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Looking Back at September 2010

Various storm clouds captured with the most complicated setup being a sturdy tripod, DSLR, wide-angle lens and remote shutter. The DSLR was either an EOS 50D or EOS 7D (whatever was on hand) and lens used was mostly an EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 kit lens. The landscape were all captured in RAW then initially converted to workable file in Digital Photo Professional (Canon’s native software). All images were then put through various adjustments in Photoshop CS5 to get the final versions posted. Some of the photos were slightly HDR’ed to even out the scene. Can you guess which ones?

Some past post on storm clouds here, here, here and some lightning here.

Here’s a tip: the real secret to getting a good sunset/storm/night sky is not an expensive DSLR (here’s lightning from a Canon G7 point and shoot) used but the post processing work done (RAW+Photoshop). For starters do a search on a good screw on CPL filters (B+W) or for shooters with some extra moolah- Cokin or Lee drop in filters.


Sept. 5, 2010, EOS 7D, 17mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/10 sec.


Sept. 12, 2010, EOS 7D, 17mm, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/200 sec. Originally shot in color but it was very muted and it was decided to convert to b&w. Always shoot in color and convert in post.


Aug. 24, 2010, EOS 50D, 70mm, ISO 100, f/8.0, 36 secs, this frame was part of a series of lightning shoots that night.


Sept. 12, 2010, EOS 7D, 17mm, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/200 sec


Sept. 21, 2010, EOS 50D, 17mm, ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/13 sec. This photos has a sunset(left), lightning glow(upper center), rain storm(directly below lightning glow) and an almost twilight scene(right). No elements of this photo was edited in PS. Captured as is.


Sept. 6, 2010, EOS 7D, 17mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/15 sec. A dramatic sunset right after heavy monsoon rains with the clouds reflecting whats left of the suns glow. This was captured right after the sun has just gone below the horizon.


Sept. 19, 2010, EOS 7D, 85mm, ISO 100, f/14, 1/50 sec. Smog and the rainy atmosphere brings a dramatic dimension to the photo. The brighness of the sun is actually filtered by the thick pollution in Manila skies.

New Years Eve Panorama

The panorama to end 2010 from a recent wedding I covered in Baguio-City of Pines, Philippines.

The interior of St. Joseph the Worker Parish Church captured with Canon EOS 40D w/EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5. 3 quick hand held frames shot while the entourage was prepping for the walk down the aisle. RAW processed in DPP and final output in Photoshop.

Have a great new years eve party!


Click for large view

Brunch With a Friend

A little real world comparison of the Olympus PEN EPL 1 and a 4 year old Canon Powershot G7.


Foyer of the restaurant where a meeting of a point and shoot and PEN 4/3rd's system took place. This can only happen over a good meal.


This real world comparison isn't based on anything technical or controlled. It is just based on a casual shooting scenario where the PEN was used to shoot a variety of subjects under daylight and night time conditions to the best of my knowledge.


All photos on this post were all shot with the Canon G7 in jpg and then post processed in Photoshop. Unlike the PEN, the G7 does not shoot in RAW format. But for the sake of casual shooting this is sometimes a bit more convenient. Then again, for all my pro shoots nothing but RAW will suffice.


The very cool looking pop up flash of the Oly PEN EPL-1. I find this flash doesn't do the job quite as well as my 4 year old Canon G7 on manual and shutter priority mode. Adjusting higher or lower flash output is already a couple of push button into the menu. Sometimes this will be a disadvantage as the moment has passed by the time flash output is adjusted.


Macro mode on the G7 is only a button push away. The menu on both is very different and I found the PEN's menu really needs some getting used to. On program mode it is just turn on and shoot. If going on manual or any of the priority modes a basic understanding of photography and light is a must.


Loved the design and form factor of the EPL-1. The weight and the form factor is perfect for those looking to upgrade from a point and shoot. It's great for travel and a pleasure to hold the sturdy construction of the camera.


As I am so used to the Canon system it was hard to navigate through the Pen menu to get what I wanted. But there is only 1 mode dial on top with the rest of the functions on buttons at the back. Versus the Canon G series with various dials on top to control mode, ISO and +/- EV.


