Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Windows" - Our Weekly Contest #7 Winner!


About the winning photo:

"It was taken after the first rain we had in December last year. I was so crazy about droplets then that every time it rains, I’d run outside looking for droplets to shoot! But on that particular day I did not have shots that I considered to be “flickr-material,” and I almost gave up until I noticed a small mango plant by the fence that had branches full of droplets! I could feel my heart beating so fast when I saw how the drops were formed, and my heart raced even more when I saw that the droplets were about to fall! So I hurriedly took a few shots using a macro lens. Imagine my joy when, after downloading the images to my computer, I saw that our neighbor’s window was “captured” inside the drops. I did not wait long and uploaded it right away to flickr!!"


(To go to Nanayof2’s winning photo in flickr, click here).


First of all, I would like to thank everyone for participating in the contest through your entries and votes. Just to be able to compete with the talented photographers here in Kabayan is already a great honor. This is very memorable and special because it’s also my birthday. Salamat Kabayans for the meaningful gift!

I just realized that interviewing myself can be a challenge, but here it goes…

* * * * *

Hi, my name is Maping and I’m a flickr-holic! . I’m happily married to my bestfriend, a mother of two and a full-time student. When I’m not changing “LilBro”’s diapers, baking muffins for “BigSis” or cooking pancit molo for “Postman,” you will see me in the backyard scouting for insects, flowers or birds to photograph. On some days, I can be seen in hospital scrubs at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) doing clinical rotation.

I have always liked taking pictures, even in “the days of film and Polaroid.” My mother used to complain, though, when she would see from the film prints that my subjects’ heads were oftentimes "cut off"(out of frame) in the pictures, hehe! Mom thought it was just a waste of money. These days, when family members and friends see my photos in flickr, they had to ask me, dozens of times, if these were, indeed, from someone who “did not really know how to take good pictures years ago.”

On a related thought, I often wish I could “turn back the hands of time” to when I was still in my homeland, working in a shipping company and a travel agency. Back then, we were on assignment to different places in the country almost every week, and I could have taken pictures of numerous Philippine sceneries, instead of just candid shots of co-workers.

I did not get serious with photography until August 2007 when, during a picnic with some Pinoys I met in nursing school, one of my friends photographed my daughter using his Nikon D70. I couldn’t believe how sharp the photos came out when I saw them. Not too much later, I convinced “Postman” to buy something similar. I wanted a Nikon at first but the hubby decided to buy a Canon Rebel XT and a couple of lenses.

I did not have any kind of formal training then so I planned on enrolling in a photography class, but changed plans when I discovered flickr. Do I really have to spend $250 and sit there to be told what I’ve read, and learn, here for free? Just like “Mare DEE,” I don’t know the rules, but I now know that when photographers say “framing” they do not mean the fancy borders of pictures, hehe. I also did not know that the time of the day makes a whole lot of difference when shooting. And when "pinoyphotog" invited me to join Kabayan, I was a bit apprehensive because of the high quality of photos I saw in the pool. I sent him a flickrmail saying that I felt intimidated because of the great images I saw that day. He answered back, “wag kag magpa-intimidate, we have a lot of hobbyists in the group, and we were all newbies once” and of course his famous words, “Keep on Shooting” made me read the camera’s manual and go out more often to look for something to shoot.

This hobby really keeps me sane in my insanity days, although it would have been cheaper for me to ask my doctor for antidepressant prescriptions instead of getting a DSLR and those ridiculously overpriced lenses (I only have to spend co-payments for my doctor’s visits, therapy and medications and the rest is covered by our health insurance). LOL! But photography is more fun than medication, right? :p

If you go through my flickr photo stream it becomes pretty obvious that I love flowers, shooting macro and animals and oh, yeah, I’m crazy about bokeh!! I would also like to learn more about shooting landscapes. And how to capture birds in action just like my idol, "pinoyphotog! "

Since I don’t know how to draw (my 4 year old does it better), photography is something I want to do more, and to learn post-processing techniques as well as creating better compositions along the way. Right now the hubby has been bitten by the photography and flickr bugs, too, so we would sometimes have friendly “arguments” as to “who shot what” when uploading photos in flickr, hehe. Seriously, he needs to buy his own Canon camera so he doesn’t have to bother me when we are out shooting, hehe, but we can share lenses though. And I’m getting my daughter her first P&S on her 5th birthday so she can also join the fun!

