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.

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