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project 365 hanged...err, hung... (?)

Posted by Au Lim On Tuesday, December 30, 2008 0 comments
'hanged' man or 'hung'... sablay pa rin... huhuhuhu....

i embarked on a project 365 last 11/11 after much thought. there are may versions of this photography, ummm... venture but basically the aim is to take a photo a day and usually it is uploaded to a website, blog or more often, on Flickr. i upload mine not only to Flickr but to a dedicated blog on Vox and weekly to my Multiply. these help in me being more committed to it. besides, what am i to do to the photos after taking it other than just store it on my hard disk?

it's really a great game to take on... there are many pluses that one gets out of it. for me, the biggest plus is the chance to interact with my photography gear on a daily basis. this means i get valuable practice and learning time just by the commitment to handle the camera and shoot everyday. secondly, as a scrapbooker, it is in keeping with my goal to document life as it happens not only to me but also to my family. as a natural result, i get to collect so much 'scrappable' photos!... ahem!... but of course, actually scrapping the photos is another story.

unfortunately, too many things in the busy holiday season got in the way. i dillydallied for a while thinking i'll just play catch-up. but then, some Flickr support guys who are doing the same project advised me to just call it a test run and restart. i hated the thought for a while because that means i have to abandon what i started but i eventually thought the better of it. the new year is coming up anyway and it was just extra challenge to come up with new ideas. so heck, why not... i'll just do a reboot! i've uploaded the last 12 photos from my test run here. do visit please!... cheers to the new year!

i heart my pappy-doo!

Posted by Au Lim On Saturday, November 08, 2008 7 comments
yesterday, i was at Rockwell with Tin, Nita and Lee when my cellphone rang. we just had lunch at Pepper Steak and where browsing the array of desserts on display before we were to head off to Belair to check out a party venue.

"san ka na?" said Erwin's voice on the phone. "matagal pa ba kayo? baka gusto mo pumunta dito."

"san ka rin ba?" i said. he answered he was at Jerry Tieng's. my eyes widened incredulously.

for the past few weeks (months?), i've been stalking Jerry's website, dreaming of my next camera body. i had outgrown my trusty Nikon D40 in the sense that i wanted more controls and the ability to autofocus with non-AFS lenses. before the D90 came out, i really wanted the D300 for its sturdy build and great autofocus plus it meters with old lenses but the price range was out of reach. the D90, being less expensive, seemed more reachable plus it has recordable Live View. i was pining for it since. i thought maybe next year's birthday would be great timing to ask for it. so i just kept checking the website for price changes and for general daydreaming.

so when hubby called yesterday telling me about where he was, i wanted the ability to teleport so badly! see, it's our 21st anniversary the next day (which is today) and obviously he was up to somethin' tittilatingly magnificent! his next question proved it to be true, "alin ba gusto mo, yung D90 or yung D300?" my girlfriends in front of me were witness to how high i jumped in the air. i couldn't decide because each had great points. the D300 was the more prosumer camera though (sturdier magnesium alloy body, weather-sealing, 150K actuations, etc). i ended up telling him to just surprise me.

hubby punkin' around with my D40

then, the girls and i we went about with the things we had to do. we went to Fully Booked at High Street to get coffee and talk and be amongst books we had a common love for. then, my cell sounded off again. the text message simply read: bili ka ng CF. again, Nita, Tin and Lee saw me jump up and down like a mad woman with a crazy smile on her face. i knew then it was the D300 that he went home with because the D90 uses an SD card. the D300 uses Compact Flash.

i texted him back some pretty hot stuff responses (heehee!)... and then coerced Nita to drop by Parksquare where i can pick up a CF card after our meeting. by the time i got home, it was pretty late and Erwin wasn't home. he decided to play basketball with his friends instead of hanging around to wait for me. as i passed my son Kiko by the computer, i noticed a little smile on his face. "o bakit nakangisi ka?" i said. "may nakita kasi akong box sa ibabaw the dresser mo e" he replied. he had good reason to be happy himself. he stands to inherit my old D40. i had promised it to him some time ago. but i told him it happens only WHEN i get my new cam. he has been pestering me to get a new camera for myself ever since.

the macho lookin' Nikon D300, quite big than what i was used to...

