Monday, April 28, 2008

"Cumulonimbus Clouds" - Our 11th Weekly Contest Winner!

About The Winning Photo:

This shot was taken last year during the summer. My son, then 3, and I were practicing putting in a nearby golf course, when I noticed these humongous cumulus clouds. The form and shape was out of the ordinary, as the forecast that day was clear and sunny, no rain or snow. Snowfall in Colorado in the middle of summer is nothing new, just like having 85-degree temperatures on any given day in winter.

For a while, the cloud formations reminded me of the movie “Independence Day,” (in that scene when the black clouds covered the cities and reveal the big UFO at the end).

Lucky for me, I had the camera in the car, and got the shot. I always remind myself to bring the camera with me, even if I'm only going to the grocery store. My wife sometimes asks me why I need to bring it, and I tell her, "what if we see Elvis buying gas or an alien spaceship landing? That would be our proof!!”


-- from *DEE~ - (?)

My name is Dan Aquino, and my flickr ID, ZELCA, is taken from the last syllables of my son and daughter's names. I'm Bicolano, but born and raised in San Juan, Metro Manila. My wife and I immigrated to the United States in 2000. I work as an Architectural Designer.

We chose to live in Colorado because living near the mountains allows for more scenic photography opportunities. We are within driving distance of many US National Parks: to the North is Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore, to the west is Moab, Bryce in Utah, Southwest is the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley (but to the east, there really isn't anything except Kansas and Nebraska, if you want to chase a tornado!).

I bought my first camera in 1998, a Canon EOS 500, before the camera critical mass. I bought it not because I like photography, but because as an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) I thought I deserved at least one expensive toy for myself. I used it once in a while, nothing fancy, just point and shoot, never bothering to adjust the shutter speed or aperture.

It was only after coming to the US that I gave it a try and started to learn more about how to use my camera correctly, as we traveled a lot and took a long drive to the state of Minnesota.

Film after film, I was upset with every photo print that I got, feeling it was all crap. I lost interest in photography. Then, in 2002, my brother and some friends decided to take a 20-hour drive through Yellowstone National Park, and that was the moment that restored my love of photography.

Before our trip, I researched the internet how to photograph landscapes. That was the smartest thing I did, as I then had ideas how to photograph the awesome scenic route to Yellowstone.

I couldn't believe I was seeing the majestic landscapes that I'd only seen on tv and in magazines. My instant reaction was to bring the scenery with me so that I could look at it all the time. It felt like Heaven!

The following year, in 2003, I bought my first digital camera, a Fuji Finepix 3800, which is the gear I still use for taking photos till now. I am looking forward to getting a DSLR, hopefully by next year.

My friend Roger Aninag from Houston suggested that I try photography.

My main subjects of interest are Landscapes and Architectural photography. I'm still learning, and Flickr is the best source of any subject that I want to pursue. Lately, I'm very interested in Rural Decay. For me, it's a challenge to photograph an eyesore that can be seen as interesting photography.

Five years from now, I'm not really sure, but I hope to be good enough to pursue a career in part-time freelance Architectural/Realty Photography, or creating postcards. I know there isn't much money in this undertaking, but it will be alright, as long as I keep my day job!

Thanks for the votes. I think (correct me if I'm wrong) this is a vindication of sorts for me, as my first entry was the first #44 that did not win the contest. :p Back then, I just discovered the group and jumped into the contest out of excitement (I didn’t know the “legend” of #44, too).

I have seen a lot of good photographers in this group, and the good thing about it is that most of them are my KABAYANs! Let's learn together from one another!


The three photos that best describe me are:

“Rainbow in the Prairie”

Rainbow in the Prairie

My first winning photo and featured in a calendar.


“Magnificent Mile”

magnificent mile

This photo has been short-listed for inclusion in the fourth edition of Schmap Chicago Guide.


Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake

This one is my personal favorite photo taken in Yellowstone National Park, since it restored my love of photography.

* * * *

Monday, April 21, 2008

Kalandrakas - Our Weekly Contest #10 Winner!

Congratulations to our contest #10 winner for Candid shot of beautiful girl(s): Jesslee Cuizon, better known as Kalandrakas. Right at the heels of the early triumph of enggul and akumach, Jesslee is another IT expat working in Japan. To divert from my usual third person style, I will present Jesslee through his own words. My editing is minor. His answers speak eloquently about hisself.


free 'sweet' hugs
free 'sweet' hugs
Free hugs is a movement involving people who offer free hugs to strangers in public places. In Japan, in the famous Harajuku district, I happened to see this group of Japenese holding these 'Free Hugs' board. I can't help but stop and take pictures of them, esp. this cute lady.
Of course, I also got a free hug from her. :P
"Tupong Tuhod"
photo courtesy by Enggul

I am Jesslee Cuizon or Kalandrakas, a word borrowed from Spanish which now means “messed up miscellany”. I'm a Cebuano currently working in Japan as an IT engineer. My friends describe me as funny (most of the time, corny), outgoing and adventurous person. I'm a loyal UCnian having finished high school and college at the University of Cebu (BS in Information Technology).