My gears:

Canon 40D
Canon 50mm f/1.8
Canon 17-40mm f/4L
Canon 70-200mm f/4L
Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro (my fave)


Three pictures which make me proud:

hello stranger!

This white ibis photo is very special because it’s my first close-up bird shot and the first ever that made it to Explore.



This hungry caterpillar tested my patience as it was windy and middle-of-the-day hot. But I like how it moved in front of my camera. The last time I checked it’s my most interesting photo and most interesting macro for Canon 40D photos (that’s according to flickr, on the “camera finder” page). I did not know this until someone sent me a flickrmail about it.

Rise and shine!

So far, this is the craziest that I have done for photography’s sake. I was laying down on the ground when I took this pile of dried leaves in our front yard. I was so glad no one (as far as I know) saw me in a very awkward moment, hehe.

* * * * *

Written by Maria Fe “Maping” Reyes aka Nanayof2


Saturday, March 22, 2008

"little buggie.." - Our Weekly Contest #6 Winner!

little buggie

About the winning photo:

Well, that photo was actually an ACCIDENT. I was shooting in the park
last summer, and I had my settings all wrong. The background had
come out pretty dark, and I almost deleted a lot of flower photos that
I took that day as they all had the black background.

Upon looking at them again, the yellow one really caught my eye,
and when I saw that little bug on it, I couldn't delete it!!!

(To go to *DEE~'s winning photo in flickr, click here.)


An interview? I'm not good at this sort of thing!!!! Five sentences or less about me?

I'm a first generation American (import!!!) on my mother's side. She
is from the former Yugoslavia, a tiny village that was called
HRIB which means MUSHROOM! And my father was born in
Hell's Kitchen, New York. Growing up with 3 languages in the
house, my first language was broken English. I had a strange accent
until I started school, for real!! I speak more than one language but
Tagalog isn't one of them YET:)

I got my first camera (my parents' Kodak Brownie!) when I was 4 years
old. I carried it everywhere and took photos of my feet, bugs, clouds,
trees and blades of grass. I guess I was practicing Macro before I
even knew what it was!!

I got stung by a bee while photographing one when I was 6 years
old, and ended up at the hospital. That was when I found out I was
allergic to bees.

As a kid, I always got carsick, but when my family drove down to
Florida for a vacation one winter, I was shooting along the way. I
shot photos in every state from NY to Florida. And didn't get
carsick!! My hobby saved me (and my parents car!) and all our
roadtrips after that!!

Nature has always fascinated me. From the tall trees, (I'm a tree-
hugger!) to the little tiny bugs that I would find under woodpiles
and worms (Nature's spaghetti!). I was totally hooked.

And yeah I did eat a worm when I was a kid. It didn't taste as good
as it looked...

I had to photograph everything I saw; and back then, it was all on
film! I'm surprised my parents didn't go broke with all the film
processing fees; they really indulged my hobby, even though I would
only get a few good photos from a roll of 24-exposure film.

Being a Nature Lover, I prefer to shoot wildlife, oceans, flowers,
anything that is outdoors. I would like to learn more about portrait
photography and street shooting.

I've never had any kind of training in photography, and I don't
really know much about the rules. I never knew what BOKEH was until
someone on Flickr commented on one of my photos, commenting about my
BOKEH. haha. I was so confused, there were no flowers in the photo
and I thought they misspelled BOUQUET. I flickrmailed them about it
and they explained it to me. I felt like an idiot!!! Since then I've learned
DoF stands for Depth of Field and not DUMB OLD FART!!

In my photos, I don't play by the rules because I don't know them. I
have my own style, and also really love shooting from strange angles.
I like to add a different perspective to my photos to personalize them.

I used to shoot handguns and rifles at the Shooting Range, and this
came in handy when I got serious about photography, because, when
shooting a gun,I take a deep breath, hold it...aim at the target, shoot,
and then exhale. I do the same with the camera and my shots have improved.

