Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Inquisitive Glass

Our featured photographer for this week is a prolific poster in the FPC discussion threads and a regular starter of fresh topics (or excerpts from other discussion groups and internet sites), which oftentimes educate, occasionally amuse, but always are focal points for bonding among members.

He likes to "slug it out" with the other members in a friendly fashion, exchanging banters and jokes, and of course, relevant information. He has an inquisitive mind, which led him into the colorful (sometimes B&W) world of photography, and it just might equally be the reason why he never runs out of topics to talk about.

And if you are wonder why his flickr screen name is "shutterglass," I failed to ask him that during the interview! Hehe... Does he break the glass of his lenses often? Or is he a melancholic touchy person who "shutters like a glass" when not tactfully handled? Or does it have something to do with the eyeglasses he wear? Maybe if we read on you might find hints. Let's start with his personal profile.


Data Vitae
Full Name: Don C. Garchitorena
flickr Screen Name: shutterglass
Present Address: Project 3, Quezon City
Occupation: Product Data Specialist of a rapid response supplier of technology solutions for business, government and educational institutions as well as consumers in the US, with over 100,000 different products from companies such as Compaq, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Cisco, etc.
Current Gear:
camera body = Nikon D50
lenses = Nikkor 50mm f/1.8; Nikkor 28-80 f/3.3-5.6; Quantary 70-300 f/4-5.6 Macro
Favorite Photographic Subject: In order: People (Candid/Posed), Places, Objects
Favorite Photographer: Manny Librodo
Dream Gear: Knowing the ever-changing models in a few months time, its hard to dream for the ultimate gear. I rather defined dream gear as realistic gear, as I dream for it, then one day i get to hold and maximize its potential.
Photographic Ambition: Solo exhibit is one. Being recognize having a different style in capturing and freezing subjects in time is another.

Tiendesitas is again alive and bustling with Friday "gimmickers" who come here to dine while watching musical performances by live bands at a close proximity. We were here last Friday when we shot another FPC member who is also a rapper. I'm back again. But this time, I will shoot questions at Don who has arrived earlier from work and is waiting for me (shame, shame) among the patrons of the eateries at the center of the premises.

I missed him on the first pass through the crowd of garrulous diners and other passersby zipping by. When I backtracked, I saw him waving at me. We shooks hands, exchanged salutatory words and decided to order pancit and bibingka. Then we found a quiet spot away from the blaring music. I put down my little notepad and my pen, then, we began to... eat! Hehe

Now, the interview while we're nibbling at the bibingka:

Person and Family

FPC: Are you married?
DON: No.

FPC: Girlfriend?
DON: Yes. One and only!
FPC: Is she an FPC member too? Also a photographer?
No. No.

FPC: Is she your officemate?
She was my officemate.

FPC: What's her opinion about your photographic passion?
DON: 50-50. I mean she is supportive when she gets me to do something she wants done. Then I get support for photoshoots. Otherwise, the other 50.

FPC: Does she know you shoot models?
DON: Yes. Even nudes shoots. She is matured enough not to get jealous. Arguments are a waste of time.

FPC: How many siblings are you?
DON: We're three. I am the firstborn.

FPC: So, do you support the younger ones financially?
DON: Not really. But when they need something, I help too--financially, and in some other means. However, when it comes to artworks, it's me they need to help.

FPC: Are they also photographically inclined?
DON: No. I am the only one different.

His Photography

FPC: When did you take up Photography as a passion?
DON: That's a long story. It started when I was browsing in the Tipid PC forum (an all-around forum, but primarily for buying and selling). There I saw photos by Filipinos and foreigners. Thus, I was inspired and became curious. I tried copying their shots with my Samsung point-and-shoot camera but, of course, failed. I asked myself: "What do they do to take such photos? Why can't I duplicate their shots?" I had many questions. Of course, I didn't know about DSLRs back then.
That was early 2005. By December, I realized that they used DSLR to take those kind of photos. I thought about how I could buy one of those, considering my salary. Still I went about window shopping, comparing features and prices. In my zealousness, I knew about the DSLR cameras functions before I even bought one!

The opportunity to acquire one came in January last year, when my Boss told me that I would possibly be sent to the United States for training. I thought it would be a waste of time and opportunity not to take photos in the USA. So, I pulled some tricks to be able to save on allowance and buy myself a camera there. After comparing Nikon D50 with Canon 350D, I settled with Nikon. Canon was my first choice, but I could save more with the Nikon.

But even with my new DSLR, I didn't enjoy taking photos with my new Nikon D50 because I didn't know the camera functions then. I read but worked mostly with the camera's automatic settings. I learned real photography is not just snapping shots.


FPC: And when did you learn to use your camera's other settings?
DON: When I joined PhiPho, I read from the threads, from the pros about aperture and shutterspeed priority. And that the automode should be used only in "panic cases." I asked a lot and was thankful to Hydroxycut [another FPC member] for welcoming my questions. I also came in contact with Rus88 [also an FPC member] in PhiPho and it was he who mentioned about FPC's Live Extreme coverage at the PICC Forum.

I wanted to go with FPC but it was late signing up for it. So I contacted the organizers so that my friend and I went there by ourselves as independent photographers. Yet, it was a failed coverage for me because most photos came out blurred. Most of the time I was in panic.

