Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Bacolod: Holy Week 2016

I haven't flexed my photography muscles for personal shoots in awhile.. My photo library says the last time I did a random photo walk was a year ago in early 2015.

It felt good to just drive off randomly at sunrise and snap a few photos in 'the backyard' lol. Also rekindled an old tradition which was to take photos of the Santo Entierro (Good Friday) procession with my fellow photographer aunt.

This sort of 'renaissance' of my photography was also brought about by the acquisition of two very important lenses that helped me see the world in a different angle. Thank you very much to Manong C. for selling me your Nikon 180mm f/2.8 and to Tita B. for allowing me to buy your Nikon 85mm f/1.8 G. You have truly allowed me to see further and differently.

Here's a snap shot of what my Holy Week was like. Description on each photo.

For the first photo (sunrise): Randomly woke up at 5 AM on Maundy Thursday. Had nothing else to do so I threw my gear in the back and drove north.

Bacolod is mostly a sunset city with the open sea facing the West. As for the sunrise, although it is missed by most people because it is obscured by the moutains, you can get lucky sometimes and catch it just as its tip peeks out from the saddle of the mountains.

Taken with 180mm.

This long lens now allows me to 'snipe'. I usually drive around in my car and when I see an interesting scene, I stop and alight from the vehicle. But sometimes, I scare my subjects by doing this because they see a man mostly dressed in black suddenly stop by the side of the road, and approach him with something that looks like a weapon (actually my camera).

This long lens allows me to shoot unnoticed from shelter from a long way off. The guy plowing the carabao must have been maybe 20-30 meters away. The 180mm becomes a 270mm on my crop body sensor. Yay for DX

Shooting in the early mornings really makes you realize the presence of haze. Couldn't believe that the haze, which looked like smoke blanketing the ground, was so prominently seen on my pictures.

Here's a shot of men and the mountain at dawn break.

Shooting into the light makes for some great silhouettes but strong lens flares. I like the dust that the hoe of the guy kicks up tho.

The long lens also makes for some great landscapes because it 'flattens' the entire background of the house in front.

Taken in Brgy. Lantawa some ways up in the mountains of Silay City.

Some young kids hitching rides on carabaos as they make their way to the fields.

I really wonder where that 'check/pogi' sign originated. I think it has become a signature pose of the modern Filipino. Now, whether that's bad or good is left to debate.

And now the Good Friday series.

These photos were taken in both Talisay (10 mins from BCD) and Silay (15 mins from BCD) during each city's Santo Entierro procession.

The procession takes place around the city where people accompany Christ's body (symbolized by an entombed wax figure on a cart) around the city. Other carts, each owned and decorated by prominent families of the city, also accompany the image of Christ to be entombed in the local parish awaiting resurrection come Easter Sunday.

The spectacle draws a lot of crowds, and this is a picture of a young vendor who is taking advantage of the market.

I think this is the black Nazarene. If this were Cubao, I think this image would be swarmed

Waiting waiting waiting, sacristans in the making.

The crowd gathering before the San Diego Pro-Cathedral in Silay City, waiting for the procession to start. The procession is usually preceeded by a mass at around 3 or 4PM. The procession starts at around 5 or 6PM and lasts til 7 or 7 30 PM.

There were more than 10++ (or was it 20?) carts that circled the cities that day. They are pushed manually and are adorned with multiple lights. The lights are powered by small generators on wheels that either go before or after the cart. Some can be pretty noisy and smell like diesel.

Crowds walk behind each cart with saints.

Devotees pushing the carts. The ones closest to the carts are either the prominent families who own the said cart, or their close workers and supporters.

The procession takes place through the main highway. Traffic is limited to one lane for both coming and going cars.

and finally the Santo Entierro. Christ's deceased figure. The most important cart of the procession.

The Santo Entierro usually merits the accompaniment of important people from all walks of life such as town politicians, prominent residents of the town, priests, nuns, religious orders and for this particular shot, some Knights of Columbus I think.

Crowds following with lighted candles. It is with this exercise that I saw the difficulties of shooting in low light situations with a camera (DX format) that could only go up to 3200 usable ISO. Hiking up the ISO to this number still wasnt enough and I had to stop down the aperture of the 85mm to the largest at f/1.8. Still not quite there with the subject not being tact sharp. But I guess Im learnig.

You could really see the look of devotion in some of the people's faces. It was a good reminder of what the Holy Week means to some people, a season of abstinence, fasting and sacrifice in order to remember the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ himself.

Did I just preach? Hmmm no... but maybe?


Ligaya Storey said...

Andreo, your farm life shoots are so touching. I feel my throat tighten when I look at them. There's something there that tugs at the heart. Daw kapulion ko a. Thank you for sharing your art with us.

Andreo Bongco said...

@Ligaya Storey

You're very welcome po! I'm glad it reminded you of home. There is something special about Bacolod