One of my biggest influences in photography is Brian (Psilver).
I have learned so much from him in such a short time, and continue
to learn from him when we go out shooting. He has a style that is all his own,
and he's an excellent teacher. He is a natural, and I really admire his work greatly.
We've frozen our butts off chasing sunsets in the dead of winter when
we couldn't feel our fingers on the shutters.
He has such patience, something that is so vital to photography.

5 years from now I want to be shooting with a FAST that
I can't afford yet. Hehe

Last year I bought my first DSLR.

My gears:


Three photos that best define me:

Biker dude...interesting mustachio!
I dig this photo because it is one of the best portraits I've ever
taken, in my opinion. It's also my first B&W conversion of a person.


-- from *DEE~ - (?)

I identify with the Osprey shot, because, even though they look mean,
they really are peaceful raptors. hehe.


-- from *DEE~ - (?)
My squirrel photo reminds me that with wildlife photography,
patience is important and the outcome is usually a surprise.


Admins' Note: Written entirely by *DEE~!

Aside from minor proofreading for typos, the admins did not "touch"
*DEE~'s original article. We felt that we might only "dilute" an
spontaneous, candid and very amusing (DOF=Dumb Old Fart, for
example) "revelation" if we were to "interfere."

This show was all-Denize Rocanelo, er, *DEE~! :)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Two Winners of Our 5th Weekly Contest!

As Maping (Nanayof2) headlined her announcement post with,
KABAYAN history has been made: there were two winners
in our 5th weekly contest (the admins had been discussing
the possibility of a tie, several days ago, and I told Maping
that a tie would generate excitement).

Aside from the tie, the winners share one more thing
in common: both are currently working in Japan.




Hadano International Festival -

A yearly meet in Hadano High School in appreciation for the English language. People from different English-speaking countries were invited and even paid 3000 yen just for attending the event. Yep, visitors got paid! These are the Junior High School students singing "Sing A Song."

Taken with Nikon D80(18-135mm) and post-processed in Photoshop CS2


Engelbert Balduman

Editor's Note: To get a feel of what makes “enggul” tick,
try to imagine that you're eavesdropping while he talks:

“Tell you a little about myself? In five sentences of less? Question #1 pa lang ang hirap na! LOL!

I have a hard time describing myself because I don’t want to sound narcissistic…but I will try. :)

I'm Engelbert Balduman, named after a famous singer Mr. Humperdinck (whose real name,
ironically, is Arnold George Dorsey before he assumed his stage name) who became famous 40 years ago.

I’m 25 and single (? - needs some closure when I go home for vacation), a pure- blooded Boholano but was born and raised in Cebu. And I am a Software Research and Development Engineer currently assigned in Japan for an offshore project of Lenovo.

If looks didn't really matter, I would probably be a celebrity! Not because I have a good background in theater, am always the singer/entertainer in our house during special occasions, and a certified barkada clown but because I am a people pleaser who loves to make people smile. I believe smiles are really infectious and can release negative auras! I also am one of the most talkative people in the world (like I can talk about anything for 24 hours straight without repeating any topic). LOL

Sorry, I’m not really good with writing stuffs... that's why I took Math and not Masscom/Journalism...and that's also the reason why I talk (and not write) a lot.


I got started in this photography thing when my officemates bought DSLR’s. And while I was really amazed with their photos, I felt I can do better at taking pictures. LOL! So I bought a camera last October (out of envy, and also because I wanted to get a birthday present for myself).

Some years ago, I was a camwhore : always updating my yahoo avatar, and always wanting my picture taken as “the darling of the crowd” (like a flower vase, always at the center of attention) in every party and similar occasions. But that was before I gained weight. After that, I don’t want to have my picture taken anymore…hehe!

When I got my camera, I felt the challenge: "How will it feel being behind the camera for a change?"
And honestly, I am loving it!

Photography is really a high-maintenance hobby, so I'm always saving for extra gears. I have a Nikon D80 with the 18-135 kit lens, Nikkor 50mm 1.8f/d, and a macro converter right now. I also have a Polaroid SX-70 Sonar Autofocus, and a pretty Holga toy camera for my film experiments (and also out of inggit of my flickr friends who's hooked with films nowadays).

The main influence in my photography style? My flickr friends, of course! I seldom go shooting by myself... so most of my photos are from group meets or a group barkada tour here in Japan.

