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Night Time Shooting at Fontana

A family trip to the casino-vacation hotspot, Fontana located in the Clark Freeport Zone is well, not so hotspot once the kiddies go to sleep. The running around and banter stop with silence taking over immediately. The only thing to do- strap on the Canon unto a tripod and go fishing for a shot.

As you can see, this place is better to shoot than for some rude partying. Even the casino is a bit on the bland side. Do click on the images for a larger view of what boredom can bring to shooting a night time exposure.

Shot details: 7pm, Canon EOS 50D, 10mm, f/7.1@30 sec, ISO 100. Captured RAW and converted in Photoshop CS5.



During the day though, with the kiddies, the US style water amusement park is a pretty fun place to go. Except, they don’t allow any food or beverages into the park and do have US style airport bag checks just in case your sneaking in some-even if you have little kiddies that need bottled water. It’s a quite a drag but then you can have all the food at their sub standard US style fast food restaurant. Aside from all the unnecessary rules it was a fun experience and the life guards posted everwhere were excellent-made the fun filled day safe. The photos did turn out pretty nice though… do click for a larger US style view. 😉


The entrance beckons... on a weekday.


View from the bridgeway into the park.


EOS 50D wet and wild-check out the water droplets.


Captured around 5:30pm. It was a beautiful magenta hue everywhere.

Disadvantages & Advantages

This post is by no means a thorough technical investigation on the usage of camera RAW file format on the DSLR. It is simply a real world look at the disadvantages and advantages of shooting RAW.


Canon EOS 50D menu selection for RAW/jpeg files.

Camera RAW files are the data captured by the image sensor and left unprocessed and uncompressed by the DSLR’s processors. Unlike jpeg files, where the DSLR’s chips processes and shrinks the image accordingly to the selected jpeg size thereby permanently compressing the RAW file. A computer software (RAW converter) is needed to process into RAW files into an actual viewable and printable image file. RAW files are the norm for many pro photographers. Unfortunately, not all. Those that do can attest to and live by the standard. Many even make a good living in shooting RAW files. Just do a quick look at any of the reputable stock image companies and all their inventory are from RAW format.

Disadvantages of Shooting RAW File Format
1. Typical file size more than 15mb. Takes up a lot of space on the cf /sd card and hard drive of computer- it becomes more expensive as external back up drives are also needed.
2. Camera RAW files not usable right out of the DSLR. RAW files will need to be post processed to some extent in software (but RAW conversion softwares are bountiful).
3. Camera RAW files need time to edit and process. Unlike jpegs that can be used immediately after shutter is pressed and uploaded to any social media of choice.
4. A fast computer is recommended for processing RAW. With 18 mega pixels as norm today on DSLR models the files get bigger and require newer computers with up to date hardware/software combo. It can become more expensive but there are some free software available.

Advantages of Shooting RAW File Format
1. RAW files are like film negatives where in all the information captured (sort of a loss-less file, if you will) from the sensor are stored on the cf/sd card unprocessed by the DSLR thereby preserving the original exposure in all it’s mega pixel glory (usually 16bit colors).
2. An otherwise unusable shot on jpeg file goes to the trash bin while if an image captured in Camera RAW format can be ‘rescued’ in post processing softwares.
3. RAW files are significantly better in dynamic range than jpeg where blown out highlights and shadows can be brought out to a certain degree.
4. Lens distortion can be corrected, chromatic aberration can be lessened and noise can be reduced without loosing too much sharpness.
7. If Canon user, RAW converter (Digital Professional Photographer) is FREE and included in box. Don’t put your hard earned DSLR to waste.

The original image below was captured using a Canon EOS 50D with a 22 year old Canon EF 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 (1989). The 1 RAW file was then processed into the many versions with a few minutes time using Canon’s Digital Professional Photographer on an iMac.


Original RAW out of camera shot without any post processing work.


Post processed using RAW conversion to highlight silhouetted DSLR & lens.

MacDy_MG_9425 2_tonemapped

Same image as above. HDR rendered with Photomatix pro directly from RAW file.

The next set of images were from the dslr pictured above captured on the same day. Images were captured in RAW format with a Canon EOS 7D with EF 24-70mm f/2.8. All processed to jpeg with Canon’s DPP.


Original RAW out of camera shot without any post processing work.


RAW file post processed using Canon

If these shots were captured using jpegs, undoubtedly, post processing them to be upload standard would have been a time consuming and tedious chore. But, there is really nothing wrong with jpegs as long as the images won’t be intended for scrutiny or large print somewhere down the line.

With RAW camera files, they can be stored on external drives for a very long time. While most RAW converters are upgraded eventually with better algorithm and features stored RAW files may be reprocessed again for future use.

It is highly recommended to start shooting in RAW. Much of the advantages of using RAW far outweigh the disadvantages. One day a magazine might call and ask for an image. With RAW, the options are all within a few mouse clicks.

