Selective coloring is one technique I enjoy (eversince trying it on the Fuji X10 and the Nikon D5100). It is better done in Lightroom using raw files but can also be done with jpeg. Some cameras have these (the aforementioned X10 and D5100) but the implementation is not usually satisfying.
Similar to black and white, it removes distraction due to competing colors. Unlike B&W, however, selective coloring draws attention to something (the subject or a detail) using color (instead of tonal contrast).
Here are some photos I recently made using raw (the ruins) and jpeg (the flower and the rocks and the green leaf).
Culebra Island is a small island off Tambobong Beach in Dasol, Pangasinan. From Tambobong Beach, you can see it as a small island with whitish sand and four coconut trees (with lots of shrub around it). On the second day of the trip, we rented a boat to take us to Culebra Island. I have packed three lenses (10-22, Tamron 70-300 VC and Samyang 8mm fisheye) and the Panasonic TS3 rugged camera. Before we rode the boat, I went away for a while to buy some softdrinks and when I returned, they were already riding the boat that my DSLR (with the 15-85mm lens) was left on the tent. I only noticed that it was left when we were on the island.
I was extremely disappointed – first having to lug three lenses with no camera to shoot them on and because I’ll have to make do with a small-sensored rugged compact with very little chance of bokeh.
In a way, it turned out ok because I had to get creative with my shots (having no big sensored camera to rely on). I had to choose and set up my shots carefully.
Flowers and Plants
In addition to the four coconut trees there are shrubs and vines and other small plants in the island. The most ok subject for me are these small purple plants (which look like the flowers from kangkong). I took several shots all the while looking for a good flower (the one in the close up), group of flowers (the group of seven flowers) and others. I also made a staged shot using three flowers and a big white clam shell (below). There’s also the biggish shrub with vibrant green leaves and small grasses with flowers/seeds that would blow in the wind. Taking shots of this type of grass is a little bit of a challenge since it is almost impossible to separate the small flowers from the background. Good thing that the Panasonic TS3 has a good closeup ability (will focus down to 5cm or 1cm) so that the background is decently diffused.
Tried and Tested Wide Landscape Techniques
One thing I learned from using ultra-wide lens (Canon 10-22mm) is that in order to create interesting wide angle shots, there has to be an interesting foreground. In the island, this would mean rocks and corals so here they are. Waves could also work, as well as grasses. Forgoing the foreground and putting more of the sky is also a tried and tested technique.
Details, Details, Details… Mostly of Rocks and Corals
The rocks have beautiful textures and the Panny can take wonderful closeups. There is always sufficient depth of field but of course the details are not as good as those of shot with a macro lens.
Today, with nothing else to do (aside from pack), I had some fun with my cameras and my tripods (gorilla pods).
Anyway, I’m excited for a fun weekend (Eman’s birthday celebration). And also Fuji X10’s firmware update coming tomorrow.
In my previous posts, I talked about how I went from cellphone camera to bridge camera then to DSLR/high end compact/underwater compact. I read a lot of websites devoted to camera gear (DPReview, Canon/Nikon/Photo Rumors, etc.). It’s no surprise that right now I have gear acquisition syndrome or GAS.
It started reasonably enough. The cellphone camera (before) doesn’t produce good enough pictures. My Samsung point-and-shoot seemed to have had a problem focusing (after a year or so of use). The bridge camera doesn’t focus quickly enough.
With my Fuji S4000 in Tarak Ridge (shot by Felix).
Then came the DSLR. It’s good (very good actually). But the 18-135mm doesn’t do macro (hence, the 100mm macro). It wasn’t very wide (hence, the 10-22mm). It’s not good for low-light and wasn’t sharp enough (hence, the 50mm f1.4). After a while, my first DSLR (60D) got wet so I had to buy a new camera (a Fuji X10). I had four lenses and nothing to use it on so I had to buy a replacement DSLR (my 7D). When I saw an underwater camera, I just had to buy one (my Panasonic TS3).
