Sunday, November 30, 2008

LOMO Tips on Shooting with the Holga #1: Sunny days are the best days

As much as possible shoot during a sunny day. Overcast skies and indoors are not really conducive to Holga shooting since the Holga has a fix shutter speed of 1/100 (the length of time that the aperture stays open). But if you like shooting using colorsplash flash and always have a tripod beside you then by all means shoot in ambient or minimal light.

In my experience of using this camera, most of the best pictures I've taken were shot when the sun is high up in the sky. If you want the colors to pop-out and have crazy vignettes on the sides (like the image on the right), then daylight shooting is the way to go.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Imagine a World Without Filipinos

I came across this article written by an Arab about Filipino OFWs. I am moved by how he sees Filipinos and his appreciation of the contributions of our countrymen in the Middle East. Hopefully, more foreigners will learn to see Filipinos in this light.

Imagine a world without Filipinos
Abdullah Al-Maghlooth | Al-Watan,

Muhammad Al-Maghrabi became handicapped and shut down his flower and gifts shop business in Jeddah after his Filipino workers insisted on leaving and returning home. He says: “When they left, I felt as if I had lost my arms. I was so sad that I lost my appetite.”
Al-Maghrabi then flew to Manila to look for two other Filipino workers to replace the ones who had left. Previously, he had tried workers of different nationalities but they did not impress him. “There is no comparison between Filipinos and others,” he says. Whenever I see Filipinos working in the Kingdom, I wonder what our life would be without them.

Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Filipino workers — 1,019,577 — outside the Philippines. In 2006 alone, the Kingdom recruited more than 223,000 workers from the Philippines and their numbers are still increasing. Filipinos not only play an important and effective role in the Kingdom, they also perform different jobs in countries across the world, including working as sailors. They are known for their professionalism and the quality of their work.
Nobody here can think of a life without Filipinos, who make up around 20 percent of the world’s seafarers. There are 1.2 million Filipino sailors. So if Filipinos decided one day to stop working or go on strike for any reason, who would transport oil, food and heavy equipment across the world? We can only imagine the disaster that would happen.

What makes Filipinos unique is their ability to speak very good English and the technical training they receive in the early stages of their education. There are several specialized training institutes in the Philippines, including those specializing in engineering and road maintenance. This training background makes them highly competent in these vital areas.

When speaking about the Philippines, we should not forget Filipino nurses. They are some 23 percent of the world’s total number of nurses. The Philippines is home to over 190 accredited nursing colleges and institutes, from which some 9,000 nurses graduate each year. Many of them work abroad in countries such as the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Singapore. Cathy Ann, a 35-year-old Filipino nurse who has been working in the Kingdom for the last five years and before that in Singapore, said she does not feel homesick abroad because “I am surrounded by my compatriots everywhere.” Ann thinks that early training allows Filipinos to excel in nursing and other vocations. She started learning this profession at the age of four as her aunt, a nurse, used to take her to hospital and ask her to watch the work. “She used to kiss me whenever I learned a new thing. At the age of 11, I could do a lot. I began doing things like measuring my grandfather’s blood pressure and giving my mother her insulin injections,” she said. This type of early education system is lacking in the Kingdom. Many of our children reach the university stage without learning anything except boredom.

The Philippines, which you can barely see on the map, is a very effective country thanks to its people. It has the ability to influence the entire world economy. We should pay respect to Filipino workers, not only by employing them but also by learning from their valuable experiences. We should learn and educate our children on how to operate and maintain ships and oil tankers, as well as planning and nursing and how to achieve perfection in our work.This is a must so that we do not become like Muhammad Al-Maghrabi who lost his interest and appetite when Filipino workers left his flower shop. We have to remember that we are very much dependent on the Filipinos around us. We could die a slow death if they chose to leave us.

Patience is a Virtue

In life, we always face adversities here and there. Often, our patience is tested to its limits but these are the kind of moments that define who we are as a person. Being the result oriented person that I am, I want to see the fruits of my labor ASAP and when I don't I get impatient and sometimes disheartened. Fortunately enough, I'm too persistent just to give up. Maybe this is what patience is about. Patience is not necessarily just about waiting or being passive and not do anything but to keep going even if the way is tough and slow.

