hard rock cafe – pink october event

bangle's signed pink guitar

bangle’s signed pink guitar

We had another shoot at Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia, this time the event was for the breast cancer survivors. There was a silent auction that includes a signed pink guitar from the Bangles, and other great stuff. A fashion show was also held last night that features work from Chrissy Phillips and Duke & Winston. The students from the Art Institute of Philadelphia modeled the clothing with matching hair and make up done by Renee Fox Salon. The hosts of the show were Lori Wilson from NBC10 and Marilyn Russell from BEN FM.

The students strutted their way on the catwalk wearing the creation of Chrissy Phillips and Duke & Winston and there were speeches from the cancer survivors who attended the event. Indeed, this disease does not distinguish young or old as I’ve heard from the testimonies from one young and beautiful lady as well as from a young mother. The event also raised $1600 from the silent auction for the Young Survivor Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Now, let’s talk about the lighting setup we used for the fashion shoot. We divided the catwalk into two sections: my friend shoots the stage using two light setup (one on each side mounted on a light stand fastened on to the pillars using gaffers tape); and i shoot the front end of the catwalk using a single light setup on a light stand nine feet high camera rear left. I have my camera set using ISO 400, aperture of F/4.5 and shutter speed of 1/20 second. I was also using on camera flash and bouncing it on a white card and angled it for direction. I used my trusted 50 mm F/1.4 lens and I did not have problems except when the models were moving so fast that I sometimes had focus mishaps. Overall, I am satisfied with my shots and I just used Lightroom to fix levels and fine tune the white balance.

mhcc kids at six flags

six flagsAugust of this year was so busy: my son went to World Youth Day in Madrid for two weeks; then drove to Boston and Maine (during Hurricane Irene); and then joined the MHCC (Mary Help of Christians Crusade) kids at Six Flags in New Jersey. My son has to do a lot of stuff for his college applications but was not able to focus because of these things. However, this blog is not about that but their day at Six Flags.

There were about 20 kids, several Single Third Orders and three parents on this outing to Six Flags. We planned out how the parents and the third orders were going to divide the kids to accompany them, but dealing with kids that was impossible. We sort of arranged three groups because of the parents but ended up with one big group in the end. Some kids want this ride and the other kids another ride, but in the afternoon after lunch they all kinda go to the same ride. It was pretty chaotic in a good way, it was nice being a kid again and enjoy the day.

I got to sit in a bird show while they were in a ride and I was able to do some shots, which was a win-win situation. Though, it was tiring for me because we just arrived from Maine the previous day and that day was spent walking and following the kids in the park. Come night time, around 8 PM, we decided to call it a day and head on home. The kids, of course, did not want to go home since they wanted to ride more and specially the new Green Lantern ride just opened.

Well, the parents won and left the park. However, instead of driving home we went to a friend’s house for some get together and dinner at the same time.

Thank you Ate Carmel, Ate Jenelle, Ate Meghan, the Kambals and Kuya Sanger.


fameco private party at hard rock cafe philly

hard rock cafe phillyMy friend and I went to Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia last Wednesday, 12 October 2011, to cover a private party for FAMECO. If I am not mistaken FAMECO is a real estate company based in Pennsylvania, however, don’t quote me on this I just googled the company and I might even be wrong that they are a real estate company. At any rate we did this shoot from 7 PM to about 9 PM. We were tasked to take the usual snaps with assortment of candids.

The place was crowded and it was difficult to move and shoot. We were given black Hard Rock Cafe tees, I guess to make the guests aware that we were taking pictures for Hard Rock. Well, if the management of Hard Rock reads this, just make us the official photographers for all the events and we will be glad to accept. I hope that they will like the pictures we took first and foremost to be even be considered.

My gear of choice is of course my trusted Sony Alpha 850 with Sony 50 mm F/1.4 lens and Sony HVL-58 AM for flash. My camera setting was ISO 200, F/4 and F/5.6, and shutter speed of 1/10 or 1/20. Well I should have increased my ISO to 400 to double my shutter speed, but I like to use the native ISO to get a crisper shots and not to mention the effective in body stability control of Sony Alpha 850. Probably next time I will use an aperture of F/8 to get more depth of field and an ISO of 400, with this setup I can still save battery life the same way I do on an F/4 setup.

