first shot



I was in the process of cleaning up my digital files that I have accumulated over the years and I thought of  revisiting pictures I took using P&Ps (point and shoot) and early DSLR. I also have tons of scanned pictures that I may or may not reprocess.

I decided to  work on older pictures I took using my first DSLR, the Sony Alpha 200. A little bit of history for all those who wants to know how I started with this expensive interest.

Back in 2008, my daughter had a band performance in school but I did not have anything to record or capture the moment since my wife took our Sony handycam as well as our Canon PowerShot with her on the trip to the Philippines. What I did was to look for a camera in a hurry with the intention of returning after use. I chose Sony Alpha 200 because at that time the features and the price was spot on ($500 for the body and two kit lenses). However, something happened that caused me not to return it back. One night, I was surfing the web and saw the web site for FLICKR and saw my high school classmate’s pictures and one specific picture that got me interested in photography. I decided not to return my Sony and immediately I started soaking myself in photography. To date, I probably have read more photography books and magazines than all the books I have read from grade school through college combined.

I owe this passion in photography to my dear old classmate and friend Wilfredo Pascual. If I did not see his photos that time, I would have been stuck in Point and Shoot. I am not saying that there is something wrong with it, specially now a days that even cellular phones have features to take pictures and videos.

The picture shown above was the first shot I took using Sony Alpha 200 with a kit lens. My daughter was riding her bike out front, since I just bought the camera, I thought that I need to practice a little to get familiar with it. I did not know anything about JPG or RAW, or aperture, or ISO, or shutter speed, or even the shallow depth of field. I believe that the camera was set to portrait mode (well I just read that from the EXIF data, woh now I know what that means: ISO 100; F/6.3; 1/60)

I used Lightroom 5 for post processing and the onOne plugin. I guess this revisit will also be my practice to get better using Lightroom and other plugins.


atsion lake

atsion lake

atsion lake

Atsion Lake is located along Route 206 in Shamong, NJ. This is a good sized lake with an unusual water color, rust. The water color, from what I have learned was caused by cranberry farms in the area. Somehow the juice from cranberries made it to the water system that feeds the lake. However, I don’t think that you would want to drink it.

The lake is protected by the state and there is $10 entrance fee per vehicle for NJ residents and out of state pays $20. The number of vehicles allowed entry is always based on the number of life guards they have on the duty. I have been to this lake twice and on both occasions I did not swim. The first time, we rented canoes for $40 per canoe for the whole day inside the park. We rented three and just shared them among ourselves. The second time, I just did take photographs and hung out. The kids rented canoes, however, we have to drive to a house across the lake (we have to leave the lake park) and they have to drive the canoes to the lake though the price remained unchanged.

The lake park also has several picnic tables with grills and rest rooms and showers. This is good for summer get away from heat if you don’t like the beach.

The picture above was taken across the lake when we were renting the canoes. I did post process using Lightrom 4. If you are interested in viewing other pictures please click the above picture or just click here.

sandy cove

sandy cove dock

Sandy Cove is a place for religious retreat and all denomination are welcome, it is located in North East, Maryland between Philadelphia and Baltimore. This has been a go to place for our prayer group, The Alliance of the Two Hearts. Since 2009, I believe my family has been here four times and all the time we rented out eight cabins.

This place has so much to offer and they are inclusive of the cabin rental except for the zip line. They have two swimming pools, tennis courts, frisbee golf, giant swing, basketball court, beach volley ball, nature trail and so much more.

In all occasions that I’ve been here, I always brought my camera gears and just take pictures. But the fun that we experienced with other families were priceless. We usually do the weekend trip by checking in Friday and checking out Sunday. I hope that it will be longer next time because it seems that the weekend was so quick and short.

The above picture was taken on our last day and not so early in the morning but it was cloudy. Did post processing in Lightroom 4 and did some effects using onOne software.


city that never sleeps


nyc crowd

Our second night in NYC, too bad because this was also our last night. The picture above was taken in Time Square or somewhere in the area. It was amazing to see these much people at this time of night. Who could have thought that it was close to 10:00 PM on a Monday night and yet there was a sea of tourists and residents (well I was assuming regarding the residents). I guess this proved a point about NYC being the city that never sleeps.

