Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Winner Professor

Before the First Canon Shoot and Run Photo Marathon dinner and awarding ceremonies ended last December 16 at the Palacio de Manila, Flickerians (as FPC Members are also known) were excited to know that about 10 of their photos out of the approximate 300 made it to the top 50 for the theme "Splendor of Manila." Not one of the 10 photos made it to the two spots and so we went home a little disappointed but very much happy with the experience and company of fellow Flickerians.
Or so we thought.
It turns out that the 1st Runner Up of the "Splendor" theme, Rob Fontanilla, is a Flickerian. So, Andrew, an Admin who knows Rob, called one day and asked if we could feature Rob on the blog. Sure we will! Pat, another Admin, gave me the winner's number and I made contact with Rob, who turned out to be a very busy Professional Photographer and Professor. Therefore, I settled for the e-interview option after several attempts at a telephone interview. The last time Rob said we could do the interview on the phone was the morning of his birthday, and unfortunately I was in the office. So, I sent him the questions and now, take a look at his answers and gain insight into the world of a Photography Professor.

Rob Fontanilla

Data Vitae
Full Name: Robert V. Fontanilla
flickr Screen Name: ROB FONTANILLA
Present Address: Quezon City
Occupation: Professional Photographer and Professor in College of Saint Benilde--La Salle
Current Gear:
camera body = Canon 400D
lenses = 18-55mm kit lens
50mm f/1.8,
flash = 420EX
Favorite Photographic Subject: Glamour, Travel and Portrait
Favorite Photographer: Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon
Dream Gear: Canon 1Ds Mark II N
Photographic Ambition: National Geographic job and advertising shoot in New York

Rob's Photographic Mind
FPC: Do you have a family? If yes, how do you find time for your photography? If no, how much of you bachelor life do you spend in professional Photography?
RVF: NONE. I DONT HAVE A FAMILY. Half of my time I spend for photography... part of it shooting if i have [a photo job], and another part as a Professor of Photography in La Salle-CSB

FPC: Do you limit your Photography to a particular category? Which do you like shooting best?
Actually I dont limit my photography, although I'm inclined to portrait, glamour and travel.

Carlet Marcelo by Rob Fontanilla

FPC: I read somewhere in one magazine that you must specialize in one area to become professional. Do you buy that idea?
I don't buy that idea, but it pays to specialize on something. Like a trade mark... The only difference between a pro and hobbyist (although they may produce same result) is that the pro gets paid for.

FPC: Do you think that for a photographer to be recognized, he must have "hi-tech" gadgets?
Not really, its more about the talent than the gadgets, although I don't disregard the fact that having better equipments has its advantages.

FPC: When is a photograph artistic to you? What makes it an art?
RVF: Everytime. I always consider photography as an art. But if you want to be more specific, its on the style.

Boatman by Rob Fontanilla

FPC: What made you take up Photography? What and who are your inspiration and influences?
It all started as a hobby. I just love to shoot. And giving up other important things for photography. Inspiration? I like the works of Richard Avedon And Annie Leibovitz.

FPC: What style of Photography have you developed for yourself? What makes you think it is good?
Actually none. I apply as many style I could think of, during the actual shoot. Shall we say, "Let it be." I dont want to be tied and limit my work based on a certain guidelines. But in my advertising work, it's different. I want an actual layout, I plan ahead, how and what to shoot.

Fruitworks by Rob Fontanilla

1st CSR Winner
FPC: How did you learn about the Canon Shoot & Run Photo Competition?
A student of mine told me about this contest.

FPC: Where you with a group or a companion during the competition? Does it matter that you have to have company in such kind of competition?
Yes, I'm with a group--some camera club members and some friends.
Not really. Maybe for security reasons, that's why you have to have somebody during the shoot, cameras are too expensive. Actually, we got separated during the shoot.

FPC: What was your strategy for the first leg? The second leg?
RVF: First--combination of Static and non static subjects. Second--more on the emotions.

FPC: What places did you go to shoot your entries?
RVF: Actually, to start, Manila Cathedral, then the walls of Intramuros.

FPC: What were you after with the first category? How did you interpret "Splendor of Manila"?
I just present my subject the way i see it, focus on the subject and add some elements just to decorate my subject, not to over power it. That's basic composition and selective focus on the main subject.

FPC: When the anchorwoman said "Faces of Manila," what images came foremost to your mind? Were this the images you chose as options to submit?
Actually, no. I looked for happy faces, afraid to show something negative because I know, that's is a no no.

FPC: Did you think that any of your photos would win?
Actually no. In every contest I'm not expecting anything but its okay for you to wish and hope to win. Actually, Im not expecting I'll win from the first category, because when the host announced that they are showing the top 50, my photo was not shown during the presentation. So, I told myself that I'm not going to win from this category and hope to win from the second one. But suprisingly, they mentioned my name when they announced the second place, and everything is history.

Super Kid by Rob Fontanilla

FPC: Is this your fist winning photo contest? If yes, how does it feel? If no, what were the other contests you joined?
I've won several photo contest way back:
CCP Photo Contest black and white category
Florikultura of DOT
Preview Magazine Photo Contest
Cavite Independence Day Photo Contest
FPPF Photo Contest
Camera Club Photo Contest
- end -

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Sports Series Part 2: Beach Volleyball

The right place at the right time, the right equipment, the right settings and a little bit of luck = formula for a succesful sports shoot.