Hope you like the pictures in the gallery and leave a comment so that I would know if I did a good job or did not, I will take those to improve my skills.

trip to maine (running away from irene) part 3

on top of acadia national park

ISO 200 F/11 1/400 second

After spending the night in Boston, MA (25-26 August 2011) we’re finally bound for Maine. It was a slow ride out of Boston because of traffic or was it just volume. We arrived at Maine past 9 PM but we got lost and could not find the house of my wife’s friend, Raquel. Our GPS is a few years old Tom Tom and gave us direction which we followed turn by turn except that it did not find the house. We were on the right road but just missed the house number, the GPS said that it was about 6 miles from were we made the right turn. The give away that made us think that we were lost was that the paved road became unpaved and there were no houses in sight except the darkness. My son suggested that we just go on forward because the house might be in a new development ahead, but I told my wife to call her friend. However, as I was talking to her friend’s husband, Jeff, the signal died. Still moving forward but I soon changed my mind when I saw a truck head light behind me and I was not going to stop and ask for directions. I made a K turn and head back  to paved road. My wife called her friend again and asked for direction. Made the K turn again and slowly looked for the house number by the road. They were just about a mile away from where we made the right turn. It was funny how to have missed that when you were following somebody or something who apparently knew the direction. We later found out that if we continued driving that we may have ended in Canada, which by the way was about an hour away from where we were.

When we found their driveway, we were amazed that their house was still almost a quarter of a mile far. They were having a big bonfire while waiting for us and the first thing I noticed was how beautiful the sky was in that part of the world. Since it was a lot darker compared to where we live, we saw millions of stars in the sky. Being there showed us how much we’ve missing from what nature has to offer. We had lasagna for dinner which they prepared. and it tasted so good. After dinner, we went out to put more wood on the bonfire while we were catching up on things and drinking some beer.

The next day, we prepared to go to Acadia National Park. It was about two hour drive from their house and the ride was so scenic. I later found out that 70% of air pollution in Maine came from outside the state because of the prevailing wind direction. Who could have thought that the air we were breathing in Acadia National Park was not as fresh as I hoped it would be. There were two ways to get to the top of the mountain, either by hiking and mountain climbing or just like what we did, drove the car. There were a lot of picturesque scenes along the winding road to the top of the mountain where you can pull over and take a picture.

On the top of the mountain you will see a 360 degree view of the horizon. The atlantic sea was covered with fog or smog, hence, the beauty of the sea was hidden from us. Also, the view of Bar Harbor (pronounced as Bah Habah) from the top was also obscured by the same fog or smog as you can see in the picture. The top of the mountain in Acadia National Park was said to be the first one to see the sun rise here in the United States, awesome.

We then continued our drive to Bar Harbor, stopped by at the Sandy Beach which by the way has a water temperature of 57 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite of the cold temperature there were a lot of swimmers and no lifeguard. We then proceeded to Thunder Hole. The name was due to the sound the wave creates when it smashes the rocky alcove. I was told that there were occasions that people got swept away to the sea when waves get stronger and bigger.

We then stopped at Bar Harbor to buy some souvenirs  for the trip as well as took pictures before driving back to our friends’ house. Well almost, except we have to take a detour at an outlet to buy some towels.

I would have loved to spend more time in Acadia National Park because of a lot beautiful scenes. I have only brought a 50 mm F/1.4 fixed lens and did not even to take the tripod out from the car because I did not want to be a bother. A polarizer would have been helpful as well, which by the I did not have. The only thing I could have managed to do was a panoramic attempt of the Bar Harbor landscape from the top of the mountain and people shots. I would have loved a few shots for HDR.

That weekend was a time to watch news to catch up on the goings on regarding the hurricane Irene. It was forecasted to hit Maine Sunday night until the next day, the day we were supposed to drive back home. Sunday was rainy and got windy at night. Monday came, after breakfast Jeff assessed the hurricane damage and found just a twig along the driveway. The drive home was not bad because we were expecting flood or damages but there was none. The ride home was almost great except when we hit New York which took us almost four hours from the Connecticut border to New Jersey.

I would like to say my thanks to our host in Maine who were just so great. We missed their pig roast by about a week, should have stayed longer.

my 18 year old


nyip assignment for available light

My in laws live in Baguio City and I work in Manila, the distance between is about 180 miles. The average travel time is about 5 hours depending on traffic. My wife went to live with my in laws a few months before her due date and I came up to visit her and my unborn son frequently. On her last check up with the OBGYN, the doctor said that she’s already in labor but she did not feel it yet. I thought that day was just a visit and then the next day I had to go back to work, however, it was not so.

