Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Year-end Reflections (part1?)

No literal reflections here. At least none photographed.

I'm writing this on the fly, more of a reaction to David Hobby's latest post reflecting about his year on Strobist.com, and to some of his top ten posts of the year, in particular the10th. That particular post talks about Imitation being a path to Innovation, which begins with a reference to Picasso, goes on highlighting the work of one Justin Lanier, who doesn't seem to have his own website yet so you can check his work on on his flicker. It got me thinking... what exactly have I done this year with my personal photography?

I have to say, personal photography-wise, it's been a quiet 2011. I didn't get to pursue a lot of my personal projects started way back when,but then again what's new? But now that I think about it...

1) I was able to do an entry for the Motorcycle diaries / monument personal project.
2) I got new gear in the form of the DIY ringflash...
3) ... which I used in my night-club escapades with my good friend, and cousin, Angelo.
4) One of my closest friends asked me to do a Prenup shoot for her, which I was gladly able to pull off, guerrilla style. Unfortunately no blogged or published photos from this set before their wedding. I figure since it's been awhile so I can probably post some soon, hopefully before the year ends.

Aside from some parties and those above, and a couple of photography advancement related entries, it's been a quiet year for me.

I intend to change that for 2012 however. :)

For now, I leave you with some Christmas family photos (annual tradition) in front of the Plants Vs. Zombies populated tree (mostly unseen hehe).


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lytro has arrived!

Quick post before rushing off to work.

LYTRO is here! By "here" I mean upon us.

I came across it last night while going through the headlines of my preferred feeds. I saw the announcement on dpreview. Check it out!

It's by no means in any form reminiscent of your regular camera. Then again, it pretty much does nothing like any consumer camera out there anyway. 

Since the technology allows you to shoot first and ask questions focus later, the shutter is instant. With a constant aperture of f2 through out the zoom range (35-280mm equivalent), it will rule low light situations too. Interface is simple, with just a power button, shutter button, and zoom  to worry about. Viewing the pictures and focusing is as easy as swipe and point. 

The camera has an internal, consumer-non-replaceable battery, and internal storage available in two sizes: 8GB (Graphite and Electric Blue) which allows for 350 11 "megaray" shots and 16 GB (Red-Hot) which gives you 750 pictures. While not available on current release, the technology will enable 3D viewing of photos taken on the camera once they finish writing the program some time next year.

Did you reserve one when they hyped it up before? :) I did. But it'll take a bit of time to come up with the $399 for the 8GB model (or $499 for the 16GB). Christmas wish list plus 1!

I've checked out the site and tried going through steps to buy (since I've reserved one). It appears that they don't have the ability to ship international as of yet. Only available in the continental US it seems. And shipping date is by March - April of 2012.

That's a looooooooooooooong wait. Oh well. :) Wait, we shall.

Check out the announcement article and the overview. All photos from Dpreview.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

OT Post: Money Money Money

Good day dear readers (are there any of you still out there?). It's been a month since my last post, and I haven't been quite as active, photographically speaking, outside my work as of late. Nothing much to blog about, at least not photography related. I try to reserve this blog just for my photography and anything related to it, but indulge me this random entry.

I've been thinking  lot about other options for making a little more cash on the side. We have to face facts. :) As much fun as living life day to day is, and going to clubs and being a lensman there, we're all getting older. 

I was wondering about putting together a photobooth. Something I could rent out, for small events and the like. It's been getting pretty popular as of late. All the weddings I've gone to has had them in one form or another. By the way, if anyone has contacts or ideas on how to start one, I'd love to here from you. 
   So far the little bit of research I've done requires some investment, in hardware and software. I wonder if there's a way to open source a photobooth set-up.

I've also tried my hand at stock photography. So far I've only got a couple shots uploaded on istock, and they haven't quite earned me enough to be able to withdraw the sales from there. Hmmm. I should seriously take a second look at this avenue of extra income.

