Archive for November, 2012


Monographs 8

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Junsjazz Images & Inspiration: the magazine edition

JJcover1Soon it will be a paperless society. Books, newspapers and magazines are now available and read online. Yes folks, in my continuing search for new digital platforms to share and showcase my works using today’s innovative technology, I will soon launch the interactive online photography magazine edition of this blog. It will be published monthly and the first issue will come out this December. I am currently filling the magazine with content and testing the site that provides this service for free. I’ll come out with a review, assessment and recommendation in my next Tried & Tested article series. Meanwhile, here’s a peek at the cover of Issue # 1.

It’s all about vision

Book Excerpt: “Vision is the beginning and end of photography. It’s the thing that moves you to pick up the camera, and it determines what you look at and what you see when you do it. It determines how you shoot and why. Without vision, the photographer perishes.”~David duChemin, Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision

(Photo location: Tri An Lake, Vietnam)

Photo Quotes 60

Art helps us see with new eyes what we knew was there but never really recognized.~Robert Hall

Pursuing fine art photography

In your photographic journey, you may arrive on a crossroad and choose the direction that some masters and professionals have taken – fine art photography. Would we, humble enthusiasts, amateurs and hobbyists, ever qualify as fine art photographers?  What would it take to create images of this kind? In the first place what is fine art photography? Oh, I’ve read countless definitions all over the Web and they are all mayhem, subjective, each to his own meaning. Whenever there is the word “art” you know it will attract notice and emotional responses. Some say if its worth hanging on a wall its fine art. Fine. It’s not fine art if it is only viewed on a computer monitor. Fine. Some say its a matter of opinion if an image is a fine art piece. Fine again. I read something somewhere that made sense: “a fine art photograph is an image that is made in a manner suggesting great care, ingenuity and skill.” I will not add to the melee and just stop at that definition which is somehow along the line of how Wikipedia defines it: “Fine art photography refers to photographs that are created in accordance with the creative vision of the photographer as artist.” With that done, let’s tackle what it takes to create a fine art image. There are quite a lot of tutorials and tips out there but I found this article Fine Art Photography by John Maxymuik most interesting and appropriate since some of the items listed have already been discussed in my previous posts. There are 11 items the author suggests we follow and some of these include pursuing the goal, developing our “seeing” skills, developing our imagination, incorporating  “expression” and “meaning”, and employing the basics of good composition, among others. Can we cut it? Of course my dear friends! Our photographic journey is a progression. We need to level up. We got the eye for “seeing”, we know what image has meaning, we think before we shoot, we are adept in composition and we have practiced all these years. We can make the grade. Now whether our works get the attention of curators and gallery owners is another matter. Enough said.

Photo Quotes 59

See the subject first. Do not try to force it to be a picture of this, that or the other thing. Stand apart from it. Then something will happen. The subject will reveal itself.~Bill Brandt (Photo location: Baclayon Church, Bohol province)

Symbols of faith

I have around five previous posts regarding pictures of churches and how to photograph them. I can’t get enough of them so here’s another one which is probably not the last since I have a whole collection of them. My country the Philippines has a population of 95 million and 90 percent of them are Catholics. It is the only predominantly Catholic country in Asia, brought about by 300 years of Spanish colonial rule which started in the 1500s. The influence of religion is thus ingrained and pervasive in the peoples’ psych and culture, and most evident in the places of worship. From the far-flung towns to the urban centers, church structures abound, from the modern to the centuries old. They stand as symbols of faith, much like the Muslim mosques and the Buddhist temples. To individuals like me, churches, basilicas and cathedrals are profound photographic subjects. They have this visual grandeur and alluring solemnity. They invoke an aura of mysticism, serenity and of course spirituality. Those are intangibles that are represented in what we can see – the shapes, form, patterns, details, lines – elements which are in the microcosm of the physical church structure whether in its cavernous interior or its towering exterior. When you get the chance to tour my country, make it a point to visit the churches. First give thanks to the Almighty for all the blessings he has given you in this life, then pray that all the pictures you’ll take afterwards will be sharp, vivid, clear and in focus. Amen. (Photo location: Dauis Church, Panglao Island)

Photographers are communicators of light

Book Excerpt: “Light is the most positive energy we know. It reveals truth. Most of the energy that light emits strikes a surface, bounces off , and then goes elsewhere. Light is so essential that we cannot exist without it. Our lives depend on light as much as they do upon water. Through photography, we capture for ourselves and share with others the glory of that positive, critical energy. Just like life, light brings us great joy. Light comes in many colors. As photographers, we are communicators of light. The images that we create enter the body through the eyes and travel to the brain, evoking a response. Love the light, the energy, the joy, the color: communicate positively for the rest of your life. Celebrate and share every visual exploration.”~Brian & Janet Stoppee, Guide to Photography and Light

