Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

Posts tagged “Canon 50mm f1.4

Tiny in a Daring Impromptu Photoshoot

This was taken last weekend in Burot Beach.  I brought paper bag and candles for our night (an idea I got from a resort in Cebu).  The effect was so pretty that most of us had our solo pictures taken.  It was so dark that even with a f1.4 aperture (50mm), the exposure required ISO 6400 with shutter speeds that risk blurring.

When it came to Tiny, one thing led to another until the poses got more daring.  On previous pictures, she was sitting and facing the candles that illuminate her face.  In this picture, the light from the candles can no longer illuminate her face so we had to improvise.  Eman held one paperbag light above her and Ellidel held an improvised reflector (the silvery foam used to insulate roofs that Oyet brings to sleep on inside the tent) to her side to reflect light.

The shot went really well but editing was difficult due to the noise at ISO 6400 and the selective dodging and burning that sometimes increased noise.

A very nice picture for me and I’m really proud of our work!


Keana and Chichi

Last Saturday (September 21) was my mother’s birthday.  My sister and I went home to the province to celebrate her birthday.

I also got a chance to see one of our dogs and her newborn pup.

Keana is a mongrel dog that is more than 7 years old.  This is the first time she had got pregnant and got pups.  According to my mother, she had two pups but the second one died since her labor took a long time and the second one was born after the first one and was already dead when born.  The remaining pup is a female which my niece named Chichi.  Because of lack of competition for milk and attention, Chichi got round so fast that at exactly two weeks, she’s already very round.

Such a sweet dog that attends to her pup’s every whine and still comes out to be scratched on the nape.  She’s also doesn’t get bitchy when we lift the cover to her space to look at the pup.  Too bad she’s very old that one of her eye is almost taken over by a cataract.

All pics taken with EOS M and Canon EF 50mm f1.4 (such a wonderful lens though slow to focus on the EOS M).

OM-D Matters

I bought the OM-D less than a month ago.  Being a Canon DSLR user (and Fuji X10 for auto-everything), I am used to using almost all of Adobe Lightroom’s feature from auto-tone to lens profile correction, color fringing removal, etc.  However, on using the OM-D, I noticed some odd but rather important matters:

– No lens correction for raw files (Olympus lenses are not even listed under the manufacturer portion).  I don’t know if there is some way to correct this as I am not yet very familiar with the camera’s settings and menu (I don’t even know yet how to set the lens function button).  I set auto-distortion to off to extract the maximum resolution from the camera.  However, when the times comes that I have to take a picture of object with straight edges (e.g., buildings, doors, etc.), the curvy lines are very noticeable.  I must find a way to correct this!

– No color space/profile choices.  I believe this is not limited to Olympus OM-D.  When using Canon or Nikon DSLRs, Lightroom allows you to choose the color profile as either Adobe RGB or the camera colors (standard, faithful, neutral, portrait, landscape).  This option is not available for Olympus OM-D and my Fuji X10.  I think this is more of a support issue from Adobe rather than camera issue.

Also, DX0mark rates the ISO of the OM-D as ISO 826 and for the Canon 7D as ISO 854, they are worlds away when shooting at high ISO (1600 or higher).  The Canon 7D has finer grain and less color artifacts.  Of course the biggest difference between the two cameras is SIZE.  The OM-D a very small camera and the 7D a very large camera (especially with the battery grip almost permanently attached).

I bought the Kiwiphoto Canon EF-m4/3 adaptor to use my existing DSLR lenses.  As expected, my Canon EF lenses can only be used wide open (no stopping down of aperture, unless I stop the lens in the Canon camera before dismounting it).  For my two Samyang lenses (85mm 1.4 and 8mm fisheye, the aperture can be controlled via lens aperture ring so no problem).  The camera-adaptor-lens  works ok on most of the lenses (the Olympus IBIS works ok).  What I did not expect is that the combination won’t focus for wide-angle lenses.  My 8mm fisheye won’t focus at all (focused past infinity) and my Canon 10-22mm works only at 17mm and above.  I don’t know if this is an adaptor issue or a camera (flange distance) issue.  If this is an adaptor issue, then my 100mm macro lens is not working at the closest focusing distance.

