Inside the House

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It is freezing cold here in Japan. Well, I really don’t fancy winter seasons that much. All these itchiness and drying of skin… right now, my ams and my thighs are full of itching red blotches! The chilling temperature outside is more than enough to effortlessly rob my fingers of the capacity to feel or move normally (let alone squeeze the shutter), and cause my toes to numb and turn purplish. And all these scarves and gloves and sorts of heavy clothing stacked on top of each other…; its uncomfortable. And what could be more irksome than those doorknobs and metal drawers consistently giving me ear-tingling (static) electric shocks every time I touch them? Worse, I always forget that they do! (LOL) Winter, oh winter…

Controlling my camera also tends to be very challenging at this time of year. A few exhales directed to the back LCD condense immediately to droplets, wetting and obscuring the LCD. And the already numbed fingers wrapped with very thick gloves… good thing the D3 is, as heavy as it is, fortunately thick glove-friendly.

Being locked up inside the house during winter is not really a bad thing as far as photography is concerned. I believe that photographs are everywhere, inasmuch as light is everywhere; including inside our very own house. Even though winterly mood can be partly blamed why things we see sometimes appear so unbecoming, unspirited and gray, subtle available light with a touch of blandness can be simple recipes to good photographs.

That being said, sometimes I have to force myself to see a little bit beyond the familiar, everyday-seen, almost insignificant ‘heres and theres’ inside the house.

I’m still saving for flashes, you know. So free, available light for now.

Nikon D3 + AF 50mm f1.4D. God bless everyone.




2010 Christmas holidays was one the greatest, at least for me. Got a slightly used Nikon D3 for a remarkably low price from a local second hand shop in Tokyo. Just around 40% off of its original posting price. Great, eh? I was eyeing this one for two weeks hoping and hoping that since it was the holidays, they would somehow offer this for a lower price. And they did. For just a day. Went straight of course. Armed with a couple of Japanese lines for asking more discounts and freebies, finally got this low-light beast with a Nikkor 50mm 1.4D for free! Still second hand though but no matter, no matter. This was beyond what I could hope for, you know. An instant nightvision kit.

Nikon D3 + Nikkor 50mm f1.4D; 1/40 @ f4 @ ISO 6400 (straight from camera)

ISO 6400 test shot. Very usable if used carefully. We were on our way to Minatomirai, Yokohama for the New Year countdown. Straight from camera. Really impressive ISO performance.

Nikon D3 + Nikkor 50mm f1.4D; 1/200 @ f2.2 @ ISO 200

Taken on our way to China Town, Yokohama. Meet my friend here, Chyll. Took this test shot to see the lens’ bokeh talents. Not really very promising but not bad either. Applied some layers for skin tone enhancements and a wee bit of vintage look to it.

Nikon D3 + 50mm f1.4D; 1/125 @ f2.8 @ ISO 200; China Town, Yokohama. (straight from camera)

Nikon D3 + 50mm f1.4D; 1/40 @ f2.8 @ ISO 560 (straight from camera)

The Minatomirai strolling group on our way home. A blessed new year to everyone. God bless.

Makati Assignment

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As one of the cities in Metro Manila, Makati City is the financial center of the Philippines and one of the major financial, commercial and economic hubs in Asia. [Wikipedia] And for two months, I was assigned here by our company to do Android related research projects. Had a good experience with my teammates and some of our Japanese pals. Great place, great food, good friends.

A view of Makati City from Makati Executive Tower. I stayed here for around two months.

A view of Makati City from Citadel Inn. Quite far from where I was working. Stayed here for the first two weeks.

A view of Ayala Avenue, Makati City from our office. This is one of the city’s main superhighways. Took this shot during noontime. Sun was very high. See the shadows? Turned out okay though.

God bless everyone.

By The Pool

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Canon EOS 50D + EFS 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM: 1/60 @ f5.6 @ ISO 100 @ 85mm

Camera nearly immersed in water, good ambient light, decent background, an adorable subject and a stellar lens… Increased contrast and a little bit of saturation adjustments in post processing.

Bounce Flash

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We always hear from photographers saying direct flash is harsh, unnatural and unattractive light. And well, yes, it definitely is. However, inasmuch as it is not a sin to use direct flash, and no one’s stopping you to continue using it, let alone confiscate your camera for it, bouncing your flash to your right/left/back wall or even to the ceiling could make your photographs a tad more “natural”. Of course, as long as there is something we can bounce our light off, we’re good to go with this very basic lighting technique, even if that something is actually someone wearing a white shirt.

Left/Right: Canon 50D + EFS 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM; 1/60 @ f5.6 @ ISO 800

In this stitched image, flash was bounced off to camera’s back-left direction. Some parts of the right image are overexposed a bit to give a little definition to Ichigo’s black robes.

Canon 50D + EFS 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM: 1/100 @ f8 @ ISO 800

Flash bounced up to the ceiling approximately 4ft. high. This was done in a fairly dim, fluorescent room. Selective color was done in post processing.

Canon 50D + EFS 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM;  1/30 @ f5.6 @ ISO 400; FEC: +1

Flash was bounced off to top-left of camera. Shot stealthily inside a mall with a fairly high ceiling, more of a hit-miss situation. Flash was gelled with full CTO.

Canon 50D + EFS 15-85mm f3.5-5.6 IS USM

Left: 1/80 @ f3.5 @ ISO 800; Right: 1/200 @ f5.6 @ ISO 400

And finally, flash gelled with 1/2 CTO and camera set to tungsten white balance for the left photo. As for the right with the mirror, the wall was painted light green. Since light always picks up the color of the reflected surface, our flash here was gelled with 1/4 CTO to retain natural skin tones and camera was set to daylight white balance.

God bless everyone.

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