A couple of years ago I got a booklet on invest stocks. Heaven knows where it is now. I haven't considered this avenue much, as I've nearly zero knowledge about it. I've stumbled upon an interesting site though, which would give any one top penny stock picks. Customer reviews seem promising, though I find myself apprehensive, since this will take some time and maybe more knowledge investment than I think I am willing to allow myself, but who knows? This might be another way to go.

Then there's the lottery. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Anyway, just for image content...

Piggy-Under-Wok on some guy's backpack, while in line in a BDO.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Light Field Photography: Lytro

I came across this camera / concept / idea / future-of-memory-in-picture-capturing-as-we-know-it a couple of weeks ago when my brother posted it on his plurk timeline. I've been meaning to write about it for awhile but, as always, life has a way of getting in the way.

Ok, for now there is no commercially available camera. But you can reserve yourself one. Just some sample photos in their gallery, several updates on their blog, and links hyping-up and explaining the science behind the concept, behind Lytro.

The site talks about how the camera is able to capture the "light field" which is a record of the amount of light that's bouncing off everything in the picture in every derection, how intense the light is, color etc... and gives you the ability to shoot first and focus later. Imagine that. Truly idiot proof.

When this technology will actually be available for the average person is anyone's guess. For now only lucky testers have been given access to the tech and their photos have been populating the gallery. Check them out.

The skeptic in me is saying "these photos could just be a composite of two photos shot in quick succession with two different focus points" and "could just be a super duper small aperture opening shot". Perhaps. The part of me that's hoping for something that can actually do all this in something that fits inside your shirt pocket is putting his fingers in his ears and going "nanananananana".

Here's hoping for the best. Good luck to the people at Lytro. Please let me know when my camera's ready. Thanks.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bending Light 3: DIY photography Ringflash in action

Good evening all. Those who've read my previous entries are familiar with the ringflash adapter I recently bought off of DIY lighting kits. I've been able to test it out on a select few of my friends. One would imagine, due to its bulky-yet-flimsy build, and the fact that the DSLR that I currently use as my workhorse isn't quite as capable in the dark, that use of the ringflash might be relegated to home-studio use, or the rare fun with friends portrait shoot. However, the fun-loving risk-taker in me just couldn't be stopped I guess. I decided to test it out on some club-goers. I had to change my set-up a bit though.

Instead of using the Olympus E410, I opted to use a Canon G10, which solves my focus-hunting-in-the-dark problem, and whose hotshoe would still allow me to trigger the flash with the use of my PT-04.
   I swapped the FL36R with the YN-560, giving me a faster recycle time and more power. However, the bigger 560 wouldn't fit in the hole as it was, so I did what some users suggested in the Strobist article comment thread and cut some slits in the corners.
   Instead of tiny and bulky tripod, I opted to go with a Gorrillapod knock-off from CDR King. This helped make the set-up more rigid, supporting the flash and giving me a better grip on the set-up, not to mention more mobility than the tripod would otherwise allow.

Set-up Comparisons

It's still, by no means, compact. But that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

Sample photos from the club (Bliss Ultraclub, along Tomas Morato):

The rest are available here.

Some things I've come to learn from this experiment:

  • The ringflash isn't advisable for group photos. Usable, for sure, but not advisable. You tend to burn the people on the sides of the photos.
  • Big and Bulky have their bonuses. Everyone was curious to see just what this new fangled camera-whatchamacallit does and how they would look in the light. Easier to get people to agree to getting shot.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

(Semi) Hardware and Ringflash Update: DIY Ringlfash arrived and assembled!

The notice came in the mail this morning! When I noticed it, my mind went blank. Forget that I have work in an hour. I went straight to the post office on the wave to pick up the parcel, with backpack in tow for transport. The size of the package surprised me (that's what she said) though. The stiff flat box, marked "DO NOT BEND" was maybe 2 A3s side by side. Plus I didn't have to pay the regular tax that Philpost usually charges me for may online shopping orders. Sweet!

Rode home as quick and carefully as I could to avoid bending the box or damaging it in transit. Opened it up, took a couple of photos for posterity, and left it lying on the bed for me to put together once I got home.

