Ink Stains and Photos

A story lover's photo blog. :-) #Dumaguete #Manila #StreetPhotography #Psychiatry #PopCulture


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The day before All Souls Day

“So, what are you going to do with these pictures?”

(I often get asked why I take pictures… I have a voluminous collection of snaps in my iphone, which I carry around while my “formal” camera is in repair. I just see something I like, and then, I see possible stories in my head because of it. Or, in some way, I am reminded of something that happened to me…it could actually be anything.  The following pictures are examples.)

Gentleman in yellow. October 30, 2016.  (Do you know how, when someone looks up and points at the sky, you immediately want to look up and see what it was he was pointing at? Well, this was what I felt when I saw this person staring at something in the sky behind me. I actually never got to ask him what it was, but that look on his face was interesting enough.

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It was just a big red dump truck, really eye-catching. You couldn’t miss it.

Flowers in ready for November 1 (which is a National Holiday for us here in the Philippines.

The theme for the afternoon was yellow.

Yellow #2 Girl in a yellow t-shirt, waiting for the florist’s version of ikebana.l

Yellow #3. I saw her while walking down the street to get to the pop-up flower stalls near the public market. She wore a gold-colored top, and a tiny yellow umbrella, which I doubt provided a lot of reprieve from the sun.  I think she probably was squinting, more than the fact that she was mad at me. 🙂


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The Ship Builder

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Edmund the shipbuilder. April 2015. Dumaguete, Philippines.

 

He had a grand old beauty on his shoulder…

While on one of my occasional walks on the promenade some months, I saw this fellow with four of these ships in his hands. This one was the biggest, and he had three more medium-sized and small ones in the other hand. I was so taken by the details of the handiwork that I had to ask for his permission to take this photo.

He obliged of course, and I said, “Thank you, I’ll let my friends know about you!”

When I posted it on one of my social media sites, I immediately was flooded with queries as to the cost of the ships, and how we could contact him. These tiny details, crucial they may be, was overlooked as I was mesmerized, and busy trying to compose the picture in my head. Embarrassing it may have been, I was at a loss, and could only tell people that he was around at the Boulevard and that I would ask him when I saw him again.

A few months later,  I was with my friend from grade school and he was the one who noticed him. He said, “Hey, isn’t that the guy you took a picture of?” So we met up with him, and I asked the questions that I needed.

His name was Edmund, an Ilonggo from Guimaras, and he regularly traveled to sell his boats. They were actually costing from Php 3,500 to Php 6,500, and could be made to order.

Things of beauty, these things were.

If you see Edmund on the Boulevard, do me a favor…Say hello, and check out his beauties. Who knows, maybe you might fall in love with them like I did! 🙂

 

 


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The rains have come

August 21, 2016.

It’s been raining all over the Philippines these past few weeks, but my hometown has only had its share (and it has been quote continuous). It let up a few hours ago, so I was able to test my new GoPro Hero 4 (Silver) outside.

I had won it in a raffle, and although my first reaction was one of…calm, because I had my biases against it. You see, most of the people I know who’ve used it, use it for selfies, or for group shots… I’ve never really seen people use it for anything else. Also, it didn’t have a lot of information with regards to my favorite genre of Street Photography.

However, because things happen to me for a reason, I decided to shut my mouth (effectively) and try to explore what it could offer. I’m definitely glad I did.

The GoPro Hero 4 Silver is one powerful little camera stored in a hard, almost indestructible case (ok, I exaggerate, but there is a reason why people use it for underwater shots and extreme sports…it IS that durable.)

I know that most people would mount it on a monopod (or selfie stick. :-)) and take pictures with it while viewing photos on their phone. I didn’t want to do that, of course. It just wasn’t…ergonomic for me.

Boy and Girl on the motorcycle. August 2016.

