Christmas came early for me (or more accurately, I just couldn’t wait for my upcoming bonus). I recently got myself a Samyang 85mm f/1.4 lens. It’s probably the most affordable 85mm lens out there. It’s a fully manual lens, however, so it has no electrical connection to the camera. This means no autofocus and no in-camera aperture control (there’s an aperture ring on the barrel, much like the old days).
Shooting with a fully manual lens provides an interesting photography experience. It forces the shooter to take time in composing and focusing each shot, especially with the aperture wide open.
It has me thinking though: is this how my grandfather used to shoot? He died long ago, probably around the time autofocus systems were still new. I assume he went manual for most of his, if not his entire, career.
Anyway, below are some of the test shots I’ve taken with the lens. They were all shot at f/1.4 and it was a struggle. More practice (and probably a split focusing screen) needed for me.
At 8:12 AM on October 15, 2013, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck the province of Bohol. The epicenter was located 6 kilometers southwest of the municipality of Sagbayan at a depth of 12 kilometers. As of 6:00 AM of October 21, 2013, there are 173 dead, 489 injured and 11 missing in Bohol. 380,906 persons were displaced. 109,712 persons are in evacuation centers while 271,194 are being served outside evacuation centers.
I was fortunate enough to join a team to perform a damage and needs assessment in Bohol after the earthquake. Being in a disaster zone feels so much different from just watching everything unfold on TV. I have seen firsthand the plight of both victims and relief workers. I have felt the dangers of continued tremors and landslides in the upland areas. It’s not easy being there…
The photos were taken in various municipalities in Bohol on October 19, 2013.
Since it’s September 8, I thought it would be fitting to finally post this photo here.
This photo was one of my two entries for the Canon Photomarathon 2013 Visayas Leg (although what were submitted for the contest were unedited copies since it was an on-the-spot photo contest). For the theme “Emotion, Passion, Structure”, I originally thought of a photograph of the statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola but the statue of Mother Mary holding the child Jesus worked better for me. This composition is the best I could come up with for the theme given the limited time frame.
This will probably stay as one of my favorite photos for quite a while.
“From the moment I stepped out of that airplane, I knew I was going to love Davao City.”
That was what I posted on Facebook as soon as I got to our hotel room.
I was in Davao City for five days on official business and it was my first time to visit the city. Naturally, I walked around downtown with my camera strapped on even if I was still carrying my luggage around on the first day.
I sometimes joke to friends that if I were to get a degree in photography, I’d concentrate on candid shots (for the record, De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde really does offer a bachelor’s degree in photography). It doesn’t really come as a surprise for me, though. My first lens was a Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 which allowed me to take photos of people doing their own thing from far away. Taking candid shots from meters away, though, wasn’t too exciting (not to mention difficult with a maximum aperture of f/6.3 at the 300mm end of the lens).
I still shoot candids with my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and my Canon 50mm f/1.8 even if it means getting close to subjects. Actually, I think it’s better to take candids up close instead. It helps me to relate with the subject and his environment.
Why do I take candid shots of people at events?
Photography is a means by which stories are told. Candids are part of my storytelling. I take photos of the big man when he’s on stage and when he’s taking a breather. Sometimes, he needs to be seen from another light.
I believe that the guys who work behind the scenes deserve recognition as well. Events can’t go smoothly without them, after all.
Guests play a very vital role at events. The show can’t go on without them. There’s the occasional photo bomber who can make or break a shot. It’s all part of the challenge.
Why do I take candid portrait shots?
While it’s nice to have models pose, I like to evoke genuine emotions. It tends to speak about who the person really is.
When people are in groups, I like to isolate subjects and look for that perfect shot. Including photographs of individuals can sometimes enhance the overall story.
Sometimes, I like to see how people react when I call them out. Some cover up, some make funny faces, and some give a really gorgeous look.
Sometimes when I’m on a shoot, a female subject just grabs my attention. I end up taking more photos of her than other subjects. This is especially noticeable in group shots, where I try to isolate this subject. I call such subjects “photographer’s favorites”. This post is dedicated to them.
I managed to isolate this subject from the rest of the dance group. Fishnet stockings are not an everyday sight, at least for me.
This one was taken while the graduating students were getting into place for their group photo. Must be her skin that caught my attention.
This is a photo of one of the bridesmaids of that wedding I covered last December. It’s a stolen shot, in case it isn’t obvious.
Who else are guilty of picking photographer’s favorites during shoots?
Amylene has a knack for naming things. She owns a tablet called Tabby and she named one of our office laptops Addy and our new desktop computer Kathy.
Though they all sound alike, that isn’t the case for her guitar presumably because it’s unique and special. Clearly engraved on the guitar’s body is its name, Wings. How she came up with that name is a long story.
Kat recently obtained her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of the Philippines. She currently works at an NGO involved in development research.
Seeing as we’re coworkers and that she didn’t get her graduation portrait taken yet, I was asked if I could take her photo. We ended up turning the office into a studio.
Congratulations from Express with Photos and your A2D Project team!
I know, I know, it’s been forever since my last post here. I’ve been really busy with a lot of stuff at school, like my thesis oral defense (success!), our organization’s general assembly (done), and graduation (we made it!). All the piling stress was taking its toll on me and staring at a computer screen was starting to make me ill, so I had to find other ways to relieve stress, like this open shoot.
The usual thanks go to Stephen for organizing this open shoot. Yup, he’s the man.