And now after all these cameras and spending a lot (and I mean a lot), I want more. First of all, I want something smaller but with interchangeable lens and with good image quality. I think this is justified since whenever I climb mountains, the camera takes a lot of space in my bag (about 1/4 to 1/3). Along with my tent, cookset, stove, clothes, etc. it makes for a very big and heavy bag.
Me with a very big bag in Mt. Pulag Akiki Trail (never used the 85 liter bag again after that – forgot who shot this picture).
Of course I can just use my Fuji X10 for climbs but the image quality would not be the same, it wouldn’t do for wide or long shots (rationalizations). I’ve been looking at Fuji X-Pro1 but it is still (and will probably remain) very expensive. There’s also the Olympus OM-D EM5 (seriously considering) but I’m not a big fan of the 4/3 format (well, I guess I can live with it since it’s the format of my TS3 and X10). I’m not a big fan of the faux-pentaprism hump (why? of why?). There’s also the NEX7 but the lenses are very limited. I’ll probably just wait for the Canon mirrorless.
Of course I want a full-frame camera. Who wouldn’t? It makes for better image quality. Finding a normal lens is easier and 16-40 is wide angle (though telephoto lenses will have shorter reach). There’s the good 5D Mark III (very expensive) and the excellent Nikon D800/E (still more expensive considering that I’ll have to buy new lenses for the Nikon mount). I’ll just probably wait for the “entry-level” Canon full-frame camera.
For some reason, I also want to have a smaller DSLR (7D is large). There’s the Canon 1100D (with a sensor of 2 generations ago), 600D (hmmm) and Nikon D3200 (new generation DX sensor but again, there’s the issue with changing system and lenses).
I want to shoot Nikon. Based on what I read, Nikon produces cleaner shadows when pushed (my Canon pictures have noisy shadows), a result of higher dynamic range.
I want to trim my DSLR kit whenever I travel. Right now, for major trips, I carry my 18-135mm for general shooting, 100mm macro for closeups and 10-22 for wide landscapes. Sometimes I also bring my 50mm f1.4 for portraits. I want to have the Canon 15-85mm (wide enough for landscapes, covers general zoom focal range) and a 60mm Tamron macro (with an f2.0 aperture, it can substitute for the 100mm macro and 50mm).
- 65mm 1x-5x macro – wanted this eversince I got a DSLR
- 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM – a fast general zoom
- 70-200mm f2.8 IS II USM – legendary lens, want to see what the fuss is all about
- TS-E 17mm – for better depth of field control on landscape pictures (of course I’d have to have to full-frame camera first).
- a fisheye lens – a different perspective.
I also want a macro focusing rail (will probably be getting one).
There’s the RX100 which seems a very good high-end compact. There’s also the Olympus TG1 underwater cam with a fast lens.
So many things I want, not enough money. Until then, I’ll have to be content with what I have and make the most of it.
* * * * *
UPDATE: I recently read that Canon’s cheaper full frame will be priced around $2,000. Much more affordable than the 5d Mk III. It will also have 19 AF points (sounds like the 7D AF). Fujifilm will also announce new cameras for their X-series interchangeable cameras. A lower level camera (good!) and a higher end camera (as if the X-Pro1 isn’t expensive enough).
March 25, 2012
On my 31st birthday, I decided to celebrate it on a mountain (the first time I’ll be celebrating it this way). We climbed Mt. Talamitam in Nasugbu, Batangas.
For this climb, several of my mountaineering friends were able to join me – Ella, Oyet, Mumai, Marc, Jem, Badz, Eman, Erickson, Felix and Ni Hao (aka Jann Cris).
Me and my cake.
Most of us met in Baclaran and rode a bus bound for Nasugbu. Ni Hao joined us in Cavite while Felix, Marc and Mumai joined us in the jumpoff.