What I did instead was to take it out of its kit mount and put a cord through the remaining holes and put it around my neck. I did that because it made it much easier for me to keep my hands free and to “shoot from the hip”. 🙂

The pictures on this post are some examples. I’m not all that good yet, but I think that the GoPro’s compact size, powerful capabilities and adaptable settings give it a considerable edge for a photographer, when it comes to those shots were you have to do some quick thinking and carpe diem. 🙂

(Also, I shot using the 7MP medium format. It lessened lens distortions and allowed me to tweak considerably during post-processing.)

Middle-aged couple holding hands.

 


 

  Sunset after Mass. August 2016. 

 

 


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Photo: “The Shy Guy”

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The Shy Guy. July 5, 2016

(originally posted on my Instagram page)

I had an Afghan Girl moment earlier during the commute.

Allan, 30, sat across me and went unnoticed until i looked in his direction just in time for the light to hit his eyes and make me realize that they were not the usual brown, but instead a shade of hazel and green with flecks of a color resembling sienna. I commented about the curious nature of his eyes, and he told me that his grandfather was a foreigner and was neighbors with his grandmother.

He asked me my name and shook my hand. He was a simple guy, and was very shy. He would answer in short syllables and would ask me to repeat constantly, flashing his gap-toothed smile, much like a child. I asked him what he did for a living and he looked down at his plastic bag full of plastic bottles, and shrugged.

The driver apparently knew who he was and called him by by his first name, asking where he wanted to get off this time. I offered to pay for his fare, as it was the least i could do. I only got to talk to him for a few minutes, but it was enough to make him feel comfortable enough with me to oblige.)

Traditions: Feast Days

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I’ve lived most of my life in a small town, which has pretty much stuck to its own traditions for generations.

Just tonight, I went with my mother to participate in the twilight procession of the image of St. Anthony of Padua. He is believed to be the patron saint of Miracles, and also for finding lost and stolen articles. Every thirteenth of the month, droves of devotees come to my hometown and give alms, or attend masses said in the his honor.  It is not exactly a surprise anymore to see people set up commercial pop-up shops a couple of days prior to the monthly feast day. These “avenues” offer the locals commercial opportunities.

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The She-man society was the one in-charge of decorating the pedestal that carried the image.

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A side display of Baby’s breath…always a beauty.

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Catholic practices are altered considerably, as pagan practices are still in effect. It’s also been part of tradition for those who participate to take  the flowers after the event. In the past it was really very bad, a violent show of grabbing and plucking and shuffling. For tonight’s procession, however, the people were calm while the person above, wearing black, implored that they let the assistants get the bowls of roses first, so they could be placed on the altar.  Much to my surprise, everyone followed accordingly.

Sometimes, it can be baffling how some people can do things one way, and say things another way, but this is one of the traditions of Sibulan. It is constant and might not change, not for a very long time, at least, until people would think that there was a better way to do it.

 


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The introverted photographer

I have a confession to make…

While I aim to suck out “the marrow of life” on the street for my photography, I am, in many ways an introverted person. I could never dream of being a Bruce Gilden or a Chris Weeks who would get close enough to photograph.

At times when I get lucky, I’d be happy with the shot, or even try to befriend the person I was going to make my subject. Mostly, however, I am the type who would rather walk and watch on the sidelines…and be waiting to stealthily take a shot of something that catches my eye. Maybe I’m a Cartier-Bresson type, shy and quiet.

Other times, I would just look around and snap away…which is not the most desirable of techniques…

Man in Orange, riding a pedicab in Dumaguete. May 21, 2016. (I took a picture of him because he looked quite peculiar, what with his white newsboy hat, very round glasses, and the detailed print on his shirt. He also spoke in Tagalog while conversing with the driver. #character) 

Anyway, I take photos to document life…as it happened around me. I’ve said repeatedly that I didn’t want anything to do with taking a lot of selfies of myself, or take pictures of the food I’d eaten exclusively. Perhaps I also think that it is the reason why I post so much so often, ignoring the advice of “letting it sit” for a while before processing it.

Well, we’ll learn eventually to do things as creatively as we please. So far, I’m on this phase for now. #