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.
Tiñan Viewpoint is a hill near the Sabtang Road overlooking the sea. For me, it is the best viewpoint in the whole of Batanes. It is located very near the village of Chavayan and is marked by an arch (probably as a boundary between Chavayan and Savidug).
Here are some jumpshots of my friend (taken with an Olympus TG2) and processed in Lightroom 5 by reducing saturation of all other colors except, blue, orange and red. Clarity and black levels are increased for a grungy look.
Another of the Coron photos – Tiny’s back with the sea and limestone cliffs in the background. This is located in the lagoon where Lake Kayangan is most accessible.
Have not posted in a while. Last weekend, my friends and I went to Coron for a 4-day trip.
Coron was the last landfall that Yolanda made before exiting the country (the very reason why our scheduled trip there was postponed). The people of Coron are slowly rising up and moving on with their everyday lives. The tourists are also starting to come back. On land, the damage to Coron is visible due to uprooted or de-leafed trees and destroyed houses (mostly the nipa hut houses).
On sea, the damage is much much worse. Most of the areas we went snorkeling are tear-inducing. Corals damaged! If you’ve seen the damage to Tacloban city, you’ll have a good idea of the damage on corals. Corals, the houses and food source of most fishes, are cracked, uprooted, felled and broken. To me this is the greater tragedy in Coron (after the loss of some lives). Trees will grow quickly, houses can be rebuilt with the right assistance but corals will take years to grow back. Such a tragedy!
Anyway, as a starter, here are my friends doing their best to spell CORON. More pictures to follow in coming blogposts.
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!
September 11, 2013
Our main purpose for our travel to Cebu really is to swim and see the whale sharks, the biggest fish and is locally known as butanding.
The butandings are regularly sighted in Oslob, Cebu, a coastal town 3.5 hours south of Cebu City. We arrivedat our hotel in Oslob the previous day and had to wake up early to meet the gentle giants. The butandings regularly go near the shore of Brgy. Tan-awan every morning as the fishermen (who have become boatmen for tourists) feed them small shrimps. The cost of meeting the butanding is Php500 per person. Before our boat went to the feeding area to meet the butanding, we were required by local ordinance to attend a very brief orientation conducted by the local government or DENR. The lady basically said: no flash photography, do not touch the whale sharks, stay 4 meters away from the butandings and do not wear sunblock and other skin products (those who did were advised to wash it off at the shower area). After that, it was less then 5 minutes trip to the feeding area.
Meeting the Butandings
Meeting the whale sharks is really a wonderful experience. The butandings we met were all juvenile but their size is already massive (according to the boatmen, the adults come a little later in the morning). They were accustomed to the fishermen feeding them and to the people surrounding them that they seem oblivious to humans and just swimming to and fro the boat where small shrimps are being thrown in the water.
With the boats so close together and with several people snorkeling, diving and swimming, it is impossible to stay 4 meters away from any of whale sharks. At one point, a whale sharks just passed in front of me (the picture of the eye of the fish below) and one brushed against Elaine as she swimming.
As I said, they are really giant despite their large size that I did not fear being harmed by them but fear from drowning (even though I wear a life vest) or just dropping my camera.
I took this next two pictures while I was holding on to the boat and the whale shark was passing in front of me, so close I can touch it if I just extend my hand (of course, per briefing, it is not allowed to touch them so why break the rules?).
Being there, each of us had to take our solo pictures with the butandings…
Elaine, an applicant for an organization of skin divers, is more fearless in swimming and diving away from the boat and thus offered better opportunities to be photographed well with the giants.
That’s me, keeping close to the boat. (left), Eman, giving the thumbs up sign for the experience. (right)
Here are some more pics of the whale shark.
A whale shark swimming, with a smaller fish below it –>
A butanding waiting for the small shrimp being fed by the boatmen.
After our 30-40 minutes of swimming with the whale sharks is up, it was time for us to go back to our hotel, tidy up and rush back to Cebu City for our flight back home. It was such a short time but it is really wonderful and will stay with us, probably for the rest of our lives.
These are my travel companions for our Cebu trip: Oyet, Tiny, Eman, Ellidel, Macky, Elaine and Grant. We were on top of Osmena Peak during Osmena Day.
Our Calaguas trip is an advanced celebration of Tiny’s birthday. So here’s Tiny wearing her lovely sarong on her head.
September 1, 2012
A return to my beloved alma mater, University of the Philippines – Diliman. This was supposed to be a photowalk but because we scheduled it late (and we arrived later) and since the sky decided to dump some water, it turned out more to be a food trip with some photos shot. Only four of us went there – Tiny, Elaine, Oyet and myself.
For this supposed photowalk, I brought three lenses – the Canon 15-85mm, Canon 50mm 1.4 and the Samyang 8mm fisheye. However because of the rain, we weren’t able to shoot when the sun is still up so we just went and eat in Rodic’s.
We decided to take some shots of the UP Chapel but there was a mass being held (second time to try and take some pics in the chapel but was foiled by an ongoing mass). We then just went to Quezon Hall.
Quezon Hall is the perfect place to try my fisheye lens as it was built in a Neoclassical design with columns and lots of straight elements – more things to bend and curve.
It was already dark when we reached it. Luckily, I brought my tripod so I can take long exposures (and thus use the base ISO).
From the pictures, the Samyang 8mm is a wonderful lens, very sharp even at the corners. However, the circumstances make it rather difficult to use.
It was dark and focusing through the viewfinder is not easy. Focusing through the LCD is also difficult as the LCD will basically show a very dark picture. Opening the lens to f3.5 makes it more bearable but still difficult.
Aperture is changed in the lens and focusing is done manually on the fisheye. This would have been ok in well-lighted places but in the dark, I can barely see the numbers on the aperture ring (which is exacerbated by the fact that the aperture ring is very close to the camera body (and is partially hidden from above by the prism hump and popup flash).
For easier focusing, I just set the aperture to f/11 (or what I think is f/11, can’t really see due to the dark) and set focus to what I think is appropriate (about 1.5 to 3 meters).
Tiny has just bought a Nikon D3200 and I had her shoot the fisheye (I bought a Nikon AE version and use an adapter to use it on my Canon 7D). It’s much easier to use it on the Nikon since focusing is done wide open and aperture is controlled through the camera (which is easier to see on the camera’s LCD screen rather than fumble in the dark on the aperture ring).
I get to try for a few shots the Nikon D3200 and I was amazed by the pictures. The outcome looks great on the camera’s LCD. I don’t know if this is because of higher screen resolution (compared to my 7D) or if the picture is really much better.
The picture also seems much much brighter than the pictures coming from my 7D. Again, I’m not sure if this is due to a better LCD screen or a better sensor.
I don’t like the quick menu of the D3200, however, requires additional button press to change settings and a lot of space is wasted for a representation of the aperture changes. I also can’t seem to find how to use auto ISO in PASM.
But all in all, it seems like a good camera and I’ll try it again in the future (and probably buy one if I have the money).
Another difficulty I experienced is not due to the lens but to my camera. Setting up for a low or high angle shot is difficult using a fixed screen or the viewfinder. I miss my 60D’s vari-angle tilting LCD for composition. (If the D3200 had a tilting screen, I’d probably grab one now).
So what do I think of the Samyang lens? I love it! For the price, a wonderful lens. Very sharp (if properly focused). Not so good, there always seem to be minor flare. Not so good, non-circular six-bladed aperture (but then, the Canon 10-22mm also has this). I look forward to taking more pictures with this lens.