...made my ole D40 look puny!

it was a bit surprising that hubby would leave the D300 in plain site. he is quite the prankster and i expected the box to me empty just like what he did the other time he got me some glass and a flash. i excitedly picked it up and the box was not empty as i thought. hope rose. yet, when i opened the box, inside was just the old D40! i knew it! he hid the D300 again somewhere in the house. i thought i was going to be loooong night.

ohhh...L-O-V-E... :-D

i immediately rang him up. "ASSAANNN naaahhh?!" were the first words out my mouth. after some cajoling, and bit of hunting, i found it....under the bed. i could hear christmas jingles in my head as i started tinkering with my new toy. then i put it down and took a bath to relax. a few hours later, i heard him at the gate so i went down to let him in. i already glimpsed what he was trying to hide behind him as he entered the gate. FLOWERS! goodness! it's been more than a decade (or two maybe?!) since the last time i got those from him! not that i miss them too much. live plants were more my style rather than cut flowers. neither was it Erwin's usual style. his brand of romance is too quirky for flowers but still, it was a pleasant surprise. and all i had for him was a little heart shaped caramel cake from Estrel's!

MY true love... :-D

so what's a wife to do to repay such a gallant and sweep-me-off-my-feet anniversary surprise? hehehe... secret na lang... :-D

analyzing my priorities

Posted by Au Lim On Thursday, October 30, 2008 0 comments
it seems 24 hours in a day is never enough for me these days. not that i'm too busy with things that are of great consequence. i think i just have too many interests on top of many familial and work duties. these days, photography and scrapbooking is my passion but i also like sewing (or at least learning it!), quilting, crochet, learning the piano, baking, cooking, hanging out with friends, surfing the internet, yoga and, oh yeah, i love TV too. it often feels like I have to squeeze in work and family in the midst of all these. there something wrong with this, right?

an alarm is sounding off in my head and i feel i have to stand back and reassess my priorities. last time i looked, i had it all straight: family first, and work a very close second. this is so because one has to be supported by the other. health should also be a top priority being not so young and an asthmatic as well. i must consider this if i intend to have the quality of life i want even in my later years. a spiritual pursuit is also important for one's wellbeing. having said that, life will not be much fun without going after something with passion and intention. i have managed to always have something to be excited about especially in the way of arts and crafts. in the past it has been cross-stitch, paper tole, dollhouse miniatures, scaled models, beading, gardening and these days it's all of those that i mentioned in the paragraph above. i think i am a crafter at heart but i never considered myself an artist despite doing some graphic design stints for a few years. probably because i was doing that for pay and according to the whims of other people, i.e. my clients, instead of mine. besides, i never had any formal training in the arts.

not even when i started doing scrapbooking did i consider this craft an art. probably because majority of the world does not consider it so. however, it is via this avenue did i see doors into other worlds that i think are indeed art…even my scrapbooking itself was evolving into something LIKE art. but only when it lead me into photography did it really hit home that all these were becoming MY art. And my art was fast becoming my life… along with the all delightful friends i have gained along the way. i am also internet addicted both out of necessity and pleasure (oh the many, many things in cyberspace to read, learn, know and the social networks to explore). family and work are still top priority but my time with these are becoming substantially limited. health is taking a backseat and spiritual pursuit is practically forgotten.

so here my problem lies… where does all the time in my 24 hour day go? at least something like 6 hours of sleep is mandatory of course but how do I spend the other 18? i seriously don't know the answer. Sometimes it feels like my day just started, then i turned around and it is evening. i think i am spreading myself too thin already on a lot of fronts. i must figure out a way to regain some intentional control over the myriad of things i have to do and want to do. i think i got too spoiled with riding my "flow". it's really great for creativity but it wreaks havoc on the rest of my world. i think i need to do some serious soul searching on time and life management. Sigh… i hope i figure all this out soon.

got inked...again...

