Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bike the Drive 2012

Last May 27, a portion of Lake Shore Drive was closed to motorized vehicles to give way to the 11th annual Bike the Drive. Thousands of bikers were able to enjoy the warm weather and the spectacular view - the lake on the east and the Downtown Chicago skyline on the west.

I, of course, took my camera outdoors and took some pictures of the participants.

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It was the perfect start to summer!

Shots made with a Canon Powershot SX230 HS. Post-processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Symmetry at @Macys on State Street in Downtown Chicago

So, you are shopping at one of the best places to shop in the world. You are enjoying your time. Then you suddenly looked up and saw a most fascinating architectural structure…

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It is not everyday that you get to see beautiful architecture while shopping. But when you do, make sure you have your camera at the ready.

Shot made with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon EF 24-105  f/4L IS USM lens. Want the best backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite, the Lowepro Versapack 200AW, here and here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Correctly Balancing White Balance

Learning photography is a never-ending process. And the more you shoot, the more you learn.

I was invited to two events. One was the Chicago Filipino-American Hall of Fame and the other was the UERMMMC MAA of the Midwest Induction and Dance. I considered both events as a great opportunity to photograph wonderful people and, also, to expand my knowledge of photography.

In the first event, I shot straight on, that is, with an on-camera speedlite with the flash bounced off walls, ceilings, etc.

However, I immediately noticed one problem: my subjects were properly white balanced, but the backgrounds were not. I'll give you an example here:

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You can see the difference between the light falling on my subjects from the speedlite and the light illuminating the background. This is because the light from the speedlite has a color temperature of around 5500K whereas the room has a tungsten color temperature (around 3400K).

So, I decided to do something about it.

I got a Rouge Gel Kit. This kit is composed of a pouch, an attachment band, and the filters that you can put on your speedlite.

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So, using a half CTO gel (6500K to 3800K) in the second event that I attended, I was able to balance the light from the speedlite and the light from the tungsten bulbs. This enable me to get a more monochromatic picture.

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So, if you want to improve your photography, I suggest you shoot more, learn more, and set a properly white-balanced shot.

Go get your Expoimaging Rogue Gels here:

Event photos made with a Canon 5D Mark II, a Canon 24-105 f/4L lens and a Canon 430EX-II speedlite.

Photos of the Rogue Gels made with a Canon 7D and a Canon 24-105 f/4L lens.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

UERMMMC MAA of the Midwest 20th Induction and Dinner Dance

Last May 12, 2012, the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center Medical Alumni Association (UERMMMC MAA) of the Midwest had their 20th Induction of Officers and Dinner Dance. It was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel O'Hare in Rosemont, IL.

It was a lovely event which started with a delicious dinner, the induction of officers, citation of member achievements and, of course, the lively dance.

If you want to get a souvenir of that wonderful night, I prepared a photo book of the event. It comes in 8x10 format and you can order the book in softbound or in hardbound formats for a price that equals that of most photo books. You can also get an iPhone or an iPad version for the price of a grande Starbucks cappuccino. You can preview the entire book on the Blurb website. For the iPhone/iPad version, you will be able to read your digital copy in the iBooks app.

I have also compiled some of the photos together and made this movie.

I had great fun taking the pictures and I also had great fun making the photo book and the movie.


If this is your first time in my website, I would like to tell you that I like to use a photojournalistic style of photography, hence, majority of the photos that I make are of those with the people not looking towards the camera, photos that are candids, ones where they are not aware that their photos are being taken. They only know that I was there after the flash was fired.

I feel that it is more raw and more honest that way.

Photos made with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 24-105 f/4L lens.

Movie of the photos were compiled together using iMovie in a MacBook Pro.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lowepro Urban Photo Sling Review

I got a box a couple weeks back. In it are two new bags from Lowepro. The bags were actually so new that I didn't know about it before!

The smaller of the two is the Lowepro Urban Photo Sling 150 while the one on the right is the Lowepro Urban Photo Sling 250. The bags are sling bags so it means access to your camera gear is very easy.
Loading them up is very easy. Just unzip the front cover all the way and you can load the bag up. With the 150, I was able to load a Canon 7D with a hooded Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens (my longest lens to date) and a Canon 430EX-II. When I changed to a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L lens, I was even able to add a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens at the bottom of the camera-lens set up.

With the bigger 250, I was able to put all of the above inside the bag! The bags are so compact yet they can contain a lot.

