Sunday, November 30, 2008

there's something about a rose

There's something about a rose that always makes me want to take its picture. I think I already have close to a hundred photos of roses, yet I still go on taking more pictures. Is it the color? the fragility and softness of its petals? the sensuousness of its curves? ... I really don't know. Maybe it's a combination of all those plus more. What do you think?

There is really something about a rose...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

curvy road

I don’t know why but a curvy road always appeals to me. So every time I see one, I always take a picture if possible. Somehow, it seems that there is always something mysterious about a curvy road. One cannot see what is behind each curve so I guess the element of mystery intrigues me.

I must confess I did follow this road after I took its picture. I discovered there was really nothing mysterious behind every bend. Everything was just like this picture – a long winding stretch of an almost empty road because I did not meet anybody as I walked along. There were some ups and downs though but the scene hardly changed. So after walking for a while, I simply turned and went back to where I started.

Oh well, so the mystery I expected was not there but I guess that is what life is – sometimes it is mysterious, sometimes it’s like a steady, calm lake.

Friday, November 28, 2008

sand on my path

This is one shot that certainly looks much better in black and white. When I first took this picture, it was in color, so there was a grayish tint to it. However, it did not merit my second look. I just left it there sleeping in my hard drive. When our contest theme for the month was “black and white” however, I remembered this photo and played with it in Photoshop. I converted it to black and white and that’s when I took notice. I hope you notice too. The light and shadows somehow created a mood that reminded me of the following line from somebody unknown: “Adversity is only sand on your path…to prevent you from skidding.” Isn’t the quotation apt for the photo?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

from my hometown2

I'm sharing another view from my hometown today. This shows one of the ferryboats that ferries us across the river and brings us to the mainland of our province. You can see the fish pens (shown in my previous post) in the background. So my hometown is really a small island within another island. Pretty rural huh?

This photo also illustrates perfectly the rule of thirds that I have mentioned before.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

you are what you eat

This caterpillar is certainly the epitome of this adage. It’s as green as the leaf it was eating such that I almost missed it during one of my many garden visits. I just knew it was there because all the young leaves of the plant were almost gone. Anyway, I looked real hard and finally saw it so engorged with food such that it can hardly move. Good for me because I was able to take several shots. What I'm sharing today is one of those shots.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ordinary things

I never really paid attention to our gate until the morning I took this photograph. I looked out our window and saw the early morning sun just peeping out from over the rooftops and creating a silhouette of our gate. I immediately got my camera and went out to take this picture. I never imagined that this ordinary gate will give me this interesting sunrise picture. Somehow the gate gave this picture a different kind of mood. Don't you agree? Just imagine how this picture will look like without the gate and you will see what I mean.

After this incident ordinary things have stopped being ordinary to me. Rather, they have become objects and opportunities for extraordinary pictures.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I discovered a way to create multiple pictures of myself without resorting to photoshop - take a picture using mirrors. I discovered this actually by accident. We were inside an elevator which had mirrors and I just focused my lens at a certain angle - and viola! - this picture. Isn't it neat?

I called this picture - "me, myself, I."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

prayer and rain

One time, it was only 4 days before our monthly contest and I did not yet have any decent picture for our theme “rain”. I prayed for rain that day and when it suddenly poured I was so surprised and thankful.

I prayed for rain and God gave me rain, so I knew had to go out and take a picture. With umbrella in one hand and my camera in the other, I went out into the rain and started shooting. It was hard shooting that way; I just could not get my camera steady. I needed both hands in order to do that but I also had to hold the umbrella or my camera will get wet. What a dilemma!

Anyway, I was able to get a few non-blurry shots and what I’m sharing today is one of them. I found a quotation that seems to go very with this photo, so I added it here. What do you think?

