Let me begin this photo blog with a slew of complaints.
First, knowing that she wanted to go to the concert, I asked my sister to buy me a ticket online. She said yes. A month later, I asked her if she has taken care of it. To my horror, turned out she hasn't purchased any ticket yet. So I scrambled to get online to buy a VIP ticket, and the closest and best seat I could get was 28 rows from the stage. Jeesh, that's already quite far, because I wanted to shoot!
On the way to the concert, which was held in World Trade Center in Pasay (far from my preferred Araneta Coliseum), I left Bulacan late because I came from a festival shoot earlier in the day. Ergo, I arrived in the venue late, with the WTC parking lot already full and I settled on a parking spot about 300 meters from the concert place. Which compounded matters for me : I decided to leave my Canon 7D in the car, because what if they didn't allow it inside and I had to walk all the way back to the car and go back inside the venue again? So to avoid the hassle, I dropped my plan of attempting to sneak in and shooting with a DSLR. This was another job for the puny but mighty EOS M. (Security ALMOST didn't allow my 135mm lens inside, I just told them I left the camera and just took the lens with me to avoid further loss in case my car got broken into. Suckers.)
As I entered the venue, I couldn't help but notice how young the crowd was. Seriously, I felt SO old! When I watch concerts of 60's, 70's, even 80's artists, I feel young. But this Phoenix concert is the first time I felt I was too old for this. To make things worse, I felt like a dork going to a concert alone.
The place was cramped, the make-shift stage was small and too low in terms of shooting angle, the VIP seats looked and felt un-VIP. The night wasn't going too well for me. I just told myself, "I came here for the music." Whenever I saw another thing I didn't like, I told myself, "I came here for the music." People crowding the VIP area and rendered the seat plan useless... I came for the music. A record amount of gadget/device shooters to make shooting almost impossible.... I came for the music.
But you know what? Something happened and turned things around for me. Phoenix happened.
AWESOME AWESOME band! Pure energy, hyper flow of music, just ecstatically fantastic. They're so good, I'm putting this concert as one of the Top 3 I've seen in my life (and I've watched A LOT). I'm glad I didn't miss this one.
I came for the music, sure, but also tried my best shooting. It was difficult but I think I did a decent job with it. Here are my photos from the super fun concert :
From the mess to the masses. Thanks for looking!
(I want Passion Pit next!)
I've seen a lot of photos, heard a lot of stories about Guiguinto's Halamanan Festival before, so I really wanted to shoot it. Unfortunately for me, I always got the news late, like a day or two AFTER the festival. So this year, I made sure not to miss it. Given a choice of shooting Malolos City's Fiesta Republica (which I totally liked last year), or going for the first time to Halamanan, the choice was easy. Much as I loved to shoot in Malolos again, my schedule permitted me only 1 shooting day for the week, so I went with the latter.
The whole experience tells me I made the right decision. First, I'm astounded at the support for Halamanan Festival : from the local government, the residents, and the participants. The event was well-attended, well-organized, and it's evident that this was a big deal to the municipality. The streets were jampacked and abuzz about the floats and street performers, eyes were glued to the parade. Second, the sun cooperated and the weather couldn't be better. It was cool, the air was dry, no danger of sunburn at all. It felt like Guiguinto offered a million eggs to a certain saint. Lastly, I loved the vibrance of the event. The energy was high, the colors were vivid, and it was just a whole lot of fun for everyone.
My feet hurt because of the long walk. That's the only thing I didn't like. As for shooting the event, I couldn't really complain about anything.
Here are my captures from Halamanan Festival 2014 :
A big THANK YOU for the Municipality of Guiguinto for allowing our group, Focus Bulacan, to shoot the event. We really appreciate the media passes. Till next year!
Here's our group shot (without me, the shooter) :
Congratulations to the winners of best float and best in street dance. And congratulations to the town of Guiguinto for a wonderful festival. Keep it going! :)
It's one of my favorite things to do to end a year : look back at my photos and pick my absolute favorites. Though I consider 2013 to be a "down year" in terms of my photography, I still amassed thousands of photos which are now backed up in my archive. The passion is definitely still there but I just felt I didn't venture out too much last year, most of my shoots were so-called comfort zones. Overall, satisfactory for me but I couldn't say I maximized my opportunities.
