I’ve not posted in quite a while and I’ve also not climbed in almost a year. Luckily, two weekends ago, I got to exercise my legs and climbed a relatively benign mountain trail of Gulugod Baboy (Pig’s Spine) to see this beautiful scenery.
This is one of the buildings in Las Casas which is recreated to look like the old buildings of Escolta during its heyday. Our room is on the second floor (on the left side of the green star-shaped parol on the left).
The reception area of Las Casas is Casa Mexico (from Mexico, Pampanga). The house is built from house materials bought from a scrap yard and recreated using the most probable configuration of the house based on old pictures of houses in the area. The fountain on its side is probably new and is probably made by one of the property’s in-house artists.
A woodworker in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. He’s from Paete, Laguna (a town famous for its woodcarvers) and claims to have been the protege of Carlos “Botong” Francisco (a Filipino national artist).
A picture of a caryatid (female figures on building posts) that I took in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. The sculpture is still in the workshop. The sculpture is in reality lighter brown and not as contrasty as this picture suggest. I processed it to look more dramatic (sort of like in the video game poster or cover kind of way).
White Island is a sandbar in Camiguin Island. It really is just a sandbar with nothing but sand (no trees, boulders, etc.). It is quite near the shore but you still need to ride a P450 boat o shuttle you back and forth from the main island to the sandbar. The boat is only good for 6, only 6 persons. There were 7 of us so we had to take two boats. The water’s clear and the sand is really white. There are some fish but I didn’t swim but just slept.
Katibawasan Falls is another falls we saw on our last trip. It is located on the island province of Camiguin and I believe is the most easily accessible falls on the island. After seeing the big and power Maria Cristina Falls, this one’s quite a small one.
Maria Cristina Falls is the tallest waterfalls in the Philippines. It may not look very grand compared to Niagara Falls or other big falls but it is big (see how small the man is on the lower right side of the picture). It powers several hydroelectric plants along the river’s path (before and after the falls).
There is a challenge ongoing in facebook to post 5 black and white photos over 5 consecutive days. Basically, you get nominated and post 1 B&W photo per day for 5 consecutive days. I was nominated and though I don’t enjoy these types of facebook challenges, this one cost me nothing and I get to see some works that are buried in my other facebook albums.
Now I like black and white. I believe that without the distraction of color, the quality of light and composition becomes much more important than ever. Also, some high ISO shots where there are color noise looks much better (and cleaner) in black and white. However, I know that not all photos are meant to be black and white. I shoot and process mostly color and convert only to black and white when the image screams to be presented in black and white (great light or great tonal range or too many distracting color). In short, color is my default and black and white photos are somewhat rare and special.
Now I’ve made several black and white photos over the three years I’ve been serious about photography. However, for this challenge, I don’t want to present just a black and white image. It has to be a special B&W image and in the posts, I explained why I think they look better in B&W and the post processing I did to make them that way. Without further ado, here are my five picks for this challenge.
This low-key black and white photo of a beautiful little girl was shot about a year ago in a wedding. I know it wasn’t the first b&w photo I made but maybe the first one I’m satisfied with. I’ve always been amazed by high-contrast and low-key b&w and after use of Lightroom’s graduated filters, contrast and sharpening sliders and several brushes, this is the first one I made that I’m proud of. (Canon 7d+15-85 IS)
Just in time for Halloween, this photo is of a good friend (Elaine) playing the roll of Sadako. Taken at bright afternoon sunlight in Fort Santiago, this is heavily darkened with clarity added to heighten the atmosphere of horror (though she is smiling). (Canon 7d+15-85 IS)
One of my most favorite shot of Batanes. This was taken in Valugan Beach on the main island of Batan. The beach has big boulders and strong waves which makes swimming next to impossible. In the picture is Ellidel taking a picture. After moving several sliders and even messing with brushes and levels in Lightroom, finally got the picture to my liking. (Canon 7d+15-85 IS)
A very simple black and white photo of boatmen and their dog while docked. No fancy post processing, just simple cropping, shadow, highlight, contrast and clarity adjustments. Some pictures are just meant for b&w. (Fuji XE1+18-55)
Another very simple vignette. This one of the cashier/staff of Casa Rap. Instead of a clutter of colors from the cluttered surroundings, it’s just rich grays with some blacks. (Canon EOS M+22mm)
I believe I completely nailed the challenge (except for a gap in daily posting due to my coming home to the province for the November 1 holiday). I enjoyed it so much that I’m thinking of doing additional shares of some more images from my previous albums – pictures buried among tens or hundreds of photos in albums, those that deserve better attention than they got.