Oh, by the way, I did not submit this photo to our contest. Why? Because the printed version did look as striking as the computer screen version and I had no more time to make adjustments and get a new print. Now I'm wondering if it would have won had I submitted it. I'll never know, I guess. However, there is one thing that I know - God answers prayers!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Have you ever looked at a fern up close? You have? Then I'm sure you recognize this photo. However if you haven't, then take a look at this photo. These are fern fronds (leaves of the fern) showing the sporangia (brown dots)underside. Sporangia (sporangium, singular)are the reproductive organs of ferns. If the sporangia are dark brown like these, then that means that the fern is mature and ready for reproduction. Inside the sporangia are the spores. When each sporangium breaks, the spores are scattered and develop into new ferns if they land in areas where there is enough moisture.

I love taking pictures of ferns because they exhibit such graceful and sometimes exquisite patterns. Don't you agree?

Friday, November 21, 2008

playing with paper

Sometimes when it’s raining too hard and I can’t risk my camera getting wet, I turn my lens towards things inside the house. One of the things I have lots of in the house is books, paper, and related things. So it’s but natural that they are the first objects that become the focus of my lens.

Well, I did not want to photograph a book just like that…a book… so I started playing around with it. I also wanted to discover what I can do with paper as black and white subject. The photo I’m sharing today is one of the results of my "playing with paper" day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

when it pours

Shortly after winning in our club photo contest, I also learned that my two entries won in a magazine photo contest with the theme, “natural rim lighting.” Hmm, my photographic adventures are now becoming even more fun. Imagine my photos in a magazine! Wow! I could not believe my luck. It was my first time to join a magazine contest, and both my entries made it. Was I happy? You bet!

Anyway, here is one of my winning photos showing the theme “natural rim lighting.” I titled this “nature’s beads.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

my first OTS

I was just a month old in my club when I experienced my first OTS. I did not even know what an OTS was then, but I kind of just figured out what it means based on how everybody was talking about it. So I learned that it stands for “on the spot” shoot or painting or anything on the spot.

Anyway, my first OTS was a festival. I have heard of the festival before and I learned that one of our club members won the top prize photo of the festival the year before. Everyone was excited because we were hoping to duplicate what happened the year before. Since our club had a big delegation, we decided to break up into groups with each group having a senior member as guide. I was lucky to be assigned under the guidance of last year’s winner.

We got to the festival site early so we were able to take some shots as the participants prepared and rehearsed their numbers. I have never taken festival photos before and even if I prepared by reading on the best camera settings for shooting festivals, I still had to fiddle around with my camera buttons because there was so much movement. I also got separated from our guide and I did not have anybody to consult with. We found each other later though when it started to rain and we had to scamper for cover.

The rain poured real hard as several of us tightly squeezed together under a very small tent. We got wet anyway but we kept our cameras dry by covering them with plastic bags.

When it seemed that the rain was not going to stop for a while, some participants started getting impatient and they started dancing even in the rain. Since it was hard to keep on changing my camera settings, I just set it in burst and P mode and kept on shooting even if I could not see anything in the rain. Well, I’m glad I did that because when I later reviewed the shots I made I still came up with some good ones. And my favorite shot is the one I share today. I also discovered a very apt quotation for the photo. So here it is, it's titled "rain dance".

By the way, this photo won 2nd prize in our club photo contest for that festival. So getting wet was all worth it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

stay... fly

Even though I hate flies, I find that they are good subjects for macro photography. Their eyes are so big and colorful. They are also more cooperative than bees, dragonflies or even butterflies because they do not fly around as much. Although their proboscis moves constantly, the rest of their body stays immobile long enough to give me time to get better focused photos.

I used my macro lens for this shot with the aperture at F/2.8 and shutter speed at 1/100sec. I wanted to just focus on the eyes thus the narrow depth of field. I also wanted to be sure that I’ll freeze whatever motion it might make so I used a somewhat fast shutter speed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

thank God for sunsets

I am enjoying this daily blog. As I search daily through my pictures looking for something to share, I usually stop and ask myself, "why did I take this photo?" Then memories come flooding and I sit awhile going through not only my photo bank but my memory bank as well.