Once home, I set to work (after dinner of course) and followed the instructions step by step, lest i mess something up. I wasn't as clean as I thought I'd be though, but what the heck. :) Here it is all put together.

Took some time out to decide how to mount the flash bracket, or rather how to bend it as the instructions only had provisions for Canon and Nikon cameras, so I went with the midrange Canon choice. Sample photos of family members...

pop up flash...


ringlight + levels (not yet a master at this)

Ringlight + levels 


I mounted the ringflash on my camera using the bracket and a spare tripod plate. It makes for a bulky piece of  equipment though. I triggered the set-up with a PT-04, though I've just bought a TT:L cable via eBay which will make the whole experience a little more convenient and idiot proof. :)

Will post more photos when they are available. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May Month Update: Jace's photography outside of work

Good morning all. While waiting for the ringflash I ordered from DIY photography to arrive, might as well write about more of the things this blog was meant for, i.e. my experience of life with photography.

First, I was asked by one of my closest friends to cover the recital of a couple of summer workshops she and her friends from Make Believe have been holding, one at the Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street, and the others (as they are 3 workshops presented in one venue) at Maria Montessori in Merville park. While I believe I'm a professional photographer, I really feel like I have a ways to go when it comes to covering events. I know I could've done better, light-wise, in both instances, certain situational constraints (available light sources - both mine and at venue, technical difficulties etc.) couldn't be helped. All in all though I think I did pretty good. I'd post some photos on the blog but I don't have model releases of the kids.

Straying back to the ring light a bit, I'm excited! The Sunday after I made my purchase, I got an email from the DIYP saying that the item's been shipped! That was 9 days ago. I hope to have it soon!!! I think it will excite me enough to keep toting the e410 and FL-36 around all the time! Though I ought to buy a TTL cable soon... I wonder if a canon cable would work.

Yesterday morning I read a burger challenge entitled Battle Burger on juice.ph this morning which drove me to take the wave and ride to SM North Annex to try one of those juicy burgers out (ok I had less self-serving - and fattening -  motives, of course, but let's just say the burger was one of my goals for the day). Panelists for this best burger in the burg reviewed 27 different burgers from everywhere in the greater manila area (though for their Army Navy burger they opted to go all the way to Tagaytay). Number 17 on the list was Bigger Better Burger's Shitake Teriyaki half-pounder, and since I was in the area, and was craving, I bought myself one for 152 pesos. I opted not to clutter my palette with anything else so no fries or iced-tea for me.

I hadn't really planned on taking many photos on this trip out so I didn't bring a camera... or rather I brought one, but it turns out that the battery on the C5000Z is getting too old to hold charge for too long. I opted to use my Samsung Galaxy 5 and the Retrocam application. Decent enough pics I think.

The bun was pandesal, the burger was juicy, the sauce was sweet and the shitake was succulent. Worth every peso. Promise. My curiosity's piqued by some of the other burgers though, so I might make the trip to some of those other establishments, though I'm almost sure to avoid the priciest ones.

That's it for now. :)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

DIY Ringlfash 2: buy and build it yourself from DIY Lighting kits / DIY Photography

Nearly a month after I posted an entry on a very work-intensive ring light, David Hobby (of strobist) comes out with another article featuring a more budget-minded-willing-to-spend-slacker-friendly DIY Ring Flash kit. And man does it look sharp (pun intended)!

For 25$ plus 8$ shipping, you can get your hands on this effective-looking device made out of  vinyl (and whatever reflective material that seems to be), bend, fold, snap and tape it together and have a clearly usable ring flash. For an additional 7.95$ (plus 0.50$ shipping), you can order the flash bracket, that attaches via a slot on the ring flash assembly and mounts the flash via rubber bands. How you trigger the flash is up to you. While I imagine that PT-04s would be enough, I think I'd spring for a TTL cable this time.

It's by no means as professional looking as the one I previously blogged about nor is it as pricey as the Orbis ring flash, but it sure looks nice and is cheap to boot. Upon reading the entry, I clicked through to the website and ordered myself a ring flash and bracket. When it arrives, you bet I'm going to post output. Talk about an impulse buy. Buyers remorse? As of this writing, none yet.

