Friday, June 27, 2008

The Pick

The Pick

Hersley-Ven Casero has a way of playing with light and shadows, which make his photographs a good study in the field of photography. He magically transforms the mundane into an extraordinary and captivating image. He has that knack in drawing out human emotions like an expert shrink that makes a viewer feel what his subjects do.

He is one of the photographers whom I noticed when I started with Flickr in 2007. When he won the Larawang Pinoy Challenge dubbed as Sinag, and revisiting his Flickr stream, it was only then did I realize he was the one I admired a year ago (and my apologies for not revisiting his stream). Why did he struck a chord? Maybe we have something in common—that is Dumaguete. From 1999-2005, I have been in and out of Dumaguete City doing some work for the Salesian Brothers, and captivated by its gentle people—that is why it is called The City of Gentle People.

Dumaguete City, especially Foundation University should be very proud to have a homegrown talent like Hersley who has never got tired or giving back to his hometown and alma mater, through his art.

It may be ironic that a marketing major like him would end up in creative visual arts like photography. However, art is not new to him. Before he even graduated from a marketing course, he was already into the arts. In college, he already did murals, which he still enjoys doing up to this time. In his words, “I know it is kind of funny finishing a course not related to my present profession but art is my passion and I am happy that I am in this job.”

He has five years to his credentials, and it was only in the past two years that he did it professionally. In the first three years, he dared to sail—to explore, to discover and learn. Indeed, he not only learned, but also got what he dreamt for—a job that he loves doing. He is now connected with Foundation University Creative Department, which caters creative works and services for the entire university, like video production and graphic designs. When it comes to photography and painting, Hersley is the man.

Like any other job, he also had his shares of high and low moments, like being away from his loved ones to get things done and capturing precious moments. However, he becomes oblivious of these little sacrifices when his work is rewarded when he receives positive feedback from their clients, when he is appreciated by the photography masters, which he treasures most, and of course, winning a contest.

Winning in Larawang Pinoy Challenge may not be a very significant feat in his career. He has had his share of glorious triumph when he won the provincial photography contest during the Buglasan Festival, which is held every October. Buglasan Festival in Negros Oriental, is a province-wide celebration featuring street dancing, trade fairs and exhibits, concerts, contest in singing, dancing, sports, and photography. He recalls, “I was very surprised because it was the first time I joined a contest and won the grand prize and the first consolation prize in the same contest. I won two prizes in the top five out of the many who participated.”

For him every beautiful scene or a significant moment is enough to inspire him to take out his camera and click that button. In his words, “It is not joining any contest that I am thinking every time I do it. It's my passion to freeze the things that for me will not happen again.”


See more of Herley's Online Gallery at

Thursday, June 26, 2008

LP in "Rate my Philippines"

I stumbled upon Rate My Philippines in Pinoy BlogoSphere (PBS) which is also a home to Larawang Pinoy. According to the site description, their goal is to make a comiplation of
"useful, relevant and quality websites we all can be proud of as Filipinos and we are looking for sites that actually promote the Philippines and the Filipinos in a dignified and professional manner."

So I thought of enlisting my personal blog and Larawang Pinoy. First, because I needed to spring back into blogging, and regain the popularity of my personal blog since I hibernated for some months. Second, I also wanted to put Larawang Pinoy into the wonderful world of blogging.

I was not disappointed. I guess, they noticed first LP first! I guess, it fits in to their criteria on Pinoy websites that promote the country positively. We cannot brag about it, but the review says it all:

Larawang Pinoy, the blog is a realization to that. Putting their photography in blogsphere mainstream is the perfect path to go. Surely it will add to a much deserved exposure and attention!

The photos are simply breathtaking and stirring. It inspires the photographer in all of us to grab the camera and start shooting. Perhaps when that happens, when a certain idea motivates enough people to follow through, you know you have been successful in your endeavor.

Be lifted. Be uplifted. “Showcasing Filipino artistry through digital photography,” Larawang Pinoy Blog has truly arrived.
Again, many thanks to the Admins of Rate My Philippines! May your tribe increase!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Close up smile

Photographer: Jon Carlos
Winner: Natatanging Larawang Pinoy Contest - Week 7 : Bata-batuta

Close up Smile

Viewing Jon Carlos' photo stream in Flickr is like having an online tutorial--his wide range of subjects and diverse techniques give you that instant lesson about photography. Without knowing him further, one can assume he is already a pro. However, he honestly confesses that he is still a newbie, having started in photography late last year with his wife, Kris.

