Reach International School Brochure

I've finally aquired the brochure of Reach International School. The posh school is located in Makati city very near the Mandarin Oriental. It's special because I shot the images in it using my Nikon DSLR and a pair of Nikon Speedlights. For the past years I have been pulling off advertising shoots with just Speedlights for its light weight and cost-effectivesness. Preproduction meetings with clients are a must do just to make sure the shot list requirements don't demand high-key lighting with great depth of field in any images. With the said brochure I found that my preferred photos were not used, but such is advertising photography. The kids were very cooperative and polite!

See You In Heaven's Photo Studio Eric!

Freelance photographer and good friend Eric Dino just passed away. His remains were at the Santuario de San Antonio, Capilla de la Virgen in Forbes Park, Makati city. He died of asthma and pnemonia complications. Please inform friends who may know him.

Eric is a passionate Nikon knight-he swears by its quality. He aspires to put up his own pro studio someday. Well, in Heaven I'm sure he's now exposed the ultimate high-tech photo equipment and artworks of the Universe that dwarfs any technology we may create! No more expensive upgrades there Eric!

Like Eric the threat of death due to asthma complications stalks yours truly. It humbles me to realize that anyone is just a breath (or heart beat) away from death! Think about this... Hence, no human (photographers included) can pretend to own or control anything. Human life is just too darn short-especially for artists. But I know our Father God plans to have us spend eternity in superior, glorious bodies than we have now...even using infinitely better SLRs too! So we all will see you someday Eric!

ILOVE2READ Campaign By Councilor Bolet

The famous councilor of Quezon city, Mr. Bolet Banal just launched his reading literacy campaign for his beloved district. I shot this billboard with my Nikon DSLR and with a studio setup at his pad. Filipinos are not habitual readers compared to other nationalities. Kudos to Bolet for such advocacy! Remember our revolutionary, indigent, national hero in Andres Bonifacio mounted military campaigns against the Spanish colonizers of yore by learning from British military books. Reading comprehension is a key to life's successes.

Seen At The Spotlight: Maika @18

Welcome to the tumultuous adult world Maika! You're just in time to vote for our next president this month of May-heh, heh, heh! Venue of the debutant was at the Spotlight arena in Makati city. Her youngest sister Maxine and mom Tet help setup the "Roaring '20s" ambiance. Whenever I shoot debut events I usually tandem with a backup photog due to the shot list requirements. But with Maika's birthday I went solo-so a backup DSLR is mandatory. Well, Maika drank more alcohol than she thought she could handle at the end of the program-but, hey, it's her special day! So: cheers!

TECHTALK: How Much MegaPixels Will Do?

It's never enough-is it? IMHO the near future we may see 30-60MP entry-level full-frame DSLRs. Unbelievable? Maybe. Will the megapixel progression end here? It depends on the needs and wants of the markets then. But until such time I've contented myself with 6-12 MP meanwhile. The technique is to optimalize pixel sharpness. In early 2000 when 3MP was the rage (Fuji S1 comes to mind) yours truly was working in a Makati-based advertising photo studio. Here are some of my tech tips on how we “made-do” with any 3MP DSLR:

1. Use base ISO only
2. Shoot in TIFF format (S1 didn’t have RAW)
3. Fixed, pro lenses only (with hood)
4. Optimum aperature (check MTF ratings)
5. Camera settings: CWB, Neutral, low sharpening, etc.
6. Sturdy tripod (IS / VR on fixed lenses was nil then)
7. Finalize cropping / orientation on-camera
8. Proper lighting / posing (within field of focus)
9. Skills with Adobe Photoshop and Genuine Fractals
10. Perfect focus!

Only the best graphic designer-then-knew how to skillfully interpolate and sharpen an image (for a huge printout) with Genuine Fractals used in tandem with Photoshop. Everything was new tech then: the film vs. digital war was at its height. But we made lots of printads, gigantic tarpolins and a billboard with just the S1 back then! Did the general public complained back then? Nope!

Here’s an old anecdote: around 2006 Filipino wedding photographer Andy Samaniego was holding a bridal fair booth when a prospective client inquired on how many megapixels his Nikon DSLR was. Andy immediately pointed out that his dramatic 40”x30” bridal portraite behind him was done by just his 4MP Nikon! Personally I’m yet to experience a client who can tell me exactly (and in fact) what DSLR megapixel was used for any given photo-just by eyeballing!

I spoke to senior art director Amaricus Afable of Summit Media. He implied on how convenient the extra pixels are should he apply croppings without loosing details. Last minute revisions in publication design occur at the will of editors, hence, the prospect of reshooting is out of the question.

Higher megapixels maimed the art of previsualization regarding cropping, composition, orientation, etcetera on-camera. This I witness: a famous retail fashion company had their models photographed at full length all the time and will decide later if they need the image(s) at half-body or only 3/4ths for their prints! This “new school” of laziness is the child of convenience. The downshot of this bad habit is that you waterdown any ad concept (if any) plus loose pixels (details)-should they decide to apply extreme cropping on their final image for a huge printout! I dare say that there is nothing superior than finalizing an idea prior to actual shooting. Concept is primacy over pixels and photo gears-anytime!

Today the megapixel war rages. Low ISO 35mm film can temporarily out-res any DSLRs by up to 40+ megapixels in a controlled shooting environment (with professional drum-scanning). But young technology like the Foveon “holy grail of digital” sensor can still mature and potentially exceed film resolution-if it survives long enough in the market, because presently it’s the inferior Bayer technology that dominates our industry.

TBYS. Think before you shoot...especially with low megapixelled cameras. Good photogs do this. With 20-and-up MP cameras you have to work, thrice as hard. Those extra pixels will magnify all dramas (and even tiny mistakes) you made with your focus, clutter and composition for example-for the world to see!

Happy New Year-Again! Fasten Your Seatbelts

It's the year 2010! Happy new year to friends and foes alike! In our country it's the presidential election season. Let's hope we all elect the deserving candidates to power or otherwise we shall have shot ourselves in the foot for the nth time. In a Democracy we elect the leaders we deserve and, thus (it seems historically), that we are to immature for this kind of government mode. Have we matured yet? Only time (May 2010) will tell. A peaceful and prosperous Philippines will definitely bode well for our creative industry, hence, this nation.

FPPF Lecturers Are TESDA Certified-Finally!

Congratulations to all Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation, Inc. (FPPF) lecturers for passing the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) assessment on Photography NC II. Seated in front row (left to right) is TESDA specialist in Merced Javier, model Joan Mazo and moi-the first duly appointed TESDA Photography NC II accreditor. Behind us are (standing, left to right) photo gurus in Dennis Araneta, Pablo Beltran (FPPF Director), Ador Pamintuan (FPPF Senior lecturer) , Joey TaƱedo (assistant dean, University of the Philippines, College of Fine Arts), Chris Malinao (FPPF webmaster), Rod Banzon (Advertising photographer) and last but not least Vic Sison (Senior FPPF lecturer). Kudos for passing with flying colors! Let's all now spread the love of photography in our sunny islands!