Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lessons from the Blog & Soul (Point and Shoot) Photography Workshop


Last weekend my family and I attended the Blog & Soul photo workshop for compact/point and shoot camera users at the 8Ten.co Studio. The last time I attended a similar workshop was a few years ago and I thought it would be good to join to brush up on my (non-existent) photography skills.

Back in 2007 I got a Canon G9 because they said that it's almost a DSLR. I thought it would be a good camera before I actually buy a DSLR. I told myself that I would use it for at least 2 years before I get a DSLR. When the camera conked out for the second time I decided not to get a DSLR because I thought I hadn't maximized my G9's capability. My friends were trying to convince me to get a Lumix or a Canon S95, but I was pretty comfortable already with the G series so I got a Canon G12. The Canon G12 definitely has a lot more buttons and features than the G12 so I would really have to push myself to learn all of it.

I honestly never really grasped the difference between shutter speed, aperture, ISO etc. I've been trying to understand it better by reading online tutorials, but it was Winston who kinda managed to make me understand the different through a faucet-water-glass analogy. Winston, Juned and Markku have been teaching me how to use my camera better and I now have better understanding of what P, M, Tv, Av on my camera means. Miguel has been key at teaching me how to tweak color settings etc.

Anyway, I digress... here are some key learnings from the workshop:

1. Read your camera's manual! I don't read manuals so I usually ask Sweetie to read it for me hehehe. So, if you don't like reading your manuals you should explore your camera! Juned explained more about shutter speed to me when we stopped over this bridge at MOA.

Bridgeway at SM Mall of Asia.

2. Experiment! The only way to learn about your camera's features and to learn the right mix of elements is to experiment. Modern day company cameras have a lot of features. I have not explored taking B/W photos yet. Juned's really got at this and I guess I'll bug him for more advise.

Juned, Markku, Winston and Hana.

3. Rule of thirds, this is a classic rule and your camera usually has built in guides to help you frame your photo.

View from 8ten.co Studio's garden (one of many).

4. Observe your subject so you know when to take the shot. Back when photographers were using film they didn't have the luxury of taking many different photos, they had to be precise. Sha (below) is a fun subject since she smiles a lot. What I need to improve on this photo though is its settings so my photos don't come out blurry.

Sha.

5. Lines can help tell a story. I thought the grass edge and gutter kinda pointed to the person like an arrow. Need to improve on lighting though.

He inspired me to vlog again! Hope I'll have time :)

6. Action shots. It is important to know your camera's quirks so you can click on the button at the right time when taking action shots (i.e. jump shots). My photo though is a bit blurry accckk.

Fitz on air!

7. Macro photography is hard! Well for inanimate objects it would probably be easy, but taking photos of the baby grass hopper was quite hard. I would've loved to capture clearly the ridges on his back. On the opposite side of things, when taking photos during concerts and let's say you are seated on the bleachers, take photos in a larger format (or raw) so you can just crop it.

The baby grasshopper Miguel picked up.

8. Perspective, try taking photos from another perspective. This is another creative way to take photos. It was Sweetie who actually got me to take this photo.


Well, I still have a long way to go and as the mentors said during the workshop, "It's not the camera, it's the photographer!"

Thanks Blog & Soul for organizing this workshop. And for 8Ten.co for the hosting us and for the yummy lumpia and pancit bihon! (Ano pala yung ketchup ninyo, masarap eh hehehe).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mentors

"At each point of your life you should have a mentor." 

That's one of the most important things I learned from Dr. Ned Roberto when I was his student for market research. He explained to me that to continue learning one must continue learning and you also have to learn from those who are already successful. You don't actually need to tell the person that he/she is your mentor. All you need to do is to be very observant and pick up important skills, knowledge and behavior from your mentor.

I've been following this advise ever since Lolo Ned mentioned it to me and it has helped me to learn more and improve myself. Back when I was still working for a local company I oftentimes observed my superiors. I was lucky to have had the chance to be exposed to executives (president, VPs etc.) and I picked up a lot from observing how they worked, how they thought about things, how they communicated, how they handled people etc. It certainly helped a lot because I learned how to work well with higher management and I learned how to get my projects approved easily! Haha.

Now I am still doing the same thing. I guess I'm lucky to get a wider reach now, so I actually have more mentors! My Dad's college seatmate (he's now the Speaker of the House of Representatives) told him when I was just twelve, "You have a very observant daughter" (I kinda told him that it looked like the ceiling of his office might fall down on him anytime hehehe). Eeeep! (I hope I did not embarrass my Dad so much.) Anyway, my being observant has so far helped in the past few years.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Always On (Tipid Way to Go Online!)

I work remotely for my company so whenever I'm not at my base I check my mail every so often and take a peek at my SNS in-between meetings. I usually just use my phone and go online through my laptop (using SmartBro) for longer periods of time. I found the 30 minute limit though a bit limiting since I usually go overtime especially when I have to answer a couple of emails.

I thought I'd share Smart's new "Always On" offering which I think is a perfect solution for me whenever I'm out. You can use the offering based on your online activities. So if you only check mail and check your social networking site (and probably check-in on Foursquare), it will just cost you about PhP20 the whole day, versus paying PhP50 for going online the whole day but only using it mainly for email and SNS.

Here's "Always On" table -


To activate a package, send the keyword to 2200. This is available to Smart Buddy, Smart Gold, Talk N'Text and Smart Bro subscribers. Smart Bro users can available of it through Smart Web Connect. Users will be notified before a particular package expires (when you've consumed 80% of the availed scheme). When the package expires, charging will go back to regular pricing of PhP10 for every 30 minutes of use.

