Friday, 30 December 2011

Infrared Photography and Made Some Friends

Just this afternoon, me and my great buddy, Brian, decided to head to the mall to take some photos of the stuffed animals and make a gag about it later on, but before that, I asked him to accompany me at the park just before the mall to have another try at IR photography. Which was a good call since the stuffed animals that we were to make a mockery of (don't sue us PETA!) weren't there anymore. If anyone is curious as to what we were trying to do with the stuff animal photos, here is the gist...

So, there we were, at the park before the mall. I set up my trusty, cheap-o, tripod, and made a simple composition, but for the life of me!! It was cloudy as cloudy can be (shortly after, it rained when we reached the mall) and so all the cool cloud effects I wanted to to do with IR was out the window. To make matters worst, as I'm battling with Mother Nature as it might rain with my equipment out in the open, some street kids were so curious and decided to watch me. At times, go in front of the darn camera.

Not knowing the dialect just yet, I used the universal language of gestures, and to keep them at bay, I promised them a few shots.

Here's just one of them:

The Kids are Cool

So you just don't know the circumstances that would arise out in the field shooting. You may target one genre, as in my case, IR, and having another to add to the diversity, in this case, street portraits.

Having taken an IR shot at the park in spite of unforgiving weather conditions; made friends with the street kids and practiced my interaction, albeit, using gestures and a load of smiles (my favorite photographer, Chase Jarvis, is a master at handling his models and complete strangers); and having a blast with my good buddy, even though he didn't get the shot he wanted. What more can I ask for from this unpredictable, yet, fun day!?

Before I end this entry, I wasn't at all satisfied with my over manipulation of my IR shot above, so I decided to go for the regular channel swapping. And here's the toned down version:

When the Sun Sets (IR)


Monday, 26 December 2011

Self Portraits; Pseudo-Silhouette Photography

Played My Heart's Lament

At first, I thought of trying some more infrared photography to get into grips with it, but as the weather wasn't too nice to produce any usable shots, I was left disappointed with today.

I still, however, tried to post process my photos of today, one, or should I say, ten of which ended up a practice for panoramic photography; it was just practice, so I don't think it is really good enough to post in Flickr or here. But while I was post processing, my sister, Debbie, joked "Why don't you take a photo of me?"... I took it seriously, though.

I set up my Nikon D5000, grabbed my Sigma 30mm, placed my Yong Nuo YN465 flash with Yong Nuo RF-602 trigger on a tripod (I don't own a light stand as of the moment) and placed it on the proper angle. Used the typical settings (for me anyway) for portraits; switching between an aperture of f/2.8 but mostly shooting at f/8 or f/11. Adjusting the ambient light and the light emitted by the flash by adjusting the shutter speed and ISO (I hardly adjust any settings on the actual flash). Having done all that, my sister had to leave the house for a meeting with her fellow doctors... WOW, I spent so much time setting up and then my supposedly model left. LOL

Before I decided to clean up, I remembered that I wanted to try a self portrait in the style of silhouettes, so I thought to myself, I might as well take a photo of myself while trying that effect!

First shot that completely made myself into a silhouette seemed kinda boring to me. So I adjusted by attempting to create that circular pattern when the flash hits the wall at certain angle; I decided to place the flash behind where I'd be sitting, at the height of my waist, and having the head pointed upwards. After a test shot, I got that circular pattern I was looking for.

Since I had the head pointing upwards, some of the light bounced off the ceiling back to me creating a pseudo-silhouette while having the background completely blown out. The shot in this entry was the best one IMO and I had to square crop it (sadly, removing most of the circular pattern from the flash) and made it black and white (it created a way more dramatic effect).

The best thing about of silhouettes (in this case, pseudo-silhouette), nobody can notice any "imperfections" on your face. LOL


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Not in the sense that it's snowing, far from it, it's just strangely cloudy; strange because this time of the year it shouldn't have signs of rain. It sorta, but not really (did that make sense?), made the weather much cooler...

My family's plan for Christmas, much like every year, just have a simple gathering amongst ourselves; hardly have any guest because they spend their Christmas with their respective families, and apart from that, we can hardly invite anyone as we grow older and much more busier - it's surprising that we can still gather together (minus my eldest sister Maggie because she is in the States... Hope she was here) in spite of being busy in our own things. The only time we really have guests is post-Christmas and pre-New Year's.

But just a few days ago, my grandfather and grandmother (both from Mom's side of the family) had to have an emergency visit to AUFMC; my grandfather has cancer and has to be tube fed, but something kinda went wrong in the days he was tube fed so he had to visit AUFMC - both my grandparents live in Pangasinan. Thankfully he is alright right now and both my grandparents are spending Christmas with us this year.

