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About Me

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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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August 20, 2009

what's packing in lantaw's bags


I sometimes get questions asking me what gears I use and what I usually bring on my outdoor trips. So here's a peek at some of the stuff I might pack on trips.

Lenses
I have three staple lenses: Sigma 10-20mm, Tokina 28-70mm/f2.8, and a Nikkor 70-300G. These 3 lenses covers a good range from wide to telephoto.

Lenses

On mountain treks, where I'd probably be shooting landscapes 99% of the time, I usually just bring the wide (for landscapes) and telephoto (for wildlife like birds - although 300mm is seriously not enough when shooting birds) when weight is an issue. The Tokina lens weighs like a brick!

When I'm mountain biking I just use a kit lens: a Nikkor 18-55mm. Plastic and feels like a toy but does a great job - unbelievably sharp for such a cheap lens.

Filters
Since I'm always shooting landscapes, these are always in my bag. I use a ultra thin Marumi DHG CPL which is always attached to my Sigma 10-20mm. It serves as a lens protector also as I don't use a UV filter. Gotta avoid vignettes when shooting wide, especially when I'm stacking filters.

Filters

Aside from the CPL I bring along a Hoya ND8X, an ultra thin Haida Infrared 720 filter (equivalent of Hoya R72) and several Cokin P-series GND filters. I tend to bring soft and hard edge GND8 filters and a GND4 most of the time. I stopped using colored graduated filters like the blue or sunset filters. I'd like to get my hands on 'em Singh-Ray filters one of these days. A single Singh-Ray filter costs an arm and a leg and a good portion of your torso.

AccessoriesLittle stuff I can't do without. I bring several SD cards of different brands. On a typical 3-day weekend trip 4 extra cards usually suffice for my needs. I cycle through 3 extra batteries (the most I can bring is 5). If I bring along my flash gun then I also bring 8 AA rechargeable batteries.

Accessories

Other stuff includes: commercial grade lens tissue (that can be used for cleaning sensors as well), several lens pens, a blower, camera rain covers, a small but ultra bright torch, a small compass, chargers for camera and AA batteries, a set of RF receiver and transmitter for remote flash, and IR remote trigger.

LightingCurrently I have only 1 flash gun: a Sigma EF-500 DG SUPER (Sigma's answer to SB-800). I use small Lastolite light modifier which is great for outdoor portraits.

Light

If there is a significant source of natural light I also use a disk reflector. There are 5-in-1 versions you can find in most camera shops. It has gold, silver, white, black, and translucent parts.

SupportA tripod is a landscape photographer's best friend. I don't leave home without it. Nobody has rock-steady hands.

Benro tripod

My Benro A-157 with a BH-1 ball head has seen its share of rivers, lakes, waterfalls, beaches, mountains and rocks, and has the scars to show for.

Keeping them all dry
Dry bags or dry sacks are essential especially if you are trekking in the storm and crossing rivers and lakes. I use a 4-L bag and a 25-L sack. I use the bigger sack for my camera and lenses; the smaller one I use for the accessories.

Dry bags

I also bring along several of these small dehumidifier kits that can be bought from hardware shops. I put one inside my camera backpack and another one inside the bigger dry sack. I try to keep my gears as dry as possible whenever I go out and shoot waterfalls.

Dehumidifier

Thats it! Maybe next time I'll share some tips and photos on shooting in rainy or bad weather.
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August 17, 2009

nagsasa cove: summer memories


Nagsasa Sunday Morning
Nagsasa morning

I am missing this cove terribly. The two summer weekends I spent there were enough for this place to become THE destination in Zambales, at least in my book. Surreal and pristine (for now) come to mind when I hear the word "Nagsasa".

I love waking up to the soft rhythmic splashes of the surf. I woke up early each day and head straight to Wild Horse Creek to wait for sunrise. The distant bare mountains glow to a golden brown as the first light of day falls upon them. It was a sight that mere photographs cannot easily show.

Nagsasa Dawn
dawn at Wild Horse Creek

I remembered the bangus (milkfish) catching frenzy one weekend that we were there. A typhoon ravaged the western coast, trashing the fish pens in the nearby province of Pangasinan. Close to a million bangus got freed and some (by "some" I mean several thousands) made their way to this cove and stayed near the shoreline. The locals just picked them off the water, literally. It was easy pickings for several days.

Nagsasa Cove:  Solitary
a lone fisherman after a night of bangus catching frenzy

I miss the backwoods of Nagsasa. Its a different world from the pine tree lined beaches that traces the cove. There you'll see a huge valley bordered by rolling green hills. "Its Marlboro country", a friend remarked.

Nagsasa Wilderness
Nagsasa wilderness

I spent one hot afternoon clambering up to one of the peaks and nearly lost my equipment, and my wits, trying to. Went down bruised and soiled but happy I was able to take a few photos from a different vantage point.

Nagsasa Backwoods
backwoods

There was no indication that this huge valley once served as a bombing range for US air forces during the time when Clark Air base was still nearby. Well maybe there is: a HUGE portion of the area is completely devoid of trees.

Nagsasa Cove: Frozen Shore
Nagsasa frozen sunset

And the best part of the days I spent there? Sunset. Beautiful sunset.

More photos of Nagsasa in these articles:
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August 10, 2009

mt. romelo: buruwisan falls on a stormy weekend


[Wild Side]
Buruwisan Falls on a stormy weekend

Its 2 am and the rain was incessant. After a little over two hours of trekking, I was soaking wet. The narrow trails we are on are beginning to look like small streams. With a visibility of just a few meters, the trail, with its overgrowth, looked less and less familiar. Cold and tired, we conceded to nature. We found a small clearing, pitched our tents, and decided to wait for first light to pursue the trails again. Our usual 3-4 hour trek will take longer this time.

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