Monday, January 5, 2015

My Top 12 Photos for 2014

My Top 12 Photos for 2014

2014 was one hell of a year. Now before we all move on to that 'new year, new me' stuff, I'd like to take a step back and share what my top twelve photos of this 2014 were. I found out that this year, I took around 8,705 photos. (and that's just the photos that I kinda wanted to keep lol). It was pretty tough choosing just 12 to place in this album.

I decided to choose the photos that had a more personal meaning to me rather than something with more visual impact. Check out each photo for a little back story on why I chose it.

I'd like to begin this album with cheese.

This year wouldn't have been as awesome if I didn't have this woman by my side. Through thick and thin and 889 kilometers (yep, that's how far we are from each other), this solid feline has put up with all kinds of surprises that have managed to crop up in the span of our relationship.

We had a pretty good year together and I'm looking forward to many more!

This photo of tapaseros (cane-cutters) at rest resonates within me because it shows the many facets of how hard life on a farm can be. Earlier this year, I snapped this photo as a few friends and I were undergoing an immersion where we wanted to see how hard it was to actually harvest sugarcane.

It was definitely not a joke. We ended up gassed after just a few hours of work. This would have beenconsidered as a warm-up for these cane cutting veterans. And to think that 8 hours under the sun doing this kind of labor only earns them around Php 255 per day. Its no wonder that some of them would feel sour. But I'm thankful that there are a few souls that value the hard yet honest work that they do. (and now I am definitely one of them).

As we progess to the next year, the thought of how to improve the quality of their life and make their work more efficient is something I'll ponder on with the changing of the calendar.

Everything just came together for this shot of the old wharf in Silay City.

It was a waning summer day and the sunset was bright, the children were out in the shallows spalishing around and playing with kites.. it was perfect, yet melancholic. I couldn't help but think of my own summer days in school. Lazy, decadent, yet surprisingly content.

Add to the fact that these children were playing on a wharf that used to be the longest in Asia (3 kilometers out to sea) before being bombed by the Japanese in World War II truly adds to the melancholy and the nostalgia.

Eversince coming back to Negros to take on the family business in 2013, I've been doing a lot more solo photo trips around the island.

Yes, some of you may say that's so 'emo' (lol), but I find it oddly relaxing. You can go at your own pace, not worried about the time or the waning interest of any companions you bring with you. It also serves as a time to reflect and think about anything under the sun set.

Here's a shot from one of my solo photo trips to Brgy. Balaring in Silay City to catch the sunset. You can read more about my trips to Balaring here:

Ahhh... the Ruins. Of course. How many times has this monument to love been featured on my page? I honestly can't tell. How many times have I been there this year? Around 6 maybe? But I don't care. There's something about this place that speaks volumes about the romance in Negros.. and that is something definitely worth coming back to over and over again

You can read more about The Ruins here:

One major highlight aside from photograph of my 2014 would have to be climbing my first mountain.

Mt. Pulag served as an eye opener to the great outdoors for me. I would have to say that it inspired me to have a yearning to get out of the city every once in awhile and learn to live in sync with nature.

I think that this is where all my interest in knives, outdoor gear and preparation stemmed from lol.

I chose this photo beacuse it represents the struggle of reaching the top. I know that my other photo (the one at the summit overlooking the mountains) may seem more dramatic, but the struggle is not clear there since the top has already been reached. Here, I can see a line of tired and multicolored campers pushing themselves to claim their prize.

You can read more about my trip up the mountain here:

This is a photo of the Good Friday Holy Week procession called the 'Santo Entierro' (Holy Burial). It offered me a different perspective as to how people choose to interpret their faith in my province.

Seeing the huge turn out of the crowd and the sober but somewhat joyous mood that they were in shows me a little more insight into how faith can be taken to a whole different level in the provinces.

You can read more about the Good Friday Holy Week Procession and the church where it's held here:

This photo of men harvesting shrimp speaks to me about the team effort required to bring in a good harvest. Choosing to be an entrepreneur in my own family's business has led me down a road that can get somewhat lonely. I now realize that being lonesome is just a limitation of one's own will to find other people who you are willing to work with towards one common goal.

Come 2015, I will be looking back at this photo and remembering that it takes more than one man to cast his net into the sea.

You can read more about the shrimp harvest in Negros here:

Las Casas de Filipinas de Acuzar. Even your name provokes memories of a time long gone. This is where all the old houses of the Philippines go after they die. To a haven where they are rebuilt and glorified to the end of their days.

Coming here was a surreal experience for me (made possible by people who are out of this world too. You know who you are!)

The architectural photos I took here will stay with me forever. This photo in particular is one of my all time favorites. The beauty of this old house is made even more nostalgic with the cover of night. Add the sculptures of the children playing in the yard and you get a mix of eternal energy. Just like an endless summer night.

You can read more about Las Casas here:

Chris and Roslyn's Engagement Shoot.

This is by far my favorite commissioned shoot of 2014. Although the day didn't turn out with perfect weather, everything fell into place by the time night came. With a strobe light, an amazing team behind me and a more than game couple, the Ruins took on a romantic glow in the lightly drizzling evening.

Looking back at this shoot, I am reminded of the way in which I should conduct all future shoots: with a lot of heart, and a lot of love.

You can read more about this couple's pre-nup shoot here:

The photo of this smiling truck driver may not have that much visual impact, but it stays special to me for this one reason:

It reminds me that I need not be afraid to take pictures of people. In the past, I always had this fear of approaching someone and asking to take their photo. I guess the fear of rejection or shyness drove me to be this way. But come 2015, I need to over come that to tell the true story of a place or event because now I know that at the heart of every story is a person.

For a bit more backstory of this photo, refer to the original caption on Facebook below:

I was on my way to the farm this afternoon.. we stop at red light. I see this guy driving a rickety old truck beside me who seems to be having a bad day.
Without batting an eyelash, I grab my camera and I'm like... "Kuya, kuya ang pogi mo! Smile!" and this dude flashes me one of the biggest and most sincere smiles I've seen all day. It makes me break out in a huge smile too! haha
Light turns green, we're both off on our separate ways but with smiles on our faces. Hope you guys had a great monday!"

This is a photo I took in Baguio of my woman along the Camp John Hay Eco Trails.

Although it may look normal to some, the meaning behind it is extraordinary to me. For one, this photo was taken with the little Fujifilm X30. This little camera is significant because it brought back the joy of photography to me. I realized that I was being limited in my photography by the hindrance of bringing around heavy, expensive, eye catching and fussy gear. The Fuji X30 taught me that the best camera to have with you is a camera that you can bring with you everyday.

Entereing 2015 with a less cluttered gear list and sans the fear of having my DSLR gear broken or stolen gives me renewed enthusiasm in the art I love.

Oh and this photo was taken of my girl in Baguio in December. Those three items more than make this photo special to me for the said reasons.

Brining this album to a close makes me realize what a great year 2014 has been. Cheers to you 2014! Hello 2015! Here's to Auld Lang Syne

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