to my blog. Just a collection here of stories of how life happens by to one obsessive, passionate, distracted, curious, creative, regular dudette. And oh, yeah, i hope you like my new scrolling header. I just get kick out of it. >>>

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my new baby

Posted by Au Lim On Friday, May 23, 2008 6 comments
i've been saving up to get me the Nikon 50mm F1.8 prime lens (of course i would love the 1.4 but it's 3 times the price of the 1.8!) i've heard so much about it; they say fixed focal length lenses usually have better optics than telephotos. they also say the 50mm length is perfect for portrait shots because it most closely resembles how the human eye perceives images. but most of all i've seen shots using it with terrific bokeh due to the big aperture making it great for isolation shots. besides, it's relatively cheap compared to other lens on my wishlist so i thought i could swing this one myself. since it's out of stock across all sellers i know for the past several weeks so i knew i had time to save. however, it went back on stock last week but i only had half the amount i needed. patay! ang lakas pa manakot ng mga lokong supplier. ito ang dialog:"may stock na kayo ng 50mm 1.8?" tanong ko. tapos ang sagot nila: "ahh, oo, dumating kahapon...10 na yung nabenta ko, 3 na lang nandito..."

haaaay, you think i can really resist when faced with temptation like this? not if i can help it. time to get the night before, i started making lambing to hubby. by the next day, i got my go signal...woooohoo...

so off to Hidalgo i went that same morning and snagged my 50mm at Mayer's. ang sungit pa nga ni Mang Ramon (owner of the store)...nakuuuu...bawal ang tawad. balibhasa there's high demand for this darned lens. as i went out of his store, i was already excited to hurry back to the Scrapfest to take the new lens for a spin. as i was traversing Hidalgo St., i remembered this little corner preowned store that had a Lensbaby 2.0 for sale. the first time i saw it on his glass cabinet several weeks back, i didn't have my camera with me so i couldn't test it. since i had my gear with me that day, i decided to drop in to check it out. the moment i snapped it on and peered through the lens, i knew i had to take it home! i had lovely creaminess at the edges of the photo and a nice sweet spot in the middle. cool, cool dreamy effect! the only caveat is that this is completely manual adjustment and not by turning a ring to focus like our usual lenses but by pushing the bellows-like body ever so slightly with fingers from both your hands. it may not be completely precise but i actually enjoy the tweaking and the unpredictability.

good thing it was already priced very low or the emergency fund i keep in my wallet wouldn't have fit. was such a steal at the P2500.00 i got it for! price of the new unit at JTs is almost P8K. a real stroke of luck for me! truth be told, i had more fun with this little toy-like manual focus lens at the Scrapfest than the new 50mm.

then, a few days later, i called Rolly who i met at the phphoto groups selling a preowned set of macro attachments for the Lensbaby. i saw his post quite a while back so i was happy to find out he still hasn't sold them yet. we met and i bought his stash for P1000.00. the macro kit is just a couple of lenses that come in a little purse, one +4 and +10 which one can use together to come in closer. truly wonderful for one who does not have the budget to buy real macro lenses which usually cost upwards of 20K. see here what it can do!

high key-ing

Posted by Au Lim On Monday, May 12, 2008 3 comments

yey!!! finally coming close to learning this effect i had wanted for soooo long to achieve! high key lighting... hehehe...sige, konting practice pa para mas swabe... if you have C&C's i would love to hear it to improve.

saw Reine asleep on our dingy sofa and had a 'flash' of inspiration...ahehehe...get it...FLASH...sige na nga, nevermind! used a single SB800 flash for this, off-cam handheld by my trusty househelp over Reine. sulit na yung chipipay na radio trigger ko.

aliwan festival shoot

Posted by Au Lim On Friday, May 09, 2008 4 comments
i don't mope. at least not for extended periods of time. i think the best way of coping with life's turbulence is to keep moving. and so i do. i am dang serious about getting better at photography now. probably because i can't afford to be just a hobbyist. for me to afford the things i love to do, i must find a way to earn from it...hahaha... so maybe in time, i will. right now, this passion fuels my energy to keep practicing.

this is why when i saw a post at phphoto about the Aliwan Festival 2008 and a photo contest on it, i thought the opportunity was golden. i've got gear i need to put to good use anyway and some debts to pay so it would be cool to try my luck at it. even if i don't win anything, it gives me valuable experience and practice. so i locked in a date with my 17-year old daughter to come with me on that day. i would have gone alone except it would be hard to lug stuff around by myself. my 13-ner, upon hearing about the date, wanted to come along. ok then! so it's mom-daughters bonding time...kaya lang i'm sure di lang maraming angal ang dalawang ito, marami pang pa-libre. sige na nga, a budding photographer's got to pay her dues, i suppose.

