Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Panalo --- Getting the Job Done

Like everyone else, I have bad days.  On one instance, I was taking portraits of a client and after an hour I still could not get a good photo [at least, by my standards].   Shooting a full half of football, basketball - and still unable to get a good photo - It has happened.

Wether in a casual, comfortable shooting environment, or a frenzied, stressful one - Until I am 100% sure that I have created the pictures I want - I am one dissatisfied person.

Course, there are the better days.

Last May, 2010, while still lacking in biking pics, I aimed for an on-the-spot portrait and/or action shot of biker, and Village mate, EJ Punsalang.  This guy's solid when it comes to biking.  He is investing a lot of his time and energy improving his biking skills, maintains his bikes, and joins competitions here and there.  I also wanted to be re-educated about biking and thought I could learn a lot from this guy.
So, I trotted to EJ's one afternoon - Checked the variables - possible locations in the house, the angle and quality of the sunlight in each spot, EJ's mood, the bike hardware, apparrel etc, etc.. Once decided - I did my portraiture.  On the garage/driveway, using open shade, I started with 10-20 head shots-- frontal, 45 degrees, w/& w/o head gear, shades etc. -- all the while getting a pulse on the situation and immediately realized that it simply wasn't working -- the shots were B-O-R-I-N-G.  Took a pause, took 5 - glanced at the sky again - then made adjustments.

I re-angled EJ, this time used a bike, composed an image in my mind, asked him to look away, then re-shot.  In just 2-5 clicks, I glanced at my LCD and knew I had done it - an honest-to-goodness fine portrait of a hard core biker [an action shot would have been preferable but that could follow next time].  I made a few more repetitions with slight variations, but I already thought -- ayoko na, ok na 'to 4 now -- mission accomplished.  Pack up na. Felt good.  The photo captured EJ as is. No More, No less - No fancy gimmicks, walang pacute, no TH 2B cool.  The texture of the bike surface, the sports apparrel, the subtle highlights, details -- Love it!! Tamang tama lang ang BALOT ng ilaw sa bike at kay EJ. Minsan HAPLOS lang ng sikat ng araw sapat na.

If musicians have an "ear", photographers have an "eye".  "Reading" sunlight, in all its forms, how it behaves, to what extent it can be manipulated - & more importantly how it "paints" the world around me, is Key.  Once I get a "grasp" of the available light at my disposal ---> Madali na dumiskarte.

After 15 minutes on-the-spot --  Not Bad,  huh?



Then, there was my Panaad experience [Azkals vs Mongolia] last February 9.

The challenge there was not so much the lighting, 'twas the distractions.

The scenario was such that during the match the photographers were confined to a small area behind the goal.  We were advised by the media officer that if one decided to leave the football pitch at halftime,one will NOT be allowed to return.  Therefore we had to E-mail our 1st Half pics from the pitch.  I had also been requested by my boss to E-mail him selected 1st Half action pics during the break.  I never got a signal during the break, I couldn't find my mobile to advise him, I couldn't find my lens hood -- and all throughout the 2nd half I would shoot, run to my laptop [which I had placed above my backpack, positioned a few meters behind the goal], check for a signal, then shoot again. On the back of my mind, I was even worrying - what if the ball hit my laptop?, open & unprotected.
[I've had the experience of having a soccer ball hit and damage my zoom lens beyond repair - from a kick by an 11-14 year old !!!  Trust me - that was BAD.]

'Twas just crazy out there -- Stressed out, pikon, taranta -- I thought -- what kind of pictures will I come up with?? 

Then, before I knew it, it was all over. Everything had just whizzed by so fast.  The Azkals had won [2-0] and during the ensuing frenzy, I just tried to get a few more celebratory pics.  Then, rushed to the media room to process my JPEGs.  In hindsight, I don't think I ever got a broadband signal the whole time.   I just handed over my card reader, w/ my CFs inserted, to my boss and made a few recommendations.

Unwinding at my hotel room a few hours later, I noticed that my boss had posted a JPEG of Caligdong, running, while waving the Phil flag after the victory.  I knew I had some great action shots somewhere in that CF and wondered why Rick decided not to use any. The Caligdong photo wasn't even
a real standout.  I felt uneasy. Nanghihinayang ako.

Missed the after-game party, was exhausted.  I had done my best and just wanted to go home next morning -- Panaad was over -- there were more sports events to shoot in Manila.

Come Friday, lunch hour, Rick texted me to call him.  Must be important,          [I thought] because he usually E-mails me.  I failed to get through so he texted me again, asking me to buy that day's [Feb.11]  Business Mirror.

Bought it, opened the spread in the Sports Section and was pleasantly surprised.  Checked his blog that night and saw my favorite action
photo posted. I was satisfied.

KA -

                                               BOOM !!

I had done my job.


ps -  all pics in my blog are Low Res, compressed JPEGs.
brosi gonzales

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