Not bad huh?



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An App a Day: Haybol.ph

Here's another interesting app (site) done by a Filipino company - Haybol.ph. The site is essentially a search site for Philippine real estate properties that are either for sale or rent.



The site allows you to search for properties by street, city, barangay or province and aside from just going through a list of properties it offers a view of the exact location using Google Maps.

If you are a seller you can just simply post your listing for free.

You can visit the site at http://www.haybol.ph.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Think Before You Click

I love GMA News TV's new campaign "Think Before You Click". Here's the video they've just posted:



More often than not kids nowadays are more techie than their parents. That holds true for me as well, so it's very important to monitor what your child does online. I knew early on that my son would spend a lot of time online (my fault since he was always on my lap whenever I was online when he was a baby), so I briefed him about do's and don't's online and "Think before you click" and "Think before you post" are just some mottos I've imbibed on him.

If you want to learn more about web safety for your kids then check out Sonnie's site on Web Safety Philippines and perhaps attend one of his seminars.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An App a Day: Kanya Kanyang Bayad

I thought I'd write about some cool locally-made apps I've discovered.

Last week my friends at CodeFlux published their Android app "Kanya Kanyang Bayad". I was ecstatic because I know they've been working on it for a couple of months now and I knew it was going to be a hit.

"Kanya Kanyang Bayad" is an app that would help you compute for your bill. This is what I did last Friday when I went out with my high school friends (I always end up computing for our bill every time we go out!). My friends ooh'ed and ahh'ed. Well my duties as the person who splits the bill in our barkada when one of them gets an Android phone haha.



Friday, July 8, 2011

My Favorite Things



I just realized my favorite things are... favorite food! Eversince Typhoon Ondoy I kinda learned not to be too attached with my things, but I must admit I still get upset whenever I lose anything.

Here are a few of my favorite "things" (in random order):

Food
1. Makati Supermarket spaghetti
2. Lachi's Sansrival Atbp. pork marinara
3. Becky's kitchen chocolate crinkles
4. Cielin's chocolate cupcake (the one available at Shell Select Magallanes)
5. Dayrit's cheeseburger
*#1, 3 and 5 has been my favorite for 3 decades now hehehe.

Things
1. Minnie! (my car)
2. My N1 and I still can't let go of my Nokia E71
3. My pillows!
4. My camera
5. My apple pendant, wedding and engagement ring
6. All my Angry Birds toys
7. My Winnie the Pooh watch
8. My chair
9. A ratty old shirt that Sweetie says would be better off as a rag
10. Earrings my Tita gave me, I always wear it

I think I'm going to check this post again a few years from now to see any of my choices change.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Robbed

Something was off. At around 1:30 p.m. I wondered why Miguel hadn't texted me on his whereabouts. He lets me know when he's left school, where he rides (van, LRT or jeepney) and even tells me when he's on our street already. He greets me with a kiss and a big hug when he gets home. We text more often when I'm out for meetings and today was one of those days.

Miguel texted me at around 11 in the morning that he was on the way home. He rode a jeepney at EDSA together with 2 classmates. I put my phone beside my plate while eating to wait for his update. I expected him to be home by noon, but by 1 p.m. I started to wonder why he hadn't sent me any message. After my lunch meeting I tried to reach him but he wasn't picking up the call. At 2 p.m. I had to settle down and focus on my meeting, but I couldn't help but feel that something was wrong. I managed to call my Mom before my meeting started and told her that I was worried already. I was so distracted during the meeting because I was praying for Miguel's safety. One of my messages to him was, "Where are you? You are going to give me a heart attack from worrying."

At 3 in the afternoon I finally got a message from Miguel. He used my Mom's phone and his message read, "I'm okay now. Na-budol-budol kami." So here's his recount of what happened --

They went down at SM Bicutan. On the escalator a guy trailed after them and convinced them that he could teach them how to protect themselves (something about anti-hazing). He wanted to give him his business card but said it was with his companion. He managed to get them to move to building B of SM Bicutan and from there convinced them (now with three other students from another school) to go to Yellow Cab along Dona Soledad.

They didn't order anything at Yellow Cab and I wonder why the crew didn't even notice since they were there for about an hour. The guy asked them to go back to SM Bicutan and had them leave their bags and valuables in Yellow Cab. They thought that it was okay since one of the students was asked to stay behind to keep an eye on their things. Half-way to SM Bicutan Miguel told his classmate that they should just go back to Yellow Cab and get their things. His friend said that they should just go with it and they did and walked to SM.

Much to their surprise the other student followed them at SM Bicutan and when they went back to Yellow Cab their stuff was gone. According to SM Bicutan security this is not the first time this modus operandi happened and oftentimes the robber brings the kids to either Yellow Cab and Chow King (on Dona Soledad, it's closed now).

As a parent I've been teaching Miguel not to talk to strangers, much less go with them, since he was a kid. He's been commuting on his own for just 2 months now and I kinda expected something like this would happen. I'm just glad that he wasn't hurt and had the sense to go straight to his Lola's house after the incident. The guard at Yellow Cab said that the 2 robbers was joined by another guy when they left (probably a back-up in case of any trouble).

I'm pretty sure these establishments and our local police already has a long list of reports of similar nature. I wonder though if they really catch any of the offenders. I guess not since they don't really do any follow-up. My bag that was stolen at SMX was never found.

I just told Miguel to be more alert and not to talk to strangers, much less go with them. These things happen to the best of us and the best I can do for now is to remind him and coach him how to handle situations like this. And, of course, pray.