May seem bittersweet that it was my grandfather's ailment that made them spend it with us... but I'm glad that he is okay again and will welcome Christmas. Wonder if they'd join us for the New Year? Wishful thinking that they wouldn't go back to Pangasinan after Christmas.

As I'm blogging, my Dad is at the back lighting up the BBQ; Mom cooking in the kitchen; Debbie doing last minute decoration; and both my grandparents watching TV. I'll be joining one of those people to either help, annoy, or take photos (official photographer tonight!).

Where am I going with this entry? Well, you have to just look at the bright side of things; that is, even if my grandfather had to go here because of his ailment, in the end, he and my grandmother will be able to spend Christmas with us. Something that we would all love - spending Christmas with the people you love and treasure the most (again, I wish my eldest sister were here as well to spend it with us).

Merry Christmas y'all!

Some Christmas inspired off-shoe flash photos:

Red and Gold Christmas Tree

Red and Gold Christmas Tree


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Like Father, Like Son; My Roots in Photography?

Like Father, Like Son

Trying my hand at off-shoe flash photography after months and months of actually owning a wireless flash trigger, I couldn't seem to find a good subject, so I settled with my Dad's (now mine) Canon AE-1 SLR; bittersweet because I want to learn film but this is a Canon LOL (I gotten too used to Nikon).

Used a Nikon D5000 here mounted on a tripod, my Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and a YN RF-602 to trigger my YN-465 on the right. Shot at manual IIRC (Click the photo to see my complete settings). Had to use a black background in the confined space of my room and out of nowhere I decided to use some of the Christmas lights to mix with it. Not sure if it was a great idea, but it did however give the Soligor 28-200mm lens an interesting effect.

Something humbling about shooting a film SLR as subject with a DSLR; made me want to learn film photography real bad. So, later in the week, I will purchase some films, preferably black and white.

Its also quite humbling knowing that my Dad, at my age, was also into photography; he has all the gear! Its something me and my Dad can share in common other than the NFL. It was something that was bound to happen, I gained my love of (alternative rock) music from my sisters, I gained my love for the guitar (and other instruments) from my Mom, so it won't be a surprise if I got something from my Dad, and that is photography.

Looking back at his old photos, we certainly have different views within the view finder, but there are still some similarities in terms of our take in street photography and event photography.

To think, I wanted to just practice how to shoot off-shoe flash photography, I opened up new things about my roots in photography, being able to have a blast of the past to gain new ideas, and on top of that I INHERITED MY DAD'S FILM SLR! Such a series of events...

Like Father, Like Son


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

My (humble) Attempt at IR Photography

Having received my IR filter just this afternoon, I was compelled to try it out even with the lack of knowledge on the right settings, but like a child with a brand new toy, I had a go at IR nonetheless.

Still, I wouldn't want to be all technical on how this filter works (maybe next time... then again, just Google it like I did LOL) but I will say what settings I used and stuff...

The area I took these shots were just on my front lawn... just imagine how limited I am in terms of subjects and creativity. So, these photos won't win you over just like that; I'll be better at this LOL and I will win you over.

Of course, I used a Nikon D5000 (that's all I have anyway LOL) and used a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 which is on my Nikon body 80% of the time. With IR, since you block most of the visible light, you're gonna have to compensate with a slower shutter speed, so going hand held on this one is a no-no. I used my cheap-o tripod (praying every few seconds that it won't tumble to my Nikon's demise). Since the D5000 is doesn't go beyond 30seconds (IIRC), I chose TIME (or BULB) and used my, so aptly named, IR remote, to trigger it; this is also great to minimize the shakes.

These two shots were taken with my IPhone:

Since I purchased a 77mm IR filter, I used a step up ring (62mm-77mm) as my plan in the future is to purchase filters on the 77mm size to accommodate my future Sigma 70-200mm; that way I save money on filters.

These next two shots are the unprocessed photos shot at around 2mins and f/8:

I will admit, my first few shots were pitch black because I forgot to compensate for the minimum light reaching the sensor; fear quickly covered my very existence, because there were some talks that the D5000, even with an IR filter, won't produce desirable photos. I thought I wasted my money! Thankfully I realized before I broke down in tears.

After post processing these two IR photos (I took a lot more, but they were the only good one sadly) I learned it was waaaaay more difficult that I anticipated; Ironically, I thought shooting with the filter would be much more difficult, whereas editing them with be a breeze... it was just vice versa!

Anyways, here are the results; I will have to hone my skills on this genre of photography, but not too shabby for my first time, right?

12-20-2011 Frontyard IR-2

12-20-2011 Frontyard IR-1

Will have another crack at this tomorrow hopefully. And hopefully in a park this time.


What I got in my mail today...