The recently concluded Asian Games was a dream shoot for me because sports is the main reason why I bought the gears I bought. I favored the EOS 20D over the 350D because of its magnesium alloy body and most importantly, its 5 fps continuous shooting speed. If I could afford a 1DMkII, that's what I would have bought. Although any equipment will do to a certain extent, having the right equipment often times makes a difference. But this discussion is not about photographic gears so I won't go that far.

This is the best of 5 frames of continuous shooting. High shutter speed froze both ladies and the ball in mid-air.

It was the first time I've seen live and photographed all of the competitive sporting events I've been to in the last Asian Games and one of them was beach volleyball which is the subject of this article. I'm not new to the sport and I'm quite familiar with the rules but this is the first time ever I've photographed it.


When I arrived at the venue, there aren't that many people yet so I was able to choose the seat I liked. At first, I thought of sitting right in the middle, perpendicular to the net. I thought that's where most of the action is and I would have a good view of both teams by pointing my camera either to the left or to the right - just like I usually do when shooting tennis. T hen I realized that the referee would be standing on top of one end of the net and he might block my view. Even if he doesn't, I figured that during a spike/block action, I wouldn't have a good view of the players' faces. So I decided to relocate to a seat at one end of the court.

Most of the action in volleyball, beach or otherwise, happen on the net. I therefore selected a seat where I can have views like this.

Before the game started, I took some shots of the volleyball court to test the lighting condition and find out the lowest ISO setting I can use. In the end, I decided to use ISO 1600. I also tried to develop a strategy in my head on how I'm going to shoot this remembering that somebody once told me that volleyball is one of the most difficult sports to photograph well. I thought of following the ball and it seems to be a logical strategy because where the ball is, that's where the action is.


I did exactly just that during the first part of the first game with Japan versus Kazakhstan. It didn't take me long to realize that I was using the wrong strategy. The ball was moving a lot and too fast to follow that action has already happened before the lens could have the chance to focus. So, I switched to manual focus but that did not improve the situation.

If looks could kill . . . . If I had a longer lens I would have zoomed in closer to the girl with the eyes. However, I think this shot is not so bad because the blurred opponent on foreground adds to the picture's story wherein she's being sized up by her opponent.

I was starting to get frustrated so I put down the camera and watched the game for a while. I observed how the players move and actually started to appreciate one of the Kazakhstan player - both her looks and moves. And then, BLING!! - an idea popped in my head. Instead of following the ball, why don't I just focus on one player at a time and wait for her to make the right move? There are only 4 players in the court so I didn't think I had to wait long.

So I tried the new strategy; I did not wait that long and things started to get right.


In general, I was happy with the shots I took. I was able to capture plenty of action at the net plus a few candid shots of the players. I selected the right seat which offered plenty of good views including those of a group of Filipinos waving our flag and cheering our players. The strategy of focusing on one player at a time worked really well - simply waiting for the ball to come to her and let her make her moves.

The seat I chose did not afford me that many opportunities for action shots away from the net. I would consider this a lucky shot.

The seat I chose was not perfect though. I did not have a good view of the player making a serve. The far end of the court was too far and the view was obscured by the net. It also did not offer views as when players receive the ball and goes for those dives and digs. As a spectator, I do not have the luxury of moving around; otherwise I run the risk of disturbing other spectators and catching the security officers' attention.

Who do you think won? Sports photography is not only about action, it's also about human drama.

Oh well, maybe next time around.

Next - Swimming


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

PoW! 9th Week

Here are this weeks PoW!, in no order of preference:

"Livin High Sugbo"
by: "Manu Antigua"
Canon EOS 400D Digital, 1/320, f/11, 10mm, ISO 200

Photographers Comment: i recently went to manila and when i left cebu i looked outside the window and saw cebu(my island) in all its glory...i just had 2 snap it..hehe...taken in a cebu pacific aircraft at uhh...i dunno how high we were....enjoy

Editors Comment: Very nice cloud formation and perfectly composed shot. I love how this shot is tilted. The Photographer said that it was a snap shot. Well.. It's a Perfect Snap Shot!

i'm back
"I'm Back"
by: "Ryan Jose Ticsay" a.k.a "jozexit"
No Exifs Available

Editors Comment: They did it again. Another proof that the old theory is true (mas madali magpatawa kapag kalbo ka).

The composition with Sykes uncanny acting ability (which by the way he demostrated in a recent indie-film) is really entertaining.

Big Tree Watching Over Heroes
"Big Tree Watching Over Heroes"
by: "Andrew Villasis" a.k.a "Boso"
No Exifs Available

Editors Comment: It's not the usual landscape shot we usually see. What I liked about this photo is the composition and technical quality. The definition of the clouds against the beautiful blue sky is so profound and then that big tree fills up the the empty spaces in the frame.

At first glance, most people might think that the horizon line is not horizontal. Well, in fact, it isn't but it does not mean that there's something wrong here. Take a look at the verticality of the crosses and you'll know that the ground is actually swooping down.

Inner Color
"Inner Color"
by: Karen Angelynne Leong" a.k.a "angelynne"
Canon EOS 30D, 1/60, ISO400

Editors Comment: Searched 24 pages and got this one standing out from 5 options. When I looked at it, I realized it must be the tabletop flower on the FPC table on the night of the 1st Canon Shoot and Run. I noticed Karen, Ed, JC, Lenard, Andrew, even Jay, having tutorials and hands-on demonstrations on macro shooting, after the free dinner and while waiting for the awarding ceremonies to commence.

If this photo by Karen is the result of the impromptu discussion, I would say that FPC members are very capable teachers of Photography, and Karen is a quick learner! Or was she also teaching the others, I'm not sure. I think they used an inverted non-macro lens in this shot, with bursts of flashes while gradually moving the inverted lens away from the subject. If it is so, this shot is even more impressive!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Sports Series Part 1: BASIC GUIDELINES

Swimmers in the 1500m freestyle event during Day 7 of the 15th Asian Games.