Felix arrived first in the jumpoff, then most of us. We waited in the baranggay waiting area for Mumai and Marc.
While waiting, we ate the chocolate Oyet brought. When Mumai and Marc arrived, we started on our way up the mountain. I was playing my “Sunday Special” playlist (old Tagalog songs) and one of the locals commented that the song doesn’t suit us (us, being young or young-looking). We were stopped by someone who introduced himself as the leader of the caretaker of the mountain and he said we are required to have a guide, yada yada yada, blah blah blah.
We secured a guide and commenced climbing. It was hot, very hot. And since this was my first time climbing after quite sometime (my last climb before this was February), I was not in a very good condition for climbing. Same thing with my companions, lots of rest and a slow pace in an otherwise easy mountain.
Ella, resting her body and her lungs.
Cows grazing, waiting for their time before becoming beef.
We came to an open area that is part farm (and grazing area for cows) and part reforestation area. There, dark clouds ominously formed but the didn’t dissipate the heat. Several minutes rest before pushing forward.
Clouds forming (of course this was edited to bring out the clouds’ details).
The original plan was to have lunch in the summit but due to our slow pace, we were much delayed and decided to have lunch on an open space before the final push for the summit. I brought three crispy pata (fried pork legs) and everyone had a hearty meal. We also ate the cake that my good friend Felix brought for me.
While waiting for lunch * Reheating our lunch.
After lunch and rest, we continued our push for the summit. And if began to rain! Having lunch before pushing for the summit was a good and fortunate call for us. Otherwise, we would be reheating the food in the rain.
The rain continued pouring down but we have to continue going up. Seems like all birthday climbs I’ve been to are rained upon. I just look on this as blessings from above.
We were all very very wet but we all manage to get to the summit. The rain was still pouring but we were still smiling. The feeling of being drenched in the rain is refreshing, a feeling I haven’t felt for a very long time. I think the last time it happened was when I was still in school, probably elementary school.
Mac and Mumai on our final push for the summit.
Our group at the summit – wet and cold but all smiles.
Badz and Jem, after the rain.
When the rain let up a little, we decided to start descending and the sky opened up. The wind blew the clouds away and the summit became free from clouds and fog. We could see the mountain, farmlands and the nearby Mt. Batulao, such a sight!
.Our ascent was very very hot and humid but the trail was good. On our descent, the temperature was quite good but trail became very muddy. On reaching the end of the farm/reforestation area, some of us (including me) got a little lost and descended via different trail which still led to the jumpoff but on a longer route.
On reaching the jumpoff, we looked for a place to clean ourselves. We also had some buko (young coconut) while resting. While waiting for everyone to finish (there was only two area for showering and the water had to be brought in from another house), Ella had a conversation with a storekeeper she just met where here marriage life was the topic. As a result of such openness to the storekeeper, she was able to have her dress (yes a dress!) ironed for free.
Eman, fresh and clean after all the dust and mud of the mountain.
Resting while Bro. Something (forgot his name) was talking.
It was dark when we left the area to go to Tagaytay for dinner. Tagaytay is famous for bulalo so we went to a place overlooking the Taal lake to have dinner (the overlooking place of course is wasted since it was already dark and what can be seen is just darkness).
We had bulalo in three forms – original, sinigang and bulalo steak plus crispy tawilis and perhaps other food. Everyone was full with the food and with the cholesterol from lunch and dinner.
Dinner time (Me, Eman and Jem). * Dinner conversation.
We were all supposed to wear something formal for dinner but only Ella, Mumai and Oyet brought their dress while the rest of us had casual clothes on.
Lovely ladies (Oyet, Ella and Mumai).
All of us were tired and sleepy after a full day and we also needed time to digest the cholesterol from the crispy pata and bulalo.
It was around 8 or so when we finally rode a bus home (with Eman immediately falling asleep and snoring loudly on sitting in the bus).
Such a wonderful birthday celebration but probably next year, I’ll have my celebration on the beach for a change.