Posted by Au Lim On Friday, September 19, 2008 3 comments
i survived it!... after much trepidation and excited anticipation, the day to get the my next tattoo came. as i've said before, i love having a tattoo. it's the process of getting it that i hate! i've also often been asked why i would want one? funny, as soon as i sit on that chair and the tattoo artist's machine starts whirring,... the moment it touches my skin and does it's inking, i ask myself the same question!

seriously though, perhaps different people have different reasons. but i think most tattoed people have similar motivations for getting one. it serves as a mark that you have willingly chosen. just like birthmarks, it is a unique identifier on a person. but UNlike birthmarks, a tattoo is something it's owner CHOOSES and therefore makes it a kind of self-expression much like any creative undertaking like painting, designing, or some such art. furthermore, the fact that it's rebellious and bohemian also appeals to me. i think it's my statement against "normal" society... or heck, maybe i just have daddy issues! wahaha!

anyways, i finally chose the TAM bija of the deity Tara to go on my stylized lotus design. of course, bestfriend Nita had to be there with me to boost morale and to take photos. i'm sharing the shots below. i think it tells a better tale.

it all starts with a drawing that guides the artist... dito pa lang, parang gusto ko nang umuwi...

Martin Caoile starts the job

the tattoo in progress

Me trying hard to pain...oh yeah, the Emla is still working

hmmmm...teka...masakit na ha! waaah!...wa epek na ang Emla!...

konti na lang!!! matatapos na...

aray ko puuuu... di na po uulet...

ahhhh...tapos na!...yehey!...kelan nga tayo ulet?...hehehe... lovin' it already!

Martin! da maaan! nice work!

i have to admit i cheated a bit this time. i used a topical anesthetic called EMLA cream that my friend Mia mentioned to me the other day. i quickly googled it and encountered a couple of nice reviews on it. some tattoo enthusiasts discourage it for several reasons. firstly, it detracts from the tattoo experience because the pain is simply part of it. i guess being tattooed makes you a part of a modern, urban "tribe" and cheating on it makes you some kind of a turncoat. secondly, as the anethetic wears off, your body my get a shock from the returning sensation that the 'tattooee' might not be expecting. thirdly (and Martin, my tattoo artist claims last night),they say it hinders the ink from penetrating the skin.

half a tube of Emla

still, i decided to give it a try. if not for anything else, i would at least have first hand experience on what using Emla is all about. just before going to the tattoo artist, we dropped by Mercury Drug to get one. it ain't cheap. a small 5g tube cost Php501.00 and i think i pressed 1/3 of the tube before the cream oozed out. one has to apply it generously on the skin to be tattoed for at least 30 minutes before the procedure (i think 1 hour was more effective on me) and i covered it with a piece Gladwrap. just before, Martin was about to start, i removed the Gladwrap and he wiped off the cream. there was a numb sensation on the skin. then he proceeded with the tattoo.

my verdict is this: i'm glad i used it. that is, even if the anesthetic ONLY lasts approximately 30 minutes or so while the whole tattoo process for this one lasted about 2 hours--which means i felt the whole stinkin' pain for around an hour or so anyway. it at least minimized my biggest problem about getting inked. it's not really the pain of it that gets me (because it IS within tolerable bounds) but rather, what FEELS like a protracted procedure. in Tagalog: nakakarindi siya! getting the extra 30 minutes buys me the patience to sit longer for it. so i think, EMLA is still worth it if you're a sissy like me. it may be too early to tell if it affected the inking process, though. but tattoos can always be retouched anyway.

the morning after... still tender and slathered with Bepanthen cream

so here i am the day after. my eldest daughter Gabey just took photos of me and my new tattoo on her cellphone before she took off for school because she wanted to show it off to her friends. mahirap daw magpalaki ng magulang! hehehe... but i think she really just wants to show off she's got a "cool" mom.

needless to say, i am lovin' my new tats! although i can leave it as it is from here, i actually want the colored version but Martin advised me that we will just do it in 2 parts. coloring will be after it heals which may be in about 2 weeks. i think it was also partially because inaantok na sya kagabi since the tattoo session finished at around 11pm. but right now, i'm still can't get over the great job Martin did on it. i'm still scrutinizing its fine detailing yet with the tiny, hardly perceptible imperfections that make it very... uhmmm... human. and when i glance myself at the mirror, i love how it makes me look sort of "macho" in a feminine kind of way. hahaha...go figure!