I'm really just running on pure adrenaline right now having yet to have slept a wink (well, maybe I slept an hour from 12-1pm) because I had to accomplish something the whole night and the whole morning; its like one of those "you're the only one that can do this" type of movies...

What is keeping that darn adrenaline secreting and keeping me all giddy like a high school girl in a (INSERT LATEST HEARTTHROB HERE)'s concert? Well, its a package... no TWO packages from a couple of online camera shops that were delivered via LBC.

*shot from my IPhone*

It was like Santa ditched his reindeer for a moped, lost an immense amount of weight and facial hair, and had dyed his hair just to come by 5 days early (because I've been a good boy all year round) and give my gift.

*Shot from my IPhone*

BAM! Getting all excited and nearly cutting my left index finger just to open the plastic bags just to reveal my orders which are (from left to right) two step up rings and an IR filter.

*Shot from Acer CrystalEye Webcam*

Being an IR filter, it blocks most light and to us, it just seems black; I got the 77mm. I don't want to go into detail on how it affects DSLR sensors, so what better way than to post before and after pictures of my 1st attempt in IR photography! Which will be in my next post LOL

*Shot from Acer CrystalEye Webcam*

Since I currently just own the kit lens, 18-55mm with a 52mm filter thread, and a Sigma 30mm with a 62mm filter thread, I got me two step up rings. In order for me to save a helluva lot of moolah, as mentioned above, I purchased a 77mm IR filter. So, why 77mm in particular? When my largest filter thread available between my lenses is 62mm? Well, I plan to purchase, scratch that, I WILL, purchase me a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 next Christmas and it has a 77mm filter thread size. Now, with the help of the step up rings,  I can just use one filter for all my lenses instead of purchasing one for each... except for UV filters, of course...

As you can see, I didn't take any one of these photos with my DSLR... waste of actuations! So, the quality ain't good, but that doesn't matter. What matters is my next post where I will post my attempt on IR photography!


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Food, Gifts, and Games... This can only mean...

Medicine II Christmas Party! LOL

So, what better way to celebrate freedom from classes and welcome the Christmas season (better late then never!) than to throw a classroom party!? With food, gifts, and games, I can't think of anything better!

Its really a simple get together of friends; but the fact that it was spent with friends, you can easily overlook the simplicity of events. It can trump even the most fancy of events...

I took the liberty to take a lot of shots (mostly posted in my Facebook account) using only my prime lens, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and my Yong Nuo 465 TTL flash. It countered most of the different color temperature from the lights in the room, so I'm glad I used my flash because in most instances, using my prime, I don't have the need to have more light since I shoot nearly wide open from f/2 to f/2.8.

Here are some of the shots during the event (some of the shots I've taken, I will be editing to have, as Jared Polin would say, the "boomified" effect, and will be posting here in the next entry):

Above, some of my classmates; simply the best!

The shot above, according to Richard (Left), you can easily draw me by adding the following: a goatee, a mustache, and glasses (the first 2 in particular are my supposed trademark among the class, LOL) to absolutely anything; this drawing is ironic, 'cause I shaved that morning!

Here, we have Anne officially writing a Merry Christmas to us all.

Above, with any party, you MUST have a special guest. Our special guest is extremely special! Our classmate Bianca's son... I have forgotten his name though. LOL

This shot looks wrong doesn't it?

This is a shot of Ryan Joe in one of the many games held. This game in particular, we (yes, I joined in this game) had to retrieve five straws cut into TINY pieces buried underneath flour using our mouths.

Last photo for this entry. Here, you can see me (far right) with the dudes in the aftermath of the "digging-through-the-flour-with-our-lovely-faces-to-retrieve-tiny-straws-for-a-toblerone-and-wonder-if-it-was-worth-it-all-this-time" game.

And there you have it! Some shots to give you the gist of our party; Simple as it is, it was extremely fun nonetheless!! I was even doubly fortunate to have had 2 Christmas parties last night; my class' Christmas party and the AUFMC's Christmas party (which will be blogged about some time later). A great way to welcome the Christmas break and an escape from the hectic schedule of being a medical student and to do away with some awful exams even for just a couple of weeks.



All these pictures have not been post processed as made evident by the lack of "boomification" and my watermark =D

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Watching Beck (not the musician) for the Nth Time

Another December is upon me, feel like watching some good old anime faves of mine... Might as well be about bands...

I could remember it was my freshmen year at B.S. Biology in AUF where my best friend (even to this day, but time and logistics seem to make us part ways and haven't even had one measly cup of coffee to catch up) Cat, lent me her DVDs of an anime about a band and how they struggle with themselves and their own personal problems outside the band. Oh, by the way, I never did return those DVDs and I believe I lost them. LOL Sorry, Cat.

