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.
Two photos taken (again) last weekend using the Tamron 70-300mm. The Tamron is an amazing lens (focusing is sometimes an issue). With this lens, I don’t need to bring my 100mm macro for closeups (though of course magnification is limited to .25x instead of 1:1). The resolution of the lens is not as good as the macro lens (with the macro lens, I can pixel peep and still see lots of details). BUT, the Tamron has IS (or VC in its terms) and the long minimum focus distance is very good for photographing insects.
The perks of travelling include getting to meet people. Before, I don’t normally shoot people as I am too shy to approach them. Since getting a telephoto zoom, I’ve shot some locals and tourists (in Burot) and I get to shoot some kids and adults in Tambobong, Dasol.
A group of four kids also called me to take their picture while I was walking along the beach. I had the fisheye lens on but I shot their pictures up close (really really close). The kids were fun and giggled when I showed them the photos.
It will be part of my travels from now on, shooting strangers, especially locals.
Here’s the moon over the weekend in Tambobong Beach, Dasol, Pangasinan. Almost full…