I'm still a noob so I just shoot and shoot and click and click! It really doesn’t matter if people don't like my photos, but when I receive a harsh negative comment on my flickr stream, I flickrmail him/her and then delete his/her comment. >:)

When a photo is posted in my photo stream, it means it has passed my standards already. I believe that "you're the best critic of your works... because you know yourself better"...

EMOTION motivates my photography. I’m sensitive about my living alone here in Japan, which is really tough...even though this isn't my first time away from my family and friends in Cebu.

I struggle with a lot of issues here: from the pressures of work, adjusting with the climate and people, up to trying to please everybody. As a result, I tend to have a lot of mood swings…from very happy to super sad in a matter of seconds and it shows in my photostream. I am really an EMO person. Most of my posts convey what is currently happening to me here. That’s why my family always checks my photos, to keep track of me.

I love to make stories with common stuffs and connect it to what's really happening to me here. My photostream is like a portal to my brain. :) I am also a frustrated street photographer. As a noob, I'm still scared to take photos of people in the street or anywhere here (unless I use a zoom lens) because they might get offended or angry. Which is why most of the people shots in my photostreams were "nakatalikod" (I labeled them "back beauties"). I tell myself that I don’t have to show their faces to have a photo filled with stories.

The three pictures that makes me proud, or best define me are:

First Love - The first time I used my camera. My second shot. The reason why I love the "back beauties" and my first photo that made it on explore (but dropped now). LOL
First Love

Sunset - I'm really a nocturnal creature. So sunset shots really makes me happy because I love it when the day ends.
Catching Up

Jump Shots - I'm one of the official photographers during gimmicks or trips with my friends. I'm a happy-go-lucky person and I love to see my friends in their best moods.
Goodbye 2007

If the world was to end tomorrow, who or what will I photograph today?
Tough question... sino po ang manonood ng photo? LOL! Since nobody can have a look at it, maybe I’ll take a NAKED SELF PORTRAIT. >:)
That will be the craziest thing that I will ever do (aside from being an “under de saya” boypren. LOL!

What? I’ve been called a “24/7 tambay” in Tambayan. It may seem
that way…hehe! Considering that of all the KABAYAN members, I
stay in Tambayan the longest. You know how I do it?

(I hope na hindi ito mabasa ng boss ko but my workload kinda sucks).
60% of the time spent in the office compiling bios codes and installing them to the machine. 30% for testing, debugging and fixing problems. 10% for meetings (and this is the only time that I can't access flickr because I still don't have the wireless connection).

I am only offline if
1. I'm on my way to the office/home
2. Photomeet/Trips/Drinking Outside
3. Visiting Friends
4. Talking to my family

The people in Tambayan really inspire me and I love them. Even though I haven't met them personally (but some, soon), I had an instant click/connection with them because they're so REAL and I'm learning a lot from them. I'm even using Tagalog now while chatting with "Kumander" and my family and nagtataka na sila. Plus, I really don't like to be censored so I like it that in Tambayan, I am free to say anything as long as hindi nakakasama sa kapwa.

Also, I'm an insomniac (nocturnal creature). And I'm kinda bored with non-interactive games in my psp or geeky pc games like warcraft or DotA so I'd rather go to the Tambayan instead. During weekdays I sleep at least around 2AM and wakeup at the most at around 10AM. But I'll make sure that I sleep 12 hours once in a week (especially on weekends).

I dunno... I think it's because wala akong makausap dito sa bahay and I'd rather go to the tambayan thread kesa magkikipag-usap ako sa sarili ko. :))
And I really find talking a very good stress reliever like popping out all
the negative energies from the body.

So I end up the day smiling."


[Ang Ligang Sa Amin] Hidden Grin

The photo is part of Akumach’s Ang Ligang Sa Amin basketball documentary. The lady is his lola, a cousin of his grandfather. She was quite flattered by his attention but was shy about her toothless grin. By capturing her laughter the moment she covered her mouth in modesty, Akumach saw true joyfulness in her eyes. And so did we.