Anyway, from the hundreds of photos that I totally loved, I trimmed it down to a Top 16, and ultimately a Top 10. Here are my ten most faves from the year that was :
February 21 : The Breitling Jet Team - This aerial performance was the highlight of my trip to The Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Clark, Pampanga. It was my third time to attend the fest but skipped it in 2012 because I was looking for something new to see. Alas, The Breitling Seven pumped life back into the show, and I was lucky I was there to shoot their amaaaaaaaaazing display. (This photo appears in Floating Colors & Streaking Jets)
March 26 : Hawla Peninsula - These days, it's VERY rare that I get to travel for hours just to shoot. So I appreciated the chance I got back in summer to travel to Mariveles, Bataan to shoot landscapes with two photrography friends based there. I've said it before and I'll say it again : landscape photography is the most difficult genre. In terms of effort, safety risk, and luck regarding the weather and elements. (This photo appears in Back Out There)
July 23 : LeBron James Witness - If not for the last-minute generosity of a friend, I wouldn't have been able to witness LeBron's Manila tour and exhibition. The best player in the planet drew thousands and the anticipation was fever-pitch. A great experience, to say the least. (This photo appears in Witness History...From Afar)
August 30 : Royal - I was given the privilege to be a mentor-photographer of a modeling competition in Bulacan. We had two concept shoots and this photo came from the second one. The aspirants were dolled up to be royalties and I like this shot the most because I was surprised that the model (Kattleya) was well-prepared for this pose that she wanted. If there's one thing I don't like about model shoots, it's motioning to models (who didn't prepare) how to pose or express themselves. This was an exception. (This photo appears in BNRTM : Closing The Chapter)
September 20 : Flying Cobras - For the second straight year, I went to shoot the cheering competition of Bulacan State University. There was a shot that I personally liked better, but I chose this one because it showed more of the team effort in cheerdancing AND these were the champions, the College of Arts and Letters Green Cobras. (This photo appears in Motion Freeze : The 2013 BSU CDC)
September 26 : Mr. Brightside - The Killers blew into town and I was there to shoot it, thanks to the digicam-sized Canon EOS M which eluded the prying eyes of Araneta Coliseum's personnel. The show was fantastic, the stage lights were B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. I thoroughly enjoyed watching and shooting at the same time. (This photo appears in Killing Us Loudly : The Killers in Manila)
October 11 : Striking Red - Another concert to shoot, this time by local band Up Dharma Down. I looked for a shot that's not too common, and fortunately their shining red keyboard got my attention before they took the stage. Lo and behold, their playlist was attached, and the waiting fans in the background for this all-in-one photo. A picture that doesn't need the appearance of the band itself, but you'd know which band it is. (This photo appears in UDD Live)
October 28 : Hello, Hello - I've taken thousands of photos of Seven, and I like probably 90% of them because he's my son. This one, though, is undeniably adorable for me. Just him holding two phones, talking as if someone's on the other line. Simply cute and I couldn't resist including it in my favorites.
October 28 : Seven Potter - A few hours after taking the photo above, I took this one. It's for Seven's Halloween costume photo which was my wife's idea. I had to make it look like the Harry Potter poster, and I think it was a decent output. (This photo appears in Seven Potter : The Gwapoy Who Lived)
November 25 : Macau Model - In our free time after watching a Pacquiao fight in Macau, my wife and I did a shoot in the canal parts of The Venetian Hotel. That she is a commercial model by profession made it a lot easier for me. (This photo appears in My Favorite Model)
Here are the other photos that made my list but didn't make my Top Ten :
And that's all folks! I'm thankful for the photos I was able to take during 2013. Thank you to friends that I share my passion with, thank you to people who made some of the shoots possible. Thank you to those who appreciate my photos... your feedback helps fuel me. Cheers for 2013 and cheers to a new year!
Let's keep on shooting! :)
(You can view my previous years' favorites at Best-Ofs)