That afternoon, Myra’s family and my daughter went to Empire State building while my wife and myself went to visit B&H. For all those who do not know what B&H, it is a store for photo and video equipment and much more. I believe this is the largest mom and pop store. They are located in 34th Street and 9th Avenue. I have been buying stuff from them online but I have not been able to see the store physically how the store looked like. My brother who lived in Washington state saw it before I did, when he stopped over here in the east coast before flying to Italy. It was a dream come true for me that day to finally see the store, however, I did not get the chance to stay longer because they closed at 7:00 PM and we got to the store 10 minutes before closing, bummer.

My wife and myself decided to just walk to Time Square to kill time because we needed so much time to meet up with Myra and company at that place. While waiting for them I regretted not bringing my tripod because there were so much opportunity for long exposure photography. Well I guess I just have to settle with what I have, handheld. I envy the other photographer that showed up where we were sitting or should I say waiting, he had his complete gear in tow. Click the above picture for other NYC pictures for that day as well as my handheld photos or just click here.

tattoo artist


tattoo artist

This is the continuation of Myra’s visit to the east coast. She and my wife have been friends forever, they always talk on the phone whenever they get a chance and the last time they met was back in 2004 when my wife flew to LA to visit her.

On their second day in the east coast,  we drove to Brooklyn, New York from Hershey Park. We just stopped by our home in New Jersey to pick up stuff. Myra was able to find an apartment for us to stay in Brooklyn for a few nights and it was also a steal. The location was great, 59th street subway station was just right outside the apartment. The drive to Brooklyn was easy, it was looking for parking that proved to be impossible (specially at that time, 3:30 AM). This is one of the reasons I do not like to live in the city. The search for parking took me more than 3 hours just to find a 24 hour parking because all the parking garages I found opens at 8:00 AM (considering that I don’t live in the area and the territory was unfamiliar). had to leave my car keys to the attendant and off the GMC Acadia to the elevator where they parked it somewhere inside that parking structure. As for myself, without much sleep from the Hershey trip to Brooklyn I did not know how I got from 15th street and 9th Avenue to our apartment in 4th Avenue and 60th Street.

I was able to catch some needed zzz’s  before we walked the streets of NYC. Myra was with her son, Dubi, and her husband, Kevin, was scheduled to arrive that morning from LA but was late getting to the apartment. I believe he caught the wrong train, Myra was worried when he did not get to the apartment on time. After all these incidents and after we all got settled, we were ready to hit the streets of NYC.

Kevin was prepared, he had all the itineraries and planned which train or bus to take to get to our destinations. It was great walking the streets of NYC and hitting the tourists spots and I would say that the city has so much to offer but I will not live there. It was a nice first day in our few day stay in the city.

That was a Sunday and I thought we would miss going to mass that day, but we were fortunate to attend a 6:00 PM mass in Our Lady of Pompeii (I think) somewhere in Greenwhich Village. My daughter and Dubi were assigned to do the readings and it was indeed a blessing.

The picture above was taken towards the end of the our day before we caught our train back to Brooklyn. We were standing in front of this tattoo parlor in Greenwhich Village and this caught my eye and I thought why not. I used Lightroom for post processing, I try not to be simple and short in my post processes. I also would not get a tattoo for a simple reason that it’s gotta hurt not to mention that it might look terrible when you are old and wrinkly. Click on the picture to the rest of day 1 photos in NYC or just click here.

hershey, pa



Last July my wife’s best friend and her son flew from CA to spend a few days here in the east. The first thing they did aside from waiting for us to pick them up at Independence Hall was grabbed the famous Pat’s cheese steak.  Honestly, I like this better than Gino’s but let’s not start something here. We showed them a few landmarks in Philadelphia afterwards before going home across the bridge.

The next day we drove to Hershey Park. I guess they wanted to see where and how the chocolate products from Hershey were made. It was about two hour drive to Hershey from our place. They built a whole town around the Hershey factory, who could have thought how big that place is. There were a lot of additions in the park since last time we were there. My daughter was just about two years old and now she’s seventeen. She was afraid of the mascots then, just for fun she posed with a mascot for a picture.

I have not taken a roller coaster ride or any  terrifying ride in long time. I have long given that up to my kids. I believe the last time I rode the roller coaster was the Great Bear ride here in Hershey Park. I limit myself with the train ride and similar stuff. The picture above was taken on a monorail ride around the park and this caught my attention. It was a memory from the past, tearing down the old factory to build new ones, I supposed.

The picture was just processed in Lightroom 4. I like to tone down my post processing at a minimum and as long as I am satisfied with the result then it is time to stop doing more processing. For some pictures taken during this day trip please click on the picture or click here.