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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Latest Gadget: Yongnuo Speedlite YN460-II

So I got a big pay last payroll and I was thinking on what to buy next for my camera. My choices at that time are the Canon EF50 mm f/1.8 II lens (for Bokeh effect in portraits) or a Speedlite (external flash).

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I checked the prices of the Canon accessories and the EF50 mm f/1.8 II lens is at P4,998 (card) and the sales clerk offered it at P4,500 cash. The Canon Speedlite 430EX II is the cheapest external flash from Canon that can be tilted. It was priced at P16,430. I no longer asked for the cash price because I don’t have that amount of money.

I tried to review the pictures that I’ve taken for the past 7 months (I bought my DSLR in December 2011) and I am leaning towards events, landscape and architecture. The last event that I attended was the workshop conducted by David Guison and I had difficulties taking his picture using ambient light (I’m no longer using the internal flash of my camera). So I thought of buying an external flash for a clearer picture by bouncing of the light on the ceiling.

My photography friend Mark is currently using a Yongnuo Speedlite YN460-II and he seems to be acquainted with it that he can adjust the flash power for better results. The Canon Speedlite 430EX II has ETTL technology (auto-adjust flash power) but is very expensive while the Yongnuo Speedlite YN460-II is affordable but it doesn’t have ETTL meaning that adjusting the power level is manual (trial and error). I would love to buy the Canon Speedlite but I ended up buying the Yongnuo Speedlite YN460-II.

I’ve taken some shots using it and I’m pretty satisfied with the results even though I have to take about 4-5 shots using different angles of inclination and different power levels to come up with a nice picture. Given the price of the product, it’s worth it. Here are some of the pictures I’ve taken using my Canon EOS 1100D with the Yongnuo Speedlite YN460-II.

BTW, I purchased this product from Pixel Pro Inc in SM Cyberzone Megamall. It’s the nearest mall to my place and I usually buy my gadgets in that mall even though it’s more expensive than in Hidalgo. I feel secure in this mall.

I still have tons of things to learn about photography, gadgets, camera accessories, etc. I hope by the time I get my 13th month pay, I already knew my camera functions and capabilities by heart so that I could buy my 1st lens. I probably buy a zoom lens. What do you think should be my first lens?

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How To Secure A Permit-To-Shoot in Makati

Just a heads up, this is for the Make It Makati Photo Contest. It’s a once-in-a-blue-moon event wherein photographers are allowed to shoot to their hearts desire in specific locations in Makati. Take note, the permit is for specific areas in the Makati Business District which I mentioned in my earlier post.

Make It Makati

If you really wanted to shoot in Makati (yes, even with a tripod and full-shooting gears, umbrella and all), grab this rare opportunity because we’ll never know when they are going to issue another Permit-To-Shoot.

  1. Register at the Make It Makati Website. An email confirmation will be sent to you.
  2. Once you receive the email confirmation (you need to print it as well), it will provide the link on where to download the ID (which you must print) as well as the other paper works. Download these and make sure that whatever name you put on the ID is the same as the name in your registration form. You may download also the map to guide you on the specific designations in Makati where you can shoot
  3. Gora na sa Makati and shoot! Wag na magpa-tumpik-tumpik, wag na magpa-delay-delay. Pagkatanggap mo ng permit, shoot na agad! (Go to Makati and shoot. Don’t hesitate, don’t delay. Once you receive the permit, go out and shoot!)

The ID that they will provide in the email is blank. You can edit it and put your name in it before you print it. I printed mine on a 3R size photo paper. Here’s my ID:

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I got my Canon lace from the Canon PhotoMarathon in Villa Escudero

I’m not certain yet on how to secure a permit-to-shoot in Makati on a regular season (without a contest). But why wait for the regular season when the Make It Makati Photo Contest is extended the permit until August 14, 2012? I’m inviting all members of the Facebook Group Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito, now is your opportunity to shoot all you want.