tattoo design

Posted by Au Lim On Tuesday, September 16, 2008 0 comments
here i go again... 2 years after the last one, i am wanting another tattoo. it comes after the heels of incidentally running into the ads for Dutdutan '08 - the annual Philippine tattoo convention. i'm definitely going this year! not really to get myself tattoed but to get me some inked skin photography. but just looking it over made me want a new one, too. i must have already forgotten the pain of the previous one...haha! i've had 3 previous tattoo experiences. the first one was on my upper back, 2nd one was a cover-up job on same spot and the 3rd on my right leg. each and everytime, i swear it off. as soon as the tat heals, i want another. luckily, the sissy in me usually wins and my short attention span keeps the next one at bay until i run across something that makes me yearn strong enough to actually go for it. this time, it's Dutdutan + a design I truly love. i'm planning to put this one on my upper arm.

i wanted an OM or a TAM symbol as my next tattoo. Tam is the seed bija for the deity Tara who i feel the most connection to. however, i didn't know how to draw it properly and how to incorporate it with another element that i wanted in my tattoo: the lotus. i want the lotus because of it's wonderful symbolism; it grows from the mud, rises above it and finally blossoms pure and beautiful. it is also a symbol for enlightenment, a state that every being should aspire for.

i hit on an idea to ask a very good friend of mine, Karma Yeshe (who is probably the only Pinay Tibetan Buddhist nun right now), to help me with the design. Ani Yeshe happens to be a thangka painter so it couldn't be more perfect! i believe we also share a connection so aside from her art expertise, no one could be more perfect to understand and translate what i wanted to have designed.

since i had been planning for some time to join her for yoga class, i took the opportunity to request her to sketch the lotus design and the bijas when we met Thursday last week for the class. i searched on the net for similar designs of the lotus that i liked and showed this to her. after looking them over, Ani Yeshe very quickly nailed the sketches practically to the T as to how i would really want it! i simply tweaked it a bit for color and which bija to put in the center. now i am left with the decision. Om or Tam? black or colored?

as usual, i am getting the jitters now that my schedule to do the tattoo is so close--Thursday. until the very last minute, right up to the point i am already at the tattoo studio, i am usually still making up my mind on whether to go ahead or not. this always happens to me with every tat and every piercing i've tried! hopefully, i don't turn chicken on the day. anyhoo, update will be soon enough. wish me luck!

whoops, Nikon did it again...

Posted by Au Lim On Friday, August 29, 2008 1 comments
as most Nikon addicts have already gotten wind of since 12 am Aug 26 which was around early afternoon yesterday, Aug. 27 here in the Phil, the D90 was officially launched after months of speculation and rumors. not only does it have Live View, it also RECORDS video thus making it a "world's first". now this lucky guy, Chase Jarvis, is living THE life! not only is he a young, hot, successful commercial photographer (i read off his site that he is the youngest thus far to be named both Hasselblad Master and Nikon Master), he has been called upon by Nikon in Japan, no less, to secretly test their latest baby for the past few months (!), before everybody else knew it even existed. woooh! and this video just totally turns me on (Nikon porn!!!) i just have to have it embedded here on my blog too.

how cool is that! or maybe HOT is a better word for it. Chase Jarvis is NOW at the top of my photography demigods/idols list...

my target as my next camera body was the D300 after the D40 i have now. i thought i'd just keep my lowly D40 until i save enough for a more serious guns but i'm seriously rethinking it. i would actually love having that HDvideo-recording-ISO 3200 (6400 boosted)-12.3MP-CMOS sensored-EXPEED processing-baby even if it was geared for advanced amateurs! because, hey, i AM an amateur (not necessarily advanced though)! although the D300 is prosumer and might be a better buy if my amateur self finds out it really wants to be a pro eventually, as a scrapbooker, that video capability so speaks to me! i used to really love my old Sony digital handicam because i could *capture stills* from the videos i take with it and therefore choose (and even re-choose) to print photos to scrap from the video. it really like having the ability to replay time and decide to take the picture again if i ain't satisfied with what i have. those were actually low res but with a little bit of photoshopping, it suits my scrapbooking needs just fine. that's exactly what i did to the old scrapbook layout below (this was in 2005 so please pardon the handwriting, i didn't know any better :-P). so just imagine that with the D90's HD quality video capture! PLUS, i'm already thinking: video blogging (Cathy Zielske-eque!) fun!

