Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Collection of Sunsets

I think you will agree with me when I say that there is something about a sunset that captivates the human mind. Just like moths drawn to a candle's golden glow, the eye is drawn towards the radiance of the sun. You can't help but pause for a moment and reflect as it dips below the horizon and illuminates the Earth in a wash of colors before blanketing us in darkness.

To me, the sunset has always been my favorite golden hour. Two reasons for this: One, sunrises are too early for me to drag my ass out of bed and Two,a sunset offers me one final chance to chase the day's dying light as it flees the onset of night . For someone who loves photography, dynamic light is a extremely important ingredient in creating a good photo. Ask any photographer out there and he'll tell you that a craving for sunset shots is not a longing easily satisfied.

I've never grown tired of chasing sunsets and I don't think I will. I enjoy having no set plan when I head out to try and capture that elusive golden light. Wherever the light takes me, I'll be there.

This is a small collection of some the more recent sunsets that I've caught up with. The first sunset (pictured above) was taken on a chilly afternoon at the Bacolod Port or BREDCO. Although this place has been known as a haven for pickpockets, holduppers and your occasional smuggler, the sunset gave it a unique and tranquil glow that signified a ship dropping anchors after a smooth day of sailing.

This next set was taken from the Ayala Hills Golf Course. Located a little past Ateneo in Quezon City, this golf course offers a great panoramic view of Manila with the rolling hills of the golf course as the foreground. There's even a nearby Dencio's to satisfy a hungry sunset-chaser's appetite after shooting.

And finally, my usual haunt -The top of my building. I have to sneak past a few security guards and place stoppers on a few automatic-lock doors, but the view from the 42nd floor is worth it. You can see Makati in all it's splendor as the sun sets over Manila bay.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Father's Pride

One measure of a man's worth has always been how he cares for his car. I honestly think that my father has proven himself worthy of this honor every time I see this automobile glistening pristinely in the drive way.

This car actually belonged to my grandfather. It's a Mercedes-Benz 200 or better known as the "Fintail" among car enthusiasts due to it's fin-like decals located on it's rear end. (More on this later.) My grandfather purchased this car circa 1967 and to my understanding, drove it every single day.

The thing that amazes me about this car is that my grandfather used to drive this car through rough and bumpy dirt roads to check on different farms scattered around Negros. Back in the day, roads weren't that high on the government's priority list and humongous rocks and abysmal pot-holes were a common site along the many byways of Negros Occidental. What's more is that once you got to the farms, you'd have to contend with quick-sand-like mud that would keep your car stuck for a good while. (I remember my dad telling me of the countless times my grandfather would have to call a tractor to tow his car out of a mud hole).

From the stories I gathered from my family, this car also used to be the usual family hang-out on weekends. My grandfather had 6 children and he used to take my aunts and uncles with him whenever he would make his rounds through the farms. To my understanding, my aunts and uncles would all squeeze themselves into this trusty car every weekend and brace themselves for a bumpy ride through the countryside. 

As I was talking to my family, they told me that it wasn't such as uncomfortable as you would expect. The Mercedes was large and spacey, the suspension system was superb and they had each other's company. What would usually happen was that as my grandfather attended to managing the farm, my aunts and uncles would either head down to the beach to wade in the surf or take out the pre-prepared food from the trunk and have themselves a picnic under a shadier portion of the farm. 

For me, this is more than a car, it's an important piece of family history and I'm glad that my father takes so much pride into keeping this car in tip top shape. I just hope that I'll be able to do the same for this vintage road warrior and keep it around for another hundred years or so. 

For these shots, I took the car over the old Negros railway system on the outskirts of Bacolod. There used to be a very active railway system that connected major haciendas in Negros to the main sugar refinery in Victorias (a nearby town). Farmers would bring their crop to the designated drop off points, a locomotive would collect them and bring their crop to the refinery. Sadly, the railway system has fallen into decline either due to falling sugar prices or the preference of farmers to use trucks to transport their load instead.

My father tries to keep the interior of the Benz as authentic and as original as possible. The leather detailing is still all there as are the original emblems and logos. The interior finish of the Benz is themed black and red.

Pictured above are the red leather seats and shown below is the upholstery of the car's ceiling which is a unique and trademarked black and white polkadot design that is very symbolic of Mercedes;.