Miss Taal Beauty Pagent in Batangas Province

Yours truly is thankful for Ms. Edi Huang's invitation for this Miss Taal beauty pagent photo shoot. About a dozen rated photographers graced the event in Batangas province. I was assigned three young candidates with some two male escorts. The formal pictorials were held at famous ancestral homes and museums in the vicinity. Our pictorial was done at the Ylagan-De La Rosa Ancestral house. It certainly is a challenge not to scratch or damage any fine furnishing in such old yet restored houses. My favorite candidate is the 22 year old, graceful and lovely Ms. Maria Paula Janna Santos (Paw) who is a nursing student. Her escort is the shy Rommel. Some photogs momentarily abandoned their assigned candidates to shoot Paw in the swim suit event! And most photogs ignored the strict shot list of the organizers and decided to create their own list! LOL
Here is Dewey and Carlo posing with my assigned candidate. You can see my assistant's arm (upper right corner) holding my old but reliable Nikon SB-27 flash as kicker light. My main off-cam key light is the Nikon SB-80DX dedicated flash. Shooting the swimsuit is difficult due to crowd congestion plus a narrowly hedged pool area.

CCA Printad Campaign for 2009

Since I don't have a driver's license still (in my ripe old age) I usually ride the taxi cab or rent a car for all my advertising photography assignments. Most of my photo requirements are for "drop-out" so that means using a lot of white background. My typical white background is cloth. But with this Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) printad campaign I procured a Foba-brand white paper. Well all I can say that paper background was always easier to light: with cloth I had to always have to have a small portable flash to "iron out" unsightly cloth wrinkles and crinkles. Now you will see these CCA G-stand banners in the Eastwood Mall. CCA now offers food photography! Shocking!!!

At The Ballet With The Dancentre Ballerinas

Ballerina Mrs. Obie Siozon is a great patron of mine. I thank her for choosing me (again) in covering her performance with the Dancentre of Effie NaƱas entitled At The Ballet at the Camp Aguinaldo theater. A rare client who never makes it hard for moody artists like moi. Here is a photo CD cover yours truly designed for her recorded pictures in DVD format. Obie's 2009 photo collection includes even the dress rehearsals and, of course, the performance. Dance videography specialist was shot by Nonoy Froilan. Kudos Obie and Effie!

Team David Salon Photo Portfolio

Mr. David Charleston of David Salon needed a new photo portfolio just for his beloved lady cyclists. So we setup a portable studio in their Makati city headquarters one Sunday morning. With my Nikon DSLR tethered to my IBM laptop yours truly shot them individually (with their imported, expensive bikes) before this group photo you see here. I think I will keep the wacky, fun shots away from my blog for the while heh, heh, heh!

ASHA Printad Campaign Published At Last

The Asian School of Hospitality Arts (ASHA) finally released their launch ad which I saw in The Philippine Star publication this month. It just took two short days to shoot this ad with all the photos you see. Later I will post the other shots (not shown) which will comprise the sustaining ads of ASHA. For this ad campaign I used two Nikon SB flash units in tandem with a 1000 w/s studio flash plus ambient light. The senior creative director (CD) instructed me to use strobes to mimic available light-but in a more "stylized" way. It was one of my toughest lighting assignments to date due to a contracted time-frame and cramped locations in the Quezon city area. Did I mention that the CD has worked a lot with Ad Photo and knows photography too? What a great printad! Kudos to CD James Banal concept! Whew!

Philippine Photography Promulgated At Last!

Congratulations for the first batch of certified Filipino photographers! Written below is my understanding of what certification is all about:

Remember when commercial photography then was revolutionized worldwide by digital “film-less” capture around the start of the year 1999? It was both bitter/sweet to the taste to the market: bitter because it rendered conventional photography as obsolete and expensive; and sweet because it was cheaper and more instantaneous!

A decade later on November 5-6, 2009 in the hallowed halls of the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation, Inc. (FPPF) was conducted the revolutionary, first-ever, national assessment on Basic Photography National Certification (Level) II! The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) through Senior TESDA Specialist Ms. Mercedes E. Javier supervised the assessment in tandem with moi, the first accredited assessor (by endorsement) for Photography NC ll. TESDA is the Philippine government’s national arm in setting the standards in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

My congratulations to the famous, power-casted Press Photographer of the Philippines (PPP) who bravely and boisterously trooped to the FPPF studio with their president in Mr. Gerald Carual of the Laguna Times publication. They pass the assessment as the first group of photographers to be certified. The next day, November 6, two photography lecturers in Mr. Edwin Celestino and Toti Abdul of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, School of Design became the second batch to be assessed. Congratulations to them too!