of course captured stills from the D90 videos might not be the way to go to get serious photography stuff but that's what the rest of the magnificent, practically pro-comparable innards of the D90 is for. woooooh! 7 months to my next birthday. i should start working on hubby already if i am to get this baby. it's just as well because that hopefully gives enough time for the prices to settle a bit from the initial spike of a new product.

will be dreaming till then...both of the D90 and a Chase Jarvis lifestyle.

the pen is mightier than the mouse

Posted by Au Lim On Friday, August 22, 2008 0 comments
went to Virra Mall last night hunting for a new sofa set with hubby. partially, it was an excuse to check out a Wacom tablet that i have been lusting after for the past 2 weeks. i've been specially feeling this since after the Photo Summit because of the photos i want to post process.

i was on the fence between the small Bamboo Fun (3.5" by 6) and the bigger Genius M609 (6"by 9") ever since i read Mr. Jay Alonzo's review of it. so just as the stores were closing at Virra last night, i reached a still open store and was checking out the 609 when i glanced upon a smaller Genius box of the G-Pen 450 (4" by 5.5"). the price tag on it was P1800.00 and it was approximately the size of the P5600.00 Wacom Bamboo Fun. hmmm....enticing!!!

i chatted about it with the shopkeeper who actually looked familiar. when i glanced, at the signage, i realized i was at Abacus Computers which i had already heard before was owned by a fellow hobby photographer named Handy. it was not too long before we were already comparing notes of the just recent seminars we had both attended: the Photo Summit and the SPPP Nudes. so perhaps to help a fellow photog out in deciding, nice guy Handy told me to try out the small Genius for a few days and if i don't like it, that i am welcome to return it! now who could resist such a deal!

so i came home with the package and excitedly installed it even before i sat down to dinner. after the initial handling curve, i started messing with photos. i chose to play edit one i was going to trash because it was a bit softer than i would have liked. after, i was done with it though, i am totally considering keeping the little gizmo. the photo at the top of this review is the result while the one on the left is the original.

i am liking this little device and it is fast growing on me. since i don't do illustrations anyway and i haven't used a pen tablet for over a decade, i am not really missing anything in terms of actual use. the old (and expensive) Wacom i had years ago wouldn't even come close in term of sensitivity to this one. for that price too, it has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity against the Bamboo's 512. it does have 29 programmable hotkeys BUT it would have been nice if it at least had a dedicated zoom and scroll button for more convenience. however, i did find a workaround--the keyboard's hotkeys for Photoshop and CorelDraw, where i would probably use this thingy the most, would just have to do for me if i were to keep this.

and of course, it doesn't look quite as handsome as the Wacom Bamboo Fun but it does seriously make me wonder if plunking down the extra P3,800.00 to get the good looks and the zoom/scroll buttons is worth it. besides, having a pen to manipulate in Photoshop is already a definite improvement over my customary editing with a bar of soap...err...mouse.

ok, one more night to think about it. i'll decide tomorrow. but the way things are right now, i think the Genius just might stay with me for more than a just short while.

photo summit '08 report

Posted by Au Lim On Tuesday, August 19, 2008 0 comments
Clay Blackmore shows the ropes

my body still aches from the 3 day event that just concluded yesterday but let me just sum it up in one word: SULIT! For P4K, this workshop with 2 renowned, seasoned photographers, Parish Konahim and Clay Blackmore was simply that: so worth it. i was expecting they would be there to facilitate a talk for maybe a few hours each but i was half surprised that they were BOTH there for the WHOLE 3 days--from the day-long photoshoot on the first day to the 2 days of indoor seminars.

to top it all, these masters of the craft are both stand-up people (i'm starting to think most photographers are!). they're so cool and funny especially Mr. Clay who had such high energy and enthusiasm for sharing his techniques. even Mr. Parish who seems to be a more reserved kind of person than Mr. Clay was cracking jokes with him. all through the 3 days, the mood was upbeat and it was often hilarious watching these 2 world class photographers taking pot shots at each other.

