Category: Street photography

All Saints Day

Traditions last as long as families and significant others keep things going…

November 1 is such a day for Filipinos. In remembrance of their dearly departed, they give their annual dues, in the form of flowers, candles, and prayers. There is that Catholic belief that the souls of the dear departed are in Purgatory, and they cannot pray for themselves, thus they would need their loved ones on Earth to pray for them. By mentioning their names and praying out loud, the dead will have a better chance for getting into heaven.

In these areas, columbariums are still non-existent, and thus the townspeople visit their dead in the cemetery, where the tombs are stacked impossibly high next to each other, OR, that tiny graves are dug in between plots.

No, there is no actual planning and landscaping, and thus, it can get pretty crowded. The following photos are a glimpse of how All Souls Day is commemorated here in the locality (and pretty much for every other provincial town here in the Philippines…)

 

 

Photo: Lovers at Sunrise, Siargao May 2017


Lovers at Sunrise, Siargao, May 12, 2017.

One time, a friend of mine asked me, “How do you find these people (i.e. Lovers) to photograph?” I answered, “I don’t know, they just happen to be there most of the time…” Anyway, when I was there, we were given leave to go out to a popular resort place in #Siargao, and I was one of the first people out of the van. Walking up the boardwalk, I saw these two wrapped in an embrace, motionless like stone. But they were not stone…far from that. They breathed as one, like a living entity of two hearts, ensconced in each other’s mutual loving presence.

Later in the day, I would hear a reading of Pablo #Neruda’s “Sonnet 27”, and remember distinctly what this embrace would feel like, and how wonderful it was to have been loved, “…as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul… where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.”

There is a beauty to its vulnerability that draws me closer. I don’t think I have to explain myself, but I feel it is necessary to say that although I love the emotions love brings, it is not the idea of it, that drives me to write in such a manner.  🙂

 

Photos: Intramuros morning

My friend Arla was entertaining her friends from France while they were in town for a few days. She asked me to join them for breakfast in Intramuros, before they would leave on a flight later that same day.

Intramuros was one of my favorite touristy spots to shoot in, when in Manila, and I was free for the morning so I went. Nico and Mickael were friends of hers from when she did her clerkship rotation in France, while she was in medical school. They had been touring spots around the country for a couple of weeks and were just winding down.

They were great, a couple of good-natured guys were very nice and fun to talk to. They gamely tried Binignit, Champorado, as well as Halo-halo, when we were in Ilustrado for breakfast.

Being in Intramuros, the walled city, is always a good excuse for me to take photos and walk around. So much so, that Arla was amused enough to laughingly comment that I was almost more touristy than her friends. 🙂

Oh well, it simply could not be helped.

There are always plenty of colors and textures that pique my interest every time in this place.

I called this one, “Frenchman in Manila”, actually, this was Nico having a quiet moment looking on at the architecture and me noticing that the bougainvillea-laden floors made for a good contrast point.
Mickael had a small Canon point and shoot, which gave me the idea to shift to smaller cameras with a better sensor than my iphone. Also, I like taking photos of people taking photos. 🙂
Flowy skirts. March 2017.
Going up the rise. March 2017.

Photo: Mr. Fruit Man

 

CherryVoy (“my friends call me Sean”, Businessman specializing in Fruit. Dumaguete, Philippines, March 2, 2017.  

It was his bright auburn hair, I saw first… and then the oranges.

And then like I always do, I reached for mine phone and pretended to walk by while making a photo.I only got to walk a few steps when I realized that my “surreptitiously-done” photo was not what I wanted (or not what I had pictured in my head).

No matter, I thought, I could still remedy the situation. And besides, I could choose a few Mandarin oranges…:-)

“What’s your name? ” I asked him.

My mother, in the meantime, was haggling, but ended up buying more fruit than my oranges. She’s pretty good at it, I suppose, but he was adept at being “firm” about the prices. It was actually entertaining to see them banter about it a bit while she tried to have her way with the purchases.

“CherryVoy…but my friends call me Sean.” he said.

“Hey, would you mind if I took your picture?” I asked, “I think your store has such bright colors, I think it would make a really nice photo.” He gamely posed, and I took a few shots with my phone camera. When I showed them to him, and asked if it was alright if I could post it online. He looked through the ones I had taken, and smiled as if to say that he liked how he and the store looked. He easily consented.

As it turns out, it was a  Win-Win situation, I’d say. 🙂

(And man, those were some of the sweetest Mandarin oranges I’ve had. If you’re ever in the Cang’s Department Store area, drop by his store, it is just right beside the parking spaces. I think He can give discounts…if you ask nicely. :-))

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

T

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. 🙂

The Ship Builder

edmund-the-ship-builder
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! 🙂

 

 

Pedicabs

Pedicabs in line. Philippines. August 2016.

Small streets call for small modes of transportation. 🙂

Where I come from, the more popular mode of public transportation are these “pedicabs” (others refer to them as “pedibox” just because) and they are likened to “taxicabs”, because they bring you to wherever you want in the city, for the going price of 8 pesos per trip (or a little bit more if you want to go someplace farther).

They are convenient, breezy, and fairly cheap mode of transportation, in a city that has 1-2 taxis in service. 🙂

Photo: the full moon

The full moon on a sunset plane ride. The Philippines, July 21, 2016.

 When one looks really hard, and is patient enough, one sees colors and light in the way one wants to see it.

I took this photo while in the plane to a city a couple of hours away from where I live in order to attend the conference. Traveling alone, I was able to enjoy my precious few hours of silence and not being bothered by anyone for conversation. (I love my solitude when I want it.)

What I love about this picture is the ethereal quality of the vivid pinkish hues in the sky, in stark contrast to the dark blues and blacks of the ground and the sea below, punctuated by a silvery white full coin of a moon.

Ah, but it was love!

~ S.

 

The Ladies in White

The white house near the Bian Yek in Dumaguete has always held a mysterious air.

When I was in grade school, someone told me that there were “White Ladies” who lived there, and that they were really old and frail.

I remember one time late one after whilst riding a pedicab, and looking up, I saw them, three ladies sitting out in the terrace… The deep set eyes looked menacing to me, the bones of their face were so high and prominent and they made their features appear hook-like and menacing, and their hair was white and buffeted by the breeze.All this made them look more menacing… Than they should have been. And although I mustered up the courage to stare, I couldn’t…and I had to turn away and avert my eyes.

(I did that every time I passed that place…which was almost every day.)

Nowadays, I’m not sure if it is occupied by anyone, but the childhood memory of the elderly ladies and an overactive imagination had me pegging those elderly ladies unfairly as scary beings, when in fact they were just elderly women being cared for by their caregivers.

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.

 

Waiting for a “pedicab” after the rain. August 2016


 

  Sunset after Mass. August 2016.