Our Little, Hidden Paradise in Tagaytay

The Department of Tourism needed images of spa, wellness and theraputic tourism, which is in vogue for enticing visitors here. Merci beaucoup to Lito Beltran for selecting me as advertising photographer for this project. Derek Ramsey, one of the sexiest of the male Pinoy species, posed in front of my lens, and so did aspiring model in Elaine with the polite staff of Paradis. Kudos to Le Petite Paradis or "Little Paradise" for lending us their manicured grounds as our nirvanic backdrop. Words fail to describe that expansive view of Taal volcano set on a lake that sprawls so magnificently in Paradis...the perfect haven to recover from your liposculpture. He he he! BTW Paradis is equipped with the latest facilities for cosmetic surgery. It's true that Paradis has recently earned high praises from a famous (rude!) travel critic-and to think that this same foreigner published vicious reviews about our land in the past. Proof that our Paradis can regenerate the jaded and disenchanted too. Paradis' head chef and kitchen deserves a red Michelin star for the tastiest porkchop steak-ever. Soon the best bistro in Tagaytay will have been completed in Paradis and a cable car installed to transport guests. It's not totally open to the public, but if the owners decide to accept you as their guest, please take care that you don’t accidentally step on the paw of their gigantic yet gentle pet wolf.

David Salon Academy Is TESDA Accredited

I was surprised to know that David Salon Academy is accredited by the government’s TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority). I know the FPPF (Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation, Inc.) is finalizing with TESDA the Basic Photography NC II with promulgated training regulations. Anyway, the Academy needed photos for their brochure featuring their training, proceedures, photos of their expert trainers, etcetera. As usual the photo session is infused with a happy and gay state of mind all the way that day. Hey a bonus Php 500 David Salon gift check. Salamat!

Ballet Dancers of Effie Nañas

Retouching 96 portraites of ballet dancers including instructors of the Dancentre in just three days was stressful for moi. Here are some samples after retouching them. The absence of a hair/makeup stylist is evident in the images so I had to post-process all photos in a photoshop software. I’d like to thank ballerinas Yves, Sandra and Dominique for helping me out identify, schedule, “doll-up” all ballerinas, plus photo edit for the two day photo sessions. Their photos will be published in the upcoming 2008 souvenier program.

To capture all ballerinas and save time, the Dancentre owner Effie suggested that I setup my studio in the extremely cramped dressing/comfort room of the studio while clases are going on! I’m amazed to know just how busy the students’ schedules can become-except during ballet classes. It was almost claustrophobic for everyone involved that my assistant can’t even come in to help me out. Have a look!

Gayle’s 1st Birthday at the Park

Baby Galye was given a special birthday party at the Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Park in Quezon City. The London-based family was lucky to secure the picturesque Fishing Village canopies set on the man-made lake inside the park. I discovered that mommy Lisa sings karaoke very, very well and daddy Roger is becoming to be a serious amateur photographer as he plans to further his photo studies in the U.K.

Engagement at The Greenery Bulacan

Jedd and Trexyl celebrated their goodbye to singleness with close family and friends at The Greenery Bulacan. Jedd is a pleasant New Yorker and his voluptuous Trexyl works for UNICEF. This occassion was also used to reherse for the wedding processional as well. Thanks to Extreme Details studio for the job. The Greenery is picture-perfect for any special event but can be hard to find. Now checkout some evening, handheld architectural shots of mine using my Nikon VR lense using ridiculously slow shutterspeeds like 1/4 a second! The trick is to shoot in "burst" mode to chance upon a sharp photo. Of course proper handheld shooting techniques play a helping role with VR technology. But I surely miss my tripod.

Finally: The Sharpest Nikon Lens!

Shopping for the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AIS lens can be difficult in Quiapo. This legendary manual focus lense is argueably the sharpest in Nikon’s lens line-up after considering the weight-to-dimensions-to-resolution-to-distortion-to-aperature-to-price ratios. Hehe! A mouthful? I recently got mine (pre-owned) “dirt-cheap” after waiting for months! I needed one excellent sample for studio work. According to sources it’s similar in construction of auto focus lenses, but this humble glass edges them slightly when used wide open at f/1.8 and in infra-red photography. Some photographers are rediscovering this gem, so that explains the momentary scarcity. This lense will inconvenience any photographer with precise manual focusing skills. Will post some images captured by this forgotten Nikkor soon.

Dancentre Recital Preps On The Way

Work has now gone under way to produce one of the best looking ballet souvenir program in the country with moi as dance photographer for 2008. Ms. Effie Nañas, director of the Dancentre takes serious effort in personally overseeing all aspects of the project-akin to a work of art. Effie is also a painter and photographer and has worked with some of the great names in Philippine photography. Her recital is upcoming this November. Thank you again Effie.

Fil-Am Model Pictorial in San Juan

Meet aspiring model in Sam, the playful and lovely Fil-Am based in California, USA. The GMA Channel 7 wanted to see her portfolio this month but she didn't have one yet. So her auntie in San Juan recommended moi as photog. My portable studio was setup in her aunt's spacious house. Sam was a natural in front of the lense. It shows that she has been practicing posing and projecting various facial expressions. And that's great for an aspiring model, plus it makes our job as photogs easier. Keep it up Sam!