Thursday, April 26, 2012

Subject of Opportunity: Kermit

I haven't been posting any of my personal photography lately. Most of the photos I've been taking have mostly been via phone and none really stand out. Tonight however found me nearly face to face with an invisible subject. Invisible because it was dark, and it was only by chance I saw him move.

Say hello to Kermit.

He was just sitting on the rebar minding his own business. 

He makes a farely decent ringlight subject too. Big eyes. 

Eventually I took one shot too many and he decided he'd had enough of a glamour shoot for one day.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Helpful Hints and Other Sites: Buyer's Guide (ver 1.1)

Ok, I'm pretty sure someone out there has somehow compiled a list of websites from which you can get the best deals from. If no one has, well, I hope this particular entry will be it. 

For everyone who's ever been interested in photography, or have declared their passion for the art, I think it's common knowledge that it's a pricey endeavor. Every now and again you're tempted to buy new gadgets, be they bodies, lenses, or off-camera lighting equipment, or even little bits to build your own stuff. Every now and again I write an entry regarding a piece of equipment I myself have purchased or tried out and link you to some websites where you can buy them from. However, I have yet to come up with a comprehensive list of websites and links in one entry, so here we go...


The Philippine Photographer's (not nearly comprehensive) BUYER'S GUIDE (working title): some of the best places online to buy your photography equipment (list will evolve. watch this link).

1) Tay Hua Trading Corp. -- Sells different kinds of accessories. No cameras. Online purchase available, though payment is through bank deposit and G-Cash. They accept credit cards but only in-store. I've purchased my Starving-Student Off Camera Light Kit and Yong Nuo-560 from this store. I actually made the trip to Binondo for the former and had the latter shipped via courier. Personal store review here

2) DP Online Store -- Sells Cameras, Lenses, and accessories, big and small. You can get a whole studio set-up from this store. They also have different branches around metro manila, one of which is JT Photoworld along Pasong Tamo in Makati. I purchased my Spirit Pop-Up Flash Diffuser as well as Single Q Strap Curve (lets describe it as a China-made blackrapid-copy, except with different tripod mount and octopus-like friction pad on the strap) from Fotohub, their branch located in Il Terrazzo along Tomas Morato in Quezon City.

3) DB Gadgets -- Sells different gadgets, like cameras, lenses, mobile phones, tablets, gaming consoles, and other accessories. So far, as far as the prices go, it's the place to get your equipment for cheap. If I were so inclined (and financially able) to jump from Oly to Canon, I think I'd get my first Kit from them. (edited 09.14.13)

4) Filters Exchange -- Despite its name, the website sells a whole slew of photography equipment other than filters, which it does carry. The company has gotten it's own .net domain since my last update. Still haven't purchased from this site. :-) Haven't purchased from this multiply-based Sulit-based site either, but it seems that they've gotten a lot of positive reviews. (edited 04.13.15)

5) Echo Store Ph -- located along P. Burgos off Gil Puyat Ave in Makati, the EchoStore is open from Monday to Friday, 10AM to 6PM, by appointment on Saturday and closed on Sundays. And hey, they seem to be on sale. Not to be confused with echostore.ph, which does not promote photography in any shape or form.

6) Kimstore -- What used to be a multiply based online store, they're a GoNegosyo Young Starpreneur Awardee for 2011. According to their site, they're the most successful online store as awarded by Multiply and GoNegosyo. They sell a lot of gadgets, aside from cameras and accessories. They don't seem to carry Canon though. They accept payment via credit card and paypal so that's something. Since multiply closed down, they've since opened their own dot com dot ph site. Link has been edited.   (edited 09.14.13)

7) TipidPC -- This forum cum swapmeet slash online trading site has many deals to offer for the person who knows what he's looking for. If you don't mind buying preloved equipment, or want to get brand new ones, you can check this place out. People sell computers, parts, accessories, cameras et al. If you're looking for phones though, check tipidcp.com.  I sold my old C-8080WZ and bought my Olympus e410 dual lens kit here. (added 04.25.12)

8) Photozuela -- I forgot to include this site in my initial versions as I'd never really checked it out. I only remembered them after a cousin and co-photographer pointed it out. They also happen to appear in some of my adsense ads. They carry a brand of hotshoe flash I haven't seen in any other store, be it online or physical, the Montana C600. This flash in itself is interesting, what with a GN of 38, option for external power and pc connection, and metal hot shoe, for the price of 2,500. They offer a Strobist Starving Student kit with said flash, on sale now for 3,500. Damn.  (added 04.26.12) As of this edit, I've purchased several AC type radio triggers and receivers from them for work. So far, quality is acceptable. It's easy enough to get to their office in The Fort. Just keep your receipts. (edited 09.17.13)