"ice candy kayo dyan..."

my assistants cooling down

we hit the Quirino Grandstand at around 10am. it was a hot, hot day! ang init talaga! the actual parade would start at 3pm to 9pm but i wanted to take some shots of people setting up so we came early. however, because of the heat, the first thing we did as buy ice candy. the girls made me buy them wide brim hats too. sabi na nga ba magastos ang dalawang assistant kong ito e! i nosed around the area and did see some people setting up but it was just too hot to walk the wide expanses in front of Luneta so we headed for cover instead. as reconnaisance, i knew if we intend to be there for the rest of the day, we need to find out where the rest rooms are.

we circled the Quirino grandstand and found a place to have lunch almost in front of the Manila Ocean Park. hindi masarap. we went up the Grandstand and looked on to where the participating tribes where practicing their routines. we headed there and i took shots. we walked around and Gabey saw a kalesa. Sakay daw kami because she has never taken a ride in one. I didn't want to leave the practice premises just then so sabi ko, i'll just take a photo of her beside it.
"sakay na..."

"bagay kami di ba?"

we ducked again to hide from the sun's punishing rays. nalalanta na kami. even our water container was empty. as we hid behind a post with some shade, we found this sleeping security guard statue. i thought it was hilarious so i took some shots of it. nice way to cool down a bit.

"mamaaa..nalalanta na kami, o..."

meet Nap Puyat

cute siya, o...

"huhuhu, dinededma nya ako...!"

then, we heard some drumming. tamang-tama, the sun was letting up a bit. it was almost 3pm by then. we followed the drums to the big uncovered quadrangle in front of Quirino Grandstand. the tribe participants were practicing their routines for the contest. i went trigger crazy...hehehe...and so did some even better equipped photographers there. not only do some of them have multiple cameras and loooong lenses, some even had step ladders! below are my shots of those moments. they can also be viewed here.

Aliwan photos: May 3, 2006

i hardly felt at first that some rain drops started falling. the afternoon had just turned nice and cool. at first it was a light drizzle but i put the camera away. i wasn't that brave yet and i couldn't risk ruining my precious gear. wala pa nga akong ibang gamit e! we started scampering for the trees as the drizzle turned to full-fledged downpour with matching thunder and lightning. as we huddled under an umbrella we just bought from a maglalako, i can't help but wish i can take out my camera to take photos! i can even hear some drumming still from a brave tribe who seems to be having fun practicing in the rain. however, it was over for my day's photoshoot. i didn't think i have enough energy to last till the evening's actual parade. besides, i had a scrapping session that night with my scrapping buddies at Mitch's place. we called hubby at the office to come rescue us. maybe next year, i'll come better prepared to get wet and photocrazy-wild.

my first photography workshop

Posted by Au Lim On Friday, May 09, 2008 1 comments
last april 26, i attended my first photography workshop ever. i almost didn't go because that was the day hubby and i were having a little spat and were stressed about the situation at the hospital. i was feeling all glum and depressed but forced myself to go. i'm so glad i did.

Sir Ross Capili, a painter and photographer who i admire much, facilitated the OWG Next Models Workshop designed for advanced amateurs. yes i know...i don't belong in that category (amateur, yes...advanced, NOT!) but i was told there would be a little go over in the basics anyway. the session started at 3pm and was to run till 11 pm. the first 3 hours or so was a sit down session, discussing the basics and then moved on to lighting patterns and demos including light metering.

then we had dinner (included with the seminar fees) and after that the models shoot. the group was divided into 2 and each group assigned to 2 separate studios. then, we were introduced to the 3 beautiful models who would pose for us. after the indoor studio session, there was also an outdoor shoot session. i had so much fun, i forgot i was depressed!

the PHP2,500 i paid for that workshop was totally sulit! most of all, i think it helped a lot in kicking my meager photography skills up a notch. here are some of my shots during the session. you may view it here also. none were cropped or photoshopped.

into every life, a little rain must fall

Posted by Au Lim On Thursday, May 08, 2008 5 comments
like the song goes, it just happens. i guess we just have to expect that not every moment in one's life will always be sunshiny.

last april 12, my phone rang, "kayo po ba si Aurie?" said a male voice on the line. "yung Nanay nyo po nandito sa Orthopedic". my heart skipped a beat.