The topic here is competitive sports, not some model doing some sports action poses or some athlete posing for a photoshoot (such as Maria Sharapova's Canon advertisement photos). It's real sports action by athletes in actual competition. Here, you won't have control over lighting, background and subject. Most sporting events prohibits the use of flash so you'll have to shoot with available light. The sporting venue will be as it is. You cannot ask people to move away or remove some sporting paraphernalia just because they are distracting elements to your photos. You cannot interact with the athletes. In fact, you need some 'stealth' to avoid being noticed and cause distractions to them. Your control is basically limited to your skills and your photographic equipment.

Capturing sports action is relatively easy once you've grown accustomed to the basic techniques and have developed a strategy. Just like any type of photography, good planning helps a lot.


For this shot, I selected a spot where the boats turn because this is where they slow down and try to overtake each other.

You should have the venue well scouted for the best view angles available to you. It would definitely be an advantage if you've been to the venue before because you would know the best seats for your photographic purposes. If not, try to come early to have a good look at the place. Most sporting event tickets are general admission (non-reserved seats) so coming early allows you to choose where you want to sit.

The idea is to get as close as possible to the action. For example, you can't get a good shot of the player shooting a basket if you're on the other side of the court. Choosing your seat well gives you a better chance of being at the right place at the right time.

Of course you'll have better chances if you have a press pass. A press pass allows you to move around along with other official photographers and get closer where no spectator would be allowed to. However, you'll have that tendency to shoot from the same spot as the other official photographers. When you do, your shots will be just like the other guys' shots. You may get some good shots, but not unique and therefore, probably not so great.


A peak moment in tennis is when a player receives and hits the ball. They occur most frequently at baseline, rarely at the net.

Every sport has a peak moment. It's that part of the action where competitors engage in a flurry of graceful movements. In basketball, it's when a player goes for a layup or dunk shot, or when the offensive player and defensive player pirouette mid-court as one attempts to bring the ball closer to the ring while the other attempts to steal the ball. In tennis, it's when the player hits the ball or does a serve. In track sprint, it's when the runners, cross the finish line or when one tries to catch up with the leading runner. These are just some of the examples. It's different for every sport and familiarity with the sports you are shooting would be an advantage.


Knowing how to swim in butterfly stroke let's you know when a swimmer will resurface to gasp for air. That is when you should take your shot.

As mentioned above, familiarity with the rules of the sport and how it is played is an advantage because it allows you to anticipate when that peak moment is most likely to happen. You'll be better prepared then. You'll find it frustrating to shoot a sport that you do not understand.

If you're watching and shooting a sport for the first time, (as I have with most of the sports I've shot) it would be a good idea to put down your camera for a while and observe for a few minutes - how the players move, how they score points, how they get penalties. After you're done with your observations and felt familiar enough with the sport, it's time to look through the viewfinder.


In this beach volleyball action, the shutter was fast enough to freeze the players in action and the fast moving ball.

There is no better way to appreciate the athleticism of the human body other than freezing the action as it happens - sharp and virtually blurr free. Even on video, high-speed cameras are used to capture sports so that a certain action may be played back in slow motion and free from blurrs. In photography, it would simply mean fast shutter speeds.

I cannot recommend here how fast you should use because various factors affect which shutter speed to use. For example, the limitations of your lens' aperture, or the actual speed of the action, or the lighting condition. In which case, you might also need to bump up your ISO settings. Do some test shots to find out which works best for the situation you are into.

If you can't get a fast enough shutter speed, it's nothing to be worried about. Some sports photos would still look great even with slight blur. However, do try to get the athletes face well in good focus. It's just difficult to relate to the action when that part is not clear.


In contrast to the previous picture, a relatively slow shutter combined with panning kept the biker in focus while the spinning wheels and the background came out with a certain amount of motion blur.

While the general idea is freezing an action, sometimes doing just that makes the competitors look like they are standing still. There are some sports that require a certain amount of motion blur to convey movement or speed. In these cases, ultra-high shutter speed is no longer ideal. Such techniques are applicable in most motorsports.

Again, you'll need to do some test shots to find out how slow you should go. It's ironic that slower shutter speeds are used in sports where the objective is to go as fast as you can.


Fast moving subjects, like this Formula 1 Powerboat, are more difficult to follow through. It took me a lot of practice and unsuccesful shot before I finally got this one.

I think this is one of the trickiest part of action photography, not just sports, but action in general. It's when you try to follow through your subjects motion in order to keep it sharp as the background gets motion blurred. It is commonly used in shooting horizontally moving subjects and therefore, you'll need to parctice how to swivel your hips smoothly, or maybe practice swiveling your monopod mounted camera (although I haven't tried that so I don't know if that's better than hand-held panning).

It all sounds too easy but it's really not. Try shooting a fast moving car while panning and see what kind of results you'd get. If you don't get a good one, then you already know that you'll need to practice to get it right.

Sports where good panning techniques will be useful are motorsports and other types of races.


Women's Greco-Roman wrestling event. In this photo, the facial expression of the wrestler in blue shows the amount of effort she exerts to out-maneuver her opponent.

The beauty of sports action is in the details. If you have seen a huge sporting event, then you've seen those pro-sports photographers virtually at ringside or "right under the athletes' noses". They are so close and yet they still have those ultra-telephotos attached to their cameras. They know that their jobs depend on capturing the action in details.