Me and mini-me (shot by Felix).
…I resolved to get a DSLR (making my officemate’s prediction come true – this was July 2011, a mere 3 months since getting the S4000). I began researching online on what good DSLR to get. As with most would-be DSLR owners, there’s that point where I have to decide whether to get Canon or Nikon. I’ve read many forums, articles, reviews, etc. and got the conclusion that they’re both good.
Eventually, I chose Canon. Today, I remembered why I chose Canon over Nikon:
1. Canon has a better service support here in the Philippines. Nikon is serviced by a distributor, CDSC, who is notorious for bad service, especially for units purchased in the grey market. Canon has a Philippine subsidiary and has several service centers.
2. Canon has better and cheaper lenses. Better in the sense that it has some lenses that Nikon doesn’t have (MP-E 65mm, TS-E 17mm, 800mm). I’ve also read that Canon has more expensive bodies but generally cheaper lenses (compared to Nikon equivalents).
My first project, water drops, shot with 60D and 100mm macro.
I bought a 60D (the fully-articulating display swayed me) with 18-135mm lens and a 100mm macro lens. I initially intended on buying the 18-200mm (for a beginner coming from a bridge camera, zoom counts) but I read that the 18-200 is as good as the 18-135 but is much more expensive so I chose the cheaper option and use the savings on a macro lens (a very good decision).
That was in July 2011, in August 2011, I’ve added a 50mm f1.4 to my lenses. Wonderful lens. Great contrast, great bokeh, good resolution (like the 100mm macro). Very good for low-light situations.
In October 2011, we went to a place where I really wished I had an ultra-wide angle lens. The rocks on the beach demands to be seen and take over the picture. My widest angle (18mm on APS-C or 28 equivalent) was not wide enough.
I finally got a Canon 10-22mm ultrawide lens in November. The first time I used it (in Mt. Batulao) I was so not used to the very wide view on the viewfinder that I almost fell on the side on the mountain since I thought that the edge was still far.
Somewhere in between getting the DSLR and the lenses, I got and learned Lightroom (makes a big difference, much more than getting a new or higher end camera or a lens). I also bought a wired remote for night shots (which I rarely do).
In December 2011, a splash of wave (on a boat on our way to Polilio Island) caused my 60D’s lens mount and flash to rust. I had to use my nails to pick up the flash and the lens would sometimes fail to dismount regardless of the amount of force I used. It was still taking pictures anyway.
In January 2012, the days of my Canon 60D came to an end. I climbed a rock f,ormation and had a friend take my picture. A big wave came and drenched my camera (and of course my friend). That was the end of 60D.
One of the last pictures of my 60D, me on a rock formation in Baler, Aurora.
I brought it to the Canon Service Center (great service) but the seawater and the rust it caused has corroded the LCD, the mirror and sensor assembly, the lens mount. It was repairable but at a price where it is more practical to just get a new one. Thankfully the lens (18-135mm) was ok and the battery was still working.
For awhile I had four lenses and no camera. Since the photographer in me has been awakened, I cannot do without a camera. While my 60D was in the service center, I bought a Fuji X10 (have always wanted one since it was announced). Wonderful little camera!
Boats in early morning (Tondol Beach). Shot with Fuji X10 in EXR mode.
Fuji’s innovative sensor and excellent lens are simple a wonderful combination. The good thing about the X10 is that I can just leave the exposure mode dial to EXR and let it make all the decision while I worry about composition. It also does good macros. It’s not perfect of course – EXR mode produces only JPEGs, there’s the white orb issue and other small quirks.
After learning the price of repair for my 60D, I just decided to get a new unit. I thought of getting a 60D again but I guess the lack of weather-sealing has scared me in getting the same model so I upgraded to 7D and happy days began again. I was able to use all my lenses again. And since the 60D and 7D uses the same battery, I now have a spare battery (not that I ever needed one). Unfortunately, the 7D has a different remote port than the 60D so I needed to buy a new one.
