50mm Project: Day 06 – Everyday Objects (Abstracts)

We tend to just ignore the ordinary even though our life is all about the ordinary and the mundane. It is the everyday routine that challenges us to just continue to move on knowing for certain that the routine will repeat again the next day. If one can’t appreciate the ordinary, how can one recognize the extraordinary? We must learn to appreciate the everyday! The ordinariness of the everyday is where our life really is. It is in the ordinary that we learn to overcome. Overcome what? To overcome our own selfish desire for excitement! To overcome our own self-centered passion for the extraordinary which are often at the expense of others and the fragile environment that we live in. In the process, we lose sight of the ‘ordinary’ beauty of what we already possess.

The extraordinary can only arise from the ordinary. And yet, the ordinary is more powerful simply because the extraordinary eventually ‘degenerates’ back to the ordinary. And life goes on…We can lead extraordinary lives only as we learn to appreciate the ordinary.

Above: a picture of decorative ceramic figurine

Above: A picture of a ‘Malunggay’ tree bud

Above: A picture of decorative glass vases

Above: A picture of artificial decorative flowers


50mm Project: Day 05 – Family Portraits

The reason why we buy a camera is to take pictures…mostly pictures of our family. I am no exception. I love taking pictures of my family, especially of my two children. I had a film camera before and I took lots of pictures of my two kids growing up. Now, with a digital camera, I don’t have to worry about film and developing. I already plan in scanning those old pictures and convert to digital files so that I will be able to combine them in one photo book.

My wife loves to pose as well. She has this ‘talent’ that she almost always look good in photographs. I think it is called being ‘photogenic.’ And she does look good in real person as well.  I guess my family has been so used to me taking their pictures that they just act naturally in front of the camera. For some others, it may not be the case. Especially with strangers, children and adults alike, taking their pictures will usually result in ‘unnatural’ look. Until such time that they will learn to relax in front of the camera, only then will their portraits look good and ‘natural.’

Ras Al Khaimah Weekend

Our family went to Ras Al Khaimah last weekend together with the Oasis Herald Chorale group. We started our travel at around 10:30pm. It was Thursday night of March 30, and  with an expected 3-hour drive, we arrived at our destination at around 1am. Praise God for the traveling mercies. We arrived safe and we did not get lost. The car held up and did not have any malfunction. The traffic was smooth and there were no road accidents that we encountered along the way. God is great good! God is a great God!

The Oasis Herald had their spiritual retreat at Ras Al Khaimah. It was a lovely experience, I must say. Our hosts, the Salazar Family were absolutely hospitable and gracious. With the group, you always expect some craziness and yet, our hosts took it all in stride. In fact, I was beginning to believe that they actually enjoyed the experience themselves. The lady of the house, Neda Salazar said, that they were like guests in their own home. The cooking was done by the assigned persons of the group. And cooking was fun and the food was, believe it or not, great tasting. We even had to ‘harvest’ the ‘malunggay’ from our hosts’ garden. We had great time mainly due the the fact that our hosts were such wonderful people. A word of appreciation is truly in order here. Thanks a lot to the Salazar Family!

The catch words from our retreat were Mission and Vision. And the catch phrase was ‘self-awareness.’ The messages that we received would definitely influence the ministry of the Oasis Herald. The individuals who attended the retreat and drank deeply from the messages and experiences, came out truly blessed. We came out with a renewed sense of direction in our personal as well as in our group life. Our spiritual life had been nourished and we came out knowing that there is a purpose in our life as a group as much as within our own personal lives.  The individual felt that he is an indispensable and unique part of the tapestry of the group. No one is without a role to play. Everyone is a vital part in the fulfillment of the group’s mission and purpose. No one is left out. The next move would be to come up with a definite and solid Mission and Vision statement for Oasis Herald Chorale.

Ras Al Khaimah is one of the emirates in the United Arab Emirates. It is located at the northern part of the Emirates near the border of Oman. It has a population of around 270,000. The place we stayed was at the heart of the old Ras Al Khaimah. The weather was still quite good at this time of the year. The evenings was still cool with a cool breeze and the afternoon was not that hot. Humidity is still quite low so we still enjoyed our outdoor retreat activity out there in the Ras Al Khaimah desert. Overall, the retreat experience was truly an enjoyable one. Tired and sleep-deprived but, truly worth it.

50mm Project: Day 04: Available Light Portrait (Indoor)

The 50mm prime lens translates to an 80mm focal length in a 1.6 crop factor camera. This means that it is a good portrait lens mounted on my camera. So, with that considered, I set out to take portraits of our site personnel indoors and with available light only. I found a spot in our site office with a side window which I believe will make a good portrait ‘studio.’

I noticed that many of my shots were blurry and some were not really sharp. I can attribute this this to my shaky hands. One other factor is that my aperture was too wide open and this results in not so sharp image. So, I closed down a little bit up to f/2.2 to f/2.8, then increased my ISO up to ISO400; all intended to offset my shaky hands and the low light setting of the portrait ‘studio.’

The site people were much willing to pose for portrait. One guy even thought that it was a company requirement, so I told him that it was only for my personal work. That put him at ease a little bit. Another guy wanted a copy of his picture so that he can upload it to his Facebook account. Still another guy wanted a copy of his picture so that he can send it to his wife in his home country. Come to think of it; I am actually helping these guys by taking their pictures. And…if I just dig  little deeper into the conversation (considering the limitations due to the language gap) I can actually have a view into the window of these guys lives. That, I believe, is one power of photography.


50mm Project: Day 02 – Candid Shots

When I started taking pictures with my camera, I was always attracted to taking candid pictures. I love taking candid pictures especially of children.There was this great satisfaction of getting a photograph of a moment in time of a child’s life that will never be repeated again.

Recently, me and my family attended a children’s birthday party. I took this opportunity to use my 50mm prime lens to take candid pictures of children, as well as adults, having fun at the party. The advantage of this lens is that it is small enough not to intimidate the kids. I also didn’t need to use flash and therefore it is easier to take candid shots.

I knew that I needed to bump up my ISO but I could not go beyond ISO400 without sacrificing image quality. This is due to the limitation of my current camera sensor. I am using Canon 400D, an ‘old’ camera by today’s standard. Camera sensors have greatly improved by big leaps and bounds that one can utilize ISO 3200 or higher without losing that much in image quality. As it is, I am till stuck in the ‘Jurassic Park’ of sensor land.