So why did I take this sunset photo? Why? Who can resist a sunset photo? I can't. Everytime I see a sunset, I want to take its photo. Its beauty makes me want to own it, to have it with me longer, to have it with me forever. Every sunset that I see fills me with wonder at the beauty of God's creation. Sunsets make my heart sing.

I have so many sunset photos. I have enough to last me a lifetime and beyond. Still, I take another sunset photo everytime I witness one.

So I share with you today something that makes my heart sing and I hope you sing with me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

another stalker shot

I have taken so many "stalker shots" but its hard to publish them in a public site because a model release is needed especially if the faces are recognizable. However, I could not resist sharing this shot today. I so love the ingenuity of this group as they shared one life saver. They're having fun aren't they?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

shooting the shooter

Since my first photo shoot with my camera club, I have joined several others and one of my favorite activities during these shoots is to take photos of the shooters. I have now a collection of these shots but I’ve only shown a few of them to my fellow shooters. The photo that I am sharing today is one of those shots.

You can see that our shooter here is wearing a raincoat. Well, every time we go on a shoot, we always come prepared for any eventuality. Rain is always one of the possibilities that can happen. It started raining real hard after I took this picture. We actually had to pack up and ran for cover. If anybody (who did not understand photography) saw us at that time, he/she would have wondered why we were using the plastic bags and wraps to cover our equipment rather our bodies.

Friday, November 14, 2008

stalker shot

I hardly ever take pictures of people except of those that I know. I am rather shy of approaching people and asking if I can take their picture. However, ever since my son gave me a zoom lens, I have started focusing on people too. I would use my camera from afar and then just zoom in on people so they never really know that I am taking their picture. I call photos taken this way as my “stalker shots.”

Well, I don’t really stalk people, not paparazzi style. But I do include them in some of my photos now. I discovered that some scenes look even better if there are some people included in the shot. Somehow the presence of people makes them more interesting. I also discovered that some people actually love to have their picture taken. Every time they see someone with a camera, they will always say “picture, picture” and will even scramble around and pose for the photo. Sometimes this can be distracting to the scene that I want to shot. However, what I usually do when this happens is, I oblige and take a few shots of them, then, I make a signal that I also would like to take a photo without them around. This way, we end up both happy.

Anyway, what I am sharing today is one of my “stalker shots.” I just wanted a picture of the beach then. However, I saw a pair playing frisbee, so I changed my angle and included one of them in my photo. Now the beach scene looks more alive. Don't you agree?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

thank God for the flowers

After I joined my camera club this year, I received an invitation from some members to join them in a photo shoot for a possible entry to a certain photo contest. Since I have never joined a photo shoot before nor have I ever been to the venue for the shoot, I eagerly joined them.

I didn’t really know what to expect in a photo shoot. Our team leader briefed me along the way. I was told that when one goes on a shoot, one has to be ready with a concept and has to bring along props needed for the concept. Since I have never been to the venue, I did not really know what to expect, and I was not ready at all. I thought that when we get there we would walk around and look for something that would inspire us to shoot. So I was surprised when I discovered just how ready they were. They brought not just their photographic gear but also all kinds of props including some costume change. After walking around a bit, they found their spot and everyone took their places and prepared for the shoot as our team leader explained his concept. I tried to find a spot to join them too.

That day was a real learning experience for me. It was my first encounter with professional photographers and I saw how serious they were in their craft. There, I learned that winning photos are conceptualized and executed with care and not lucky accidents as I originally thought. What I have been doing so far in my photographic adventures was totally different from what I witnessed and experienced that day. I have always relied on finding the perfect shot through some inspiring moments and accidental discoveries. That day, I learned that one has to set up everything and lucky accidents are not accidents at all.

So at the end of the shoot, I was so frustrated because I could not get any right shots. While they were comparing their shots, I could not show them what I got because I was not happy with them. It was good that we had time to relax and walk around a bit before we set for home because I then found some “familiar friends”. I saw that the place had some flowers so I happily started shooting away.

If not for the flowers, I would have gone home that day wiser but frustrated. Thank God for the flowers, I went home wiser and happier.