Mr. Parish styling the beautiful model

i think it was plus points for the organizers to think of combining such diverse talents as these 2 personalities. Mr. Parish, against whose name this event was marketed, is a well respected and highly talented fine art photographer and who has the creative, sensitive soul of a true artist. his work just speaks for itself. his talk was all about following one's passion and listening to one's heart over mind when it comes to our photography work. watching him style the models and use his creativity for us to have a beautiful shoot was the learning experience from him.

Clay posing the model, Masha:"body to the light..."

however, the sparkling gem in this event was Mr. Clay and his effusively delivered precise techniques for studio work. he shares his valuable years of experience working with Monte Zucker and his subsequent practice by himself . he drums to his audience repeatedly his techniques: basic pose and feminine pose, camera height vs. camera position, and full face, 2/3's & back 2/3's -- i can never forget those now...hahaha... but i think it IS the effective way to get it: by repetition and tons of examples and shoots. and so the stroke of genius on the part of the organizers were combining these 2 talents: one who shows the fine art aspect of photography, and another who shows the other side, commercial photography, because this is what will get the bills paid.

i don't know i will ever get to the end of processing all the shots i came away with on those 3 beautiful days of learning and interacting not only with my fellow photographers but also with those breathtakingly lovely models--the most beautiful i have had the chance to shoot thus far. see some samples below and here and tell me if i'm not speaking the truth! {also occasionally check out my daily photo blog posts for some of my most favorite and choicest photos from this event and at this Flickr folder for the eventual updates to the photos}

there were a just few snags in the whole bustle such as some late announcements that lunch will not be served but these were compensated with heavy snacks and a free Digital Photography magazine. i really wish though that the heavy snack was served as lunch instead because i can hardly eat them anymore by the time they were served being still full from lunch(which we had to get outside) and being still hyped from the photoshoots.

after 3 days of this event, i think my horizon in photography have been expanded and (i would like to think, at least) my skill leveled up. how can it not when these 2 mentors have worked hard even in this short time to pummel in my brain those lessons and show us by example how it is done? it now remains up to me to practice what they have preached to ensure that i do not forget. yup, the organizers, FPPF and DPP, were successful in putting it all together and they deserve a big KUDOS! if they line up these kinds of talents again from facilitators to models, then i'm sure to be there too next year. : new blog to celebrate 08.08.08

Posted by Au Lim On Friday, August 08, 2008 0 comments

yup...just set me a new one up. i think that Artful Blogging Challenge by just whetted my appetite for even more blogs. and as the title implies, it's for posting one photo a day. i'm hoping it would at least get me to process more from my growing photofolio or perhaps to just capture one and post immediately. whatever the case may be, it's designed to keep the photo fever alive in me. (haha! if my flickr and multiply are not enough...) i'm calling this blog [and some music to groove by], yes you guessed it, because it put in a playlist so it won't be too quiet when you visit... and also so i have music playing in the background when i don't have a radio.

and see, it's 08.08.08 (Aug. 8, 2008)... must do something to celebrate it right? i've had this space since December last year anyway when i visited CH's blog on Vox. might as well do something useful with it. and Vox has lots for cool theme skins too. i think i'm going to enjoy changing it often. my only gripe with the Vox skins is that they are not as customizable as Blogspot's...only the banner headers are changeable and when you do, you are stuck with a limited number of skins/themes. hopefully, they'll do something about this sometime soon.

so here's to more blogging fun... happy 08.08.08 day to all!

of nudes and snakes...