Like the digital revolution that swept everybody by surprise, national assessment was met with bitter/sweet reactions too. And that can be good because it shows that our industry is indeed thriving! It can be bitter to some accomplished photographers; and sweet to others who want their credentials recognized by our government (and other countries we have bi-lateral relations with) without spending much time and money to go to a prestigious college. However you may view it, it is certain that TESDA is taking photography seriously through its humble efforts to professionalize the teaching methodologies and practices of all academic institutions offering photography. Although the first-ever and historic AB Photography Photography degree program in the country has just been offered by the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, School of Design and Arts-with Mr. Leo Santos as chairperson, abide by the laws of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Assessment is a voluntary initiative-especially for existing industry practitioners. However, assessment becomes only mandatory for those trainees who are graduates from programs/institutions registered with TESDA (those qualifications with promulgated Training regulations). The promulgation of the Training Regulation is always industry driven: it is up to our experts in Philippine photography to establish and update our training regulations that define the minimum standard of competency requirements of a photographer (worker) in our industry.

Since photography involves technical skills that can be measured, TESDA will assess a candidate based on direct observation with oral questioning on four Core Competencies a candidate must demonstrate: 1) Operate camera and compose a subject, 2) Setup studio light, equipment and accessories, 3) Perform post-capture processes and 4) Present finished products. Digital photography is preferred due to its expediency during assessment. Assessment centers will provide camera, studio lights, accessories, computer, printer, mounts and other supplies. But any candidate is allowed to bring their own digital camera.

So, on-the-spot, within less than two-and-a-half hours, you will have to setup your DSLR, shoot a model with glamour lighting, download and perform basic enhancements to your chosen image. After enhancing a photo for printout, you must first demonstrate basic slideshow presentation skills. Then after, the candidate is tasked to print their enhanced photo at 8”x10” size and mount it on illustration board. All the while the photo assessor asks you basic, technical questions. It’s either you pass or fail only-there are no magna-cum laude awards here. If you have you basics right then there is nothing to fear. If in doubt, then get a refresher course or workshop on basic/advance photography somewhere.

Anyone who passes the NCII assessment gets certified for five years in the qualification they applied for. For now TESDA offers free assessment to the public. I say, grab it while you can!

For queries, application for assessors and/or photography assessment centers please visit www.tesda.gov.ph for more information.

Filipinos are one of the best of the best photographers in the world! We can be glad that government is doing something right regarding our industry-our passion. Three cheers for the FPPF under Ms. Eduviges Huang for galvanizing known and learned Filipino photographers, educators and business personalities in the industry establishing Photography NCII with the future in mind! It’s revolutionary indeed! And a revolution is no tea party, according to Mao. Mabuhay ang litratistang Pinoy!

Joemarie and Nea Nuptials

Congratulations to Joemarie and Nea on their wedding celebration! Thank you for your hospitalityand concern with my team-I truly appreciate it very much! I thank my trusty Ricardo Castro forbeing always resourceful and industrious in times of need. Enjoy the memories folks! And may your tribe increase more.

Robert Tan at 90 Long Years!

When I first saw Robert Tan (seated, left) walking around at age 90 years I was really impressed with his strength! Why yours truly hopes to just live by 70 years-realistically (longevity average for Filipinos). Most people ofhis age would be confined to a wheel chair. T'was a grand, grand birthday party with family and friends, hereand abroad celebrating with the happy, happy celebrant at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel. Happy birthday indeed sir! May you continue to be a blessed example for others to emulate.

Typhoon Donations Matter

From the bottom of my heart I thank everyone (you know who you are) who gave to the victims of typhoon Ondoy.Addressing the "felt needs" of these people is practicing the virtue of love. I noticed in my flooded Pasig area that that when a truck of relief good passby it's only the best grabbers that catch any relief goods.The old, weak, disabled and sickly are at a disadvantage. Even if there was a cue, there's the possibilityof same family members falling in line. Also, some relief trucks rudely leave the que of hapless and bewilderedvictims. I guess nothing can truly be perfect in this life. But many thanks to our landlord Ms. Viring forgiving me a bag of relief goods-of all people!!! LOL