So this photo I share today is one of the flower photos I took that day. Isn’t she a beauty?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I made it through the rain

There was a heavy downpour at one time such that I had to wait for the rain to stop before going out to my garden. As I went raindrops hunting after, I saw this flower standing bravely in spite of being “ravaged” by the heavy rain. Somehow it still managed to “smile” and maintain its regal bearing. It appeared as if it was singing the Barry Manilow song, “I made it through the rain.” Thus the title for this photo.

"...I made it through the rain
I kept my world protected
I made it throught the rain
I kept my point of view
I made it through the rain
And found myself respected
By the others who
Got rained on too
And made it through...."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

be ready always

I never can predict what I will take a picture of every time I visit my small garden. I know I will take another picture of the flowers there but aside from that, I do not know what else I will find. So I was pleasantly surprised when this bee suddenly decided to visit the flower I was focusing on. I had to shift focus... really fast, because this was a rare moment for me. Flying insects especially bees rarely if ever stay put long enough for one to take a shot, so I was really lucky to get this photo.

If you love nature photography and macro shots like I do, you have to learn to be either always ready for quick shots like this or to be very patient and wait for the perfect moment. I will talk about the latter in another post.

Monday, November 10, 2008

deep inside

Before I started photography, I never really looked at this flower. It was just there by the roadside. It's a very small wildflower that usually blooms around May but it was just part of the roadside for me then. However, when I became interested in photography, I would take a photo of almost anything, and that was when I saw how beautiful this flower actually is. I then took home some seeds and scattered them in my garden. Now I can take its photo every time it blooms and I already have a collection.

What I am sharing today is one of the first photos I took of this flower. See how pretty it is? The title of this photo is "deep inside" because of the bee that is almost buried deep inside it.

This reminds me of another quote from Georgia O'Keeffe - "When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not".

Sunday, November 9, 2008


After about 2 years of taking pictures on my own, I decided it would be good for my growth as a photographer to interact with other photo enthusiasts, so I joined a camera club. The club meets once a month and the highlight of these monthly meetings is a photo contest. There is a monthly contest theme which is announced ahead of time.

The contest theme after I joined was “jeepney in color.”

Although jeepneys are a common sight here in the Philippines since they are major means of transportation, I have never thought of making them the subject of my photo adventures. As I mentioned before, my favorite subjects are raindrops and flowers and occasional sceneries. But jeepneys? “oh no”, I said to myself, “what have I gotten into?” So my first month as member of the club started with a real challenge.

I have never joined photo contests before and jeepneys are totally out of my league, but I had to take the challenge. Anyway, we had a month to work on the theme. So I took my camera with me every time I left home. I knew I would always find jeepneys along the way.

Most of my first pictures were blurred because the jeepneys are moving and I was also in a moving vehicle. What camera settings should I use? I tried all kinds of possible combinations until I discovered the sports mode. This mode gave me the best possible photos under the conditions.

Anyway, the photo I am sharing today is one of the results of those weeks of taking jeepney photos. Guess what, this photo placed #9 out of about 50 or so entries. Was I excited? You bet! Imagine, first time to join and I got a place already!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

black and white

After looking at colored photos all the time, I never imagined that I will appreciate black and white photos. But surprise, surprise, I discovered that I actually love black and white photos. Yes, I do.

Taking black and white photos make me appreciate more the differences in texture, contrast, lines and tonal quality of various objects. Somehow the drama and tension in the different elements of the photo is enhanced. Just look at this photo that I share today and compare it with the same flower that I shared before - the one I titled "ballerinas", and you will see what I mean.

Friday, November 7, 2008

postcard perfect

One place that I never tire of visiting is Boracay. It is such a photogenic place. Every time I go back there, I always find something new to photograph. Even if the place has been photographed hundreds or even thousands of time, there is always something there that makes one take even more pictures. Of course the attraction of the place is really its crystal clear water and powdery beach. I simply love walking on the sand that never gets hot even under the noontime sun.