As you can see from both photos, I was able to put the Studio and Location Lighting Secrets book by Rick Sammon and Vered Koshlano (my review of the book can be found here). This is because there is an iPad slot inside - yes, you can put an iPad in the bag. Also, though it is not as obvious as I'd like it to be, there is a slot on the right side of the 250 where you could put a compact tripod, like a Joby Gorillapod. You can see the tip of the ball head at the photo above.
Then, when you are out-and-about, you get your DSLR from the top. The front cover prevents the bag from opening all the way - well, as long as you have the belt locks secure, your gear won't topple over. So make sure the front cover is secured before you go out shooting.

There is a small pocket on the left side of either bags where you could put a front lens cap or a filter. Also, there is a belt loop on the strap where you can attach small accessories. In my case, I attached my CF-card case, a Lowepro DMC-Z.
On the front is a pocket where you can store some stuff like your keys, your iPhone, etc. This portion is covered when the flap is down.

I walked the streets of the Windy City to test out the bag. With the wife as the videographer and our friends as my models, I was able to put together a video of the test. You can check it out below:

What are my findings?
Well, as I've stated in the video, the bag(s) are rated:
Highly Recommended!
So get yours here:

A special thanks go out to Derrick Story and Yvonne Petro of Lowepro for making the review of these bags possible. Sometimes, you just need to ask...
Photos of the bag and the video clips were made using a Canon Powershot SX230 HS.
Photos of my models made with a Canon 7D and a Canon 24-105 f/4L lens.
Video was made with the iMovie app in a Macbook Pro.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

One Light Flash by John Denton and Adam Duckworth

How many speedlites do you need if you want to produce really great pictures?

When I was just starting, I made the mistake of buying a book by a well-established photographer thinking that the book would be a big help. It did not. Why? Simply because the photographer/author used so many speedlites for most of his shots. If you are just starting out, you simply could not keep up with that.

Only two kinds of person will be able to use a hundred speedlites at one time: those who are already established and those who receive corporate sponsorships.

I am neither.

I ended up returning that book.

So you can imagine my surprise when I found the book One Light Flash (Professional-Quality Lighting on a Budget) by John Denton and Adam Duckworth. It turns out that with just one speedlite, you will be able to make really beautiful pictures.

It is as the name implies.

You will be taught how to shoot indoors, outdoors, fashion, group shots, and more. They even have examples on how to shoot interiors, cars and action photography. And, most importantly for newbies who are considering the book, there are either diagrams of set ups or photos of how the shots were made. These "Case Studies" alone make up for the price you are going to spend to get the book.

(A little caveat though, since you'd be able to make better photographs by moving the flash off-camera, you would have to find a way to control your speedlite remotely.)

So, if you are just starting out and you just got that first speedlite, then consider buying this book. It is Highly Recommended!


Monday, May 7, 2012

My Last Dance with Marilyn at the Magnificent Mile

It's her last day in the city. Love her or hate her, I'm sure she'll be missed...

Photos made with my iPhone4.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chicago Filipino-American Hall of Fame 2012

It was a night of socializing, music, and recognition of the Filipinos, Americans, and Filipino-Americans who have made contributions to the Filipino community here in the US and back home. The Chicago Filipino-American Hall of Fame awards is held yearly by the Chicago-based Via Times Newsmagazine and CPRTV (Chicago Philippine Reports TV). This year, Illinois Secretary of State Jessie White graced the occasion and was named "Via Times Man of the Year".

Here is a video of the highlights of the night's festivities at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Chicago:

Here is a photo book of the event-- you can view it online for free, but I also recommend getting a hardcopy of the book, for your home or for a friend. Or,  if you have an iPhone or an iPad, you can get your copy which you can read via your iBook app. Just click on the shopping cart below or follow this link!

For iOS users, you can view and get your copy of the photo book through this link.

Shots made with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon EF 24-105  f/4L IS USM lens. Want the best backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite, the Lowepro Versapack 200AW, here and here.

Video made in iMovie on a Macbook Pro.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Windy City in A Minute - Miniatures in the Chicago Architecture Foundation (@chiarchitecture)

Want to see downtown Chicago in just a few minutes? Then you might want to check out these miniatures inside the Chicago Architecture Foundation. It is a very, very good representation of the beautiful buildings in the area. And if you have a couple of hours or more to spare, then you can participate in one, or several, of the walking tours the foundation provides. It is a great place to start if you want to know a little something about this beautiful city. Heck, it is with them that I learned that Chicago came from a Native American word meaning Land of the Stinky Onions. It's a nice tidbit to know since the wife and I live here. :)

And if you've been following my blog, then you already know that I am a big fan of "zoomed" photos. Another way of highlighting and isolating the beautiful buildings from their surroundings.

Shots made with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon EF 24-105  f/4L IS USM lens. Want the best backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite, the Lowepro Versapack 200AW, here and here.


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