Wag ka mag-inarte at mag-boycott-boycott. Gora na and shoot! (Don’t be a drama queen and continue with your boycott. Go out and shoot!)

Make It Makati Photo Contest ID

Hindi Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito: Makati Business District

Literally: “It’s Not Forbidden To Shoot Here: Makati Business District”

One of the things that made the members of the Facebook group Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito (BMSD) mad at me is a story I shared on their page about my recent, pleasant experience in shooting in Makati.

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It’s about the photo-contest organized by Ayala Land, Makati Commercial Estate Association (MACEA) and Pinoy Photography. I posted this topic on the Facebook page of Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito (BMSD) and told them my desire to join this contest. They told me that they’re boycotting the event. I asked the reason and they told me that it has something to do with the City Government of Makati. I thought that they’re only boycotting taking pictures of Rizal Park and Intramuros. They are trying to achieve a lot of things at once.

Apparently, they also want to shoot freely in Makati City – the entire Makati City including the Business District – without any permits at all. So I told them the City Government of Makati has nothing to do with the Make It Makati Photo Contest since it’s initiated by private companies. They owned most of the Business District and that the permits that they provided are for their private properties only. Being private properties, of course they can do whatever they want within their jurisdiction. That includes requiring a permit to shoot. Take note, this only applies to DSLR for commercial purposes only. I have taken pictures before of Makati Business District with no problem.

Well, you know what happened to my story – it was deleted by the moderators of their FB page Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito. It seems that their group wants anarchy in this country – they want absolute right to shoot anywhere without fees and permits including privately-owned lands. I told them that even the City Government of Makati cannot grant them such power.

To cut the story short, I made the most out of the permits that they’ve given and I shoot to my heart’s desire. The permit specifically mentioned only Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Amorsolo Street, Makati Avenue and Arnaiz Avenue. I’ve toured all these places and there was only 1 instance wherein a security guard approached me and asked for permits. I took a picture of The Columns building at the corner of Arnaiz Avenue, which is a private property. So I showed him the permits and he backed off immediately.

That night was my first time at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. I approached the security guard and asked if the permit that I got includes this park. He told me that a lot of photographers are taking pictures of the park even before the contest begun. So he asked for my name and signaled the other guards that “a certain Elmer will be taking pictures inside the park”. I actually felt secured knowing that they’re aware of my presence. I have my tripod with me by the way. So I asked myself “WTF are the members of the Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito are telling that it’s forbidden to shoot in Makati.

I also told myself that if the members of the Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito really wanted to shoot in Makati, instead of boycotting the event they should have grabbed it and shoot to their heart’s desire. It’s not every day that these private companies allow photographers to shoot in their private lands. I really felt sorry for the members of that group. It seems that they spend more time protesting and filtering their FB Group wall instead of shooting.

These are all my personal opinion of the group. Just my two cents.

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I have tons of pictures of Amorsolo and Arnaiz Avenue. I’ll probably post them some other time. To the members of Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito, if you really wanted something BIG to happen, be open to suggestions and criticism, stop posting OT topics to your FB wall, and talk to private companies as well.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Bad Experience With The FB Group “Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito”

BMSD Logo

Hi guys!

Share ko lang sana yung bad experience ko sa FB group na Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito (BMSD).

I'm a newbie photographer and blogger BTW. I first encountered this group sa Quiapo Goes Anime event sa Hidalgo Street, Quiapo last June 23, 2012. I was there to participate in the photo-contest and to listen to the free workshops by Jay Tablante and Ricky Ladia.

Then a certain Mel Cortez spoke to the crowd about his advocacy called "Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito". So the talk was good and I bought the bag tag worth P50 as a sign of participation to their cause. Then I mentioned his name and his advocacy on my blog. I also wrote an article about my experience with a security guard at Rockwell telling my readers that I experienced being told "sir, bawal pong mag-shoot dito". So feeling ko, I was with the same ground as everyone in the group.

