Sunday, March 24, 2013


What better way to wet someone's appetite for summer than to head to the beach?

The azure waters and the fine sand always make for a welcome invitation to those all too used to the gray and gravely city that we each leave behind. Here are some pictures of a recent trip to Laiya, Batangas to cool my heels for what looks to be a pretty stifling summer.

I honestly have to say that I am proud of the shot I took above. It may not be much to you, but to me, it definitely indicates progress with my photography. A noted improvement, a dash of learning here and there and I'll get better little by little.

Patience young one, even the sun needs seconds to melt the ice.

For some of you that are wondering how I got the that ethereal effect of glass-like water in my shot, I used a ND Filter (Neutral Density) to suppress the light entering my lens in order and make my exposure of the water longer than normal therefore leading to the smoke like quality. (I learned this from an awesome cousin who is my filter guru. You can check out more of his filter filled work here:

For those of you that are wondering how I was able to get good light for this shot, I used a technique called HDR (High Definition Range - Rendering which means that I have to take 3 exposures of the same photo and merge them into a single picture in post processing to be able to accurately cover all light ranges.

For my settings, here's my EXIF data:
Time: 5:55 PM
EXIF Data: 3.0 seconds, f/22, ISO 100, 12mm
Lens Data: Nikkor 12-24mm f/4
Filter Data: Hoya Pro 1D 77mm ND4x (0.6) Neutral Density Filter
Post Processing Data: 3 Stacked Shots at 1/3 EV for each converted into an HDR image via Photomatix Pro 4 and tweaked with Lightroom.

Coast of San Juan, Batangas

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Solemn Sundays

First initial thoughts: Andreo in a church? What's he doing there? Is the world coming to an end?

But contrary to popular belief, I do have a semblance of a soul left in this husk of a body of mine. And one thing this tattered soul of mine does appreciate about churches is their architecture.

I've always been a sucker for the pure symmetry that Catholic churches have in particular. It's almost impossible not to get a good shot by standing smack dab in the center of a church and aligning your camera's viewfinder to its center/ (Just like the photo below). Another thing that works great for churches (or any interior in that matter) is a wide angle lens (I used my 12-24mm here) since it distorts the photo by trying to let everything fit into your camera's viewfinder. It also makes straight lines longer adding to a beautiful effect for interior shots.

Anyway, enough about all the camera hoopla and on to these grandiose monuments we call churches. I personally like traveling to different places just to take photos of churches because one part inside of me always wanted to be an architect. I always dreamed of designing monumental structures that stretched towards the heavens with huge overhanging arches and granite columns as large as giant's feet. I guess you could say that I always wanted to build a Cathedral de Andreo. But for now, I'll be content with just taking photos of them and preserving their eternal glory in a photograph.

So here's a collection of two recent churches I visited. The first one is the humongous San Sebastian Cathedral all the way out in Lipa, Batangas. This cathedral is probably one of the largest I have ever seen. It owes it's size to the fact that it holds the bishop's seat for the entire diocese of Batangas if I'm not mistaken. Another trademark of this cathedral are its frescoes on the ceiling. Reminds me of a Pinoy Sistine Chapel.

Next up is the San Agustine Church located in nearby Intramuros. My friend Jake and I decided to visit the San Agustine Church since we heard that the adjacent museum had some pretty cool old Catholic stuff to see. Too bad that they don't allow photography in some of the exhibit rooms. (By the way, we paid around 100 pesos for museum entrance fee. Oh and they don't allow flash photography and the use of tripods).

Getting some of that old world feel as we make our way through the cobble stone lined streets of Intramuros. I think this would be our third time walking the streets with all our camera gear in search for good photos.

Well that's that. I'd like to think that I'll have more of these Solemn Sundays and chase more churches throughout the Philippines. Here's to great Catholic architecture and a chance at healing my soul!

Jake's imposing outline in the church's inner sanctum.