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Happy Holidays 2011

It’s that time of year again: to be with family, eat home cooked food(lots of it) and make pretend Santa brought all those goodies under the tree. There’s nothing like the wide eyed happy look of a kid opening presents.

The tree shot with Canon EOS 7D and processed in Photoshop CS5. Snow texture by Oh Joy Photography-thanks!

Merry Christmas, dear readers. Posting will resume in the next few days after all the food and drink gets digested.


Week Ender 91

One of Canon USA’s Explorer of Light, Stephen Wilkes finished a project called NYC Day to Night. Photographer Wilkes stayed put in one location for hours to shoot the frames needed to do a proper composite of New York city turning, well, from day to night. Looks and sounds easy but imagine the hours and hours of shooting and then shifting through hundreds of frames of photos just to choose the proper exposure for 1 composite image.

As Wilkes puts it: “I imagined changing time in a single photograph. Using this new technology, I’ve been able to express this fascination through a new series of photographs: “Day to Night”. I photograph from a fixed camera angle continuously for up to 15 hours, throughout the “Day to Night”. A select group of images are then digitally blended into one photograph, capturing the changing of time in a single frame.” -from Gizmodo.

The photographs will be on view in New York City’s Clamp Art Gallery from September 8th to October 29th.

Good stuff! Go to Stephen Wilkes site and head on over to the fine art link for more of Day to Night and other beautiful photographs, particularly like his China-Old and New series.


Times Square by Stephen WIlkes


Park Avenue by Stephen Wilkes

Finishing Off This 2 Part Series

Part 1 is here.

The 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition (2010 Flora Expo) (臺北國際花卉博覽會) opened on November 6, 2010 and ran until April 25, 2011 in Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China. It is garden festival recognized by the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH / IAHP) and is categorized as an A2B1 horticulture exposition. It was the first such internationally recognized exposition to take place in Taiwan, and the seventh of its kind to take place in Asia. It is located near Yuanshan Station. The Yuanshan site will re-open to the public following renovations (Estimated date- September 2011).

All photos: Canon EOS 7D+EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. Originally captured in RAW, converted and processed to Tif file in DXO Labs and saved to Jpeg in Photoshop CS5 for upload.

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Week Ender 87

The timelapse of Polish photographer Patryk Kizny at LookyCreative features his work in a compilation, Timelapse Cinematography Showreel.

Not very often do you see smooth movement of the camera in timelapse aided by some type of mechanical boom. The editing can only be done with hours and hours (understatment-of course) of photos. Look closely and there are parts that have a subtle HDR treatment. Maybe some of his mastery will rub off on me. These timelapse vids are tedious to work on having tried a few times.

In Mr. Kinzy’s Showreel there are snippets of gear being used inserted throughout the timelapse. Take a look and head on over to his site for the full version of each video.

Cebu City, Philippines

Built in 1972, the Cebu Taoist Temple is inside the Beverly Hills Subdivision. It was built by Cebu’s wealthy Chinese community at a time when temples were non existent. The temple holds several deities in multi-level Chinese style architecture within the vast compound. As the photos are proof, the temple is as colorful and clean as it can get. Much of the Chinese temples in Manila are the exact opposite.

The Taoist temple is open to worshipers and non-worshipers alike but must abide by a set of rules. Silence is definitely on the top of the list and photography is only allowed on the exterior but not inside the temple. Even the finer details near the doors and roof details are off limits to shutterbugs. For kids who like to side step the rules there are security guards around the premises who will whisper the rules.

The images below were shot handheld in a drizzle. 3 different exposures were captured as the sky was a washed out white with 1 exposure. So, to keep things short, all the RAW files were thrown into Photomatix and batch processed for good measure.


The entrance way to the temple. No cars ares allowed inside.


The grand view of the Taoist temple emerging from the entry way.


The main building. There were more tourist than worshipers that day.


The main building's front view. Remember, follow the rules: silence and only exterior photography.




A view of Cebu City from 300 meters above sea level.


Shooting a photographer shooting the Taoist temple


The temple is not accessible by foot-rent a car or hire a cab. Make sure the driver waits until you finish or it'll be a long walk down.

Impromptu Event Shoot

It just happened. No advance booking or details. Came home to the tune of 200 images with a stomach full of good food.

The Atrium is beautifully lit but a disaster to DSLR white balance. Flash was used on most of the photos (except the 1st and last 2) and had to be off camera for a bit of directional lighting. No flash diffusers were used. Exif details: Canon EOS 7D+Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM+Speedlite 580 EX II on slave mode. For ultra wide angle lenses it is better to use off camera remote flash. Just be creative with your hands and don’t forget to bring a tripod.








