Thanks to Jay of Pointless Paranoia for the reminder to post an update. ^_^
I would’ve loved to do a Happy New Year post to celebrate 2012, but some things took place in my life during the latter half of 2011 that made me do less of writing and photography. As I’ve said on my personal blog:
It was one heck of a year—2011, I mean—but while it wasn’t the good friend like 2010 was, its parting gift is a lot of very important life lessons I know I will always remember. Circumstances from the previous year taught me a lot about patience, strength, hope, determination, love, perseverance, and strong will. It gave me quiet moments and unforgettable memories. I don’t think I will ever forget 2011.
Today’s news from WordPress.com has the title Now More Than Ever: Just Write, which is an irony to my announcement of hibernation. But that’s the way it is. I’ll be taking some days off from Shutter Slacker, with maybe only one or two new posts a week.
(Maybe you’re thinking i don’t owe you guys one, but please let me rant still, just so i can get this thing out of my system. Thanks!)
I wasn’t able to shoot these past several days, hence no new contents were posted on schedule. I simply don’t feel like shooting, that’s all. Sometimes, even if you enjoy something, there are days when you don’t feel like doing it. Have you ever experienced that?
Anyway, after not being able to publish anything new, i felt miserable. Readership stats went down, comments stopped coming. I looked at my Archives and saw that this month had the lowest turnover of posts since February—only nine—and it made me ask myself, did i already lost my drive for photography?
Earlier today, i was reading Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami, and i came upon a paragraph that speaks in parallel to my situation:
Trying to avoid fingering mistakes or letting my fingers get all tangled up—all just to impress other people. It wasn’t until i gave up the idea of becoming a pianist that i finally understood how enjoyable playing the piano can be. And how wonderful music really is. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, a weight i never realized i was lugging around until i got rid of it.
After reading that, i knew immediately that it’s exactly what my photography have become.
Shutter Slacker began as a humble little photo blog aimed at simply sharing my shots to whoever’s gonna notice. Soon, my shots were bringing in the numbers, and visitors were saying how good they are. It made me wanna shoot more and post more, and i didn’t quite realize that i am now trying to impress others instead of simply expressing myself.
Soon, shooting and posting became like work. I created a pressure that should never have existed. I pushed myself to post almost daily just so i can read people’s favorable comments on my latest photos—all just to impress other people. I ceased being a Shutter Slacker.
Maybe it’s only until i’ll give up the idea of becoming a web-famous photographer will i finally truly enjoy photography…
And so, the hibernation is to redeem myself before i become a total airhead. My personal blog, Odee:Blah!, is currently taking half of my time, and it’s where i’m gonna spend my hibernation days. Over there, i am not a photographer. And it’s cool to be not a photographer once in a while.
Here are some of my boring shots to match the mood. I took it earlier at St. Luke’s hospital.
Now it’s your turn to answer my self-talk. :)
This is in response to a post from Seldo.com, titled “Why I Really, Really Hate Instagram”.
OK, today is Sunday, which means i’m a day early for a new post. But i just happen to read this article and i strongly felt that i had to respond to it.
First off, i don’t own an iPhone, but i don’t need to have one to know how Instagram works. It’s basically a post-processing app that gives your photos instant polaroid/vintage look with a few taps on the screen.
Enter Seldo.com author who describes himself a “data lover”, and considers Instagram an utter blasphemy for stripping off precious, original data from an already low-quality photo captured by a “pathetically inaccurate instrument”.
An Instagram-inspired photo break:
Among the many paragraphs he wrote, this one struck me the most:
I’m introducing some teeny-weeny bit of change on Shutter Slacker—change that i’m hoping will have a positive impact on this blog in due time.
Recently, i asked your opinion on how often, ideally, should i update this blog. The whole story’s HERE. A few readers posted their answers, and now i’m affirming their suggestions. So instead of the usual daily dose of new content, updates will now be four times a week. This is to give ample exposure time for posts, rather than being bumped down and replaced quickly.
Time flies fast. Yesterday i just created this blog; today it’s already nearing its third month. Thanks to everyone who subscribed, who read, who commented, who believed. And a bigger thanks to those who continue to do so.
You are very much appreciated, guys. I love you all!
If you’re a photographer, you probably heard the stories—security guards refraining people from shooting, asking them to delete their photos, or worse, confiscating their cameras.
Australia, United Kingdom and the U.S. are just a couple of countries with clearly defined laws on street photography, thus photographers are aware of what they can and can’t shoot. Here in the Philippines, we seem to have none.
Just what is our shield against confrontation and harassment when we’re out there? I’m not an expert of the law so i can only answer based on personal observations. And i got three.
1. RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTIES.
Owners have the prerogative to impose a “no picture-taking allowed” of their private properties, usually for security reasons. When we went to Lima Park Hotel last month, the security guard told us that we’re not allowed to take pictures of the entrance grounds. Lima Park is a private estate. Their rules are, unfortunately, their rules.
