Ugly Art

So we were standing on the dock of my client’s facility situated in relatively virgin waters of the Pacific Ocean. And lo and behold we see this oil slick where none should exist due to environmental rules and regulations. It wasn’t really a major oil slick just some fuel that must have leaked into the ocean but it’s still an eyesore and poses a health hazard to the local marine fauna. The guys I was with took note and I guess they’ll file a report with the company’s environmental guys. Hopefully, this is the last we’ll see of something like this. I did manage to capture a pic because it looked beautiful in an abstract way. And that black reflection on the left ended up looking like oriental calligraphy.


Dinagat Sunrise

Now this was an interesting trip. I had to go to Dinagat Island to visit the production site of one of my customers. Getting there involved a 2-hour plane ride, 2.5 hour boat ride, 2.5 hours on a pickup truck, another 2 hours on a riverboat and finally another 30 minute pickup truck ride to the destination site. All in all, it took the better part of a day just getting there. The riverboat ride was the most interesting part of the journey. There wasn’t a soul in site and sort of reminded me of the movie “Apocalypse Now”. I was fantasizing about exploring the river and doing some wildlife photography and even some fishing. Dinagat Island sits on the Eastern part of the country with one side facing the Pacific Ocean and probably has a lot of potential for further exploration. Surfing is probably good on the Pacific side so who knows.

Rays On Flats #4

And this was how the scene looked from just several steps away. The lighting on that day was really spectacular. Seeing this just makes me miss the beach.

Rays On Flats #3

This should give you a general idea of the lay of the land. Looking back, I realize I took about 13 or more images which is a lot by seascape-photography standards. It can take several minutes looking for the right angle for a shot, setting up the tripod and waiting for the clouds or sun to come into play which means it was a somewhat productive afternoon.

Rays On Flats #2

A slightly different perspective and exposure of the scene before me. I especially liked how the clouds were dramatically aligned in the sky.

Rays On Flats #1

Whenever I’m at the beach, I try and plan ahead for my “golden hour” shoots. I’ll check the time for sunset and assess the cloud and weather situation at around 3:00PM to see if I’ll be shooting beach-side or getting in the car and going somewhere else. For beach-side scenes, it really depends on the tides and the way the surf is acting up. On this particular day, low tide revealed the flats in all their yellowish glory and combined with the clouds and low sun, it made for some pretty awesome conditions. I shot several of these as I couldn’t get enough so bear with me as I present “Rays On Flats #1”.


One of my favorite subjects at the beach are the ripples and patterns left behind in the sand by the receding tides. Mother Nature always manages to leave these little nuggets of beauty just lying around in the most ordinary places and interesting lighting often brings out the best in them.

The Sky Is Flowing

Whenever I’m at the beach, I try and visualize what kind of sunset shot I’m going to do given the countless number of images I’ve shot here. I generally take into account the level of the tides, direction of the sun and cloud action which all come together for the final image. I saw this channel of water left behind by the receding tides and knew this was going to be a key element in my image. Fortunately, lots of things came together in just the right way for this image. The reflection of the clouds in the water, the sun peeking through the clouds and the lack of any distractions meant the scene would be pretty much how I envisioned it. One thing I love about shooting here is the peace and quiet at this time of day (assuming we had the beach to ourselves). Oftentimes, all you hear are the gulls trying to get their last meal for the day and the surf breaking in the distance. It reminds me of the saying, “the journey is the destination” meaning, the act of photographing something sometimes gives me even more joy than the resulting image itself or something like that.

The Sentry

That was actually my loving wife posing for me. We were in one of the ammunition storage rooms or “magazines” when I saw her and asked her to pose. In hindsight, I should have lit up some of the bottom-left portion of the frame to add some balance. However, I don’t even recall if there was anything interesting in that area.

Guns Of Corregidor

Ahhh Corregidor Island. Now this is a place that always manages to catch my attention each time I visit. This is an island with a deep and somewhat sad history. I would say it’s the Philippine’s equivalent to Pearl Harbor. Well at least in the sense that it played a crucial opening act in the involvement of the country in the Second World War. The short story is, this island served as the guardian fortress of Manila Bay which was probably effective during the Spanish era in the time of the galleons but totally failed during the Japanese assault on the country. The island saw witness to the last stand of the American Forces and eventual surrender to the Japanese forces. I used to come here during school field trips and even on a company outing at one time. I brought my 10-speed bike and rode all around the island by myself which was an exhilarating experience. Imagine cycling silently through the eerie ruins scattered around the island in contrast to the tropical jungle setting. One of these days, I should try staying overnight to get some sunset and sunrise images.