Sunday, December 11, 2011

photography workshop for a hundred pesos only!

Any photographer worth his salt has a bag of lenses and a strong portfolio.

I have two in my bag: a Canon EF 70-210 mm telephoto (on loan) and the 18-55 kit lens. For the portfolio part, a few published works if that counts.  

one of my early published works (for Guess) that graced the Lifestyle spread of Cebu Daily News in 2003. The one in beige is Miss World-Oceania Ma. Karla Bautista

But there's one thing I must admit: I shoot using full auto button! Stop laughing now. So, what gives? In college, I actually majored Broadcast Media so basic photography course as elective for one semester goes with the territory. As far as I can stretch my memory, all the lecturer ever taught were things I could easily learn through Idiots Guide to Photography like ASA, ISO, rule-of-thirds and composition techniques, white balance, shutter speed and aperture opening or f stop. But never a formula. I mean, I see photography as an art form so it calls for a rigorous discipline (as foundation) that comes close to baking-- exact measurements and all the right ingredients. 

With my innate ability to see the world differently, the semester saw me flourish but it also saw my technical skills flounder. Despite the lack of mentoring, I continued shooting and got all the approvals I needed to inflate my ego. I was in the prime of my youth and was very hungry to shoot for more. My first job which had nothing to do with photography had me rubbed elbows with Cebu's topnotch photographers. In a snap, a friend got my foot in the door to work as staff of a big shot photographer in Manila. But the work environment was so toxic, so I packed up and found my luck elsewhere.

In 2002, I finally got my own Nikon F60 SLR analogue camera as gift from Grandmother. I worked documenting events for multinational companies and I'd have to say the money was good! The rate in 2003 was P1,000.00 per roll (24 shots)! And yes, I shoot using full auto mode. Stop laughing! Tumbling ka ron! I had the eye in the first place. What mattered was I took good shots and made the client happy with my work. On the side, I contributed photos and they got published in Cebu's three major daily newspapers. It helped that I had a network of contemporaries working in the editorial department of those publishing companies.
The years that followed saw Kodak spiraling down as digital photography became easily accessible and advertising campaign by Canon became more aggressive. The boom of BPO companies also saw a new breed of young urban professionals. Their spending power matched their appetite for new gadgets available in the market. During those years, I had a stint as moderator for the photography club in the exclusive school where I taught. While I used my Nikon F60 and had the film scanned and saved to CD for the photos, my students had digital SLR cameras. Years later, for some reasons, I abandoned hardcore photography and just settled with a point and shoot digital camera in the ocean of wannabes.

the terrible copy that burst my bubble never to use poor quality camera again

I came back from my Southeast Asia backpacking trip feeling shortchanged because the point and shoot camera I brought simply did not do justice to the beauty of the countries and their people. One December morning last year, upon W's prodding, W and I got our first digital SLR camera together. I never looked back since then. My quest for the cheat sheet in shutter speed and f stop continued. I experimented with the M, Av and Tv buttons, studied the module of New York Institute of Photography distant learning program, joined ONE Photo's online group, learned other technical know-how through youtube plus several books but I still ended up wanting. My hunger came back!

no photoshop involved. just plain timing and pure luck :D

One Saturday morning, I found myself in the company of young photographers in Dumaguete, all hungry to master f stops, shutter speed and everything in between. The basic photography workshop was organized by Oriental Negros Photographers or ONE Photo. At the helm of the workshop was club president DX Lapid ably assisted by Cacard Rodriguez and Joms Aguas. For a hundred pesos, the group got a series of lectures and applications that run into the night. There were pizza and soda too in between. What a good deal, ha! For the afternoon session, a model was hired. Club members who were around were more than helpful in answering my questions. Club member Ramcel Erum briefed me about long exposure shots and white balance in low light photography. Over all, it was a workshop that put my confidence back in the technical aspect of photography.

Here are raw images of what that day was like:

My first attempt at the panning shot mission:

Second attempt

Session with the model. My output here was epic fail!

I clam up. Too many people milling around. No music to fire up. I wasn't really able to connect with the model. Poor and detached output.

We went to the garden and I started to loosen up a bit

  I found this nice. I did some minor post-processing.

Then, the late afternoon sun gave more than what I asked for

Bu my battery went dead. I had to charge it quickly. When I came back, this moment presented itself:

 I got my telephoto lens too late already. I could have done better than the two shots above. Anyhow, we ended the workshop with a photo shoot in the boulevard. This is what I got. Long exposure. 30 seconds.

With that said, I think I'm now ready for the world!


  1. Who says top photojourns use manual? hehehe...

  2. hi there! do you only have two lenses? kasi i only have the kit lens. im liking the telephoto lenses. can you suggest any?

  3. hi kitkat! yep.

    depende yan on what kind of photography na gusto mong pasukan. wide angle (21-35mm) is good for architecture and landscape. 37-70mm for documentary and street photography. telephoto na 80-135mm for portraiture and 135-300mm naman for wildlife and sports

  4. great story of your affair with the lens, RV!

    I'm planning to buy a point and shoot though, yung semi-pro lang kasi I'm planning to go mobile. Hopefully, I won't regret it. hehe


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