(Photo location: Man-made forest park at Bilar town, Bohol)

You need pictures to go with the story

Book Excerpt: “In our blog-mad, tweeting, Facebooking, Citizen Journalist world…this digital camera is not just required of the ardent hobbyist, it is needed by just about everyone. You record, therefore you are. In one way or another—be it in a blog or on Flickr or in an electronic album that you put together for the family and then print—you -publish. You share your news with the world. The airwaves no longer belong to networks. The news is no longer gathered and disseminated by the select few. You are the news. You are the editor and publisher of your own life and times. And just like any cranky, old-time newspaper editor with a hole to fill in the Metro section, you need pictures to go with the story.”~Joe McNally, Guide to Digital Photography

Note: I titled this picture Sisters Act and would like to thank these gracious nuns for gamely posing for this shot in Tagaytay Highlands. 

Photo Quotes 58

I believe in the photographer’s magic — the ability to stir the soul with light and shape and colour. To create grand visual moments out of small and simple things, and to infuse big and complicated subjects with unpretentious elegance.~Amyn Nasser (Photo location: Bauan, Batangas)

Understanding form, shape and space

Geometrical forms, asymmetrical or symmetrical shapes and two or three dimensional spaces. I barely have an idea of what these are but I know I have taken many images of these, its just that I didn’t have a full understanding of their significance and how they are related with one another. That’s the trap I often fall into – photographing without thinking. There is no precision. No forethought. The art of capturing images requires some cerebral activity, of honing in on a specific target, of visualizing the outcome, of creative idea development and many more. That many? Yup. But with practice and an eye that is trained to see compelling photographic situations and subjects, those “many” become one collective block of knowledge that can readily be available when the situation calls for it. I’ll add another important chunk of knowledge with this very informative article – Form, Shape and Space. Its opening paragraph gives us an overview of how essential these elements are: “Form and shape are areas or masses which define objects in space. Form and shape imply space; indeed they cannot exist without space.” As in previous posts, I will not re-echo what the article says; just give yourself three to five minutes to read it. Suffice to say that understanding form, shape and space will provide us both “visual literacy” and photographic proficiency. Now find that form, and shoot that shape. (Photo location: Sentosa, Singapore)


Monographs 7

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Photo Quotes 57

For a photographer this is a magic moment… about 45 minutes before sunrise, light is already starting to push back the dark. I open my camera and let nature paint me a picture.~Steve Coleman

Rise early

What a title coming from someone who is a certified late riser and sunset shooter. I probably have only a couple of dozen sunrise shots from my vast collection of outdoor images. But whether sunrise or sunset, these are the magic hours sought by photographers. And the rare times I get to personally greet the dawn, it is always worth the while (and the effort of getting up from bed). Lots of photographic moments happen during early morning, and these include the mood of the surroundings, the stillness of things, the almost monotone color, elemental shadows and forms, and the slight tinge of light in the horizon preparing for day to break out. The unholy early hours always beckon. It is such an enigmatic power that pulls you at the core, touching your consciousness, pricking your heart, hugging your persona. Such is the feeling maybe because all your senses take it in – cool breeze caress your skin, the scent of salty sea overpower your nostrils, the shrill cries of birds passing overhead echo in your ears, and the soft watercolored views delight the eyes. You get your camera and snap on, hoping to capture what you feel, hoping to freeze the sensual bliss. A picture may not only speak a thousand words, it also convey emotions accumulated during the moment. Rise early. I’ll include that in my resolutions this coming New Year. (Photo location: Cancabato Bay, Tacloban City) 


Weekend Inspiration 2

Photo Quotes 56

Keep it simple.~Alfred Eisenstaedt (Photo location: Bohol)

Tried & Tested 2: IMGbox

With over a hundred images posted so far here at my WordPress blog in barely two months, I was frustrated as far as featuring and stacking them all at the Gallery section menu. Whatever browser you use it would take ages before all those images can be rendered, loaded and viewed. The situation is further aggravated if you are on a slow Internet connection. I had to find a way to remedy the situation for the benefit of visitors and viewers. We continue with this Tried & Tested series where I review and recommend relevant, practical and useful softwares and Web services, especially for us photographers. I came upon a couple of months ago but it was only last week that I actually tested it. There are lots of image sharing, hosting and storage sites out there. Flickr is one of them and I’ve been a member for the past seven years, four of them as a paying member. It was the best then until it stagnated. I guess you all know the story of how it was mismanaged and floundered. I joined other image hosting/sharing sites but never really got to liking them that much. I wanted a site that would host and store my photos with no hassles. I found it in IMGbox and much more – unlimited uploads, unlimited storage, no storage time limit, no bandwidth restrictions, up to 10MB file size upload and no registration is even required! You don’t even have to create a personal profile page (which is tedious by the way). Add to that the blazingly fast upload. I was able to upload 130 photos in under 10 minutes in one go. Now that’s fast! I had to register if only to manage my images and galleries at the site. Another thing, all your images at IMGbox are by default private unless you share the image and gallery links. Now you can hotlink them all you want in blogs, forums and social media sites. Your images are also hidden from search engines. I tried googling “junsjazz imgbox” and came up with zero results. Why would you use IMGbox? As a safe and secure backup, storage, hosting and sharing site with easy, simple, reliable features. And all of these are for free! Check out my IMGbox Junsjazz Gallery for the complete set of images I have posted in this blog.