I recognized some FPC members with their IDs but I was shy to introduce myself. But I got this photo with ronrag smiling behind my friend when I was taking my friend's souvenir shot (ronrag didn't know me then):

Don's Friend & Ronrag

FPC: What is a good photo to you?
What do you mean? That's a hard one.

FPC: For example, when is a portrait photo good for you?
I guess when I take a long look at a photo and wonder how it was done. When it captures the attention of someone who lingers on that photo. Conversely, when a photo is viewed only cursorily, I think it does not have the qualities of a good photo.

FPC: Do you like your photos being critiqued?
DON: Yes, even when the comments are "below-the-belt." I think it is for the good of a photographer to take even those seriously so he is able to adjust his style. However, when it is me who gives "below-the-belt" comments and the photog reacts negatively, I leave and not come back.

FPC: What are your photographic plans in the near future?
DON: To make something financially beneficial out of my photo skills and perhaps a sideline taking photo jobs. It would be good barometer of how well I have honed my skills and surely, a means for me to acquire more gears.

FPC: How do you plan to make that happen?
DON: Hmm... I think it is wise to listen to those who are already in the business and get acquainted with the aspects of it, from package pricing to actually conducting the shoot. Doing that while honing my skills. I know of someone who has a day job and still manages to do paid photo shoots on weekends. That gives me the encouragement to pursue a profitable endeavor even while having a day job. There is living proof so the possibility is realistic.

FPC: Can you expound on your photographic ambition? What kind of photos do you want to exhibit?
DON: Right now I don't know my forte yet but I'm being inclined to taking wedding shots.

Caleruega Wedding

However, I am not really sure about that. I can safely say that it will be more of portraits than landscape because it is harder for me to shoot landscape without convenient transportation. For now, it is more convenient for me to shoot portrait.

FPC: Do you remember any photographic quotes?
DON: Not exactly, but I remember Librodo's idea about "being just a hobbyist and never becoming a professional." It conveys the idea of continuous learning. Even pros can't claim to know everything. I've seen some amateurs inspire some pros to some photographic style.

FPC: Have you had any paid jobs already?
DON: Yes, one. Hopefully, this big one in mid of this year. If I pull through it successfully, it would make me more confident and bankable. It could be a catapult to something bigger, who knows.

About FPC

FPC: Who invited you to FPC?
DON: Rus88 referred me to FPC. Then I think I sent a request to the Admins to approve me as member. But I was not yet posting much in the beginning. I didn't know how to introduce myself. Then there was this modeling thread by ronrag where I tried engaging Karen and LG in a conversation, starting a friendly light banter. They responded positively and that made me feel welcome.

It didn't take me long to prefer FPC over the other club. I also saw the pleasant atmosphere--there is belongingness even for first timers. Thus, I also started inviting others to FPC.

FPC: I remember you during the Fireworks shoot last October. What was your impression of FPC then? What do you like about FPC since then?
DON: I was impressed at how FPC organized the shooting event. It was my first time to go to the Mall of Asia so I don't even know where the Music Hall is but I managed to be there at the meeting place to meet you and the others before the fireworks display began.

Don's Fireworks

Unlike other clubs who plan photo events but never conducts it, FPC organizes and sees to its completion. I decided I fit in better with FPC. Here is where my skills are being sharpened and noticed.

Additionally, it easier to invite models to an FPC shoot because of the "many possibilities!" [Grins.]

I also recall what Boso said about posting in the threads. You don't get a pointed finger warning that you are off-topic. In other club threads, when you post something intruiging or controversial, others flare up easily. In FPC, everyone is cool and even when conflict arises, it is readily dissipated.

FPC is like a paradise island for photographers. Good reason to invite others.

FPC: Do you think that FPC is headed for "something big?"
DON: Yes. How it organizes and conducts its events, the harmony among Admins and members--these are indicatives that FPC is going somewhere.

FPC: What improvements do you think FPC should make?
DON: More sharing of resources, like workshops. Another example would be the sharing of announcements of photo contests. So that when an FPC members win, we are all proud!

FPC: Finally, what is your message to the FPC admins and members?
DON: Can't say anything about the admins. They are working hard, I can see. To the members: Share, share share! Your knowledge, skills, and resources (for example, easy access to information about studios, their pricing and models' non-confidential info! :D)

- end -


ronrag said...

this guy who calls himself a shutterglass is one of the most exuberant member we have at FPC. a very engaging person but with a pleasantly nice personality. i'm still figuring out if he's a Nikonian by choice or by accident! hehe

shutterglass said...

hahaha... ron, i don't want you to waste much energy figuring out the answer to that question, instead lets focus more on the CLS side of things =)

I'm straight nikonian. I can't deny I LOVE its colors, even pros i've work with, can't believe a d50 can render better colors as compared with their higher end canon models =)

With all due respect to the canon interviewer, its reasonable he trim down some points i did made during the interview =)

These are elementary strong points I choose during that time as a newbie. But for now, Im good in looking at specs, I appreciate I did choose the right path, Nikons supremacy.

1. ccd sensor
2. spot metering.
3. 2inch lcd
4. 130,000 lcd pixels
5. 6M vs 8M is not an issue
3. bigger hand grip
2. less pricer but specs are comparable
4. i love the red thingy

To top it all, we will soon welcome a new nikoninan, Ryuji =)

john edward said...

i like how the interview is so candid! well done guys!

don is someone who puts some spice in the discussions at fpc! he's a sly and interesting online buddy!