Since obtaining a DSLR and Fuji X10, I knew that there’s no place for a point-and-shoot for me, except for one – an underwater rugged camera. For my birthday, I decided to get one (along with the 7D).
Sunset in Morong, Bataan (right) and an underwater shot of myself in Puerto Galera, both shot with Panasonic TS3.
Before buying one, I did several research before settling on the Panasonic Lumix TS3 – the best reviewed rugged compact at the time (up to now since the new generation of rugged cameras are not properly reviewed yet).
The TS3 is ok, for a compact it takes good pictures in good light. It has nice macro capabilities and is the only one I can use for underwater or on the water or near the water shots. I was able to get pictures that is impossible with my other cameras (like a low angle shot of the sea like the sunset above).
And so here I am, in less than 2 years, I bought 5 cameras (the 7D, X10 and TS3 I’m still using, the S4000 I sold to a friend and the 60D still broken), 4 lenses, 2 wired remotes, filters, tripods and other accessories. Photography is indeed an expensive hobby but whenever a picture I took makes me smile, I think to myself that it’s all worth it.
Tingloy is one of the islands I found using wikimapia. It is an island-town in Batangas, formerly called Maricaban Island. After finding Tingloy, I searched online for a place to visit and camp in the island and read about Masasa Beach, a public beach. People who’ve been to Tingloy (through reading blogs) were fascinated by its beauty so I resolved to go there.
It was more than a month since I found the island online before we were finally able to go there.
For this trip, there only four of us (Oyet, Jason, Felix and myself) and we dubbed ourselves the “Fantastic Four”.
Going to Tingloy
Going to Tingloy involves riding a bus from Manila (in our case, Buendia) to the terminal in Balagtas. From there, a long jeepney ride to either Anilao Port or Talaga Port (Php35). We initially wanted to ride a boat from Anilao Port but the locals said that the waves maybe too strong so the boats docked in Talaga Port. Fortunately for us, the jeepney is going to Talaga Port so we did not have to ride another vehicle.
The last boat trip to Tingloy leaves the port at 1030am and we arrived there around 930am so that gave us enough time to buy food from the nearby market.
The boat trip from Talaga Port to the port in Tingloy (Php70 each) takes about 45 minutes (in good sunny weather). We arrived in Tingloy and rode a tricycle from the port to Masasa Beach (which is on the other side of the island, Php60). From the point where we had to alight the tricycle it is around 10 minutes walk down to the beach through a ricefield.
There are several plots of ricefield between the road the beach itself. When we visited Tingloy, it was planting season and the rice seedlings are either ready for replanting or being replanted.
There were some birds on the area (I think mostly crows) and one would have been a perfect picture -a blackbird carrying food (I think a frog) in its mouth while flying low. Unfortunately, both of my hands were occupied by water containers – a missed opportunity.
If I am to summarize what I think of Masasa Beach, it would be “very nice water, not-so-good beach.”
The water on the beach is very very clear (like the one in Calaguas). The sand on the sea is white and fine. In fact, it is a very good beach for swimming.
But for me, being a photography enthusiast, the beach is as or more important than the sea (for swimming). Eversince I’ve gotten a DSLR and looked at various landscape photos and studied composition techniques and obtained an ultrawide lens, I’m always looking for a good foreground. Alas, the beach offers none (or very limited).
Masasa Beach is a public beach. There are no entrance fees, no caretakers. A large part of the beach is taken over (probably had the land titled) by a family who erected and semi-abandoned a resort (thus, ruining the view). Beside this wall is where we erected our tents (four of us, four tents).
Our campsite with our tents.
The whitish sand beach is littered with corals, small rocks and shells but these are overwhelmed by the large quantity of garbage and coconut shells and husks. There are some nipa huts near the beach, houses of fishermen and their boats are docked on the beach. Three boats (ferrying passengers from Tingloy to mainland Luzon) also docks near Masasa Beach as the waves here are not as strong as on the other side of the island where the port is located.