Photo notes: Unintentional underexposure made the image look like it was shot against the sun. Here is a classic example of a "happy accident" that is described in Lomo culture.
Camera: Olympus XA2
Film: Elitechrome 100 (Cross-processed)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Morning View

I browsed my folders for hidden gems that haven't yet made my flickr account and I found this picture. I like the composition of colors in this picture. The hues bring a sense of cold breeze but the light in the horizon fills the picture with warmth. A scene perfect for a morning view.

Camera: Olympus XA2
Film: Kodak Elitechrome 100

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Citizenservices: Making Life Easier for the Filipino

Need your Philippine passport ASAP? No free time and patience to line up at DFA in Manila? Then I'm about to tell you something that will make your life easier and that is Citizenservices. Basically, what they do is get your passport requirements and your payment, submit it to DFA and then you choose when you would like to schedule your personal appearance and after a few days, deliver your passport in front of your doorsteps. So how much does it costs? For passport renewal, I paid Php1300 but if I go through the whole process by myself it only costs around Php700. You might say that the Php500 difference is a lot but come to think of it how much would you spend for gas or public transportation if you do this by yourself? Maybe around 300 depending where you are coming from. But what makes this service attractive is you only have to go to DFA once! If that's not enough to convince you here's more: If it's time for your personal appearance, Citizenserv's representatives are on standby to assist you from the entrance of the DFA until you line-up inside the building. Lines?! What Lines?! Hey take it easy i'm not done yet: They have a special priority lane inside the DFA! Guaranteed that you'll be done in less than 15 to 30 minutes. No need to go there around 3:00AM just to make sure you'll make the cut.

I'm not going to get any money from them by posting this on my blog but I'm just glad to share this innovation that will make our life more convenient and hassle-free. I almost forgot to mention that they also have their 24/7 customer care hotline and their website can track the status of your application. When you see the anaconda line of people forming up from inside to outside of the compound you'll tell yourself that's Php1300 well spent.

You can go to their website at for further info:

Do Not Buy CASIO Digicams!

How can something made in Japan be as crappy like CASIO digicams? More than a year ago, I asked a former officemate of mine to buy me a CASIO EXILIM EX-Z700 when she was in Japan. The cam was quite good aesthetically but quality wise a lot is left to be desired. Lately, we experienced white horizontal lines and overexposed shots in the images that we took. After researching on the internet I found that there are a lot and I mean a LOT of people who also has the same problems with their Casio digicams. I also found out that not only the EX-Z700 has this kind of problem but even the most recent models that Casio released to the public. Yes, this problem can be repaired by changing the lens mechanism of the camera but wait there's more... repair costs around $100 which is more than the actual price of the unit! So i guess, that's not an option I'm willing to take more specially knowing that after a year I'll have the same problem all over again. If you're lucky and you've encountered this bug before your warranty expires then take it to the nearest Casio branch but I'm sure you'll be back there in no time.

I still can't believe why Casio, a Japanese company known for their excellent watches, has not made any changes to the design of their cameras. If you're planning to buy any CASIO Exilim line of products (EX-S10 EX-S880 EX-S770 EX-S600 EX-P505 EX-FH20 EX-F1 EX-V8) I advise that you read other reviews before purchasing this half-baked cookie. The market is sprawling with better products so do your homework first before shelling out hard earned moolah for a tin can.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ten Legal Commandments of Photography

Ten Legal Commandments of Photography

I. Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, etc. Malls? Yeah. Even though it’s technically private property, being open to the public makes it public space.

II. If you are on public property, you can take pictures of private property. If a building, for example, is visible from the sidewalk, it’s fair game.

III. If you are on private property and are asked not to take pictures, you are obligated to honor that request. This includes posted signs.

IV. Sensitive government buildings (military bases, nuclear facilities) can prohibit photography if it is deemed a threat to national security.

V. People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Kids swimming in a fountain? Okay. Somebody entering their PIN at the ATM? Not okay.