"bakit ano ang nangyari?!", i worriedly asked, more than a little alarmed. my mother is quite strong and active for her age but she is, after all, 75 years old.
"wag po kayong mag-alala, di naman po malala..." the voice tried to assure me. he went on to explain that he is a Jolibee delivery guy who accidentally bumped my mother with his motorcycle. she fell on her side and was unable to stand so he brought her to the Philippine Orthopedic Hospital in Banawe, QC by taxi to have her checked and x-rayed.

by the time i got to the Orthopedic, the xray results were out and we were happily informed by Nanay herself that she was ok. just a little bruised with some abrasions on her arm. her left leg hurts when moved but did not hurt when undisturbed. the doctor attributed it to the big bruising. she was even smiling, perhaps from the relief that comes when one is told that all the bones in one's legs, hips and even knees were in place. i thought we could go then but they had to give her one more treatment: tetanus shots. "huh? why?" i asked. "kasi po natusok sya nung pusher [na pangmanicure] na nasa bag nya nung natumba sya sa lupa". so we waited a while for the shots and i snapped this photo of Nanay with the delivery guy. as you can see, they were already in a good mood.

i stitched the facts together in my head as told to me by both Nanay and the Jolibee delivery guy whose name is Frederick. Nanay had just gotten off the jeepney and was getting on the sidewalk. Frederick was mounted on his motorbike and was slowly accelerating his vehicle to get off the pedestrian pavement where he had just completed a delivery. he looked to his back to check oncoming traffic. Nanay, on the other hand, was looking towards the pink and blue overpass where she was heading to cross the street. she was most certainly not expecting a motorcycle to be on the pedestrian sidewalk about to hit her. then, before Frederick knew it, he bumped onto Nanay and down on the pavement she went. she fell on her left side. and the darned pusher in her bag stuck deep into her left calf. it must have been one heck of a fall for the pusher to stick out of her bag and get her on the leg.

anyway, i thought at first that was a actually a little funny. you know, it was an accident that happened not on the actual street (since they were both on the pavement) that involved a little "kikay" item which stuck the owner herself. see, Nanay has a fetish for keeping her toenails meticulously clean. maybe it's a little perverse of me but i was already in a good mood because i was told Nanay had a clean bill of health and just needed to rest and get home. yes, sweet relief! i didn't even have the inclination anymore to boink Frederick on the head even if he probably deserved it for being so careless. i was happy enough that Nanay was ok. we even dropped Frederick off, at Jolibee Roces where he worked, in goodwill.

unfortunately, the relief and good feelings did not last long. i should have suspected it. Nanay was discharged from Orthopedic with no apparent broken bones yet she couldn't walk by herself. Frederick had to carry Nanay in his arms to put her in the car. 6 days later, she still couldn't walk a single step and was complaining every night that she couldn't sleep well because she was still in pain. surely, this was more than just the contusion (or bruising) that the doctors at the Orthopedic diagnosed her with.

April 17, we brought Nanay to Capitol Medical and had her hip re-xrayed. it confirmed our fearful suspicions. Nanay's left femoral neck (the ball joint joining the leg to the hip) was broken. the doctors told us she needed hip replacement surgery. we stayed in the hospital for the next 9 days. trepidation, fear, anxiety, again all set in. not only for Nanay's health but for the financial instability as well. we may not be indigent but we are of modest means. a medical bill well into the hundreds of thousands definitely spells a financial crisis for us. how could it not when i have five kids all going to school in the coming school year. financial problems also tend to stress everyone: Nanay, myself, husband, and ultimately the kids. it even stresses the relationships between us as you may imagine, particularly hubby and I.

still, there was a bright side to the situation. after all tests and cardiology work-ups, Nanay was cleared for surgery. after that, the hip replacement itself was a surgical success, thanks to the expertise of one Dr. Ed Oreta. Nanay was standing up by the 3rd day. she is now slowing learning to walk again due to rehab care by Dr. Consuelo Macalalad. i thank these doctors with all my heart. while i'm at it, i should also express my gratitude to Dr. Atabug, the cardiologist and Dr. Fernandez, the anesthesiologist. Capitol Medical Center definitely has very capable and distinguished medical experts. Most of all, i have to thank my cousin Ate Rho and her hubby, Dr. Ed Clemente for referring us to all these wonderful doctors.

now, i have initiated talks with the company the delivery boy works for. i am hoping that they will cooperate with us in giving the rightful financial assistance. Jolibee is a giant company but they haven't even shown concern. they are directing me to their manpower agency instead. that's just ok but i can't help but feel we are being given the run around. so right now, things do not look good. i sincerely hope things will eventually turn out well. will post developments here.

Photo Essay