A different story went at the Digital Photographer Philippines online forum, where a forum member was asked stupidly for a permit to shoot Taal Volcano and the sunset during his stay at a private country club in Tagaytay. He intelligently answered that “Taal and the sun is not property of Tagaytay Highland”, and in this case, i think he’s right.
But then again, if you can get away with it, why not? The shot below is taken inside SM Megamall. :D
This is for anyone who will try to confiscate your gear. Article 3 Section 1 of the Philippine Bill of Rights very clearly states that:
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…
And what is this due process? A warrant. Section 2 says:
The right of the people to be secure… against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
We also have the right to ask from them any legal documents that pertain to their rule of not taking pictures, as said in Section 7:
The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.
3. SCREW THE DSLR vs. POINT-AND-SHOOT BIAS.
Yes, it’s irritating, but it happens. You get your DSLR out of its bag, then a security guard (again!?) approaches you and says the same line: “picture-taking is not allowed here,” while all around you, P&S shooters are snapping away freely.
It sucks, and there’s no way to get around it other than to assert yourself. These people have a very caveman mentality against DSLR users. They think that only pro photographers can wield a DSLR, and that P&S shooters only take family pictures. Add a tripod and the guard will surely go nuts.
When all else fails, just go ninja. Shoot and run. :)
I dunno how to begin this post because i have no amazing street photoshoot anecdotes to tell. All i want is to share with you a blog post i read at Invisible Photographer Asia, titled 101 Things I Have Learnt About Street Photography. It’s a numbered list of 101 street photography how-to’s that i find very useful and sensible.
While many in the list can go without saying (e,.g. Number 8—Don’t make eye contact with your subjects when trying to be discrete), there are others which struck me as not usual to be said about street photography .Here are several of my favorites off the list:
2. Ditch the zoom lens and screw on some prime.
I always thought that zoom lenses are an advantage because of its flexibility in focal length. I wonder why primes are the way to go?
11. Try to refrain from taking photos of the homeless (as most shots can be considered as merely exploitation).
An ironic but sensible advice when beggars are popular subjects for street photography.
22. Don’t worry about the fear of shooting in public. It will go away over time.
23. In my 4 years of street photography, I have only had two people to ask me not to take a photo of them. (Your experiences will most-likely be similar)
24. Most people like getting their photo taken.
Maybe some people find it easy to ask permission from strangers? Is that called natural charm?
25. If a policeman asks you to delete a photo, tell him you know your rights and refuse to do so.
Whoa—did he just say “refuse”?? Honestly, i don’t know my rights:-(
26. There are no rules in street photography.
30. You will be called by others as “weird” for your street photography. Ignore them.
Now this one i like!:D No rules, eh? Here’s a photo break—my take on no-rules street photography. That Tagalog (native Filipino language) sign in the right of the frame says (in English): “NO CROSSING. SOMEBODY ALREADY DIED HERE.”
42. Never delete any of your photos. Some of the technically-off images make the best street photos (think blurry, grainy, or dark images).
This is one advice i’m not promising to follow. It’s always my practice to delete images in-camera. Hmm, maybe i should rethink when i do some street shots.
47. Don’t be sneaky.
Huh? I thought street photography’s all about going ninja?
86. Street photography is a lot like fishing. Sometimes you catch a whole bunch, sometimes you catch none.
87. Getting one or two keeps from an entire day of shooting is a good number.
Now that eliminates discouragement over not getting good enough photos in a shoot!
94. Public transportation is a gold mine for street photography. Learn how to use it.
And here i thought it’s the beggars…For the complete list, here’s the link: http://invisiblephotographer.asia/2011/02/04/101thinglearntstreetphotography/
You may see no sense in this photo. To be honest with you, i don’t see any concrete global message in it, too. But i like it. I like it because i think it reflects my kind of photography: shooting what i want to, when i want to. And where i want to. In this case, i was riding at the back of a tricycle* when i saw on its rearview mirror a good bit of fisheye reflection. I simply did a point-and-shoot approach on Program mode. The generous amount of outdoor light gave me an acceptably clear photo even if i shot it handheld on a moving vehicle.
When it comes to photography, i only have one rule for myself: Never Be Confined By The Rules. :)
This post is titled “Experiment #01” because i think it will not be the first and last time i’ll snap a this-doesn’t-make-sense-but-i-still-like-it kind of shot. Anyway, can you tell me what category you’ll put this photo? I don’t think it belongs to Street… or does it?
*a motorcycle converted to a three-wheel passenger vehicle.
When i was starting out with photography, i was very strict with myself when it comes to post-processing. I only do cropping and minor color corrections. My purist reasoning was that, a good photographer doesn’t have to do too much editing if his photo is already good in the first place.
I have now fully accepted the fact that post-processing is here to stay, especially that we’re digital and photo editing softwares are available with a snap of a finger. In fact, eversince my installation of Adobe Lightroom 2, i become very fond of post-processing my shots, i feel like now i can’t live without it.
HDR, however, is another story.
High Dynamic Range, commonly known as HDR, is a post-processing technique achieved through combining multiple shots with different exposures into one image. Although HDR images often have vivid, striking wild colors, it usually looks more of a painting than a photo. This is what makes HDR attractive to some, and unappealing to others.
