Monday, March 1, 2010

The State of Bohol's Independent Cinema

by Ryan Macalandag

Last Wednesday, I went to Manila to join Cinema Rehiyon a film festival of sorts featuring independent films from the provinces or from the “other Philippines” as they call it. I was with a Ted Ramasola and Sherwin Tutor, local independent filmmakers in their own rights who also had submissions to the festival.

We were exposed to films from other provinces, including Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Bicol, Laguna, Baguio and a few others. The range of films submitted was vast that it was a feast for our hungry eyes. The small theatre at the Cultural Center of the Philippines played host to the exposition.

We submitted three films for the Bohol time slot – “Allan”, “Siyam Ka Kinabuhi” and “Tabi Apo”. “Allan”, made by Teddy, is a film adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story and adapted into a short film by Brian Luce, Ted’s friend. “Siyam” is a project for Sherwin’s TV Arts class in UB Fine Arts while “Tabi Apo” is a six-minute short film we shot last Tuesday with Sherwin, Jude Montejo and a few neighbors as actors. I only edited it as soon as we arrived in Manila and had it shown the day after.

Shooting Against the Light

by Ryan Macalandag

Last Friday, we finished the three-day process documentation training we organized for the staff of the Bohol Agricultural Promotions Center. The workshop included documentation writing, basic photography and basic video production.

I discussed about photography and video production basics to more than 20 participants walking them through some basic lessons on camera handling, creative exposures and other essentials. We were informed beforehand that most of the workshop participants were first timers who never knew anything about the subject. They were all ecstatic though and were all eager to learn. I tried very hard to stick to the essentials.

Studio Photography Basics

by Ryan Macalandag

Just very recently, we folded up the apartment where we lived for more than three years and went back home to my father’s house. He’d renovated parts of it to make room for the DesignDepot Graphics (my graphic design shop) offices which includes a small space for a photography studio fit for single person portraits, small group portraits and other small-scale studio photography work. I named the studio Side Room Studios for apparent reasons – albeit uncreatively.

Now, I should not be talking about studio photography yet since there are a few other basic stuff we need to discuss first. But, I should just proceed anyway.

Basic Skills in Digital Photography

by Ryan Macalandag

So you’ve decided to drop your film camera and switch to digital photography? You must be daunted by the task and scared beyond your wits. Fear not, shooting digital is not as difficult as you think. In fact it is quite easy, on the contrary. It is the same light exposure, the same framing, the same perspective, the same camera angles as you do with your manual camera.

There are, however, a few different skills that you need hurdle first on the process of perfecting your digital photography craft. But, hurdles as they are, they are easy hurdles.

Cheap Cameras of Beauty

by Ryan Macalandag

I like to contradict myself.

Last week, we spoke about how buying an expensive lens can greatly improve the quality of the photos you take. With pro lenses, your photos become sharper, crispier and cleaner. Better lenses certainly improve quality but not the creativity and beauty of your photos.

However, cheap, plastic, toyish lomography cameras are revolutionizing the photographic landscape and quickly gaining fame in the artistic photography circles today. Each retro, distorted, grainy, photos that these el cheapo cameras churn out are little precious gems of beauty themselves that evoke feelings of joy, love, loneliness, quirk, nostalgia and everything else in between.

The general rule is: shoot from the hip. Ergo, don’t think, just shoot. If you want to create artsy photos yet could not manage to mess with camera settings and such, this is just about perfect for you.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Through the lens: How important is the lens?

by Ryan Macalandag
A lot of people ask me what camera to buy all the time. My answers always come back with a camera body AND a lens. Kit lenses suck. If you’re going to spend dough on a Digital SLR, do yourself a favor and at a minimum buy a cheap 50mm prime to go with it. – Thomas Hawk
Thomas Hawk is right on the dot. The lens you use on your camera plays a major role on the image quality you get from your pictures. I don’t think most people know this ‘coz most people I know still use their kit lens. Mine, I threw (sold) away as soon as I had money to buy the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens. Sure, it’s not a zoom lens but the difference in image quality is so vast it’s not even funny.

The Lens That Sees

How important is the lens really, we ask? Well, try taking off the lens on your camera. All you see is a blurry view on your viewfinder, right? It is the lens that sees and the camera body that captures/records the image. Thus, if your glass (also refers to lens) is a cheap kit lens, your camera will capture/record it as a cheap image also.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Learning Photography Doesn’t Have to Mean Owning a Camera

Published by Bohol Sunday Post

When life throws you coconuts make buko salad, right? (I prefer coconuts over lemons.) Or in this article’s case, make buko salad even if life ain’t throwing coconuts at all.

Picking off from last week’s article, owning a digital camera you really love is not easy. Apart from your not having enough moolah to buy one, the people around you are not that rich to gift you one – even during Christmas. Or, sure, you got money but some other things are just a tad bit more important – like the iPhone 3G you’ve always bugged your Mommy and Daddy about. Yes, iPhone. Digital camera, no. (The iPhone’s got a 3 megapixel camera anyways, you say. Good for you.)

So, here are a few ways to teach yourself photography while waiting for your own camera. Absurd? Read on.

1. Finger Framing. Using both your hands, position your thumbs and pointing fingers to form an “L” or the “Laban” sign. That’s two Laban signs, one on each hand. Using these, form a four-sided box kind of shape and use it to frame a scene just like a camera. You’ve seen this on TV right? The director goes up to a scene, forms his “finger frame” and envisions the shot through it. This exercise trains your eyes to see in framed pictures.