Camera: Canon PowerShot A620, 01/125s, f/4.1, 29.2mm, Flash: 80


Ericson Machacon

What do we make of someone who in his early years, could not mix colors in his paintings and could not find life in his cartoons, yet now offers a portfolio of photographs brimming with meaning and sensitivity? Sublimation must be in process. It helps too that his family name, in Ilocano, means persistence. Meet Ericson Machocon. Once lost in the doldrums of IT boredom, he found the needed kick in photography, which to him, is his “dextrose” for sanity. Currently on assignment in Japan, he still finds software engineering boring but the remuneration allows him to indulge in his camera gears and travel. The photography devil is in him hence he chose for his flickr name, Akumach, a play of Akuma, which is devil in Japanese,and Mach, his nickname.

Akumach was an editor in his high school paper but film photography was beyond his reach. He did admire the works of his high school friend who is now in flickr, Kympot. In college at UP, his girlfriend, Gladys or Twistedhalo, was a journalism major and she asked him to be her practice partner. Eventually, her photographic experiments became his. Another great influence is his roommate, Remar Zamora, a photographer for the university paper who is now an award-winning photojournalist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. In 2005, he got sucked into flickr and studied by reading books for free at Powerbooks.

Today, he has two DSLR bodies, the Nikon D80 and the Nikon D40. His array of lens include the Nikon 50 mm f/1.8, Nikon 18-200 DX VR f/3.5-5.6, Tokina 12-24DX f/4 and the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8. For flash, he uses a Nikon Speedlight SB-600.

Akumach is into photojournalism. He calls it "environmentals" because he places people in their environment – the normal things that happen everyday – so as to tell a story by simple isolation, dramatic light, play with shapes, tilt of the camera, choice of perspective shooting and patience for the right moment. He bows to the great Italian Gianni Berengo Gardin and his French counterpart, Henri Cartier-Bresson, who wove stories in their masterpieces of landscapes and cityscapes.

Down the road, Akumach would like to learn artificial lighting as well as expertise in post processing. He is thinking of becoming a weekend wedding and events photographer if only to earn money for his expensive hobby.

Here are three photos from his own shortlist of personal best in 2007:

[Ginza]Monk and the City
This picture of a monk strolling in the exclusive streets of Ginza, Tokyo is his choice of his personal best in 2007. It is a product of stalking and compositional foresight.

-- from akumach - (?)
The picture cost him an expensive drink at Starbucks in Tokyo which gave him a front row seat of one of the world's busiest crossings. Shot with a long zoom to compress the perspective, the composition and b&w conversion successfully isolated the woman leading the umbrella pack.

[Onedaiba] Rainbow Bridge, Lover's Perspective
More than a “tourist” capture, the photo, achieved the harmony of architecture, nature and man.

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Broken Wings" - Our 4th Weekly Contest Winner


The photograph was taken at a butterfly house in Quezon Memorial Circle. A high concentration of subjects always increases the chance of getting a desired shot. It did for Ding. His tip: use a zoom lens so as not to disturb the subject, which in this case was resting on a root of a vine. Enhancing the dreaminess of the background were his expert combination of focal distance (150mm), shallow DOF (f/5/6) and overexposure (+1.0EV).

Camera: Olympus E-510, 1/30s, f/5.6, 150mm, ISO 100, +1.0EV, Flash: 8, software: Picasa 3.0

To go to Ding's winning photo in flickr, click here.


Ding Fuellos

Advocacy, activism and commitment can define a man. Take it from this week’s winner, Ding Fuellos. A trained psychologist, Ding traces his continuing work on social development from being a pioneering member of the National Anti-Poverty Commission and Presidential Commission to Fight Poverty to managing a Congressional Fellowship program for young Muslim leaders in Mindanao. Much like his flickr and blog name Inkblots, which is a take of the Rorschach's Inkblots Test, Ding projects purposeful meanings to different people, be they the policy makers and aid agencies whom he consults for, the ordinary man whom he serves, or his family of two boys whom he adores. He also writes with fervor and his piece Tungo Sa Pagbabanyuhay in his eponymous blog garnered the Grand Prize of the Wika 2007 Blog Writing Contest.

Photography ran in Ding’s family. His brother lent him his first camera in college, a Canon AE-1, and like most people, he used it first to document social events. Even when he started working, the borrowed camera was his companion until the 200mm lens got molds. His sister, now a nun, was also into black and white photography, developing her films in a darkroom on her own. She gave him her Pentax film camera which he used until the lens was damaged in 1995. Since then, he contented himself with a 135 Minolta point and shoot.