So just what kind of photos do you get when you're that close? The athlete's faces, of course. Perhaps it would include his shoulders or hands as he executes an action. You would also capture his facial expression and emotions.


Not an action shot but still, one of my best sports photos. I decided to make it into a triptych but I suppose that any one of these would have been effective to tell her story.

Sports photography is not all about action. It's also about capturing human drama - the struggles of the human body, the thrill of victory, or perhaps the agony of defeat.

In fact, some of the greatest sports photos are not sports action at all but rather, close shots of the athletes during their moments. Have you seen the photos of Muhammad Ali during his prime? Or perhaps that of Maria Sharapova right after she scored that point to win her first ever Wimbledon title?


Learning to work within you camera's capabilities will let you capture some acceptable if not great shots. This was shot with a 3.2 Mp Canon Powershot S30 - an ancient compact digicam by today's standards.

Yeah, what about gear? I'm really avoiding the discussion of gears here. We already have plenty of that in the group's discussion threads. I will not deny that a fast-shooting DSLR body fitted with a fast long lens offers more and better possibilities. If your gear is less specified than that, certain level of qualities can still be achieved if you can just work within your camera's limitations. For example, if your compact digicam only has 3x zoom lens, then you'll have to find a seat that's really close to the action - or you'll need to do some cropping later.

8.5 fps is what most professionals prefer to shoot with. The focal length of lenses vary but they are usually capable of f/2.8 maximum aperture. I can't afford those so I had to make the most of my 5 fps camera body and a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens.

IS or VR lenses, whether you believe me or not, isn't really that much of an advantage when shooting sports. They only provide assistance to stabilize your shaky hands when shooting stationary subjects. In other words, it minimizes camera shakes but totally has no control over moving subjects.

For sports where movement is erratic, you can forget about it - it doesn't work and in many cases, causes more blur. However, IS or VR (or whatever your camera manufacturer calls it) whether on your lens or in-camera does work with panning shots because your swivelling speed can be matched with the speed of your horizontally moving subject making it relatively "standing still".


Remember, the items mentioned above are guidelines, not strict rules. If they don't apply to the situation you're shooting, then don't follem them.

Next - Beach Volleyball.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Angel of Photography

It’s the holiday season and FPC would like to present to you an Angel.

Karen Angelynne Leong also known as angelynne or simply Karen in is the only Lady photographer I know personally who is always on the go and is very much willing to be either in front of the camera or behind it.


She’s describes herself as very cheerful and love to smile. She’s in love with photography and practically loves taking photos of anything under the sun from kids, people, natures, plants, animals, sceneries and many more. She also loves to pamper herself, this is where the love for traveling, bags, wallets, shoes and jewelries come in. :D

Let's find out more about our Angel:

FPC: Please tell us your full name and then your flickr screen name.
ANGEL: Karen Angelynne Yec Leong / angelynne

FPC: Where do you live at the moment?
ANGEL: Sta. Cruz, Manila

FPC: What is your current occupation?
ANGEL: Freelance Photographer & Building Administrator

FPC: You mentioned that your a freelance photographer. So you are accepting projects? What kind of projects have you done so far?
ANGEL: I'm more into events (weddings, parties, baptismal) but i do accept glamour, fashion shoot now :)


FPC: What is your current gear? (camera body/bodies, lenses and flash guns only)
ANGEL: Canon 30D, 18-55mm, 50mm, 28-135mm. 580ex

FPC: Tell us about your dream gear.
ANGEL: My dream gear would be Canon 1D Mark II-N :)

FPC: What’s your favorite photographic subject or subjects?
ANGEL: wedding, sunsets, people

Guam sunset

FPC: Any favorite photographer in particular?
ANGEL: None at the moment :)

FPC: What’s your photographic ambition?
ANGEL: to be able to deliver memorable pictures to my clients :) To let others feel that my photographs have a warm feeling behind it and a story behind it :)

FPC: When and how did you get into photography?
ANGEL: Photography is really one of my hobbies when im still a kid. i always want to capture that special moments. after college, i didn't get any chance to pursue photography, i was so busy with my job & schools. until i quit my first job, that's the only time i have the chance to pursue photography. it started about 3 years ago ......

Guam sunset

FPC: Any special someone? :)
ANGEL: Yup :)

FPC: Uuuy Sino? hehe.. Is he a photographer also? Maybe you can tell us about him and what you like about him? :) (parang the buzz na ba?) hehehe
ano ba yan! the BUZZ nga! hahahaha :D

ANGEL: can i skip this question? Ayaw ko kasi ikwento private life ko eh! hahahaha (the BUZZ din dating noh?) hahahaha

FPC: No? :P
ANGEL:Anyway, he's not a photographer, but he's always been there for me, always supports me whatever i want to do in life :)

FPC: Aside from staying behind the camera, you've also modeled for fellow photographers. When/how did this start and how was this experience for you?
ANGEL: Before becoming a photographer, I always wanted to be the subject, so i decided to have a yearly photoshoot which started last 2002, then, I showed to my photographer friends my pictures. One of them said that I can be a model and want me to modeled for them, I said yes, and that’s how everything started. :)
- The experience is fun! its more tiring to be a model than a photographer :)

FPC: Any Plans for this Holidays? Like Going abroad or out of town?
ANGEL: No, I will be in Manila for the holidays. Its been quite sometime haven't stayed here for the holidays :)



FPC: Have you been a good girl all year long?
ANGEL: hmm....I think yes :)

FPC: What are you expecting from Santa Claus this Christmas?
ANGEL: Just a happy life, good health for me & my family. world peace for everyone :)

FPC: Anong gusto mong maging pag laki mo? :P Angel yata eh. :)
ANGEL: hahaha! exactly! an ANGEL :D

FPC: How did you get to know about FPC?
ANGEL: I searched with the keyword "philippines", and I discovered FPC there :)

FPC: For the Newbies and Starters out there. What can you advice to them when they decide to start accepting projects?
ANGEL: Always be a professional, its better for the client to be late than you're the one who's late :)

A Message from the Angel:

Trust is to believe. It is something that we should always treasure and be careful about. I learned that when you over trust someone, there's no assurance that they will reciprocate often times you think who your friends are, who you trusted the most, they'll be the one to stab you at the back with such incredible stories.