Taichung, Taiwan Station

In 1 hour the train ride on the Taiwan High Speed Rail from Taichung gets you to Taipei versus the slow bus route or car for an extra 3 hours. The maglevs goes whooshing by in one big speed blur through scenic landscapes and tunnels. Might as well take a nap or read the paper.

At the cost of 18 billion and one of the most ambitious projects the country has taken on. Taiwan’s (台灣高速鐵路 Táiwān Gāosù Tiělù) version of the Japanese Shinkansen started whooshing through 8 major cities (Taipei, Banciao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, Zhou Ying) in January of 2007 with 4 more planned for 2015.

One way tickets from Taichung to Taipei can be had for NT$700 (PHP850) for adults and NT$350 (PHP500) for children, seniors and disabled. Money well spent and saves time for more shooting and eating time in Taipei. Do keep in mind that travel on the THSR during major Chinese holidays will be packed with people. Online booking in advance is a good idea.

Get to the train stations early for some photography. Restaurants and 7-11’s are there for convenience. This set was shot with Canon EOS 50D+EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. Original in RAW, converted in DPP and finished off in Photoshop.










Photo Realistic HDR


The 5 (-2, -1, 0, +1, +2) exposures used to achieve a subtle High Dynamic Range through AEB mode (Auto Exposure Bracketing) with Canon gear. My preferred software either Photoshop or Photomatix but now a days post processing work has become less painful with Adobe’s much improved Photoshop CS5. Do refer to the supplied DSLR manual on how to set AEB.

Put the DSLR on a sturdy tripod and attach the remote shutter release. Best results if your DSLR have live view-saving a stiff neck and a trip to the masseuse. To make this technique less painful use AV mode and dial in an f-stop of 6.3. Auto focus on an object near the location of the setting sun. After achieving focus switch the lens focus mode to MF (manual focus)-to prevent lens from focusing on another object throughout the 2 sets of AEB exposures.

Two sets of AEB’s must be achieved. Since Canons can only do 3 consecutive exposures (AEB -,0,+) the first set of 3: -1, 0, +1 should be shot first. Then the next 3 exposures at -2,0,+2 will require you to dial in manually through the menu. Do this as quick as possible while keeping the DSLR on the tripod. Colors change every second as the sun sets further into the horizon faster than selecting a song on the iPod.

Once the initial 6 exposures are captured try the same process again after a few minutes to get different colors in the sky. Or just to do some practice runs in getting used to fiddling around with the AEB settings.

Upload the images unto your comp and start the HDR process. Use 5 out of the 6 exposures and since there are 2 identical -/+0 exposures in the 2 sets just choose one. Process the five exposures in HDR software and save as TIF. Don’t get trigger happy on the sliders in the HDR software. HDR brings out the high light and shadow details but keep it as realistic as possible. Open another window with -/+0 exposure to make sure the adjustments aren’t too far from the original (use artistic judgement here. There is no right or wrong just too much and too subtle)

Have fun and the best part is when your viewers don’t know a photo is actually an HDR. Twilight at 5:45 pm captured on Canon EOS 50D, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, ISO 125 with Benro tripod and Canon RS-80N3 Remote Switch.


On Boracay Island

Still have much photos to edit and post process. In the meantime, this is the full HDR version of my welcome photo (right sidebar).

Station 1 of White Beach on Boracay Island- Boracay is an island of the Philippines located approximately 315 km (200 miles) south of Manila and 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. In 1990, it was voted by the BMW Tropical Beach Handbook as one of the best beaches in the world and again in 1996 by British publication TV Quick as the world’s number one tropical beach.– Thank you, Wikipedia

Captured in May of o-ten. Shot in RAW, converted to tif in Canon’s DPP and further enhanced in Photoshop. HDR was achieved through CS5 HDR adjustment tool from 1 exposure. Canon EOS 50D, 17mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/60 sec with circular polarizer (CPL) filter attached.

Notice the shadows-this was shot during high noon. It was perfect hot beach weather without any wind. Without the CPL the fine white sand of White Beach would have been overly over exposed. The CPL filter acts like sunglasses for the lens, darkens the blues and evens out the whole scene. As much as possible keep one in the gear bag. Without further ado- the before and after.


Original straight from camera shot.


Click for larger HDR version

‘Tis Season to be Jolly!

Have a great holiday season everyone!






The cake topper says it all. The colors red and gold to celebrate 90 years. It was both an honor and a pleasure to have covered such an important event.


Going over the guest list to make sure everyone has a seat. A celebration this big is always hard work.


Double happiness and the baker making sure the cake is as perfect as it should be.


The celebrant making sure the family and guest are all having fun!


Entertainment in a beautiful package.


Guest looking over a slide-show of scanned photos from another time.


A photo from the late 40's presenting 4 generations of the family's women.


A choral entertaining the guest during dinner.


One of the videographers recording a speech by the eldest son.


The celebrant receiving a bigger than life birthday card from his children.


Before the party ends, sweet buns are given out to the guest for good luck.


Party's over-til next year.

Sometimes we got to stop yappin’ and start shootin’…





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