9) Lazada Philippines -- It's funny where I find these sites. I found the link from my iGoogle homepage. Probably targeted me because most of my widgets were photography related. This local version of an inter-asian site (seems that are available in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia) advertises itself as the largest online shopping destination in the Philippines. They carry a lot of cameras (no Oly sadly) and other goodies such as books, home appliances, sports equipment, toys, etc... They offer Free Nationwide Delivery, COD, and 14 day money back guarantee. Unfortunately their "Cheapeast Price in the Philippines, Guaranteed!" Tagline doesn't hold true. DB Gadgets still seems to be the cheapest option (compare their price for the 60D body vs. DB Gadget's offer). They're still worth a look though. (added 05.08.12)

10) Extreme Deals -- I came across this site as I was going through facebook pages as an ad on the sidebar. It's a multiply based site that ships free within Metro Manila. Their Starving Students' Strobist Kit sells for 2000 pesos, with a 2 in 1 umbrella (shoot through and bounce), though price-wise it's comparative to Tay Hua, there's the free shipping to consider. They sell the YN-560 at slightly cheaper too at 3,500. They only carry Canon and Nikon DSLR accessories though (like batt grips, TTL flash cords etc). (added 05.13.12)

Other Sites worth the visit:

> CDR King -- Ok, you don't really need to go online to buy from them. They have a store practically everywhere. However not all stores are equal. Some of the bigger ones are more complete with regard to the stuff they sell, however they also seem to be as busy and less likely to accommodate. Best to check out Podium branch (as they hardly get any costumers, but they don't have the most complete selection) and if you're in Meycauayan, check out the branch in Supima Square (Big branch, rarely full). If I were to go back to film, I think I'd buy me on of their negative scanners. I've purchased all of my Gorillapod-like tripods from them. They also sell filters and vertical grips, but sadly none for Oly.

> Deal Extreme -- This company's not based in the Philippines, and it doesn't exactly cater predominantly to Photography (though they do have a lot of stuff for sale, like Flashes, accessories etc.), however they do have a lot of other things for sale. You can build your own LED Ringlight with the Halo LED rings originally meant for automotive use (one of which I'm expecting in the mail any day now). 

That's it for now. If I can recall or think up any new sites, I'll add to this post. If you happen to know any websites of companies based in the Philippines that sell quality stuff for less than mall price, please hit me up in the comments. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DIY Ring Flash DIY PVC handle / Grip

The People of DIYphotography.net have a couple of offerings for us folks with limited budgets that help improve our photography. Aside from reader inputs and actual DIY stuff, they've been selling a DIY Ring Flash which you assemble yourself, and a dual flash bracket. I've purchased the former, as you've seen in previous posts, and I've successfully used it at several events with a pseudo-gorilla-pod from CDRKING as a makeshift handle. While that works, sometimes it needs a bit of re-adjusting, and the legs don't hug the flash as tightly as I'd like it to. So a couple of nights before going out clubbing with my cousin, I decided to create a make shift handle out of PVC. 

I don't have a detailed step-by-step because I was mostly winging it. Just cutting to test. Photos from my phone next. 


seen as mounted on a tripod 


it's basically 2 T joints, a couple of lengths of pipe, and an elbow. The first T joint has a hole drilled / melted through the top to be able to thread a screw in. Size unknown but it fits in the tripod socket.
 

Length of the pipe depends on distance to the flash underneath I think. Specially since there are several recommended lengths at which to bend the flash bracket depending on your camera.


2nd T joint attaches to the back of the flash with a rubber band / bungee. 


While I initially used to use a PT-04 trigger, I find that this set-up takes out the possibility of running out of batteries out of the equation. Finally have a use for a not really TTL cord.


The pipes I used were actually part of my PVC light tent. Since I don't really use that anymore and it was just lying around gathering dust, well, here it is now.


Over all it gives me a bit more rigidity to the whole set-up. It's a bit thin, as a grip I think, so I might fatten it up with neoprene if I can find a source, or something to recycle it from. I haven't really been able to use it in the field, aside from taking shots of my officemates. I intended to use it at a foam party, but since that was going to be in a dark place, and since the E410 isn't equipped with a focusing beam, I decided not to use it. Next time perhaps.

Monday, March 12, 2012

before work photo-walk with my nifty "fifty"

i haven't been using my OM lenses recently. probably because most of my shots have been in low light environments that need flash, which would give me a focus assist light if my lens was auto focus. and since i dropped my brother off at work early last Sunday, i decided to take a short walk around the malls near work, and snap some pictures while running errands. 

regarding the title, while i do actually have a 50mm OM lens, since i'm using it on a 4/3rds body, the cropping factor (2x) turns that into a 100mm, so I decided to go with the 28mm. Easier to focus with it too. 