The picture I’m sharing today is Boracay early in the morning. The early morning sun gave the whole place a bluish tint although I emphasized this with my polarizing filter. Placing the landmark dead center in the picture is intentional. I know I broke the rule of thirds here. But rules are simply guides and can be broken as long as you know why you want to break it. I just wanted a postcard perfect picture of the place.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

macro world

I visit my small garden almost everyday to look for things to photograph. One would think that I would run out of things to take pictures of, but no. There is always something new, a hidden world that probably escaped my eyes the day before.

Mind you, my garden is very small. One can go around it in just 3 minutes. However, these 3 minutes can extend to 30 minutes or even 60. In fact, I usually lose track of time once I focus my macro lens on the things around me. I love macro photography. Everything is so fascinating in the macro world. It’s very similar to working with microscopes which I used to do before.

Anyway, look what I found during one of those garden visits. Nature’s own handwriting! So I titled this photo – “nature’s script.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

to take or not to take...the picture

When I still had my Nikon 5700, I would oftentimes use its telephoto mode and zoom in on anything in my garden. I was doing exactly that when I chanced upon this dragonfly. I knew had to take a shot right away because it might just fly away. And it actually did right after that. I'm glad I decided to take the shot even if the focus is not that sharp. The photo still shows the intricate design of its wings.

This reminds me of what somebody once said "I'd rather have a blurred picture than have no picture at all."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

caught in a raindrop

I mentioned in my earlier post that my favorite subjects for photography are flowers and raindrops. Since I have been posting mostly flowers, I thought that today is a good time for another raindrop photo.

This photo is titled “caught in a raindrop.” It is actually cropped from a bigger photo to focus more on this raindrop. I had an interesting discussion with a good friend when I shared this photo. We talked about - “what if our world is caught in a raindrop like this? Can you imagine what will happen if the drop falls? Is our world really as fragile as a raindrop”, etc.? We had fun tossing the idea around. I hope you will also give it a thought. How about it?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Back up, back up

One of the most painful lessons I learned about technology and photography is - the importance of backing up all files. I lost all my photos and other files when the hard drive of my laptop crashed.

“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again.” I was reminded of this line from the nursery rhyme because no computer technician could retrieve any of my important files when that happened. They were able to retrieve a few files, but not one of my photos. It’s good the computer was still under warranty when that happened so they replaced my hard drive, but not my files of course. Ouch!

I actually cried when I was told that my files could not be retrieved, and then I moved on. After that incident, I have learned to back up religiously. I now keep a photo bank for my photos and an external drive for my other files beside my computer. So every time I finish working on photos and other files, they go straight to these external devices for back up.

The photo I am sharing today is a photo I had not yet uploaded to my computer then so it was not included in that disaster. Lucky! Suddenly a thought struck me as I was writing this, - is the reason it was not included was because - “Jesus saves?” Ha ha, I could laugh about this now, but not at that time.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

from my hometown

I grew up in a fishing village and I thought I would share today a photo from my hometown. This is one of my very first photo of my hometown. When we were growing up, we still had to call a photographer if we wanted any picture taken. When film cameras came around, I concentrated on taking snapshots of people rather than of scenery. Thank God for digital cameras, now, anybody can take a picture of anything. So when I went home a few years ago, I started focusing on the scenery too.

Fish pens and traps abound in my hometown. I used to go with my grandfather catching fish from inside these traps as the tide ebbed. That was fun!

Anyway, this photo shows the fish pens. The fisherman would sometimes spend the night inside those little houses on top of the pens.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

swirly drop

I thought sharing a raindrop will help brighten an otherwise gloomy day.

I caught this drop (there are actually 3 drops but I focused on the bottom one) on a swirly vine so I called it "swirly drop." Part of the vine is reflected upside down on the drop. This started me we wondering - why is the vine upside down when reflected on a drop, but upright when reflected on a mirror? I know there is physics here and a lesson on refraction, but who wants to talk about physics on a day like this? Not me. I just want to enjoy my "swirly drop."
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