Despite this, we’ve had a nice time swimming in the beach (the weather was nice and hot and the water temperature, even at night, is just right). However, I spent most of my time sleeping (having had no sleep the previous night).
Lunch was the caldereta cooked and brought by Oyet (delicious by the way). It was really nice sleeping there because of the wind coming in from the sea (though the weather was really hot).
A fishing boat docked near one of the houses (shot late afternoon).
As I said, I slept most of the time, due to lack of sleep and probably due to frustration at the lack of good foreground element (my ultrawide lens was not used for the whole trip). However, I did manage to get some relatively ok landscape pictures, mostly around sunset and sunrise.
I took a few shots at sunset and used a tripod, mirror lockup, low ISO (200 I think) and shutter delay, all to ensure good and sharp pictures (not satisfied much with the outcome though.
Dinner was the leftover caldereta and Bagnet (which I bought from Vigan the previous week), and pinakbet. Of course, liquor will always be present (Emperador Light this time). It was also nice swimming at night though it is dark since the moon is not bright.
In the morning, I opened the door of my tent and looked out to see the sunrise. Since I didn’t find the sunrise spectacular, I just shot some pictures while lying on my belly inside the tent.
See also Random Photo: Three Boats of Tingloy.
The boats leave Masasa Beach early in the morning (taking some passengers), go to the main port (where most of the passengers board) and then off to Batangas. We decided not to go back on these trips (last regular trip to Batangas leaves at 9am) and instead hire a small boat for Php700 and will leave at 3pm.
We spent most of Sunday swimming, sleeping (me), taking pictures (the three of them) and preparing to go back. We cleaned ourselves in the irrigation well in the ricefield and then it was time to leave Tingloy.
We asked the tricycle driver (the one that brought us from the port to Masasa) to fetch us in the waiting but he forgot. We waited for more than 30 minutes before deciding to hire another tricycle. The tricycle driver brought us to the person we talked with the previous day regarding the boat. He brought us to the house near the sea of the boat owner but the boat owner told us to go to the port because he’s buying gasoline. Hence, exercise walking under the intense heat of the sun.
We waited on the port for our boat and when it arrived, we got anxious, it’s a small boat with no cover for a roof.
Clothes drying * Our ride back to mainland Batangas.
It docked (or rather was held by someone) near the port and we had to go down a slippery stone stair. Oyet broke the board on the front of the boat and my bag almost fell to the sea while boarding it.
On the way back: Me (left), Oyet (Jason behind her) (center) and Felix (right).
The waves were not that strong but since the boat was small, we could not go fast. A relatively big wave came, drenched Oyet, made it inside the boat (the boatman had to scoop water out). The ride back was ok though it was very hot and I had no covering.
We reached Talaga Port safely, rode a jeepney to Balagtas (diversion road), a jeepney to the bus station and finally a bus home.
It was quite an adventure. When we returned to Manila (and until Monday), my face was very red; Tuesday, my face began exfoliating and now, the skin on my left forearm (the one facing the sun on our way back) is flaking. A nice adventure but until such time that the beach is cleaned, I probably won’t go back to Tingloy yet.
This is a collection of water splashes from jump shots made in water. These are the ones that were the result of burst shots that didn’t make it to the final photos uploaded in my facebook account.
They were all shot with my Panasonic Lumix TS3 (waterproof camera) and edited (crop, clarity, white balance and tones).
Panasonic Lumix TS-3
This is the most identifiable landmark in Lake Mapanuepe, the steeple of the submerged church steeple of Brgy. Lawin (the residents of this baranggay have moved to a higher grounds nearby). I think the TS3’s (waterproof camera) is ok but not great. The trees on the mountain are not that clear and I’m not a fan of how it renders blues and greens – Fuji does better in those colors.