The backside of the PEN where all feature navigation buttons are located. Very nicely placed buttons for various menu functions but would need to be very familiar with the menu system to achieve full potential of the camera. For convenience and faster shooting I would still prefer the Canon G series.


The biggest difference among the 2 cams is the speed of locking on a subject on auto focus. The PEN takes longer to lock on and often times hunts for the subject. The G7 (my 4 year old p&s) seems more instantaneous.


This breakfast was about the 6th time in using my friend's PEN. It still has great appeal in terms of the vintage design and convenience of the 4/3 rd's system-a DSLR type interchangeable lens camera without the bulk. The PEN is just a tad bigger (w/ lens attached) and heavier than my Canon G7.


It all boils down to is the Olympus PEN EPL-1 worth puchasing for PHP35,000 w/ kit lens (USD599). Without my Canon DSLR's it would be a good buy. Getting into a new system of camera bodies, lenses and flashes is not an easy thing to do. For my own use, a new Canon G12 would be a better buy. Anytime a DSLR is a requirement it's only a matter of grabbing a bag and go.


There are no winners. It is just a matter of switching form 1 familiar system to a new one. For first timers who are upgrading from a point and shoot the PEN would be a good buy. But to use the PEN to it's full potential one must be familiar with navigating the menu system and be aware of it's sluggish auto focus (compared to the Canon G series). The PEN is a good camera for learning the basics of photography as it is also a good camera for advanced users.


In the Philippines the holiday season is celebrated through get together of big families, long home made buffet spreads, last minute gift shopping and massive traffic jams that would put New York and Tokyo to shame. But 1 thing that never quits are the fireworks display.

This was shot a few weeks ago when a department store chain wanted to give it’s shoppers something else to revel in. My gear was on a sturdy tripod with remote shutter attached. Lens used was a Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L-yup, the old one that’s without IS and it’s still sharp as nails. Photos were shot on RAW, processed in DPP and finished in Photoshop.

Have a great weekend, folks!




‘Tis Season to be Jolly!

Have a great holiday season everyone!




Leading Up to a Full Moon


The moons from December 13, 15 and 18, 2010.

The news reported a full lunar eclipse on the 20th of December Manila time. As it so happens, we had clear skies but no luck on the eclipse. What transpired was a total full moon at moon rise and the sunset on the other side of the horizon. It was an incredible sight to behold.



Full Moon on December 22

This scene spotted tonight right after dinner. Quickly grabbed my gear and shot off 4 frames. This is a composite of 2 exposures- 1 for the overall city scene and 1 to expose for the moon. Captured in RAW and processed in Photoshop. The colors were much brighter in 16 bit colors than the 8 bit jpeg here.


Road Trip to Baguio

To Baguio for a fun filled wedding shoot with my travel buddy, Brian. We took the road less traveled and arrived at the City of Pines hampered by pot holes and thick fog on Marcos highway. Baguio City is the Philippines answer to winter. The only place within a 4-5 hour car ride where semi winter experiences can be had. Tagaytay doesn’t count as it’s only spring weather.

Once we got relaxed and squared away it was time to go over some fine details on shooting a wedding.

A little side note: on the night of December 20 (that’s tonight…) there will be a total lunar eclipse. I do hope the clouds hanging around now will go away for my unobstructed view. Here’s the full article on Yahoo!.






Army Navy: Burgers + Burritos

A week and a half ago, the hard drive on my old trusty iBook had a sticky fit and finally crashed. The symptom was a very simple plain blue screen once it booted. Gone was the menu bar and solid medium gray color desktop.

Had to take the Mac to the doctor and on the way passed by this new place being renovated. Made a quick mental note to try it out. Fast forward to a new hard drive, a very clean software-less comp and dinner at the Army Navy: Burgers + Burritos. Will try their breakfast burrito on our next visit.


Street view of Army Navy Burger and Burritos.


The faux brass logo on the counter top- a very nice touch.


Order counter with a full view of the clean kitchen and very friendly staff.


The interior space-excellent attention to detail-like the food.


First up, the double patty cheeseburger. Liked the meaty flavor but too much fresh onions as it over powered the burger with every bite. Still a great choice though just ask the staff to hold the onions.


Nicely wrapped beef and cheese sandwich. It


A look inside reveals all the juicy goodness. The onions were just right.

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