Photo Quotes 55

…through this photographic eye you will be able to look out on a new light-world, a world for the most part uncharted and unexplored, a world that lies waiting to be discovered and revealed. ~Edward Weston (Photo location: Surigao del Norte)

Inspired by nature

Nature is such an inspiration. I find in it both solace and strength. Trees, flowers, islands, seas, skies, clouds and all other elements are such powerful stimulants. They overwhelm the senses. They are dreams, passions, fantasies and wishes rolled into one. They provide visual and spiritual overload, knowing that one Creator made them all. Wonder at the soft murmurs of waves splashing on the shore, the soft soothing silence of a wondrous sunrise, the miraculous sight of the last rays of light as the sun ebbs in the horizon, the soft pastel clouds of a gloomy day, dewdrops on delicate leaves in early morn, the soft spongy feel of grass, birds chirping musical melodies as they fly by, the eerie might of primeval forests, majestic mountains and fairy hills. The sight, sound and feel of nature, untouched and pure, sanctified by the Hands that created them, is evidence of a wonderful world that we must care for, preserve, protect and respect. Ours is a life dependent on the natural world around us. We are nothing without it. (Photo location: Surigao del Norte)

Photo Quotes 54

I stand still or move slowly, feeling things like the impulse of shapes, the direction of lines, the quality of surfaces…Nothing that one could reasonably call thinking is taking place at this stage. The condition is total absorption…~Aaron Siskind (Photo location: Postal Building, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

The meaning of lines

Lines are powerful elements in a picture. Like shapes, forms and colors, our eyes are naturally attracted to lines which can dramatically enhance an image. How we place lines or how we frame them is all part of composition. Lines can be the central subject or contributing elements and it is crucial to know what part they play in the picture. Now there are vertical, horizontal, curved and diagonal lines and each carry their respective meanings. This article – The Use Of Lines In Photography – explores and explains the connotations associated with lines. An example: vertical lines portray “dominance, power and growth in photographs.” Subjects that come to mind include trees, buildings, towers, electric posts, columns, sheer cliffs, waterfalls and the like. You can read the article to learn more of what the other lines are associated with. There are parallel lines, leading lines, broken lines, jagged lines, lines that divide and lines that connect. Whatever you do with them it helps to understand what they are there for and why they are in the image in the first place, because they can be effective components of composition. (Photo location: Lemery Church, Batangas)

Photo Quotes 53

Approach the subject on tiptoe, even if it is a still life. Let your steps be velvet but your eye keen; a good fisherman does not stir up the water before he starts to fish.~Henri Cartier-Bresson

Still life is “full control” photography

A picture is not a painting, but if I can make it look like one, why not? Still life is one of the earliest photography genres borrowing the style of master painters of the past. Still life photography does not need expensive, elaborate studio set-up. Natural light or a couple of lamps will do, and you can set it up right at home. As such you can have full control over the variables – composition, lighting, exposure, angles – and you can have all day to do your shot. Something which you can’t do with a model (unless you’re the agency) or a mountain (try going to the other side of a mountain to get another angle). The options and possibilities of still life photography will squeeze out your creative juices. British freelance photographer Simon Bray shares some fundamentals in his article 10 tips to Getting Started with Still Life Photography. This photo genre is in demand nowadays and you’ll find these kinds of images in photo stock sites. Designers, advertisers, visual artists and websites have uses for still life imagery. The bottomline? Bray points out the only requirement is a camera, strong backgrounds and good light. I will add a couple of things: follow your photographer’s instinct and turn on that “inner” eye. Happy still life shooting! (Photo location: at a cafe in Roxas City, Capiz province)

Photo Quotes 52

You can put this feeling into a picture. A painter can do it. And a musician can do it and I think a photographer can do that too and that I would call the dreaming with open eyes.~Ernst Haas (Photo location: Cancabato Bay, Tacloban City)