This of course is for experiments only as the combination of the OM-D with any of my regular SLR lenses will be unwieldy (a very large lens with a small camera).  Possibly, I’ll use the OM-D with the Samyang 85mm (plus Nikon F-Canon EF and Canon EF-M4/3 adapters), Tamron 70-300 (600mm equivalent!) and Canon 100mm macro (if I’m at home and macro resolution is required – the 12-50mm macro is very good but not as good as the 100mm).

OM-D EM-5 + Kiwi adaptor + Canon EF 50mm f1.4 lens

OM-D EM-5 + Kiwi adaptor + Canon EF 100mm Macro

We Go Bollywood!

December 20. 2012


Most Christmas parties here have a theme.  For our company Christmas party, the theme was Bollywood so we all tried to look as Indian as possible, including buying and improvising Indian clothes.

These two pictures are of me as shot by the photobooth (we got the softcopy of the pictures from the photobooth operator).

I was impressed by the level of preparation that most individuals put into their costumes and presentation.  This is only the second time that our company had its own Christmas party and many really took the theme seriously.

Here are some “Indian” beauties from the event.

Maya * Gosia

Fe * Diamond

Janet * Sheryll

Thea * Princess

End of 2012

Last December 31, 2012, we celebrated New Year’s Eve in Quezon Memorial Circle.  There was a stage where performers sang and where the mayor of Quezon City made a speech just before midnight.  Lots of people came to celebrate.  Some to see fireworks while others (like us) to avoid the firecrackers in my sister’s neighborhood.  These are just some of the pictures during that night.

Note that most of these were shot at full high ISO (6400) of my 7D so noise is inevitable.


What is a new year’s celebration without fireworks?  Fortunately, we were just at the base of the Quezon monument so we were able to fully enjoy the fireworks display.  Unfortunately, my lens was a fixed 50mm so the angle of view is very limited.  I also didn’t have a tripod so everything was handheld – no long exposure, no low ISO shots.

After some frustration from not getting good shots, I decided to try and shoot out of focus pictures.

Out of focus picture at f1.4 (left) and f3.5 (right).

Family Time

I’ve always celebrated new year with my family.  The only time I wasn’t able to do that was when I did a cash count in my previous client (now where I work for) and I had to be in San Fernando, La Union till January 1.

My father (left) and mother (right)

John (my nephew) and Hannah (my niece).

Strangers in the Night

There were many vendors during that night.  New year celebration need not stop them from earning a few bucks.

Since this is an event sponsored by the city government of Quezon City, there are guards and police to keep watch.

Like us, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of people who went there to celebrate the new year.  People of all ages, families, friends, dogs…


There are some interesting things that I took shots of.  A wide aperture lens appeared to be a good choice to isolate them from the background and foreground.

New Year Wishes

So that’s it for 2012.  We all turned over a new page in our lives and I’ll be creating a new Lightroom catalog.  For this year, I wish to have a full frame camera (better high ISO and shallower DOF) and/or a small interchangeable camera (I have my eye on the Fuji XE1 – less conspicuous and less bulky) as well as some nice prime.  I wish this year will be good for me and all of us.

My Parents

They say that we are too busy growing up and living a life that we forget that our parents are growing older.

So true.  My parents looked older, much older than my memories (though I see them fairly often).  It’s just that seeing them in pictures makes their facial lines stand out and all other signs of aging seem more emphasized (the white hairs on my father’s eyebrows for instance).

My father celebrated his 75th birthday last July and my mother, her 60th last September.

I always remember them when I was a kid back in elementary.  Time flies so fast.  That’s almost 2 decades ago!

I love them both dearly and I hope and pray that we will be able to share more years together.

Merry Christmas, Nanay and Tatay.  I love you both.

Random Photo: Condominium Buildings

A group of condominium buildings in Bonifacio Global City. Taken during our photowalk in American Cemetery.

Manila American Memorial and Cemetery

December 8, 2012

The Manila American Memorial and Cemetery is, as the name implies, a cemetery and memorial for American (and some Filipino) soldiers who died during World War II.  It is located in the general vicinity of Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila.  It is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC).  The cemetery is open to the general public but there are of course restrictions to avoid disrespect to those who were buried here.