3 different subjects for the walk... lunch, desert and an alley.

chicken pork adobo (dry), tomato and red eggs, and boiled saging na saba)

soft serve icecream cone (20php) mega b basement

Saint Francis Alley (where the best and cheapest eats are)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Faux Photoshop Online

Good day all.

I recently had to reinstall the OS on my PC because of, well, I'm not quite sure actually. Along with the OS and all the drivers, I've to install my necessities, like media players, browsers, as well as photo-editing software. Unfortunately I am as yet unable to install photoshop. However since the need to edit a couple of photos was great, and remembering that I found a usable substitute based entirely online, I opted to look for and use EDITOR by pixlr.com


It works a lot like photoshop (heck of a lot more than Gimp does, at least last time I tried that) with some similar keyboard short cuts.

Works in a pinch. :)

Have browser, will photo-edit.

Friday, February 10, 2012

O Bistro & Cafe: Tenderlion

Thanks to my mom who pointed it out to me.

There's a billboard along Katipunan Avenue that asks passers-by "Why not steak?" And why not? Good beef right? But beware! Check the fine, or in this case inset print...




Tenderlion daw. Run Simba, run!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The 2012 wishlist. Photography stuff and other things I want to attract

Hello February!

As per usual, work and life got the better of me and I spent January away from this beloved blog, save for the monologue about Olympus. And that entry wasn't quite so happy. I think it's time to focus on more positive things about my life and Photography.

Just thought I'd begin compiling a photography related wishlist. I think most of you are aware of the first one and how that turned out (except for some big ticket items, I pretty much fulfilled the rest of my wishes). Lets see if I can't redo the list and add to it.

1) Olympus E5 - I was wishing for the E3 initially, but what the heck! Go big or go home! The E5's got video! Why not?
2) Olympus Zuiko Digital 12-60mm 2.8-4.0 SWD lens. Still want this one.
3) CDR King film scanner - if anything's going to get me excited about making more pinhole cameras (which I should write about in another post), it's this. :)
4) Olympus FL-50R.
5) Macbook Pro
6) Honda CBR400. Just because I want a big bike. :)  or a Yamaha FZ16 (coz it looks big, but it's economical)
7) Travel. On number 6 sana. :)
8) Lytro Cam!
9) Abundance
10) Happiness

I know. Not all of the things on that list are photography related. :) But that's not going to stop me from wishing for them.

For now, it's time to get some rest. Saturday, later today, is going to see me at the Bonifacio High Street branch of The Picture Company. :) Gotta get some rest.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year! Good night!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Olympus Begins to Fall

(This entry has long brewed in the back of my mind since first reading about the scandals in Olympus corporate. I just need to get it out even if it is a month or so behind the times.)

I've pretty much been an Oly user for most of my online digital photography life (save for the brief stint with the Aiptek pencam and the Canon G3). I'm a fan of the small format. I'd like to embelish some more, but the truth is it was mostly opportunity that brought the Olympus brand into my life.

The hot-shoe-having C5000Z and the underwater scuba housing that we got at sale price gave me the chance to go digital seriously with my personal photography and at the same time give me digital access to the beauty of life under water. The C5000Z served me well, but my desire for more pixel power and DSLR-like looks and functionality came calling to me in the form of the C8080WZ.
   The C8080 was robust, looked a lot like a DSLR, had the hot shoe that I knew I couldn't live without,   but also gave you the ability to shoot video. It was one of those models that also allowed you to use two storage media: the XD format which earlier Oly cams took as their staple, and Compact Flash. It gave me more range and control than the C5000Z ever could, but still wasn't quite fast enough to capture those oh so spontaneous fleeting moments in any potential photo-op lost between half-press focus and actual exposure. That meant I needed a DSLR. So I said goodbye to the C8080, and open my life to a pre-loved E-410.
   Though it may have been the first Oly I'd purchased pre-loved, I never-the-less showed it the love and respect that it deserved, and it has loved me back. It serves me well to this day. Not to say that I wouldn't trade up if opportunity came a knocking, but recent developments in the world of photography specific to the brand that has brought me the above mentioned tools has got me wondering... with all this hullabaloo about the corruption and chaos in Olympus' corporate structure, is it still a good idea to stand atop this mountain when it seems that it will crumble in the near future?

When or if it will fall is anyone's guess. Whether the damage that the executives of Olympus has wrought will have any lasting effect on the product line and its legacy as a whole is not yet clear at this point. For the moment I will stick with the guns that I have and love, and if I can eventually get my hands on a bazooka (the E3 or the E5), then I might be one of those stubborn enough to stick with the ship until it sinks.