Before, I was just a mere witness to a lot of things on the streets, all uncaptured. When I was still in Cebu, I used to go to office by jeepney and see a lot of children selling fruits in the street, asking money in the middle of the hi-way, and I felt like I need to do something to tell these things to other people. This started the desire to have my own camera.

My first digital camera was a tiny Aiptek Slim 3200. Then, I got my Sony DSC-R1 last February 2006 and started getting a little serious about photography. Now, I'm using Nikon D80 with Nikkor 70-300mm VR and Nikkor 18-135mm lens.

Like most of you, I didn’t have any photography workshops. What I do is read read and read. There are a lot of amazing photographers, and they are just a google away. Flickr, of course, helps a lot.

If you can check my photostream, most of my photos are of people, mostly candid. I love going out and take photos of people. Danz in Tokyo inspires me more to do street photography. He has amazing street photos.

I really love street photography. I want to capture daily moments on the streets. For me, it is like telling stories. I do like to work in the media and do what I love – photojournalism. I am more interested on social and environmental issues.

I am proud of these photos:

lonely autumn
lonely autumn
This is my first photo that was featured as Picture of the in JapanToday on Dec. 9, 2006. JapanToday is an online news portal. This was also featured as Photo of the Week on Metropolis Magazine, Japan's No. 1 English magazine.

bad luck
bad luck

This is the most interesting photo in my photostream, according to Flickr. The day it was posted, it was featured in Flickr’s Explore front page.

how to pray the japanese way

how to pray the japanese way
For me this is my best black and white photo.

"I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them" --Diane Arbus

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"City View from Sydney Tower" - Our Weekly Contest #9 Winner!


About The Winning Photo:

“This photo was shot last Saturday, April 5th, while we were celebrating our 7th year anniversary as “bf&gf” :)

Instead of travelling to a nice destination (our usual way of celebrating memorable events), we spent the whole day shooting: from early dawn, driving 1.5 hours to Sea Cliff Bridge, to catch the sunrise; spending the rest of the day at Wollongong; and then driving back to Sydney City to climb the Sydney Tower and take night shots from high above.

We came home so late and tired but we were both smiling because we had a very lovely day together.”

(To go to sugboanon's winning photo in flickr, click here).


Ready for a little surprise?

“Sugboanon” is actually a husband and wife shooting team: Elder and Yoann Silva, a proud Cebuano couple now based in Sydney, Australia. Yoann is an Interior Designer while her husband is an IT professional.

Yoann first learned photography from her professor Paul Vega in college (USC-TC), using a borrowed Canon SLR because she couldn’t afford to buy her own back then. Now she and husband Elder use a Nikon D300 with a Nikkor 18-200mm lens placed on a Manfrotto 190XPROB with 322RC2 ballhead.

She got serious about shooting when they started to travel a lot. “I wanted to capture the beautiful places I see and share these with others through photographs,” Yoann says.

Lately, they are very much into night photography, loving the night lights and color. “And when you shoot at night, you don’t have to worry about the heat of the sun,” she quips!

At some point in time, Yoann discovered that her husband has a hidden talent in photography, too. “In fact, he was the one who took this winning photo,” she added.

No one in particular influences Yoann’s shooting style, though she tries to discover how interesting shots – such as those displayed on flickr -- are done. “But my husband,” she says “do admire Ossie (Hermosisima, the Cebuano “bikini gals” shooter) a lot…hehe! I guess many guys do, too.”

She would like to know more about glamour photography, and learn to play with lights on her subject. And five years from now? “Probably, open up a photography studio and I would want to shoot weddings, too, hehehe! :)


The three photographs that best describe her are:

opera house at night

"Sydney Opera House, the first one to get Explore'd."


Sunrise at Sea Cliff Bridge

"I really like sunrise and sunset shots..I love the color they produce in the sky."


-- from sugboanon - (?)

"Shadow Kiss...describes us, I guess :P ghee hehehe"

* * * *

Monday, April 7, 2008

"Elation" - Our Other Weekly Contest #8 Winner!


On His Winning Shot:

A Canon S5 is used in this shot. The photograph is pure concept which Ian attributes to a fellow "Kabayan" flickrista, Buddy Venturanza or Budslife. Getting a clear sun was problematic as it is rare in the Khurais Projects. But when the sun did come out, he did not allow it to go to waste. It helped that he had a willing model in Nhel Beltran who jumped several times on the helipad until Ian got the shot he wanted. His tip: kneel. The angle had to be low enough to get a full silhouette of the car and the figure in flight.


If there is one thing that Andrew Ian A. Salegumba (ian zone) shares with his co-winner Gani Bibat (galahad) it is that he, too, is working outside the Philippines. Instead of wet and cold Ireland, though, Ian is in the dry and hot deserts of Saudi Arabia where he is a LAN administrator in the Khurais Projects for Saudi Aramco. He is a father of one.