Although he formally only last year, photography is not new to him. As early as a sophomore in Workman High School in the US, he has learned about film photography, used pinholes, and developed his own photos. This is not to mention that photography runs in the family. His Aunt used to own a photography studio when she was still based in the Philippines. His step father is into photography.

Of course we should not forget to include Kris, his loving wife, who is likewise a photography buff. His relationship with his wife has never been the same as they both get the chance to live their passions and enjoy each other's company. In Jon's words,

"I'm very, very, very proud of my wife. She has the eye for photography. Sharing the same passion brought our relationship more exciting."

Portraying emotions and sharing stories behind make an interesting subject for Jon, that is why he is more at ease with street photography and portraiture. While he considers photography as a hobby for now, he and his wife is considering to make our photography their full time job--shooting weddings, events, or even venture in advertising. At the young age of 34 and backed up by his training on Basic and Advance photography workshops at FPPF and Wedding photography at PCCI, and most especially with a loving wife who understands his passion and shares his vision, Jon has more than enough time time to fulfill their dreams.


Based on the interview by: Oman of Larawang Pinoy

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dance your heart out

Photographer: Victor Bautista
Winner: Natatanging Larawang Pinoy Contest - Week 6 : Fiesta Filipinas

dance your heart out (SINULOG 2007)

It was his first time to attend Sinulog Festival of Cebu in 2007, and he was just awed by the colorful, festivities and from his own words, an "endless flow of contagious energy," which was exactly captured in this winning photo.

Also, very aptly, his name, VICTOR, tells a lot about himself and this photo. Indeed, he ends up victorious by winning the hearts of Larawang Pinoy members during this 6th weekly challenge on Philippine Fiestas.

Victor is currently based in Hong Kong handling a day job in managing a design department in a packaging company. He mentioned that photography is more of a hobby, although he does moonlighting jobs on photography, and that he learned photography in college, and constantly updates his craft by reading magazines and browsing the net.

Although a man of few words, it is not necessary to dig deeper into his persona. His Flickr stream speaks more about his talent as a photographer and his vision as an artist. Browsing on photos about him makes me more convinced that he is, indeed, a person worthy of immeasurable admiration!

Victor is currently involved in two exhibits this month and one of which is the 3rd Philippine Arts Festival in Hong Kong, dubbed as Tricolor: A cultural Celebration, which is opening on June 8.

If I may quote one of his testimonials in his Flickr profile by the photography master himself, Ossie Hermosisima:
Vic is the guy to watch. He's constantly expanding his craft. I can't wait for his next uploads.
Even not reading this testimonial just to complete this simple article about him and his winning photo, I was hooked to his photos. I am a fan!

So guys, if you or your families and friends are in Hong Kong, please support our Kababayan, Victor and the other artists and photographers!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Featured Photographer: Von Punzalan

Von Punzalan, a.k.a. kermitman, a.k.a. Vonrhyan B. Punzalan, was already featured in this blog for one of his winning photos in the Natatanging Larawang Pinoy Contest.

Again, we are featuring him for winning in the recently concluded Aliwan 2008 Photo Contest. Von, is now richer by P25,000 for bagging the second place in the Aliwan Fiesta 2008 Photo contest. (We regret, however, that we cannot post his winning photo here in this blog because of possible copyright infringements. What we are showing is one of his lucky 7 entries, which is equally stunning!).

According to Aliwan Fiesta website, "Over 1490 entries were submitted, with 160 passing the preliminary screening by MBC’s Ad-Prom team. The final round was then judged by illustrative photographer Mandy Navasero, One Workshop’s Ross Capili (in his capacity as member of the Executive Council of the NCCA’s Committee on Visual Arts), and renowned commercial photographer Eddie Boy Escudero."

Here are some of his thoughts on bagging the 2nd best spot:

"Actually I was thinking of submitting only 2 entries. When I saw some of the photographers comparing their entries outside the MBC theater, and they have like 20 entries each, I honestly thought I didn't stand a chance and especially for a first timer. One member even submitted 60 photos. But a friend urge me to submit it anyway, I ended up submitting seven (7), which includes
The Queen , Me.. Me.. pick Me , which were my first two choices, and Positiveness , Tied Together with a Smile, which I submitted just for the heck of it. The winning photo, which is entitled "ONE" was not even my first choice. So when I heard that I have just won, I felt like like a young kid opening my first Christmas present. For a first timer, I guess, it feels so damn good!"