All of us should learn how to protect ourselves and don't over trust people, there's an old saying "old friends are the best friends", believe in karma.

Friday, December 22, 2006

FPC Gets Featured!

It’s another feather to the cap of FPC! The Club has been featured in the December issue of the EPSON Vision Magazine, a bi-annual periodical--the pleasant culmination of a long wait for the FPC Admins. It started when Ronrag, one of the Admins, was contacted by the Editorial Supervisor of the Lifestyle Group, Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc., Kat von Einsiedel, way back in September, asking for an article and some photos to go along with it.

The news of its publication came as a lunch delight for the Admins who, keeps in constant contact by way of SMS, aside from the flickr threads, when Pat sent an SMS saying he has a copy of the magazine from One Workshop Group. The Magazine featured the Club in two pages, with a write up submitted by the Admins (in a less formal, light and witty style) describing the Club, what it is about, how it was formed, and how it is managed. Sure enough, several photos of the Admins were featured along with the article.

FPC @ Epson Vision Magazine #1
Featured photos on this page are from myklmabalay, Rareimages by shutterbugrer, ronrag and Farl

FPC @ Epson Vision Magazine #2

Featured photos on this page are from ronrag, Squareroot, Neiltot, Hocchuan and john edward

The Club is the 3rd local club to be featured and as ronrag puts it, “you can call it sheer luck, timely exposure or just a good break because there are lots of other camera or photo clubs out there who are better than us.” With several things going on with the Club, and the active participation of its members, it sure looks the Club is going somewhere forward. -- end

The Sports Series: Introduction


A collage of some of the sports I've photographed so far.

Sports photography is an interesting challenge. Like sports itself, quick action and reaction plus good timing is key to a succesful shoot. Fortunately for the photographer, athletic capability is not a necessary requirement. Although an exception is when you intend to, say, follow a mountain climber throughout his ascent to the summit, then you'll need to have some skills and strength of a mountain climber too. But what's more interesting is you get to capture human emotions as it happens - the excitement of action, the struggles of the human body, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

By observation, I've noticed that very few people shoot sports in this group. However, I've realized that, that is not due to lack of interest because I know that Andrew (Boso) regularly shoots karate tournaments. I also remember selecting one of Rey Nocum's billiard shots for this blog's Photo of the Week feature. I also remember Pat (Hocchuan) and Perry (PowerPee) shooting some bowling game. And then there's the considerable number of members who signed up for the Live Extreme event photoshoot earlier this year (Sorry guys, I can't find a link to photos of this event). Is it lack of opportunity? Maybe. Although there's a regular PBA or UAAP basketball tournaments yearly to shoot that all you need to do is buy a ring side ticket if you don't have a press pass, perhaps cameras are not allowed for spectators. I don't really know because I'm not based in the Philippines for about 10 years now. 'Barkada' basketball games? Perhaps not a very inspiring event to shoot.

It's different in my case. Shooting sports here in Doha, Qatar basically doesn't cost me anything. Lots of international sporting events happen here throughout the year, from superbikes to superboat races, from football to basketball to ATP and WTA tennis tours. The best thing is that tickets are free most of the time and cameras, whatever kind, is allowed. Okay, I had to pay from 5 to 10 riyals per sporting event during the 15th Asian Games but that's peanuts! A movie ticket costs 3 times more. The most I have paid to watch and shoot sports was 200 riyals for two tickets to the MotoGP.

I think that there are many here would love to shoot sports given the right opportunity. Over the years of shooting from the spectators stand, I've accumulated some knowledge and experience in this field. I'm not claiming any expertise but by sharing them, I hope to inspire a few to venture into this field and hopefully, develop further from there.

While the basics of sports photography applies to almost any sports, every sport is different and therefore different techniques and strategies are adapted. For this reason, I will make this topic into a series of articles providing insights on the various sports I have already photographed. Some of them are succesful shoots, some are not so succesful and then there are a few that turned out to be frustrating for me.

Listed below are some of the sporting events I've managed to shoot so far:

1. Class 1 Powerboat Race
2. Formula 1 Powerboat Race
3. MotoGP
4. Pro-Tennis
5. Beach Volleyball
6. Swimming
7. Body Building
8. Greco-Roman Wrestling
9. Cycling
10. Wushu
11. Athletics

This is just the introduction. In the first part, we will discuss some of the basic pointers. Let me just clarify right here from the start that this series is not a tutorial or a set of lessons. I'm not a teacher - 'just your average Joe sharing some of his personal experience.

To those who might find this series interesting, welcome to The Sports Series.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

PoW! 8th Week

Here are this weeks PoW!, in no order of preference:

In Command
"In Command"
by: "Harley Palangchao" a.k.a "Harley501"
- Exifs not Available -

Editors Comment: It's a very interesting subject. The first thing that catches your eyes are the colorful bracelets (or whatever they're called). Then your eyes wander to the rest of the photo noticing the texture of the skin and the patterns of the tattoo. This photo is oozing with character and interesting elements.

