It had been a weird, fascinating, and all-in-all satisfying past three months. I’ve been going to places non-stop, every weekend turns to another adventure. I have visited 2 more countries since my last post in June: A weekend in Seoul, South Korea, and a backpacking trip to Java Island, Indonesia. Not everything turned out fine though, especially in Jakarta, but that’s another story for another time.
Since I have limited time for post prod work on my trips (EXCUSES! Too much Running Man marathons for me), and today turns out to be a Thursday, here’s a photo from my forgotten pile of Xiamen images taken a year ago.
Till next time!
One of my objectives in this trip is to capture the most magnificent sunset I could find. Too bad though, that the haze from Indonesia started affecting the skies, and almost all the time the sky was gloomy grey.
Fortunately, our last evening in KK I got lucky with a good sunset scene. I didn’t have time to setup the usual gear, as I did not carry a wide angle lens, my filters, or even my tripod. But that won’t stop me from taking a nice snapshot of the sun meeting the sea.
A big chunk of our time in Labuan, Sabah, Malaysia consisted of riding speedboats, sitting through departure halls, and one instance, riding a dilapidated, broken down, provincial bus. But that story is for another time, in a much much memorable time.
Here’s a snapshot of what I do when I’m bored out of my mind waiting for the next ferry to Brunei.
Our little Plan B trip is finally on the way. Me and my travel hungry colleagues, with weeks of planning, made it to Kota Kinabalu on one piece.
Plan B you ask? Well, a brief background on what happened is that originally we are to fly to Taiwan, then the PH-TW sea row happened. Least to say, we got scared that some overly zealous TW citizen would maul us to submission. So thanks to Air Asia/Zest Air we got cheap tickets to Kota Kinabalu instead. Gotta love the budget airlines!
Going back, my first impression on Kota Kinabalu is that it’s a place to go to if you want a slower pace, less busy, and less cluttered trip. It’s not as developed as the likes of Seoul or Osaka, but it’s Malaysia’s hidden gem. The streets are not crowded, motorists follow the rules, the places to visit are just 15 minutes walk between each other, and people are great because some are actually Filipinos who understand the language hence communication is a lot easier than traveling to China.
There are a lot of interesting photographic subjects as well. Since Kota Kinabalu, like Kuala Lumpur, is also a melting pot of different racial cultures. It’s a breath of fresh air to observe how people of different races interact with each other, and how foreign tourists are comfortable in blending in as well.
There are a lot of sights to see in the next few days, but tomorrow, we’re off to the mysterious country that is Brunei. On Sunday/Monday we finally get to see the waters off Sabah, so that should be exciting as well.
Till then! #
Just like that, summer was over.
It had been a good summer in a long while, in which I found myself visiting the best beach paradise in the Philippines: El Nido. But that trip is another topic for another time. This time, on an almost rainy day in the Metro Manila in June, me and my friends went to the beach before the Rainy Monsoon season officially starts.
We came back to Anilao, Mabini, Batangas for a day trip of enjoying the water this time. We snorkelled and swam with the fishes, while some of us chilled by the docks.
For those people looking for a refreshing short dive, grab your underwater cameras and head to Planet Dive. I think they also offer beginner’s deep sea diving classes as well. #
I recently went on a short trip to the east, in Tanay Rizal to live among the mountains of Sierra Madre. A simple two days one night trip filled with sunsets, nude models, a couple cans of beer, and of course the great company with Framed Shots Camera Club.
I was never good with shooting models due to my chronic shyness and awkwardness around them, so I have enjoyed shooting the trees around. A few minutes hike up the hills and we find ourselves in a camp site with trees overlooking Mt. Sierra Madre. Here we setup our tripods (or my lack of it, hehe) and waited for the sunset.
So here are some of the snaps of that afternoon, along with a nice poem about trees:
Trees by Joyce Kilmer
Summer is here, and in the Philippines that only mean one thing: time to hit the waters!
A few weeks ago I received a phone call from one of my photography peer and mentor Kuya Noel Amata. He invited me over for a weekend road trip with Kuya Rellie, Kuya Allan, Kuya Okoy, and Ate Jen to nearby Anilao, Mabini, Batangas which was around two to three hours away from Manila. Given that my weekend situation (of mostly sleeping and doing anything but be productive), I gave a more then enthusiastic YES!