Who are his influences in his photography?
About style, Lee Aguinaldo for his abstact artworks and of course, Ansel Adams.

What type of photography or photographic subject interests you now? Which area in photography would you like to learn more?
Landscape HDR shots in low light. Here are my Faves and I learned a lot by just merely looking at these images. I hope you guys do too. Would like to know more about everything, especially about lighting.

Where do you see yourself, photography-wise, five years from now?
The New Ansel Adams (lols!) or in a studio taking pictures (and getting paid for it)

His additional advice to would-be and beginner photographers?
Be prepared to spend money!

Again from the Larawang Pinoy family, CONGRATULATIONS!

When the sun shines on the crying boy...

Photographer: Barry Lu
Winner: Natatanging Larawang Pinoy Contest - Week 5 : Young Worker

When the sun light on the crying boy...
Photo details:
Camera: Sony DSC-H5

Exposure: 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/4.5
ISO Speed: 100
Focal Length: 30.3 mm
Exposure Bias: 0/10 EV

BARRY LU who was the first Natatanging Larawang Pinoy winner nailed it again this time. As mentioned in an earlier blog entry about him, he mentioned street photography as one of his passions. In his words, "I love to see people's life and emotions. I study and learn from different person who I have meet."

This photo was taken on the MRT overpass bridge in Pasay City. It was around 5 o'clock in the afternoon which gave a smooth and warm light to everyone walking on the street. As he passed by, he noticed this crying kids who was holding a plastic cup and begging for some loose change. he stood there for 30 minutes and observed. Even people game him coins, his crying did not stop. Later on, he realized that the boy does not only needs money, but rather, needs more LOVE and CARE.

He has entered this photo in various groups' challenges and won. However, winning again for photo is not his real intention. He wants to know people to be aware that there are many kids like him in Metro Manila alone who need care and attention.

Barry, although not naturally born Filipino, is indeed Filipino by heart!

SEE MORE of Barry Lu's photos at: Flickr.

Based on the Interview of Ron Miguel of Larawang Pinoy Group Flickr Site

Farmers in Action

Photographer: Kenly Monteagudo
Winner: Natatanging Larawang Pinoy Contest - Week 4 : Farmers in Action

Please give us a brief background information about yourself.

*Kenly Monteagudo
*TV Cameraman / Saudi Aramco

Is photography a full-time job or is it a hobby? Hobby

What got you interested in photography? - I enjoy taking photographs, in the same way that I am enjoying taking videos.

Did you enroll in photography course? - Just workshops.

How do you keep your photographic skills/knowledge up-to-date? - Always in-touch with my fellow photographers for a photo-Ops,workshops.

Tell us about your most important/unforgettable experience in learning photography. - Every click in my camera is my important and unforgettable experience.

Tell us about your equipment and preferred photo software. What made you choose these above the others?
Curently using Nikon D100 and i am planning to upgrade soon. I am using a photoshop and Adobe lightroom for my post-processing.

8. What is your thought on post processing photos? - I'ts cool..amazing!

9. What style or area of photography do you prefer and why? - I like street, nature and travel photography

10. What is the story behind your winning photo? What made you choose that particular photo from your photo set to be your contest entry? - I like that photo because you can see how the farmers works hard.

11. What advice would you give to would-be and beginner photographers? - I always consider myself a beginner, so that i will not stop learning. I think its better to be that way to keep you humble and thirsty for new Ideas.

12. Complete this sentence, and feel free to add a few sentences more: I love photography because…

* I love photography as i love my work as a TV Cameraman.
For me Videography and Photography shares in one Capture the Moment

Based on an interview of Shutterblogger at Larawang Pinoy

Kenly Monteagudo's Flickr site is no longer active. We regret that we cannot link you to his site.


Photographer: Ding Fuellos
Winner: Natatanging Larawang Pinoy Contest - Week 3 : Monocrhomatic Solo Portrait

Photo details:
Camera: Olympus E-510
Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 78 mm
Exposure Bias: 0/10 EV

Aside from a full-time work managing a Fellowship Program at in the House of Representatives, and doing some freelance consulting work on development management he takes photography as one of his passions.

For him, photography for me is a form of a therapy, "It releases the tensions and stress that come everyday. It is a catharsis for my pent-up emotions that depict some of my angst, anger, joy and happiness, hopes and dreams. And most importantly, it gives me that freedom to capture the beauty of God’s creation—the people, places, objects, and events."