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.


Scenic Boljoon National Highway in front of the church


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

Mac Dy_3329_34

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


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


Excavating an old grave site in front of the church.


A closer view of the site.

An Essential Part of Gear

The Circular Polarizing filter is essential gear for any landscape photographer but never more essential than a good tripod.

The original straight from the camera with no post work just the rudimentary conversion of camera RAW to Jpeg. Shot in noon time sun-check the shadows.

CPL filters are mainly to cut down the suns brightness to give sky a darker shade of blue and saturated colors throughout an image. It is also to cut down reflection in watery locales thereby showing elements under the water’s surface be it rocks, pebble, little fishes or hairy toes. The rotating front element of the CPL gives this filter a shaded gradient so for best results use with lenses that do not have a rotating front element.

CPL filters do not affect the overall color balance of a photo. A good quality filter can remain on the lens throughout a photo walk during daytime. And good quality means steep price. Common traits in a good CPL filter: light weight, cost a few thousand Philippine pesos at the least and be multi-coated (have greenish/violet sheen on the surface of the glass when inspected at a perpendicular angle to the eye). The price of filters also accounts for the manufacture of good threads for screwing on and off the lens easily. El cheapo filters will sometimes get stuck too tightly on the front element of the lens (definitely not good) and having to take it off sometimes mean a trip to the service center. CPL filters come in standard diameters of 52 mm, 55 mm, 58 mm, 62 mm, 67 mm, 72 mm, 77 mm, 82 mm and 87mm.

Lenses with any focal lengths can use CPLs but there are arguments against using them on ultra wide-angle lenses (Canon EF-S 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 IS USM, Tokina AT-X 116 11-16mm f/2.8 PRO DX, Sigma’s 10-20 f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM and 8-16 f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM, etc.) due to the varying polarization of the sky from one end to the other-meaning, if CPL filters are on UWA’s one part of the sky will be much darker than another part. But with enough practice this phenomena will lessen.


Kenko PRO1 Digital S CPL attached to Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and the case it comes with. According to Kenko the case is UV protected to further lengthen the life of filters stored in it.

The CPL filter in question here is the Kenko PRO1 Digital S CPL Low Profile Frame(LPF)/Digital Multi Coated(DMC) at 67mm mounted on a Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens. It is a joy to use and very easy to handle. This particular filter has been on many trips and has saved a few photos from being over exposed.

There is an arrow or dot on the front of the CPL filter. It is a guide to indicate the darkest part of the glass. A rule of thumb is to turn the arrow 90˚ to the sun. But turning the rotating part to achieve a result you want is the best way to go and meter the scene as you do so (half press on shutter button to check exposure). The CPL filter will cause the DSLR meter to under expose by a stop to stop and a half (-1 to -1 1/2). To correct this just adjust aperture and open up 1 stop (ex: at f/8 just correct to f/7.1 or adjust exposure compensation) or do a longer exposure during day time. If shooting RAW format correct during post processing. This is just a basic guide. Always experiment with the rotating front element of the CPL filter to achieve your best results.

Affordability and the quality that go with a certain price is the usual argument and there are many schools of thought on CPL filters. Yes, there are also many branded CPL filters in the market. The Kenko is moderately priced and of good Japanese quality. The German-made B+W CPL filter is the best and at 77mm cost PHP8700.00 (approx. US$200) while a Kenko CPL of the same size is a third of that amount. Kenko, Hoya, and Tokina brands are all under one roof at THK Photo Products Inc.. THK is one of the biggest manufacturer and suppliers of glass to a number of camera companies. It would not be surprising if they supply to Canon, Nikon, etc. It is definitely better to buy a filter that comes from a company with a long history rather than getting one from an unknown brand.

Sometimes we just can not choose what time of the day to shoot in. Going with any given situation is usually the norm and it is better to have a Circular Polarizing filter in the gear bag.


The darker blue on the upper left is evidentdue to the varying polarization of the sky. Captured with Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM with Kenko CPL filter.


If this shot did not have CPL filter attached to the lens the background would have been over-exposed in the mid day sun.


CPL used cutting down reflection in water and darken sky.

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Featured Posts From the Past:

Total Lunar Eclipse: June 16, 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse: June 16, 2011

Click to view largo

20th Century Lens & 21st Century DSLR Invades Chinatown

20th Century Lens & 21st Century DSLR Invades Chinatown

Kenko PRO1 Digital S Circular PL Filter

Kenko PRO1 Digital S Circular PL Filter

A Maze of People, Buildings and Public Transportation

A Maze of People, Buildings and Public Transportation





Shutter switch assembly: top and bottom view


Mac_3482x Mt Pinatubo Crater Lake


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