"Child of the River"
by: Edwin Martinez
- Exif not Available -

Editors Comment: This portrait shot is just perfect. You can see in this photo the glow of the childs face because of the brilliant use of light. The skin tone is just superb. Wonderful piece of work.

The Future
"The Future"
by: "Perry Chua" a.k.a "powerpee"
Nikon D200, 1/60, f/5.6, 200 mm, ISO 400

Editors Comment: This one is an eye-catching picture for me. I like the silhouette of the kid. Aside from the interesting lighting which added drama , it definitely inspires more people to engage themselves into photography even the young ones.

I got it...2 big Macs, 1 quarter pounder, and 3 diet cokes order of fries...
"I got it...2 big Macs, 1 quarter pounder..."
by: "Darren Abecede" a.k.a "Darren A."
Canon PowerShot SD550; 0.005 sec (1/200); f/10 @ 15.6 mm

Editor's Comment: Simple and astounding! It's inspiring in a way that it's nice to know you SHOULD take your camera anywhere you go because you just might be inspired by what you see along the way... or in the case of this photo, while you are eating. How many times have you seen great images around you, your trigger itches, so to speak, but then the feel of a the shutter just isn't there? Then, realizing that you left it at home, in the trunk of the car or in the office, you want to weep and knock your self unconscious so you wouldn't see what next spectacular image will flee from you eyes.

This one perfectly fits the category I'm filling for this week. I really have to take a bow for this one by Darren A. Although, it seems to want more of the subjects at the left and right of frame, the idea arrives solid--both funny and sensible. The black and white rendering helps to rivet your attention to these prime elements, ignoring the background, which in color, might also be spectacular. Take the two prime elements (the McDonald's sign and the fishermen) separately and they don't appeal much at all, but put them in one photo like this, add a witty title, and you got a PoW! :D

Monday, December 18, 2006

Creative Zen Vision W - Part 2

That single slot for memory cards accepts compact flash cards only.


The Zen vision W I bought has a capacity of 30 Gb. I would have preferred the 60 Gb version but it was not available right there and then. Anyway, I don't believe I've ever shot more than 30 Gb worth of photos in one photo shoot. I haven't even shot that much during a month long vacation in the Philippines or during my 5 weeks in the US last year. So I guess it will do just fine.

As mentioned, it has a CF card slot and I like that because CF is what my cameras use (yes, even my ancient Powershot S30). However, it would have been nicer if Creative has incorporated the multi-card slot that will accommodate SD, MS and other small card formats instead of selling it as a separate adaptor. I mean, what gadget still uses CF cards other than DSLRs or other high-end prosumers? In fact, the lower range DSLRs now uses SD cards. This, I think, limits this gadget's appeal to a broader market. It would have been nicer if I could transfer data from my other gadgets that use SD and different varieties of the Memory Stick.

The 4.3", 16:9, 480x272 pixels TFT LCD screen is its best asset - be it for picture or video viewing. It can also output videos and photos to an external display at a maximum of 720x480 pixels.

Anyway, as a storage device it works seamlessly. Just insert your CF, go to menu and select copy from Compact Flash and then it will give you options on whether to copy all or just the latest 10, 20 or 50 files. It took only 5 minutes and 46 seconds to extract 1 fully loaded 1 Gb card. While extracting, the status as to how many files have been copied is displayed on the screen and then announces when extraction has been completed. I've fully tested it during my shoots in the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. During the Opening Ceremony and in various competitive events. As mentioned, extracted data from my 1 Gb CF cards in less than 6 minutes. That's really fast enough for me and good to know that I would already have another Gb worth of memory card ready to use before I could fill-up the one loaded in my camera. However, I find start-up rather slow; I didn't get to time it but I think it's around 10 seconds.

But remember that it supports only JPEG files so I have no way of checking later on whether my RAW files are actually there. My only reference is the transfer status info during extraction as mentioned above. I want to see my pictures on the ZEN Vision's 4.3" screen so I have now changed my camera setting to shoot in RAW+JPEG in small size (about 2 Mp). I loose about 8 shots worth of RAW but with extra 30Gb on the go, that's really not that much to loose. I find that setting actually good because I now have a full set of photos ready to show or distribute to friends and then process only the ones I really, really like.

As a storage device for my photography activities, it works almost perfectly for me. I said "almost" because I still want that RAW support and the multi-card slot built-in.

Watching video here is wonderful. This is what this gadget is primarily made for.


I think this gadget's best asset is the 4.3" LCD screen. Not only is it big but it's also one of the clearest I've seen and can be viewed clearly at a wider angle than it's predecessor, the Zen Vision's 3.7" screen. Watching movies here is such a pleasure.

It supports a variety of video formats - wmv, mpeg, DivX, Xvid, etc. This is what this device is actually all about - a portable video player. However, the bundled software does not have a DVD ripper (sigh) and converting VCD's into a supported format takes ages. A one-hour movie takes close to 2 hours to convert and install on the device. I don't know if that's good or bad but I guess converting video into a different file format actually takes time, whatever software you use.

I have another gripe. It does not record programs from your TV. What a shame.

The Zen Vision W in music player mode.


It wouldn't be fair to compare this to the iPod, which is still today's standard-bearer to which other portable music players are measured against with. The iPod is the iPod - it's already an icon.

Anyway, the user interface is quite good and intuitive. You can browse by artist, by album, by genre - just like most high-end mp3 players. You can also create play lists, choose to play in random, the highest rated or the rarely heard.