He has no formal training photography but plans to have one, although he plans to enroll in one soon! He admits that he has to go through a structured learning process under the tutelage of the experts. He said, "I am a sucker of knowledge and ideas and I always believe that life is a learning process—so does is photography." He hopes that, someday, he would also get paid for his photos.

With the absence of formal training, he keeps himslef technically abreast by reading books, browsing from the internet, and learning from the photos in Flickr. He has beginners’ books on Digital Photography by Tom Ang, and New Book of Photography by John Hedgecoe and a very old book on photo-journalism (ca. 80s) which he has yet to read. Since books are expensive, he sees to it that he drops by a bookstore to scan on some photography books.

As can be gleaned from this winning photo of his niece, Zamae, he is more at ease with photographing people in their most candid dispositions and situation because, for him, "it can give you the most genuine emotion. I like photographing nature in their natural state because it brings real life." Aside from photographing people and nature, he is also drawn to abstract photography and photojournalism. One of the projects he intends to do a photo essay.

His parting shot: I love photography because it gives me that freedom to express and re-create something that is beautiful.

SEE MORE OF Ding Fuellos' Photo at Flickr

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Image of Peace

Photographer: Von Punzalan
Winner: Natatanging Larawang Pinoy Contest - Week 3 : Monochromatic Solo Portrait

The Image of Peace
Photo details:
Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital

Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 200 mm
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV

Von Punzalan likes spontaneity, which is reflected in this photo. He had nothing to do that day when his friends invited him to go with them in their airsoft gun game to take pictures. Since it was risky [for his camera] to get action shots of the game, he waited until the players went back tired, angry [at a game lost], bruised, in pain...and all kinds of emotion. But he did not mind all these negative emotions. Rather he looked for the opposite, which would portray an image of peace, and he was not disappointed.

Von is a freelance real estate broker from Parañaque who takes photography as a hobby seriously. His consolation is the fact that he gives people some sort of entertainment with his photos.

He took formal classes in basic, advanced and interior photography at the Philippine Center for Creative Imaging (PCCI). Although armed with academic credentials on photography, he still considers himself an amateur, who likes to be constantly searching for additional knowledge and skills. As an adjunct to his training at PCCI, he reads books, and visits other peoples' images and try to analyze how they portrayed the subject, and how lighting was done. In his words, "basically training my eye everyday." Thus, he recommends deviantART where you can "train your eye."

For him, photography is something that is personal. For him, there are two reasons why he loves photography: That part where i meet other people with the the same passion for photography, and that part where i get to capture that "Magic moment" that i can share with other people.

His advice would for would-be and beginner photographers?
- Train your Eye
- To improve your technical skills first
- Thinking well about the kind of photography you are interested in.
- Make mistakes(take notes of them) and do not be worried about critics. Listen to them.

SEE MORE OF Von Punzalan's Photos at Flickr

Based on an interview of Shutterblogger at Larawang Pinoy

Licuala palm

Photographer: Elmer Borlongan
Winner: Natatanging Larawang Pinoy Contest - Week 2: The Many Patterns of Mother Nature

licuala palm

Only an artist who has an eye for art can decipher that a simple and backlit licuala palm can be a great subject of photography. And that is no other than Elmer Borlongan.

Larawang Pinoy is honored to have Elmer Borlongan, as one of its members. Emong, as he is fondly called by his friends, is a full-time painter who has done exhibits in galleries in Metro Manila. He grew up in Mandaluyong but moved to San Antonio, Zambales to concentrate in his art-making.

Aside from learning painting, he I enrolled in the Mowelfund Film Institute photography workshop under Bahaghari and Rey Castaneda, which offered darkroom printing where he also fulfiled a a dream to develop and print black and white photos. As such, he had been into photography even digital cameras became a fad.

He had a Nikon FE2 film camera in college, which he used to document his paintings and take snapshots for the family album. Since film photography was expensive, he had to set it aside. However, the coming of digital photography rekindled his passion for fine art photography, and he has not stopped since then, and perhaps, follow the footsteps of his favorite photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Alan Harvey, Raghubir Singh, Romy Gacad and Sonny Yabao.

Over the years, he considers his photography quite eclectic simply because he wants to discover the many possibilities of this medium. He prefers spontaneity--which could be in the street, in the garden or inside his house. He prefers to shoot in available light like how he did it for this photo.

