibration reduction (VR) technologies to augmenting for my new yet “slow” optics. Have a look at the raw, unedited photographs I took of the beautiful Ms. Jodi Sta. Maria-Lacson with my new glass. Weak, continuous, mix lighting was used for that low-key effect.

Master Photographer: Bug Nieva

November is the birthday month of my mentor in Mr. Bug Nieva (the gentleman in red shirt above). He owns BVW Inc., a successful advertising photo studio in Makati city. Bug’s low-key presona belies the big-time ad agencies he services and the high-tech gears he uses in imaging. BVW’s website is under going restructuring and I will announce it here when it’s finally published. I took a peak at their updated portfolio and I was blown away (as usual). Till then, happy birthday boss!

300 Graduating Nurses at the AUP

Wow! Doing 300 graduating students of the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) is torture: the marathon procession (longest-ever personally!), capping, pinning, candle lighting ceremonies, speeches, family pictorials, candids, two photo booths, etcetera...I’m glad the contracting photog Jeruel Ibanez employed four more photographers, so that’s six photogs in all-if memory serves me right. Everything was taxed to the max! But thank you, Jeruel for the rewarding job and the valuable lessons we all learned from this project. The next graduation photo project will find us better and “badder” sir.

Josel and Marion Pre-Nupt in U.P. Diliman

T'was a drizzly pre-nupt shoot at the University of the Philippines' gardens for Josel and Marion. Three photogs (including moi) captured this couple and it was quite a spectacle to see three photogs doing a pre-nupt with their "strobist" equipment (off-camera flash with a lighting assistant or light stand). We thank Prof. Joey Tanedo of the College of Fine Arts for being our official chaperon (against suspecious university guards) within the sprawling university. Josel is an alumni who graduated as an economist. He proposed to the lovely Marion (Ateneo alumni nearby) very near the Oblation statue. By the way, aside form possessing beauty and brains, Marion is a famous tv personality-lucky guy! We are looking forward to cover your wedding in December, folks!

International Wellness And Sports Summit

Department of Tourism Undersecretary Cynthia Carrion is very determined to put the Philippines on the map of international wellness tourism-to compete with Thailand, Indonesia, et al. She hosted a historic international Wellness and Sports Summit at the Sofitel Plaza Hotel on October 22-25. VIPs, guests, and entertainers graced this prestigious event. I thank Pablo Beltran for selecting moi as one of the five photographer team to cover this hectic event that saw me darting around the Sofitel grounds, opulent spas, Ang Pangulo dinner cruise, and the PAGCOR power dinner with the Undersecretary. Whew! We even had on-demand prints for guests to have. What a super summit!

L’Oreal Power Instructors

Here’s a group portrait of L’Oreal Philippines’ instructors. Setting up my mobile studio in their small office in Pasig-Ortigas can be a difficult…but there you go! Their photos will used in their training manual and others.

Philippine Polo Tri-Team

Meet the Philippines’ Polo Tri-Team. I did their ad photography material for their many international sponsors. Here is an elite power clique of beauty, brains, brawn, and (economic) bounty. And they are a wacky, yet polite group to pose-a very pleasant encounter indeed.

Ostrich Farm Ad Photography

Going to Bustos, Bulacan was quite an adventurous photo project for me as I headed for the Red Ostrich Farm. Their website is still under construction but you can email the manager in Eva Panganiban for queries at: Ostrich meat is still exotic here, you see. I was warned that a mature ostrich can deliver a fatal frontal kick to the chest-when threatened. Gulp! So I did keep my distance for the guilt of having ostrich stew for lunch that day…well, it tasted a little sweeter than beef meat and it’s healthier to boot. Just avoid provoking that ostrich kick to stay healthy!

David Salon Club Transit Ad

I finally got to see my Team David Salon Club ad transit photos rolling down the streets of Metro Manila. I did their ad photography a few months back. Hey, the lady mountain bikers remembered moi!

Sexy British Fashion Corsets

Post-prod: Corset Imaging

It took a whole month to “dropout” (or remove the background) and enhance forty corset photographs to achieve the designers' taste. The Adobe Photoshop program was extensively used. Corel’s exotic Knockout software was utilized for more complicated masking challenges. The optical mouse and pen are very convenient input devices for such projects. I discovered that I need to update my MP3 collection soon for any more extended post-prod work.

Behind-the-scene: Corset Pictorial

British fashion designers in Jay Monaf and Jerry Ocampo gave moi the go signal to post some of their corset fashion collection. Allow me to show you first some “behind-the-scene”shots. The voluptuous Irish Weber is our model. Minx did the hair and makeup. Thank you for the project gentlemen!

Tamara Ferrer is at One

Here is the little princes in Tamara Ferrer who just celebrated her first birthday in Greenbelt III, at the Bubba Gump restaurant. The statuesque mom/diva is Johanna, who I think Tamara will look like when she blooms into a young lady. Close family and relatives enjoyed the food, fun and friendship that filled that Sunday afternoon. May you have many more blessed birthdays to come Tamarra!

Joe is Picture Perfect

Last week the Manila Bulletin notified me that they will feature moi as the photographer of the week in their Picture Perfect pullout page on September 23, Tuesday (top photo). But then, I initially found myself hastily compiling some portfolio of mine. I was also notified to submit a photo of my equipment-which I almost forgot. Then, at the last minute I remembered that I haven't photographed my gears yet! So I woke up at 2AM last Thursday (Sept. 18) and did my best to present my beloved, humble "toys" (photo above). I used the Fuji S3Pro to photographed my Nikon DSLR. Well, Picture Perfect didn't show my gears but instead used this photo of my workspace (photo below). And these gears belong to my good mentor in Mr. Bug Nieva. Nevertheless I use similar gears like my master's. Thank you Ms. Eduviges Huang for the referral. Please copy and paste these links to your 'net browser for your reading pleasure if you missed that fateful issue:
Since I have been featured in a major daily I hope it's not downhill from here! Heh heh heh!

Ednah Ledesma's Winning Form

World-class and professional ballroom dancer Ms. Ednah Ledesma posed in front of my lens along with her high-energy ballroom partners in Miguel and Cil. Feast your eyes on their gracefulness and sexiness. I sure felt like an awkward, camera-wielding gorilla with these fine artists.