Another cute bug strikes a pose. These 3 recent bug pics by the way were taken in Baguio during summer. I usually shoot very early in the morning after doing my sunrise pics when there’s still dew on the leaves. A friend told me that bugs tend to be calm and even lethargic while they warm up and shake off the cold of the evening. They’re probably drying off too and can’t really fly away which might explain why they tolerate me.
I never tire of shooting bugs especially when they pose for me. If you think about it, we’re like the paparazzi in their little domain popping off huge flashes in their eyes. So as a photographer, when I come across a bug that willingly poses for me, I always oblige even if I have several shots of this type of insect on file. I always try to go for the eyes when I focus. Shooting at greater that 1:1 magnification, keeping the eyes in focus gets really challenging even when you stop down to f/16.
Depending on where you park your car, you end up passing by a row of flower shops as you leave the Baguio Market. We usually leave the market around 8:30 am before everyone else starts to arrive and fills up the place. Luckily, it’s actually perfect because by this time, the flower shops are open, buzzing with the hustle and bustle of a day just starting. I caught this gent having some quiet time in the early morning and I think this image captures the mood quite well. I spot-metered for the flowers which underexposed the rest of the scene which gave it a more dramatic look I think.
One thing about shooting at the Baguio Market is the lack of lighting. My D300 is “high ISO challenged” so I try and make do with what I can get. As the saying goes, “it’s not the arrow-it’s the Indian!” So I just choose my scenes accordingly. In this case, it’s looking for those “petromax” lamps that are still popular here in the Philippines and hunting for subjects in its immediate vicinity. Found this one and didn’t really think much of it until I got home and did some post. I liked how her face says so much about the hard work that goes into waking up early every day and tending to the stall at the market. The serious demeanor hoping for a lot of customers to make it a good day at work. This remains as one of my favorites from that trip.
I was reading the newspaper the other day (yes, I still enjoy reading the papers) and came across a similar image. It occurred to me that this nice lady is probably one of the most photographed persons at the Baguio City Public Market. I always try and visit the market at least once whenever I’m in Baguio. I usually try and get there before 6 AM. There’s less traffic, easy parking and not yet crowded. The only downside is the lack of available light. My wife and I usually buy fresh veggies, strawberries, mountain-grown coffee beans, local sausages and other seasonal things we find like passion fruit!
So these are two of the famous murals inside the church. They depict “San Cristobal” or St. Christopher. There’s a reason for two versions of the same subject. The first one made the Saint look too “native” which offended the Spanish friars. So Luciano Dans, the local painter had to make a second version which made St. Christopher look more “Spanish” whatever that means. No small feat considering “Dans used natural color pigments mixed with volcanic ash and brushes made from cats’ hair to create the murals”. Just goes to show that politics, art and religion are always inseparable.
I took this in Paete, Laguna during Holy Week several years ago. We visited a good friend of mine, Dr. Nilo Valdecantos who in my book, should be appointed as the town Hero. He is the owner of Kape Kesada, a local cafe cum art gallery and Doc Nilo has been passionately pushing for the recognition of Paete as the wood carving and art capital of Laguna. Unfortunately, Doc Nilo lost his valiant fight against cancer a few months ago and is survived by his wife and sons who are now tasked with taking care of the cafe. I took this at the only church in town which is called the Saint James the Apostle Parish Church. The church is famous, among other things, for its murals which I’ll post about later on.