Last time I went there (sometime in 2011), the guards asked me what I was there for and I unfortunately told them that I’m taking photos for my facebook account.  Because of this, I was asked to talk to the lady administrator who told me that publishing photos of pictures taken inside the memorial is not allowed for some reason which I forgot (something about respecting the dead).  This was around the time when there was a controversy surrounding a prenuptial photoshoot in Libingan ng mga Bayani (cemetery for Filipino heroes) wherein the couple was seen disrespecting the graves.  The couple was shown drinking liquor (with bottles strewn around the graves) and the girl caressing one of the grave crosses.

I was able to take pictures that day after talking to the lady.  When I got home, I researched about the memorial (when I found out that the ABMC administers it) and sent an email to ABMC for clarification on this photo restriction.  Since I did not get a reply email, I posted the photos in my facebook anyway >:)  I guess the restriction was a reaction to the prenup shoot controversy and since my photos are in no way, disrespectful, I was not (and still am not) breaking any rules.

Last Saturday, I went back there with some friends for a photowalk and this time, there were no problems with the guard.  We just had to register and one of us had to give an ID.

The cemetery and memorial is located on a big expanse of land.  It is divided into several plots of land on which the soldiers were laid out and the graves marked by crosses (or star of David for Jewish soldiers) made of white marble (imported from Italy).  The grave markers are wonderful to behold as they are laid out very neatly, in straight rows and columns or in curves following the general shape of the plots of land.

On each of the grave markers is inscribed the name, rank and position of the solder and his state of origin.  For those whose identity are not known, a phrase is inscribed which reads “Here rests in Honored Glory a Comrade in Arms Known but to God.”

In the center of the cemetery are structures known as the hemicycles.  As the name implies, the two main structures are half-circles and are completely made of walls serving as pillars on which are inscribed the names of the soldiers whose body are not recovered and buried with identity.  Those who receive Medal of Honor have their name colored gold with a star beside it while those whose body were later recovered and buried have a small floret beside their names.

On the four ends of the two hemicycles are small rooms (with circular openings on the roof) and on the side of the walls are battle maps of WWII (some here in the Philippines, others for the war in the Pacific).

There is also a small (but very tall) chapel with blue walls and the figure of a lady holding flowers.  I guess the chapel is supposed to be non-denominational as there is a small stone tablet on the side depicting the ten commandments but with the Star of David on the top but there is a crucifix on the main altar.

On the floor of the hemicycles are seals of the 50 states of the USA (plus I guess the seal of Washington DC) and the seal of the colony of Puerto Rico.

The memorial is very peaceful and very well-maintained and there are visitors – both local and foreign (there were several Korean tourists visiting when we went there.

Occasionally, there would be Americans visiting their relatives’ graves and offering flowers.  They can get help from the Information Office and they should.  The cemetery is big and finding a particular grave is difficult (the administration office has a database of those interred and their location).

It would have been a very secluded spot but the development of Fort Bonifacio (now called Bonifacio Global City) resulted in several tall buildings around the cemetery which spoils the view and if you want to shoot a picture depicting peace and serenity, you have to choose your spot carefully.

For those living in Metro Manila, you can go visit the memorial anyday (I think up to 5 or 6pm). It will be worth it. For foreign tourists, you may or may add this to your itinerary depending on your schedule.

Random Photo: Ocef

This is my youngest nephew, Ocef, with his mother.  I took this before we went on our family outing in Laguna.

The halogen lamps cast a very yellow light on the streets and the darkness made me shoot at a very high ISO (3200) using f1.4.

Rediscovering Wide Open Bokeh

I’ve had my Canon 50mm f1.4 for several months now (almost a year).  I used to shoot it wide open at f1.4 but eversince reading that it is not very sharp and contrasty at f1.4, I’ve shot it mostly at smaller apertures (usually f2.0).

Last weekend, I rediscovered the wonderful wide open bokeh of the lens.  The out of focus blur is just dreamy, contrast is low but the effect is wonderful.  In post-processing, I’ve also limited saturation and contrast such that no single color channel is blown (which is often the case for standard picture settings).  In Canon, neutral and faithful has the least contrast and shows the most texture in areas that would otherwise be hidden by an oversaturated color channel.

Here are the pictures – enjoy!