I joined their FB group and I was scheduled to attend their monthly photo-walk in Luneta. Unfortunately it was cancelled. So I decided to join the next event. I read their previous FB posts and threads, read their guidelines and I noticed that there are A LOT of OT (out-of-topic) discussions. 

There was this particular thread that discusses the recent rally on Pnoy's SONA. An alleged church person posted his pictures with bruises, which according to him, he got from the rally. So I asked what a church person (like him) doing on a rally like that. I said why not just focus on praying in the church instead of participating in the rally. I said he ended up whining about his bruises instead and I asked him to label himself as a raliyista instead of a church person if he attends such event. And I advised him to stop whining about his injuries since it's expected anyway.

It went downhill from there. Members of the group started calling me an agent of DoT (Department of Tourism), a "makakaliwa", a TROLL, gay (well it's true anyway), “pasikat”, and being paid (by DoT) to abstain from blogging against our government. Then I commented "ang tarush naman" to one of Mel Cortez's comment. He told me "bawal ang sward speak dito". I replied "ganun? akala ko mag-shoot lang ang bawal dito" (making a pun to the name of the group). From that point, I know that Mel Cortez is a bit homophobic and that A LOT of the members of that group have discrimination to gays like me.

My other comments include my hypothesis of "conflict of interest" with Mel Cortez's supposed to be advocacy group because he solicited votes from the members when he run for a post (director I believe) to the recent election of the PPP (Press Photographers of the Philippines). I also received a lot of name-calling for this.

I also shared a positive experience with the Make It Makati on their FB page. I advised the members not to go mad with the security guards since they're just doing their jobs and are just following orders. I urge the members to write their congressmen, government officials to make certain legislative measures so that photographers will be allowed to shoot in public places within their areas. My story was taken down the next day.

I also commented on a blogger's post wherein he encourages his blog readers to the Laguna Blogger's Club event but on the Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito (BMSD) page, he's questioning and complaining about the support of the DoT on this kind of (blogging) events but not on the events or complaints by BMSD. So I said to the blogger "why not rename your blog title to address your complaint to DoT instead of inviting your blog readers to the event which looks like you're promoting the event". That's when I got comments that I'm from someone in the DoT trying to infiltrate their group.

I really felt that the BMSD group is a composed mostly of raliyista who keeps complaining about the government (every government that governs this country). No president or tourism secretary can satisfy their demands. They are paranoid to someone who speaks positively about what the government is doing. One thing more: they keep on calling Mel Cortez as "Supremo" as if hailing him for his advocacy as the BEST thing that happened to photography in the Philippines.

Well of course, there are also members of Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito (BMSD) who really gave their unbiased opinion on the comments that I made. I also gain some support from newbie members of that FB group regarding my comments about how the group is doing. I thank those members of BMSD that really stood up for their opinion (even if it somehow supports mine).

Overall, I see that the Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito (BMSD) FB group is really not good at accepting criticism. They rather kicked me of the group (which they did) than handle criticism or comments. I pity such group that can't handle criticism. After all, in ANY group, there is always an opposition. It is up to the majority of the group to handle such criticism in a humane manner (and it doesn't include name-calling and expulsion).

Elmer

P.S. These are all personal opinion of mine about the group Bawal Mag-Shoot Dito and it’s founder, Mel Cortez. Just my two cents.

More Photos of Santo Domingo Church

I enjoyed my visit of Santo Domingo Church last Friday. It gave me the feeling of peace and serenity while I was there especially when I toured the inside of the church.

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Besides the church, there is a coffee house called Café Dominic. Their tagline is “We take coffee religiously”. The architecture of this coffee house and building seems to originate from the Santo Domingo Church itself. It fits harmoniously in the church complex.

I love the Vigan tiles that they used in the hallways and I also love the archways. The park in the courtyard is also wonderful. The lanterns on the hallways add the feeling of peace to the place.

Inside the church, you would easily notice the magnificent stained glass windows. Truly, this church is a place of peace and a wonderful piece of architecture.

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