When photography turned digital, he bought a Olympus Stylus 410 which he used for the early photos in his flickr stream. He has then turned to dSLR and is planning to supplement his Olympus E-510’s two kit lenses — the 14-42 mm (suitable for macros) and 40-150mm – with a 300mm lens.

Unsurprisingly, his role model in photography is his sister. She continues to dispense candid critiques on his photos, advising him on what is mediocre and what is effective. Portraits and street photojournalism were her forte and he naturally is drawn to them especially in his developmental advocacies. He challenges himself to capture the punch of emotions, always a tangibly difficult element, much more fleeting than other the subjects he prefers like nature or landscapes.

His pictures may not reveal this but he has no formal training in photography. He is not into photography as a career yet although he might entertain the notion if he found time to attend classes and acquire proper equipment. Just last month, one foundation offered him a photo documentation project all over the country but he declined because he felt he is still unprepared. Always the fair man!

He offers three other photos to distill his spirit as a photographer:



Study 007

Pure? Yes. They are barely touched by software. Simple? Not so. At the risk of psychoanalyzing the psychologist, the photographs reflect the psyche of a man driven who sees beyond the mundane. Ordinary lives, after all, are worth advocating for.


== Written by Farl.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Fil-Am Fotogs 3rd Weekly Contest Winner

About the Photo

“Aaaah, usually if I don’t have a planned shoot with other people, I cruise around the nearby public parks to see what may be there. I saw this great blue heron at a park called Echo Lake. Herons are very cool to watch when they are hunting, they are very methodical and patient. It was in the shade so that presented some problems with long lens shooting, even with a tripod, as there was very little light. Anyway, I remember feeling good as I took the shot, and normally when I feel good when I press the shutter I have a feeling that I have a decent picture.“

To go to Lenny's winning photo in flickr, click here.


Leandro Karunungan, or more popularly known in flickr as scubapup/Lenny, describes himself as “just an ordinary 9-5, M-F guy who takes too many pictures.” Curiously, he does not like interviews (and in fact “dragged his feet” in answering our questionnaire...haha!) even though his mom is a news writer by profession. :D

When asked when and how he started in photography, he answered:
“I remember growing up taking pictures with simple Kodak and Olympus point and shoot cameras. While I never knew if I will ever see the pictures, it was exciting in a way. When I came alone to the United States, I bought an Olympus digital point and shoot with a serial cable (di pa uso usb masyado noon hehe) so I can take pictures of friends’ gatherings and all that. “

Over the years, he had been using several prosumer-level cameras up till the time he realized that he wanted faster autofocus, less shutter lag and just a better tool for capturing the decisive moment. That was when he decided to buy an SLR camera. While it was an entry level model, he didn’t skimp on the lenses and opted for high-quality models. Lenny thinks he’s ok with his present gears now and has no plans to buy more, compared to the acquisition spree he did in the last year and a half.

Lenny currently uses Canon Digital SLR bodies and lenses. His prosumer Sony cameras have been relegated to daily and infrared duties.

The main influence in Lenny’s photography style, way back in his younger years, was the various Time-Life images in a photo book they had at home. He was fascinated with those images that range from photojournalism to landscapes. He added that National Geographic has an influence too.

When asked what type of photography or photographic subject interests him, Lenny stated:
“Right now I’m getting more into birds, and I guess I would just learn the best ways to approach and find them. It’s a non-photographic skill which I have to learn as it’s the best way to get nice pictures without going to a zoo. I’m sure it would take many years, if ever, to learn it.”

I asked Lenny where he sees himself, photography-wise, five years from now. He answered, “I really don't know, I’ll just keep taking pictures, but hopefully with more experience and maybe get a defining image for me.”

Lenny has selected these three photos that best define him:

-- from scubapup - (?)

Hmm, I want more images like this one. I have yet to get into the same conditions and fairly cooperative subject as above.


-- from scubapup - (?)

I also take a lot of night images, I like taking a long exposure and seeing the little random things that happen. I like exposures that last five seconds or more.


-- from scubapup - (?)

I like it when I have a vision and I somehow get close to it. When there are images that I’ve seen before and manage to produce my own version of. And finally, I love color.

* * *

Written by “Nanayof2”