Heading back to the anime, its Beck: Mongolian Chopsquad; Immediately, I got hooked (even more so later on with the manga) with this anime and their characters. I love watching (or reading about) Koyuki's humble beginnings learning the guitar and ultimately becoming God-like. Reminds me so much of my high school days and how I learned the guitar (mostly self taught) but sadly, isn't as good as the guitarist. T.T

When I first saw Lucille (Its a Gibson Les Paul, ironically named after B.B. King's guitar... supposedly), I had already owned an Gibson type Epiphone SG and swore to have that as my main guitar and not get a Les Paul, but after seeing that bullet riddled Les Paul, I said to myself, "I gotta have it". (sure it took 5 years for me to get my own Gibson Les Paul, but yeah, whatever)

I guess, to those who have actually watched this anime, they would agree, the strongest points here would be the songs. Of course, the limitation of making a manga about a band/music, would be, well, the lack of music. Here in the anime, its numerous and diverse, then again, mostly in the rock side (I ain't complaining. I love rock). From the Rage Against the Machine-esque "Brainstorm"; the rock ballad "Slip Out"; to the immensely haunting and romantic "Moon on Water". A heckuva lot of songs to give this anime a unique emotion.

Of course, there's the story too. Like I said, its about a band; formation of a band, maintaining that band, interactions between bandmates, each band members' own personal troubles, and some romance here and there. From there humble beginnings to hinting there worldwide stardom. In the manga though, its a lot more detailed.

Everytime I watch this, I remember all those bands I've been in, bands that I've made, bands that I've left, etc. It reminds me of those struggles to find the "right" member to fit the bands "chemistry". To this day, I have been eluded the right bandmates...
Each time I watch this, I look at my guitar cases, open them up, and clean all my guitars. This anime, to me at least, is immensely inspiring. It brings out the "musician" in me time and time again. All those times I yap about photography overshadowed my first true passion... and that's music.

This Christmas break, like all other Christmas breaks I spent watching Beck, I'll polish on my skills and probably look for another band to play in.

But for now, since I need to get some much needed sleep (just finished some prelim exams this morning) and I'll leave you with a Beat Crusader's Moon on Water which was used in the anime...


Thursday, 1 December 2011

But falling over you, is the news of the day

"But falling over you, is the news of the day"

Just a line from "The Ghost in You" from the Psychedelic Furs

Running through my old Cassette tapes (kids, google this, and you'll know what they are) and ran into some mixed New Wave tapes. Being mostly an alternative fan, its no surprise that I do enjoy an array of 80s New Wave (Pop Wave), as alternative music has its roots from New Wave. Think of it during the 80s, its considered alternative in all its rights, but fast forward to present, its not called "New Wave"... another analogy would be 70s Classic Rock... It wasn't called "Classic" until years later.

In fact, even granted the blessing to have been able to have my childhood in the 90s, I was treated to music from bands like, Nirvana, Gin Blossoms, Smashing Pumpkins, and many, many more that I can't recall as of now, I wasn't really into rock music, let alone, had the urge to learn an instrument. It wasn't until I sat down with both my sisters to watch a rerun of MTV Unplugged featuring, what would eventually my all time favorite band and my main inspiration to learn the guitar and several other instruments, The Cure.

First time I heard one of their defining songs, "Friday, I'm in Love", all the nursery rhymes that I have meticulously memorized (even to the point that I noticed the Twinkle Twinkle song has the same melody as that Barney song) have drastically wiped out of the convolutions of my brain. And my being a fan of The Cure, and eventually the whole New Wave (Alternative genre), began in that mere 4mins.

Today, in retrospect, I have no regrets in being biased to this genre of music and turn a whim on the rest. They were, and still are, better songs that were written for the sake of giving back something to music and not entirely for the sake of releasing something to please your record company and stay in the context of your contract.

Music from the 60s-90s folk/classic/alternative rock are what I usually listen to (well, the only "recent" music I listen to some from Japanese bands... IDK why...), and during those times, such simple times, you can really feel the creativity placed in each song to overcome any technical limitations at the time of their recording.

What about music today? Other than the few western bands and Japanese bands, I hardly listen to any recent songs. I find them less appealing and meaningful, but that's just me. Who knows, the songs of today might be treasured in the next generation similar to how the past generations' music made me treasure them. But for now, the music of today is not for me to treasure, we'll leave it to the next time a 7 year old boy sits next to his siblings watching a rerun of an acoustic set of his eventual favorite band/artist.

And to end things, I won't add in a song from The Cure or even that of my inspiration for my title, although it is slightly along the lines of Psychedelic Furs' The Ghost in You, but only by title... Here's my other favorite 80s band, Siouxsie and the Banshees, with their own "The Ghost in You" song.