It has a five-channel equalizer that you can set manually or just select from the different presets. I'm no audio-expert and so I wouldn't know whether the Zen Vision W sounds better than this or that gadget. But it sounds pretty good and that's good enough for me.

You can even listen to FM Stereo broadcast. However, you need to attached your earphone / headphone for this to work because the earphone / headphone acts as an antennae. The broadcast reception is very good but I've tried it just once. Radio stations here are all in Arabic language and while they have English programs from time to time and play Western music, I don't think I'd like them for my regular listening enjoyment.

Thumbnails display.


Like I said previously, the screen is fantastic and previewing photos here is really nice. Slideshows can be customized with various transition effects or no effects at all. Interval can be set at 3, 5, 10 and 15 seconds. You can even zoom any photo during a slideshow but it enlarges only twice the screen size. No multiple size or dynamic zoom.

One thing that annoys me. When you press the play button to start the slideshow, the status bar appear on top of the first photo for the entire duration of the interval set and disappears only when the second photo is displayed. It, therefore obstructs your view of the first photo. The bad news is, it can't be customized not to appear.

My other complaint is that you can't loop the slideshow so that it would play continuously for as long as you want it to.


The Zen Vision W has PDA function as well. It has Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks List that are synchronizable with Microsoft Outlook. But as a PDA, it sucks (excuse me). Those functions are buried within a series of menus and you cannot input data directly to the gadget. You'll have to input them through Outlook and then synchronize. It does not even display your contact's numbers on a list display. You'll have to view them one by one. So as a PDA, you can forget about it.


I have a few complaints, that's true. As a portable entertainment / multi-media gadget, there are a lot of better products out there. It's not perfect but it did what I bought it for to do - and that is store my photos for an extended photo shoot. Despite its flaws, there's plenty to like about this gadget like those I have already mentioned. For example, the battery lasts for 14 hours of continuous music play. It may not be long enough for others but that's long enough for me. It can play video for 4.5 continuous hours. Perhaps not long enough for trans-oceanic flights but why would you need to watch movie in it when there's in-flight shows?



- Part 1 of this article here

Saturday, December 16, 2006

He Calls His Style "Mazkypopz"

His office building is adjacent to mine. So, via texting or SMS, we decided to meet at the Salt & Pepper restaurant lunch time of December 13, Wednesday. We met at the back entrance of our building, where people usually meet before going out to lunch in groups. There he was with his perennial smile and the trademark curly hair. If fact, his flickr screen name is reminiscent of it.

Eric and I sat down midway between two speakers in the classy restaurant, so we can hear each other during the question and answer session. I can't remember what food he ordered now (and he cleaned his plate before we got to the last question), but I got myself tea and he ordered for diet Coke.

FPC's 8th featured photographer just became an admin on December 14th, the night after the "Shooter's Night" party at Tiananmen Bar, Makati Ave., Makati City. He had been into Photography before I even knew what the difference between optical and digital zoom is. Meet him in midair:


Data Vitae
Full Name: Ericson Cruz Fernandez
flickr screen name: "erxkulotz"
Present Address: Cainta, Rizal
Occupation: Senior Graphic Artist for WolfPac Mobile, Inc., a content provider of Smart Communications, Inc.
Current Gear:
camera body = Canon 350D
lenses = kit lens,
50mm f/1.8,
75-300mm III USM f/4-5.6 (Canon),
28-70mm f/2.8 EX DG (Sigma)
flash = 430EX
Favorite Photographic Subject: Anything under the sun (and the moon) hehehe..:D if you browse my flickr & multiply account, you'll know what i mean... anything goes... mazkypopz..:D [The interview reveals that he does have a preferred subject--his nephew.]
Favorite Photographer: No one in particular, 'coz i admire photos that capture my attention, whether it is shot by a newbie or a pro
Dream Gear: A full frame body, a 24-70mm f/2.8 L, & a 70-200mm f/2.8 L
Photographic Ambition: I enjoy shooting events, concerts, gigs... (i could be a rockstar! hehehe...) maybe an events photographer, but im not limiting myself on doing only that... mazkypopz nga diba..:D If there's an opportunity for a big project, go and shoot... as long as you put your heart into it..:D

More of Eric and His Photography
FPC: How many of you in the family are inclined to Photography? And what do they say about your passion?
ECF: Just me. My Mom paid for me to enter the world of Photography! I took up Fine Arts, major in Advertising Arts and one of our subjects is Photography. She bought me a second-hand Nikon film-based manual camera when I was only about 18 or 19 year old. Before that, however, I used Kodak instamatics. And so from the start, my Mom knew about my penchant for taking photographs.

Recently, she noticed my photo in a magazine, featuring the products of a client one of my officemate (I VA'd for him) and she asked me if the pose was a paid one. I said, "No, but it's a big plus to my experience."

FPC: Is your GF also into Photography?
Yes, but not seriously. She uses a P&S Canon A410, and guess who her favorite subject is! I told her to take her camera in one of our concert shoots and When I looked at her photos later, I found me in most of them! She plans to upgrade, though still to a P&S model, because she now feels limited by the functions of her current camera.

FPC: Back in College, who or what were your early inspirations?
Hmmm... back in College... None. I was a student and I just had to take photos for the curriculum. But what makes me lift my camera to shoot then was the sight of fellow student-photogs taking photos. They document the subject, I document them documenting the subjects.

FPC: What inspires you to get your cam and shoot, now?
My nephew, Sam. He is 9 months old. I like to capture the candid growing moments. In fact, I have a folder in my PC of photos of him in various stages of growth--1 month, 2, 3 months... and so on. I must have about 1,000+ photos of him now.