We stayed at a resort called Sail Anilao near the foothills of Mt. Gulugod Baboy, around a Kilometer uphill from Anilao Port which was owned by one of Kuya Noel’s former model and friend, and her Belgian husband whose passion is Sailing.
What I found there was a heaven, as the vibe of chilling out near the sea, swimming and snorkeling was just a stone throw away from the resort. There are a lot of activities to do, but since I just came from my regular midshift work, all I really wanted was to relax and take a break from it all.
This time, I get to practice Landscape photography as well. I’m in luck, as in Sail Anilao there are a lot of rock formations and a sunset view. Perfect! Good thing I brought my oft unused tripod and my wide angle lens, plus my cheap-o ND Graduated filter.
We swam for a bit, ate a good late lunch, took some portraits of the couple (which I will post next time, promise!), then the sun started to set. Time to get the gear and get into position!
I won’t bore you with words anymore, so here you go. These are some of my landscape images taken:
If you and your friends are planning to just have fun, chill out, grab a few beers, and maybe learn snorkeling and sailing, then this is a place for you. For the more adventurous bunch, you could hike up Mt. Gulugod Baboy and get your sweat up, then go down and swim your hearts content afterwards.
But of course, don’t forget to bring your camera for a picturesque photo session as well.
I recently had the opportunity to try out my new camera: Canon 6D
We travelled a few kilometers south of Metro Manila to Talisay Batangas to do a site ocular for the upcoming office outing.
Least to say, Balai Isabel’s view of the Taal Lake is as photogenic as it can get. Can’t help but be amazed on how close I am to the magnificent Taal Volcano.
It was a hot, humid, day in May when it all began. By then, I just finished my short stint as an office intern in my father’s engineering firm (where else?). It was in 2008, in the early stages of the US Financial Crisis. But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about where it all began, that day where I first got a hold of my own semi-professional digital single lens reflex camera; Back then, I was on Team Yellow. My first “decent” camera was a Nikon D60.
A few months prior, my sister got her own, a spanking new Nikon D80: one of the better DSLR’s back then. It produces good vibrant images and has blazing fast autofocus. I was envious. Back then, I merely own a digital point-and-shoot, and by artistic standards, producing horrible images of nothing and everything. Little did I know that a few years after, I realize that I produce horrible images regardless of camera, but that’s another story for a different day.
Back to that day, when my sister ordered me my Nikon D60 from Mayer Photo (of Quiapo Fame!), and had to drive to their home in Quezon City to pick it up. It was the right timing too, as that the next few days I will find myself going on a plane to Cebu to visit my brother. The first ever Esguerra Family Vacation! Time to test the new toys.
I pulled out my dad’s ever reliable compact tripod (possibly older than me, which is still alive today) and shot nightscapes through our hotel’s window. Back then, I never had any formal training in photography. I just knew the relationship between f-stop, shutter, and ISO, mixing them up to produce acceptably bright images. I guess that worked for me, as looking back, my night shots are in the realm of “okay”, and not “crap”.
Throughout the trip I had to settle on doing Aperture Priority since I’m not good with Manual Exposure just yet. Not a problem. Years later, I found out that Aperture Priority is all I need when travelling, else, Manual Exposure for Flash Photography, but that’s going out of topic now.
Now while I bask into the madness of understanding all the technical things related to photography, one of my regrets now, was back then I could have just focused on looking for beautiful things to capture and not how to expose a perfectly boring scene.
Photography, should always and foremost, always about the subject or the scene: technical mumbo-jumbo comes second. By concentrating on shooting meaningful and beautiful scenes, the lighting and all technicalities related to it comes naturally. My photography professor always say that “The worst picture you could take is a cow eating grass”. What does this mean? You have to attend his basic photography workshops to find out!
But one thing I could advice to any photography newbie that I got from my photography professor: “Keep on shooting, from the start of your vacation, up to the moment you are up in the air going home.”
And that was exactly what I did then, as I do now when I travel.
Years succeeding to that Cebu trip made me take photography seriously. I can’t say I’m a good photographer now, but I sure know that I’m much better now than before. But what you can’t take away from me, is that I started being serious at photography through travel, and you can bet on the fact that I will always be expressing my own style through what I see when I travel.