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This was my third time in San Rafael, Bulacan's Angel Festival. The first one was in 2010, a cool and drizzly day that made shooting the event a little more enjoyable. My second time was in 2011, when I got invited back for the awarding ceremony of the Angel Festival photo contest - four of my photos from 2010 entered the Top 10, and I ended up bagging 2nd and 3rd place. I didn't shoot, just received the trophies and the cash prize that came with it.
This year, I finally got to come back. Unlike 2010, it was scorching hot! The other things were the same though. The town folk were still the same - friendly, always smiling, and not camera-sensitive. I thought the street dance parade was even better than the one I saw in 2010. Together with my fellow shooters from Focus Bulacan, I really enjoyed this edition of the Angel Festival. Despite of the sunburn.
Here are my photos...
Thank you, San Rafael! And thank YOU for dropping by and viewing this set. Cheers!
Good to be back blogging! Really been busy the past few months and I haven't had the time to update my website or blog my photos. I even got surprised when a friend called my attention to it (that I haven't posted anything new in months) and I realized, hey, it's time to get back to blogging. Now's a good time, with some free time on a weekend, our photography club's website and activities already lined up the next two weeks, and I'm coming from a trip to Baguio.
It was a two-day shooting adventure with my friends in Focus Bulacan. I missed shooting! Lately I've been limited to commissioned shoots or photographing my sons at home. I needed a photowalk like this to rekindle the passion. Had a lot of fun, got my juices flowing again.
I focused (pun intended) on street and urban decay photography during the Baguio trip. Urban decay is something new to me, capturing the charm and appeal of old, abandoned, and ruined structures. There's a perfect spot in the summer capital of the Philippines, the well-known urban legend Diplomat Hotel.
Here are my street and urban decay photos from Baguio...
I don't know how you find urban decay photography, but it's something really interesting to me. The glory of old in details and texture.
And a couple of group shots, including one right inside Diplomat Hotel. Epic.
Thanks for dropping by! Will try to blog regularly from now on.
My annual tradition of shooting fireworks continues. I do it at least twice a year, during New Year's Eve and during the Pyromusical Competition in Mall of Asia. This year I went to the show with our group Focus Bulacan, and chose the 4th weekend of the competition, starring teams from China and Germany. As expected, China's presentation was stellar. I have to say the German side disappointed.
Shooting fireworks is just like light painting/drawing. You leave the shutter open and let the fireworks' illumination draw itself on the dark sky. The real challenge is that we don't know what's going to be drawn. We can only hope that it's going to be picturesque and positioned as such that they don't overlap. So we anticipate the bursts and guess what the ideal camera settings would be. We push our luck.
Here are my pyro photos from this year's Philippine International Pyromusical Competition...
I've probably seen tens of thousands of bursts of fireworks. I never get tired of its beauty. And I'll keep on shooting as long as I have my camera and tripod with me.
Thanks for looking. Till next year! :)
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)
Going to club parties is not my thing. I don't even remember the last time I've been to one. However, good friends Aavron delos Santos and Mika Motegi unleashed Project X, the first in-house party in Bulacan. I couldn't say no to their invitation, and I was also interested to shoot a party scene (I love those colorful lights). So I obliged. I'm glad I did.
I'm no party animal but I enjoyed the event. I enjoyed shooting it even better. A lot of fun playing with the lights and movements of people in the scene. Here are my photos :
More likely than not my last shoot for 2013. Thanks and congratulations to Aavron, Mika, and the other organizers of Project X. Was a blast. Keep it going! Cheers!
Right after booking the flight and hotel for our stay in Macau, I started having grand illusions of shooting the sights and scenes of the gambling haven. So like human instinct I packed my cameras and lenses, my tripod, filters, shutter cable, and other accessories I could fit in my handcarry Urban Disguise 50 bag (boy, was it heavy). My Macau weekend would have been ideally set like this : check into our nice suite at The Venetian, watch the Pacquiao-Rios fight downstairs, tour the place, then shoot all I want at night. It was the perfect plan.
But things got in the way. Schedules and plans changed. Fatigue and laziness also set in. I was tired from the late-night flight then getting up early after just 3 hours of sleep for the boxing match. By the time we emerged from a post-fight afternoon nap, time wasn't on our side anymore. Instead of allotting our second night to photography, I decided it would be best if I spend it with my wife. After all, this trip was an advanced anniversary celebration. So I ditched my shooting plans and just enjoyed exploring the vast grounds of The Venetian, dining and getting lost, and doing a little shopping.
But I'm not one who will just allow the trip to pass by without taking some photos. No way. As we were up early on fight day, we looked for a place to have breakfast, and while going around, we noticed the grand canal parts of the hotel were virtually empty at that time. It was then that I got the idea of going there the next day to shoot Anie. And we did.
It was a joy to shoot, having the place to ourselves, with very few guards politely allowing us to do our thing. We didn't have the luxury of time but the 90-minute shoot was more than enough for us. Anie was a posing machine and all I had to do was tell her where to position herself and press the shutter.
Here are my anniversary snaps of Anie :
Happy Anniversary to my lovely wife. It's our fourth wedding anniversary and 11th as a couple (we got married at the day of our seventh anniversary). Four years. Hasn't been perfect but it's been very good. Our son Seven has been a tremendous blessing and who knows, maybe our next kid is coming soon. :)
To a great wife, a loving mother, a supportive partner, a responsible daughter, a kind soul, a dedicated Christian, and definitely my favorite model, again... HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. I love you.
Borrowing some lines from Rico Blanco,
"You hold me like I'm the one who's precious,
I hate to break it to you but it's just the other way around.
You can thank your stars all you want but I'll always be the lucky one."
Made the trip to Macau last weekend to watch Manny Pacquiao's comeback fight against punching bag Brandon Rios. I'm a boxing fan first, Pacquiao follower second, but of course I'd only spend money rooting for my countryman. It was my third time to watch his fight live, but also my first time to be in Macau and, more importantly, the first time that I really didn't know what to expect. If the knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez signaled the end of his dominance, I wouldn't have been surprised to see a lackluster performance from Pacquiao. I've been cheering him on during victories, now I was rooting for him to recover from a savage setback.
Fortunately he looked really good against Rios, who's as fast as my Globe internet connection during peak hours (translation : awfully, hopelessly slow). It was fun to see Pacquiao doing his thing again, and it was fantastic to feel and hear the support of the crowd, which I'd estimate to be 95% pro-Pacquiao. Even the loud and brash Brits - who were against him the last time I watched live vs. Hatton - were now on our side. Everything seemed okay, it was a perfect fight, except for one nitpick : I wanted a knockout win to make his comeback even more dominant. Anyway, we can't have it all, so let's just be happy with it. A win is a win.
I sneaked my Canon EOS M into Cotai Arena to take some photos. I wanted to shoot more of the main event, but after what happened during Pacquiao-Marquez IV, I decided I didn't want to miss a decisive punch while looking at the M's LCD. I wanted to see everything live, so I barely took photos. (Also lost my appetite to shoot after seeing so many people around me recording the fight or taking selfies with their phones and tablets.)
Here's what I was able to shoot, had a little fun with captions and hashtags :
I don't know how many fights Manny has left in him, it seems not a lot. This may very well be the last time I get to see watch him live, unless they can cut the crap and sign the deal for Pacquiao-Mayweather. I think Manny will lose that one, but I'm sure I'll watch that fight.
Let it be!