Personally, i like photographs that look like photographs, not photographs that look like they’ve been shot from fantasy land.
HDR is a good technique to try to bring into digital imagery a scene as the mind remembers it. As photographer Trey Ratcliff said in his blog Stuck In Customs:
…Even great photographers with amazing cameras can only very rarely grab the scene exactly as they saw it. Cameras, by their basic-machine-nature, are very good at capturing “images”, lines, shadows, shapes — but they are not good at capturing a scene the way the mind remembers and maps it. When you are actually there on the scene, your eye travels back and forth, letting in more light in some areas, less light in others… Now, you will find that as you explore the HDR process, that photos can start to evoke those deep memories and emotions in a more tangible way. It’s really a wonderful way of “tricking” your brain into experiencing much more than a normal photograph.
If the aim is to bring out vivid, striking wild colors into the photo, i have no problems with HDR.
I love HDR photos like this:
It is really an awesome piece of digital imagery, but as a photograph, the overall feel’s too cartoonish (like a 3D animation) for me…
I don’t mean to offend (if i did) anyone who post-processes with HDR. To borrow photographer Zack Arias’ words, i am just one person with one opinion stating my viewpoint from where i sit. We all have different opinions in every aspect of photography, from gears to softwares to techniques. This is just me making my small voice heard amidst a zillion louder opinions.
This is not an HDR photo!
Will i be doing HDR in the future? To tell you honestly, i have a feeling that i might, especially if i’ll be fortunate enough to one day own one of those DSLR bodies that can shoot 3 images at different exposures (is Auto Bracketing the term?). I consider myself a noob; my experience with photography is very young, and as i wanna believe, evolving. My feelings toward HDR may change sooner or later. So i’m not really a hater, just to clarify things. :)
But as of today, this is where i stand.
P.S. If you’re wondering what my “This is not an HDR photo!” doing around this post. I have two reasons for that:
- To show what kind of post-processing i do. I love bumping up the colors, and sometimes the sharpness/clarity to add drama. It may not work for everyone, and i’m fine with that. Just like HDR doesn’t work for everyone. We all have different take on things. Follow your bliss!
- So that this post won’t contain only photos taken by somebody else. I have to have my share, it’s my space after all.
Another P.S. I’m a fan of Stuck In Customs. :)
I dunno who invented this term, but basically, “shooting from the hip” is simply hand-holding your camera and pressing the shutter without looking at the LCD or through the viewfinder. This means that your shot will be a bit of a surprise because you haven’t seen your angle and focus prior to taking the shot.
Personally, this kind of experimental shooting doesn’t appeal much to me because i like the process of framing my shots, and also see how my photo will turn out. I only do this when i’m bored, or if i wanna go ninja and shoot something or someone without drawing too much attention. Very few photos become keepers when i do this.
Well, except for this one:
Originally written last February 20, 2011
OK, so here i was with my new nifty-fifty, getting carried away with its amazing depth of field on portraits. So i thought, why not do some food photography with an f/2? Below is the result:
This just shows that when it comes to primes, i still have a lot to digest… but there’s no rush, is there? :)
Last time, i quoted a post from www.riffspics.com on handling photography criticisms (read my post HERE). Now i found something inspiring off his blog again, and i’m reposting it because it is exactly the attitude that i wanna have towards my craft.
This is from his blog’s text widget, titled The Reason For Riff’s Photography Journal:
My photography is not exotic. I don’t roam the world to capture images and I don’t have expensive equipment. The photography that I do is of everyday life…
…Photography is for anyone, at any level of photographic expertise, who wants to capture images for any reason, and if you cannot have fun with photography then why do it.
…Enjoy the journey and have fun with your camera. Photograph your world the way that you see it and create those images that you will keep forever…
It’s like i’m hearing myself from these words. And so i’m keeping it here, in my blog. :)
Thanks Mr. Glenn Riffey.
I think—and i’m talking about personal experience here so you may or may not agree, it’s really no big deal—the title goes to Canon Powershot SX120 IS.
I don’t own one, but my best friend Shiel does, and i’ve used it for myself countless times. Well, with all the advanced compacts out there like the S95, G12, LX5, etc., you’d find yourself thinking if the SX120 is really worth it. I won’t claim that SX120 is better than those models ‘cause that would be an awful exaggeration, plus they’re in an entirely different league. But if you’re looking for a bang-for-the-buck type, then the SX120 might be the one for you.
I admit, i don’t handle criticisms pretty well.
A few days ago, one of my beach photos which i thought was really good, ended up being labeled as a “mere snapshot” on a local photo site. I was devastated and discouraged. They pointed out the technicalities where my photo fell short, and i became angry that these people weren’t able to see it the way i saw it.
This is the one thing i hate about photography: some people rate your work on a set of numbers and grids. Rules, rules, rules… but i just wanna press that damn shutter purely for the fun and love of it!
Then i came to a couple of website posts that made me rethink my approach to photography criticisms. I wanna share them and hopefully help others in the same predicament. :)