Serious photography is something new to Ian. It was not until he learned scuba diving last year that he decided to learn the craft, if only to document the natural wonder of the underwater world.

He is currently using a Nikon D200. His lenses included a 18-200 VR, a Sigma 24-70, a 105 micro nikor, and the nifty fifty.

Ian does not really follow somebody’s style but he admitted that he is inspired by Jose de Luna, a mentor to Filipino photographers in Saudi. He also admires Manny Librodo.

After being preoccupied in photographing marine life, Ian is into macro photography, specifically of insects of the terrestrial kind. He is willing to put in the necessary discipline and patience to learn this demanding genre. Never content, Ian is trying to learn about lighting, especially in how it can create effects and moods.

Ian is keen in mastering the craft, content as of now, to derive from it a sense of personal joy especially when he gets others to appreciate his photos. If he gets to work as photographer five years from now, then that too would be welcome.

Here are 3 photos which he is proud of:


Territorial Clown

The Edge of the World

* * * *

Sunday, April 6, 2008

"wrecked" - Our Weekly Contest # 8 Winner!


About The Winning Photo:

It’s an old wooden boat wreck at Bunbeg beach in Gweedore, Co. Donegal, Ireland.

We were just roaming around the county and chanced upon this wreck on the beach. The boat was in the middle of flat sand with a few puddles of water and I imagined it would be underwater during high tide. It was a perfect photo op. But guess what? I didn’t have a camera with me. :)

So I went back to the beach to shoot the wreck, this time waiting for the sun to set in the background.

(To go to galahad's winning photo in flickr, click here).


Admin's Prologue:

New KABAYAN member Jennifer Salegumba voted for ian zone’s entry #26, adding that it’s “the only happy sunset.”

What is that comment doing here in the interview of Gani Bibat (aka galahad)?

I chose to mention Jennifer’s remark because I am intrigued that she deemed all the other sunset shots entered in the contest as sad. Could this be true? Do most sundown photographs seem moody and morose to some people? I’m not sure, but Gani’s winning photo conveyed sadness to me the first time I saw it. Maybe it’s the overall blue color cast. Maybe it’s the rotting ship’s hull that lay abandoned and neglected. For whatever reasons, I felt like checking Galahad’s photo stream, just to see if all his other photos were “as sad.” When I read his profile, I saw that he’s currently working in Ireland, and I thought, “Is he alone in Ireland, and could this be the reason why his sadness shows in his photo?”

As it turns out, Gani enjoys his IT work for an insurance company in Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland for the last 3 1/2 years. He says “When I started, we were only five Pinoys sa company. Today, nasa 30 na siguro kami. Bilib siguro ang Irish management sa mga Pinoy. :)”

It may have been difficult to be apart from his family earlier, but he now has his wife, son and daughter with him. “They just followed me later on nung medyo stable na ang trabaho ko dito,” he said.

But while not all the photos in his stream are “sad” (his family photos, for example, are typical “Kodak moments”), two of the three photos that Gani chose to “best define” him are sweeping panoramic shots with a tiny figure (relative to the scene) seemingly “lost” in the location’s vastness (perhaps a subconscious depiction of his emotional state when he took the photos?). Even the titles “Lost,” and “Fly High” are emotion-laden and thought-provoking.

Living and working in a large town (not city, he emphasizes) where the weather is almost always 18% gray (good enough for an accurate White Balance reading, he quips) could probably explain away moody shots, as psychological studies state that prolonged winters and gray skies often lead to depression and loneliness.

“But there are a lot of interesting landscapes so you really have to charge those batteries regularly. The thing I like here is the slow country life. Not much traffic and people,” he clarifies.

Gani started young in photography, and he recalls using the old 70’s Polaroid, followed by the Kodak 110mm cameras. “Almost lahat ng occasion, meron akong hawak na camera,” he says.

Serious photography started in 2001 when a friend introduced him to film photography and Gani got a Canon SLR 35mm film camera. Then in 2005 he went into digital photography with a prosumer Powershot G6. A year later, he bought a Canon DSLR, a few lenses and strobes (for off-camera shoots).

No particular photographer influences Gani’s shooting style, but he usually browses through magazines and photo websites, and seriously studies photos in National Geographic. He says, “When I see a picture I like, I try to replicate it and then experiment on what settings to use in shooting.”

“I would like to learn more about Landscape, Macro and Portraiture, and while there are other fields that I still need to know, I would like to concentrate on these three in the meantime.”

The three photographs that “best define” Gani are:

"Fly High"

-- from galahad's - (?)

My first picture that won in a photo contest.



-- from galahad's - (?)

I had to drive for one hour for this one and along the way, I hoped that the clouds would clear when I got there. Luckily, the sun showed.


"Close Encounter"

-- from galahad's - (?)

My first ever macro shot and I like the result. I used a single strobe and extension tubes for this one.

* * * *