Posted by Au Lim On Monday, July 28, 2008 2 comments
last week, i encountered a post about an upcoming nude photography seminar: SPPP Nudes--The Artist's Way. hmmmm...title pa lang, sounds interesting already. especially to one like myself who has been scouting around for a nudes photo opportunity ever since I saw OWG's very first Nude seminar which i missed by a few days. problem was, that week was so busy at work and i wasn't sure if i'd be available on the Saturday that the SPPP seminar was scheduled.

however, i knew i wouldn't sleep well if i let this by. i just had to go. especially since it costs so little. i thought the P1000.00 fee was just too cheap to let it pass. so just a day before, i decided that i would have to go. i managed to reshuffle schedules and there i was at 9am on Saturday at the Philippine Columbian. it was being taught by another distinguished photographer, Mr. Ibarra Deri who teaches a similar course for P7,000 at PCCI. i knew i would kick myself if i missed it.

me, trying the snake on for size... hehehe...i wasn't really afraid of them but i was quite wary...and they tickle!

the day started out with some light lecture, some samples of Mr. Deri's amazing work and demos from Ynzal and Digiprint. i couldn't help but feel it was a promotional stint. but hey, what can one expect from such a low price. besides, even their promotions were informational. just before lunch, the models arrived: 1 male (yey! finally!) 2 ladies and 3 snakes! woohooo! super exciting. but apparently, not for the 2 lady models. they were deathly scared of their reptilian counterparts! well,at least, at first. Mr. Boy S., president of SPPP, had funny magician antics that eventually put them at ease. it seems he has more than photography talents under his sleeve! "wag ka mag-alala" he'd say, "di naman ito totoong snake, may batteries ito e." he'd also squeeze the snake's body gently and an unseen squeaky toy sounds off in unison! how he does it is a mystery to me. but it was totally hilarious.

we had lunch, a choice between a fish or a chicken dish. and it was a complete meal at that, it started with soup, the main meal, and there was a sweetened fruit dessert. again, not shabby at all for a P1000K tuition. the photoshoot was set to start after lunch. there was chatting for a while as we waited for the models make-up job to complete. the first model to pose for the eager photogs was Ivan, the male model. i would have to say he was my favorite among the 3 models (not including the snakes). he was very professional and had poses that would truly inspire any photographer. even his shaved head adds to the drama!

"A Cryin' Shame"
this is my favorite among my shots. i liked it so much i finally had the guts to enter it at JPG Mag so if you have time to click, i would appreciate a vote here:

the 2 lady models followed but i think they were too distracted with the snakes to really cultivate their full potential. but nonetheless, i think the shots still came out pretty good and they still truly inspired the male photographers :-D

also one of my favorite captures! i really don't think any of the photogs there had any fantasies for the lovely, sexy model in all her naked glory beyond getting their f-stops and the shutter speeds right for the ideal shot! :-D

all in all, it was an absolutely exciting photography day. too bad for me i had to go back home early since i had to get ready for a good friend's party. i knew i'd be skinned alive if i missed it or came too late for it so i missed the on-the-spot photo contest where some nice prizes were at stake too. i didn't feel bad at all for leaving early, though, because i got what i came for in the first place: the chance to see if i had the guts to shoot bare-naked models and to add some of fine art nude photos to my portfolio. truly a day (and P1K) very well spent!

"Primal Vision"


i shot in RAW this time just to try it so it takes longer for me to process. will upload them on my Multiply and Flickr sites as soon as i sort and process them.

below are some more photos from my totally cool "nude and snakes" day:

the lecturer, Mr. Deri, manhandling the model :-D

Ivan, our talented male model, in the make-up process

fellow photographer Dennis, hangin' with the snake...

another kooky fellow photographer posing with our reptilian model.
don't know which is scarier, him or the snake :-D
thanks for posing, Winston :-D you're a great sport!

the micky nikky!