VI. The following can almost always be photographed from public places, despite popular opinion:

* accident & fire scenes, criminal activities
* bridges & other infrastructure, transportation facilities (i.e. airports)
* industrial facilities, Superfund sites
* public utilities, residential & commercial buildings
* children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
* UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster

VII. Although “security” is often given as the reason somebody doesn’t want you to take photos, it’s rarely valid. Taking a photo of a publicly visible subject does not constitute terrorism, nor does it infringe on a company’s trade secrets.

VIII. If you are challenged, you do not have to explain why you are taking pictures, nor to you have to disclose your identity (except in some cases when questioned by a law enforcement officer.)

IX. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will, and can be subject to legal action if they harass you.

X. If someone tries to confiscate your camera and/or film, you don’t have to give it to them. If they take it by force or threaten you, they can be liable for things like theft and coercion. Even law enforcement officers need a court order.

I don't really know if this is applicable to our country but there's not a lot of merit in trying to argue your way out of trouble by using the "rules" above. Why? Simply because what's fair game to a photographer might not be to the owner of the subject being photographed. That's why I opt to use my XA2 in street and indoor photography since it's unobtrusive and it takes picture fast.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ortigas Weekend Getaway

Me and GF is constantly traveling to look for interesting places where I can take pictures and at the same time have food trips. Last weekend we went to Ark Avilon Zoo at Pasig and it's really an interesting place to bring the family along. Fun Ranch is just beside the Zoo and it's like a mini carnival for kids. For Php295 you can buy a ticket that will enable you to go on every ride unlimitedly. Nearby is Tiendesitas, where you can shop 'til you drop and a lot of choices of food to eat. We tried the puto bumbong and it was a blast! If you're planning to go here for a weekend getaway here are some maps I've gathered around the internet to help you take the right path if you're driving or by commute. Just click on the image for a bigger view.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog Roll

Discover something new everyday. Come and visit my friends:

Agent X Moi Moi
Angela Solomon
A Southern Shutter
d' explorer
Eenie / Ei-nah
ESPE Computer
Evil Empire.
Go Shopping World
I Am Khae
I mE
In Love With Photography
Island Angel
Karen ( *new*
Kat Michelle
Kevin Monster dot com
Lawyer Ones
Little Miss Perky
Liza Castronuevo
Miss Blogger
Mocha and Vanilla/
My Hearty Thoughts
My Nose Bleed
My Phone Review
Oreos and Milk (Link Updated)
Rare Footages
Would You Stay Awake For Me?
Wonder Wall
Whiskey lullaby...

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Something to Rave About

All Star
Originally uploaded by brix99
I'm so stoked to find out that my SLR Minolta XG-1 camera is actually not broken! I went to Mang Dong's camera repair shop in Quiapo because my Yashica Electro35GS died on me. I also asked him to check my Minolta which I thought has a sticky shutter problem but when he yanked the film advance crank it suddenly got fixed! I got to try my XG-1 on our trip to Liliw, Laguna and just going around the house taking pictures of common stuff like my pair of chucks shown in the picture. I'm ecstatic with how everything looked when I received my CD from Digiprint. The lens is sharp, the exposure is spot on and the pictures were awesome (well, in my eyes all my pictures are). I also have one more thing to rave about, my Yashica is healthy again and better than ever with it's light seals fixed and the viewfinder is clearer now that Mang Dong also took time to clean the insides of the camera. Now that I have 5 cameras working like magic in my depot, i'm faced with a difficult decision on which to use. It has become a normal thing for me to bring 2 to 3 of them every time I go out of the house. GF seems to be very understanding of the "situation" and lets me use her bag to carry my babies with me (love her so much). :)

Finders Keepers

GF and I happened to pass by Booksale at SM Southmall the other day and guess what I got for Php 150? Three brand new Magic: The Gathering comic books with freebie inside. I'm happy that I'm able to find some of these rare stuff to add to my MTG collection. I've started cleaning up my room and it really felt nostalgic seeing my card album again. I'm proud to say I've managed to preserved most of my cards in it's mint condition and hopefully in the future they will be worth more than they are now.