He was in a garden store in Castillejos when he saw this palm. The beauty of the morning light falling on its transparent leaf inspired him to capture the beautiful repetitive lines. He only made some adjustment on the contrast to get a lighter green.

Having been schooled in fine arts and an accomplished painter, Emong still continues to learn photography. This he does by browsing photos in Flickr and reading books he acquired like that of "The Photo Book" by Phaidon, "National Geographic:The Photographs" and a coffeetable book on Magnum photographers. He also goeas around galleries and exhibits like the BlackSoup Project in Cubao Expo and One Workshop Gallery in Makati for his exposure. He is also subscribing to Digital Photographer Philippines and i-mag Photography.

His gears?
His digital cameras include: Canon Powershot A80, Rolleiflex MiniDigi and a Canon EOS 20D with 18-55mm kit lens. For film, which he admits he rarely use are the Nikon F601M, Lomo Frogeye and a Lomo fisheye.

His opinion on digital post-processing?

"The evolution of modern technology has developed quite significantly over a quarter of a century. It has, as a consequence, nurtured an "instant gratification" mentality that humankind quickly adapted to. Digital cameras and computers gave us instant gratification to just point and shoot. Software allowed us to achieve the desired effect in photographs, without the long laboring hours in the darkroom that required the use, exposure and expertise in handling toxic chemicals. Embracing new technology is a good thing because it's available in the modern age. It has, however, given us the license to be careless. Despite these options to manipulate the photo, the eye must be well trained and know the controls of our camera to get the right exposure without compromising form and composition."

A word of advise to newbies:
"They can start using cameraphones to learn the basics of light, color and composition. And then move on to a camera depending on one's budget. It's best to study the functions of your equipment and just shoot regularly until you get the results you want."

What challenges him in photography?
"The excitement of capturing the moment and translating what you see in photographs is amazing. It serves as a memory and historical record of how you perceive the world."

SEE MORE OF Emong's Photos at Flickr

Based on the Interview of purplbutrfly of Larawang Pinoy Group Flickr Site

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The vagrant - Happy mother and child

Photographer: Barry Lu
Winner: Natatanging Larawang Pinoy Contest - Week 1: Mother and Child

The vagrant - Happy mother and child
Photo details:
Camera: Sony DSC-H5

Exposure: 0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 26.7 mm
Exposure Bias: 0/10 EV

BARRY LU, is a Taiwanese living in the Philippines for the last 15 years that he feels more like a Pinoy than a Taiwanese. I

During a friend's brother’s wedding, he went out of the church after taking some wedding shots. While standing at the gate. Some kids went near him asking for alms. Then this young, shy and friendly lady caught his attention. With a photographer's instinct, he aimed his camera waited for the right time to press the button. He wanted to portray a happy disposition despite the difficulty that these vagrant people are suffering from. For him, "A difficult life will not beat the happiness in enjoying the life that God has given."

Barry had his first camera, a NIKON FM2, and studied photography in high school. He started with photography for documenting paintings and sculptures when he was still a fine arts student. From 1986 to 1992, he did some documentation work for some people in Taipei, Taiwan. He started with black and white photography, and developed films and printed photos in the traditional dark room techniques. He learned his dark room techniques under the tutelage of Juan I-Jong: Juan's Darkroom Workshop in 1987 ( I like Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, W. Eugene Smith… etc.

Later on he discovered that taking photos is more than recording images for academic purposes. He learned that photographs can express and convey a message--like his ideas and feeling. This convinced him to venture into photography as another venue for his creativity. However, he stopped his work in photography in 1993 when he came to work in the Philippines. Then two years ago, he bought his first digital camera, and photography has become a hobby.

To keep him abreast with photography, he reads any kind of material on fine art, design and photography--in books and magazines or surf the internet. He also spends time visit art museums and galleries. Now he focuses on fine art, surreal images, people, and street photography.

Aside from photograhy, Barry has found his niche in product design. He worked for a home goods export company as a designer team leader for 12 years. In 2007, he started doing freelance design work like “Town and Country” (Oct 2007) and “Lifestyle Asia” (March 2008).

His advice on photography newbies?
"I think people who are just starting to take photos, spend too much time on cameras and lenses or technique. But for me, my motive for taking photos is not just to get a good shot; it's about the circumstances related to the shot, to learn some things from people and nature. That's the most important part for me."

SEE MORE of Barry Lu's photos at: Flickr.

Based on the Interview of purplbutrfly of Larawang Pinoy Group Flickr Site



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