Posted by Au Lim On Thursday, July 24, 2008 1 comments
it's here! finally, just today! it was such a long 15 days waiting for my Ebay purchase to arrive at the local post office... i kept checking the post office for it, i even beat the notice's arrival at my door. as soon as i heard it has landed, i was there in less than an hour.

so it's here now and i couldn't be happier with my new toy. it's a preowned, circa late-1970's 55mm Micro Nikkor f3.5 AI! looks like it's in pretty good condition for it's age, too. yey! my first REAL macro lens ever! i opted to get this baby for 2 reasons: firstly, i cannot afford the macro lens on my wishlist yet (which is the Micro Nikkor 105mm f2.8 VR). secondly, this is one of the lenses that, they say, has a reputation for making the Nikon brand legendary. i can see why already. i love the color and the contrast it produces. and most of all, it's tack sharp. i actually think it's even sharper than my nifty fifty (the cute nickname they call the 50mm prime, which are actually pretty sharp glass). there is an f2.8 version of it but it is the f3.5 that has the rep for sharpness so it was the one i put my bids on. i guess it IS good because it even has it's own group on Flickr.

this is the first test shot i took off the lens. just my messy desk (ok, perhaps i should have aimed elsewhere.) but check out how sharp it is and how saturated the colors are. no post prod here. click to enlarge and see the details better.

then i reaimed and refocused and took a macro of the 50mm on the desk. still decently sharp despite being handheld at shutter speed of 1/25... and i don't have steady hands. bet it would be sharper on a tripod.

this is a photo my other lens--the 50mm f1.8. this shot was taken with the newly arrived 55mm micro. compare it with the photo of the micky nikky above, taken with this 50mm prime. which is sharper?

lucky for me, i won this at a low price too! USD$77 (+ $40 for the shipping to here). most of those that closed at Ebay at the time i was bidding were closing at around $100 already. i actually tried sniffing around at Hidalgo first but wasn't lucky enough to find a copy of it, although M20 there says they do occasionally have one of these for sale. it think it's really a great deal for lenses with such superior optics. of course, that is if one doesn't mind the totally manual controls--no autofocusing, no metering, and i was surprised that even the aperture can only be controlled via the aperture ring. but of course, since what i have is a D40, it could also be that a better cam like a D200 (or my dream D300) will at least meter with it.

how can i complain though. i was only too happy to have stumbled upon the info that this is THE alternative for someone with no budget for the more expensive macro. and even if i eventually get one, i'll probably still keep this just for the nostalgia.

already positioning for the next purchase: cheap extension tubes (P880 bucks!) to increase my focal length. hoping to capture a portrait of some fly or bug next up :-D

oh where, oh where...

Posted by Au Lim On Wednesday, July 23, 2008 2 comments
is that little cat now... oh where, oh where can she be?...

took this photo a few weeks back. now, i miss her when i see it.

the nursery rhyme is playing over in my head. although the subject was originally a dog, it is one of our pusa-kals that is missing. i've never really minded our pusa-kals (i.e. pusang kalye or street cat :-)) comings and goings. we've had several over the years and it seems, they drift in and out, often going missing for days on end (especially the males) presumably looking for...uhmmm...primal calls, or a better kitchen. they usually come back after days or weeks, sometimes never but i do not really mind. they are free. however, i have grown attached to Isidra. she's been with us since she was a kitten and she's special because among all our cats, she is the most docile and has a sweet little voice. she has resigned herself to being either my hubby's stress toy (he likes mushing her up quite a bit) and Tashi's squeeze toy. Tashi is our shih tzu. he likes playing around with Isidra, giving her lovebites on her backside but she almost never runs away. just sort of gives a token squeak. she actually enjoys it like a massage because if she chose to run away, the dog will never catch up to her. Tashi, on the other hand, just enjoys their play because it probably makes him feel alpha-ish.

however, Isidra has not been seen for the past 4 days and i am getting worried. she almost never goes missing for days. she likes Tashi's dog food too much to stay away for this long. i hope she's okay and would come back soon. i miss her.


yesterday afternoon, i stood up from the computer to look out the window. i noticed the light streaming in from the sunset which was very orange. i love orangey sunsets so i grabbed my camera and went to our small balcony. however, once there, my other 2 cats wanted to play with me. i ended up taking photos of them instead. or, at least, i attempted to. this one is of Ashley, our 8-year old Persian. no photos of Purrkins (the other Persian) because he was so into playing he just kept rubbing on to me and the lens! and so i have come to the conclusion (yet again!) that pets are subjects that are sooooooo hard to get photos of. tried it with Tashi some time ago... posing them is out of the question!

Photo Essay