It's not random shooting because I had to wait for that once-in-lifetime moments of firsts, and fleeting candid moments of a smile and other expressions. My younger sister, Sam's mother, is thinking of buying a digicam for when I am in the office and not able to take his pictures--she plans to substitute for me.

Other things that inspires me are gigs and nature. Concerts, and the likes. I was a mountaineer back at UST. But I have not climbed for so long now. That botched hike we planned in November should have been my first again in years. Unfortunately, it did not push through.

I am also starting to inch into Fashion and Glamour Photography, like most you guys are. Incidentally, my avatar was shot in my first ever studio shoot at Cube Point in Pasig, when we did a concept shoot for a debuting friend of a fellow photog. My first ever Fashion shoot was with you guys in Tiananmen Bar last October 25th [T-Bar's 4th Anniversary Celebration dubbed "Fourplay"].

FPC: Aside from student-photogs, what were your early favorite photo subjects then? How about now?
ECF: I also liked taking night shots. Our professor gave us a list of Photographic categories and left us the decision of what to shoot. I liked night shots. I enjoyed the times we climbed up rooftops and shoot highways during the evenings. We used film then--a time when usually 4 out 36 frames come out good.

There was no LCD to "preview" your shots yet, so we are left with "trial and error." But we liked the anticipation of how the film negatives will come out of the lab.

Now, my favorite, or more appropriately, "most-shot" subjects are of concert events. That is because I enjoy both Photography and Music and concerts afford me to enjoy them at the same time. Concerts is where I'm inclined to right now.

The Hand That Rocks

[This photo was featured in the PoW! 4th week, published November 22, 2006 in this blogspot.]
I usually go to musical events in Eastwood, because the security there is relatively lenient and thus, we have more freedom to shoot wherever we liked. I go there with fellow photogs.

FPC: Can I come with you on one of your concert shoots?
Yes, sure. There is an upcoming one on December 16th but we will be at the Canon "Shoot and Run" Photo Marathon so I guess, we both won't be available.

FPC: How do you describe your brand of Photography? If you would describe your photo style, what is it?
Mazkipopz. Like what I said in my flickr-mail to you. That's with "Z"s, not "S"s. It stands for "Maski papaano" ["Anything goes."] If the opportunity comes, I shoot without thinking, but trusting my eyes.

lobo boy

I know I see something other photogs don't. But it's not an aimless style. You still have to give thought to the composition and technical in-cam settings.

FPC: What are your photographic plans?
I'm not planning to abruptly switch from hobbyist to pro. Although I did paid jobs already, these are for experience and practice, and to build contacts. I still have much to learn and have to invest in more gears.

Of course, eventually I will aspire as pro, but for now I'm hobbyist--we all start naman this way before becoming pros, if ever. Although, there is hope for me at a shot at pro. Someone PM'd me, a creative director of some outfit, who has viewed my multiply albums. He is asking me for rates. That's a good sign.

FPC: What work are you proud of?
It's that black and white photo of a kid in the flight of stairs, shot in the Manila Cathedral during one of my walkaround shooting.


This was chosen as one of the B&W finalists last September during the Nirai party. I reuploaded it and re-titled it as "Hope."

FPC: When judging the merits of a photo, what is the first thing you look for?
ECF: The "X-Factor"... those photos that have a different feel, whether in style, composition, or technique used.

FPC: How do you plan to spend your holiday vacations, Photographically-speaking?
ECF: I'm planning to shoot Policarpio St., where the houses light up when night comes; Shoot my nephew, he's the latest addition to our family and it's also his first Christmas; I'm also planning to go out of town with my family & GF, photo op on the side.

FPC: What Photo Clubs are you connected to?
Back in College, we have the AD-Phocus, or "Advertising Photographers in Focus." I am also a member of PhPhoto, of which I am a lurker. And of course, FPC...

FPC: Which you're now an Admin of! Congrats!
Yeah... That was a pleasant after-party surprise. Lady_G [another FPC member] texted me the morning after the party saying something about the word "Mod." I didn't get it at first, but later I understood I was promoted as "Admin." I visited the flickr groups but to my surprise, I didn't find FPC among the groups I am member of! I thought I was kicked out of FPC! Then I saw FPC up there under the "Groups you administer" caption.

FPC: As an Admin, what do you plan to contribute to FPC?
Ron [an Admin] PM'd me, congratulating me and encouraging me to do my best. I also thanked Pat [another Admin] and he replied, "that's extra job you got!" Well, I can contribute my talent to the Club. If ever we will need designs and layouts, I'd be glad to do it for the Club. Any visual arts we need producing at all, you can count on me.

FPC: How does it feel to be an Admin of FPC?
Happy! That after 6 months, I am getting recognized. Grateful. Although, it's not my goal to be an Admin--I was Ok being a member being able to communicate with you Admins and pioneers of the Club at the same level. Like most of the others, we are happy being members of FPC and have this... something amongst us.

FPC: What's your message to the FPC members?
Shoot lang ng shoot! Post lang ng post! ["Keep on shooting! Keep on posting!"] However mundane you think is your subject, it's your unique point of view, an image that is not seen by others. For instance, take these shakers [arranges the salt & pepper shakers]. You can shoot these and if it appeals to you, show them what you saw. I saw a lot of newbie photos and was amazed. I thought, "They saw that? I might not."

Also, keep on improving yourself. Pat's thread about "THEN and NOW" is self-evaluating. I looked at my shots then and now and realized that I have improved.


- end -