18 years ago minus one day, we strolled the famous Session Road after her OBGYN checkup and grabbed something to eat before going home. Around 10 PM we had to bring her to the hospital and alerted her doctor. We did not spend much time in the labor because at 12:30 AM my son was born. I cannot describe the feeling of becoming a father, it was the most amazing thing a man could ever feel. I was so excited seeing him so fragile and small. To think that blood grosses me and I was inside the delivery room with them. I did not hold him that time because I was afraid that I might break him.

My life changed even more after that. No longer I live for myself and my wife but I need to be always there for the most precious gift God has given me, my son. Though, I have mixed emotions leaving them because I have to return to work after I used up my paternity leave as well as vacations. At work, my thoughts were always with my mother and son. How I missed them so and could not wait to get to see them again.

My parents were so excited to see their first grandson. He brought us so much joy in our lives and we’re looking forward to get home from work. My parents spoiled my son so much that they brought him along with them at their work. Bought him a lot of things and every weekend they will be somewhere and most of the time I was at work.

I missed my son growing up since I had to spend most of my time at work even on weekends just to provide for them. But when he’s gotten sick, I stayed home and tend to him. While writing this, I can still picture him when he was still small and cute. Now, he’s taller than me and I know he’s ready to take on the world by himself and yet I still like to treat him like a child and needed to protect him all the time.

I guess, the reason why we migrated here to the states was because of my family. I needed to get closer with my family, I needed to provide for them better, and I could not do both in the Philippines. I get to work and spend more time with my kids. My life here became more balanced with family and work. I got to see him sung and danced to the Back Street Boy’s songs.

I always attended my son’s school activities and would never miss it for anything else. He does well in school despite the fact that like me never put much effort to it, i guess like father like son. He plays the second chair saxophone in the school jazz band and does not like to play the first chair, only he knows why not. He’s not an over achiever, I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but he’s one of the top 15 in his graduating class. Pardon me for boasting about my son but I am just proud of him and nothing more I would ask other than him to finish his college and to make his life better than what I have.

The memories of him growing up, the pictures, the videos, I will treasure forever. Whenever I get angry at him I will just have to remind myself that he’s the same fragile child from years ago. By this time next year he will be in college and it will bring him different experiences to prepare him for the world, but he will always be my little boy. Happy birthday son


trip to maine (running away from irene) part 2

boston harbor pylons

ISO 200 F/11 1/250 second @ 50mm

After spending a night in Boston last 25 August 2011, we were preparing to check out and head out to see the city since yesterday was not enough. That day was not doing so well either since it took us a while to check out. We grabbed a late breakfast, around 10 AM, and we were discussing how to tour the city on a limited time. We were choosing between the duck tour or the trolley tour, and we thought that the duck tour was better because we will be able to see the city and the harbor.

We went to the duck tour after breakfast and only to find out that the wait time for the ride is around 4PM which was not good because we still need to drive up to Maine that same day. We were still wanting to see the city so bad despite of the short time we had, hence, we went to the trolley tour instead because the timing was good and there is a bonus of a free harbor tour just the same.

The bus tour was better because we were able to get off on each stop to enjoy the scene and then get on to another trolley. However, we were not able to do that since time was not on our side. We just stopped at the pier to get on to the boat tour of the harbor then get on again to see the remainder of the city. Yes, we just saw boston from inside the trolley and learned about the city from the tour guide who was also the driver. We just found out that more than 70% of the city was reclaimed, the bus driver/tour guide showed where the old city ends and starts as compared to the rest of the new city. Our driver/tour guide also informed us that the population of Boston increased by 200,000 during school season because of the number of schools in and around the city.

What hits us by far is that the city smelled better than New York and we did not see any homeless people loitering the city. The city also has a network of undergound roads which our guide informed us that it may present difficulty for new drivers in the city. Like New York there was a problematic area in Boston, the main artery that leads commuters south to Boston, about 3 hours drive time to get out of the city.

Our short stay in Boston gave us some sense that we may be coming back for more of it. Personally, I would like to live in Boston rather than New York, I don’t really care what others are saying about New York City but there is something magical about Boston. After our trolley tour my wife decided to stroll the mall in the Prudential Center before we drove ourselves out of Boston and on to Maine.