Check it out here. If you're driven to make your own purchase, well, you've been, um, warned... well informed... previously notified..

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Helpful Hints: DIY Ring Flash

Haven't been blogging here as of late. And I haven't exactly been putting out anything of my own photography (un-work-related anyway) either. However I stumbled upon something interesting on Strobist, one of my regular reads (which I recommend to anyone and everyone). I've seen a couple of different DIY ring lights / beauty dishes, and I've tried making at least one, but this seems to be the best looking (and possibly most work intensive) one yet. 

The Strobist entry is here: DIY Ring Flash Tutorial

If you've already seen it, you understand why I feel like I HAVE to make one, versus shelling out a pretty penny buying something like the Orbis Ring Flash. If I wanted to be extremely cheap, I could possibly make a paper ringflash (via diyphotography.net), but I'm not sure how long that would last. 

Hmmm. I don't have access to those exact tools so I wonder how I'd make one for myself, but time will tell (if I ever get started on it that is). 

That's it. Just wanted to share. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

PP: Tuesday Motorcycle Diary >> Monuments / Parks: QC Memorial Circle Dusk-Early Evening

Ok. That was a long title for a post. But basically you get the gist. After going there one night to jog and taking lo-fi photos using my phone, I decided to try and visit on my day off, to continue my Tuesday Motorcycle Diary plus Parks / Monuments / Significant public places personal project. I didn't go there early enough to take a tour and take photos using the afternoon light, but I've seen enough to know that I'm pretty sure I'm going back there again for a part two / 3.

Arrived at roughly 5pm. Paid the entrance / parking fee (5 pesos for motorcycle). Took a slow tour around the park's inner road using the wave, and found out that there's this huge playground called The Circle of Joy, and amusement park (which seemed, sadly, closed). Also found where you could rent bikes like they used to do. They actually have some sort of a garage for them. Photos next time though.

Decided to park and grab an icecream at this establishment...

I got the Queso Queso (18 pesos)

As the sun had begun going to bed, I walked to point where I could see both the fountain and the Quezon Memorial shrine and started taking photos there. 

A bunch of kids decided to chat me up and take a look at the LCD of my camera while I was taking photos, at times running in front of the lens to get into the shot. I indulged them in a couple of frames. 

recomposed and took several shots. GIF-ed them...

Finally, took some long exposure shots. 

Mostly took shots of the light show. As you can see the monument is lit up with what I can only assume to be HID LEDs, changing color every so often. The fountain's water works are supposed to correspond to the music that's played in that area as well. 

Notes for those who want to visit:
  • It gets pretty cold and windy this time of year so bring a jacket.
  • The park is closed from 12 to 4pm. Which makes sense. Who wants to walk around in lunch time heat anyway? (My Mistake. It's closed from 12mn to 4am. Goofy me.)
  • There are restaurants in the area, namely Max's, Chicken Inasal, Tropical Hut and New Kamameshi House. There are other stalls that sell food and other items in the loop leading from where the restaurants are though.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

walk-jog in QC Memorial circle

Its been ages since i'd last been to the memorial circle. Inspired by my cardio trainer app, and bored with just walking up and down our street for exercise, i decided to go visit one of the of the most prominent parks in the city. I took a few photos too but with my phone so i won't promise quality.

Hmmmm. Using bloggerdroid for this entry so i'm not sure how i'm gonna add the photos. Oh well.

One of my past entries talked about starting your own personal photography projects. One of those for me was visiting and documenting our country's parks. I didn't take enough photos or do much in the way of planning or prep so this is going to just be a preview of what is to come. I'm pretty sure i'm gonna make this a weekly thing.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.6

UPDATE: added photos. Wasn't able to figure out blogger droid before pressing send. Hehe. Also posting what I had for dinner after the jog. :) Started out healthy enough. OH WELL. :D

large tuna garden salad (75 pesos)

with ranchero burger vm (105 pesos) pfffft.