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Boljoon, Cebu, Philippines

Boljoon Church or Church of the Nuestra Señora Patrocinio de Maria is the oldest remaining stone church in Cebu. Built in early stages of the 18th Century.

MacDy_3355_6_7_tmHere is a bit from Wikipedia– Boljoon Church shows old and intricate carvings and bass relief. It is in a pseudo-baroque rococo style. The interior is decorated beautifully. It has a main nave, a transcript, and twenty-eight pillars which support the walls. The walls are as thick as the pillars which are two meters thick and made of mortar and lime. A communion rail with ornate silver works was stolen from the church.

The Boljoon Church is the oldest remaining original stone church in Cebu. In 1999, the National Historical Institute declared it a National Historical Landmark. The following year, the National Museum declared it as a National Cultural Treasure. 

It was raining that day and the church was closed. And through good graces it was just a slight drizzle and a few exterior photographs were made. Just by chance, there was also a Japanese funded excavation going on at the church grounds. It looked like a grave yard dig as there were a few skeletons in the burial position.

Boljoon town is about an hour and a half away from Cebu city proper along the main highway. The church can be reached by car or bus. Since there wasn’t any visible address on the church gates here are the exact coordinates 9° 38′ 0″ N, 123° 29′ 0″ E and satellite view from Google Maps.

Do click on for a larger view of the photos.

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Scenic Boljoon National Highway in front of the church

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Exterior of church-the museum is located on the 2nd floor of the building.

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Entrance to the museum and list of priests from 1692-present.

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Stairway(beautiful hard wood set in stone structure) to the second floor.

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Excavating an old grave site in front of the church.

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A closer view of the site.

Taipei, Taiwan ROC

Taipei 101 (台北101 / 臺北101) is a landmark skyscraper located in the Xinyi District, a business and shopping area in Taipei, Taiwan. It was officially the world’s tallest building in 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.

Bad weather prevailed except for one particular day. Really wanted to do a shot during sunset but clouds were still covering the top portion of 101. When the clouds finally cleared I grabbed the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II (Thanks, Edward) mounted it on the EOS 7D. Attached the camera to a ball head tripod and turned off Image Stabilizer (IS). Took 4 frames to make sure everything was sharp. The image below is 1 of them.

Exif: f/8, 13 secs, ISO 100, 70mm and RAW file. RAW file to converted to tif file in Canon’s DPP and further processed in Photoshop CS5. Here is a street view of Taipei 101 from last year.

Click image to view large

Free wallpaper for iPhone 3Gs/4 or iPod touch: touch on the photo to enlarge. Touch the Taipei 101 At Night photo for a few seconds and pop up menu will appear. Select wallpaper and re-size to your liking. Voilá-instant background on your iPhone 3Gs/4 or iPod touch. Hopefully you will re-size to include my watermark on the top right 😉

6 Exposure Panorama

It was a beautiful sunset scene that would not even fit into the field of view of a 10-22mm ultra wide angle lens. The next best thing is shoot a series of vertical frames and stitch them.

The image below was stitched in Photoshop from 6 verticals in 24mm. Originally captured in camera RAW file and converted to tif file in Canon DPP. Post processing was kept to minimal adjustments- brightness and boosting colors a tad. A final edge sharpening was applied upon saving to jpeg for posting.

Read on about HDR and manual blending how-to here and here.

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Click to view LARGE

 

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

AND HOW NOT TO DO IT!

When shooting landscapes manual mode is the way to go.

Screw the camera on the tripod, turn off Image Stabilizer (IS) and Auto Focus (AF). Grab the focus ring and gently turn it to infinity. Now that’s out of the way time to factor in the triumvirate: aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

On a night like this one the aperture was at f/4.5, shutter speed at 6 seconds and ISO at a hundred. Anything wrong with this formula? At first glance nothing but at f/4.5 there will definitely be a part of the photo that is out of focus. On many shooting conditions that would be okay. For landscape, as much as possible everything should be in focus-f/4.5 is a big no-no.

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On this night, I didn’t double check and just hit the shutter. That cloud dispensing all that rain was about 8 or 10 kilometers away. With the wind that was hitting me I knew a soaking experience was on the way. 4 frames went without a hitch on the 10 second timer.

Then the rain arrived at my spot and I ran inside. As I checked the result I was in fact surprised at how straight the horizon was-I was in the dark fiddling with the shoot. On instinct I enlarged the shot on the LCD-then the horror hit-much of the shot was out of focus expect the infinity part. Oooopsy! Scratching my head I peaked at the focus meter on the lens and it read infinity-so that’s okay. Then I checked the triumvirate and saw the f/4.5!! WTF-the whole time hitting my head against the wall.

As luck would have it, Manila had another rainy spree last night. This time I made sure aperture was f/8 and shutter was 15″ at ISO 100. Nice if the shot’s focused. If only there was lightning it would’ve been perfect.

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Do yourselves a favor and a definite reminder to me, first thing to do is hit the f/stop at 6.3 or smaller (f/6.3, 8, 11, etc). That way with the horizon straight and shutter calculated you won’t be doing a landscape session the wrong way-like I did.

Post script~ camera body doesn’t matter and I used my old kit 17-85mm f/4-5.6 lens for both shots. Just make sure it’s on a sturdy tripod and have fun.

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

TWILIGHT IN BLACK & WHITE

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SUNSET IN COLOR

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A BOLT OR 2 OF LIGHTNING

The night before any shoot my camera gear gets the once over with a clean damp cloth and a check list of what to bring and not to bring. On this particular night around 7pm the skies over manila lit up with lightning. It was everywhere on the horizon-as if the electrical bolts were saved up for a few nights and were all let loose at the same time.

These frames were captured at around 8:15pm after my camera gear were all clean and squared away for the next day. There was a very slight drizzle outside. The lightning storm had been going on for more than an hour and I’d be sure this time I would get a few frames.

I questionably put my cleaning cloth to the side and proceeded to set up the camera. Knowing quite well that it would get the once over again.

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THE CONVENIENCE OF IT

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I’m still swimming in photo sorting/processing and layouts of digital photo books. Got to finish them to prep for upcoming projects for the third quarter.

As much as I’d like to post a nicely written piece I’d much rather finish up remaining batches (for the sake of not breaking my mental thought process). That’s around a thousand photos left to sort and process. When I started last week I had 3,000 to tackle. My eyes were about to pop out of their respective sockets by Thursday.

I assume that by next week my blogging duties will get back to normal. Thanks for sticking around.

Shot details: Canon 50D, 17mm, f/16, 1/50, ISO 125, CPL filter

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