Nuong bata pa ako…!

I sometimes miss these days…

… Nuong sumasabit ako sa dyip habang may sumisigaw ng “… Valiches, Novaliches”!

… Nuong umaangkas ako sa traysikel na kakalog-kalog dahil sa lubak na daan!

… Nuong sumusundot ako ng pisbol sa kalyeng mausok at maalikabok at isasawsaw sa sukang punong-puno ng naiwang pisbol na lumulutang pa!

… Nuong nagbabasketball sa kanto na ang pustahan ay isang litrong Coke at handang maki-ramble dahil lang sa isang litrong Coke!

… Nuong nakikipagsiksikan sa bus at pinagpapawisan ang kilikili sa init dahil walang aircon pa ang mga buses nuon!

… Nuong tumatakbo at naghahabol ng dyip sa may Blumentrit para makasakay!

… Nuong naglalakad sa gatuhod na baha sa may Dimasalang!

… At higit sa lahat, nuong nakikipag-inuman na isang baso lang ang gamit at sardinas na maanghang ang pulutan, solb na!

Yup, those were the days! Masaya at laging exciting ang araw! Gawin ko nga uli minsan yan to feel how exciting it was… :):):)

The Back Button Focus

​We were travelling along SCTEX, one of the expressways in Luzon of the Philippines, at a speed of about a hundred kilometers per hour when I took this picture of a bird flying to the opposite direction. In capturing this photo, I had set my gear to use Back Button Focus and set the AF operation to AI Servo (or continuous focus).

What is Back Button Focus? In “normal mode”, DSLRs focus when you half-press the shutter and take the picture when you completely press the shutter. The problem with this mode is that it only works for still or stationary subjects. When the subject moves out of focus, there you go… You get a blur! Even with a high shutter speed, you may still get a blur if the subject moves out of the area where your gear had initially focused. And you may have to refocus and half-press the shutter again which by the time you’re able to do this, the subject has gone out of your sight.

This is where the BBF will come in handy, together with continuous focus (AI Servo in Canon). Depending on the brand and model of your gear, it may already have a dedicated BBF button or you can set a button, like the Exposure Lock, as the BBF.

The BBF, together with AI Servo, will allow you to keep the center of focus on a moving object without half-pressing the shutter. Technically, you have two buttons in play, the BBF (using your thumb) to focus and the shutter (using your index finger), to take pictures. What does that mean? You can press and hold the BBF to retain focus on a moving object and just press the shutter to take pictures anytime without the shutter doing a “focus and refocus”.

Just some fair warning, this technique takes some practice before you can reap the rewards…! 🙂

The Three Monkeys!

​In the Philippines, it is now somewhat “dangerous” to be unknowingly associated with someone who is into illegal drugs. To be safe, refrain from being with or having a picture with people you don’t really know, including high profile personalities like mayors, councilors, congressmen, and even generals and showbiz celebrities who could eventually be named or accused as involved in illegal drugs.

We now have a new adage, “Hear no people assumed to be involved in illegal drugs, see no people assumed to be involved in illegal drugs, and speak no people assumed to be involved in illegal drugs!” Otherwise, you’ll might end up as a “collateral damage”!

The bad side of being killed nowadays is that, majority of the Filipinos, specially those avidly supporting the new president, will immediately judge that you’re into illegal drugs even though you are not! We have a new justice system, it is called “presumption of guilt: guilty until proven innocent”!

The Tale of the Brown Knight and the Unknown Creature

In the land of Gilmore somewhere East of the pavement jungle of the Quezon Forest, a brown knight, whose name should not be spoken, is always seen riding his magical two-wheeled horse that is powered by his nerve of steel along the treacherous cemented road full of mechanical monsters with black, round, and rolling hooves.

I heard people say that the brown knight has an invincible helmet on top of his head. Some also say that he wears an indestructible shirt-mail made of iron so thin that it only weigh less than a pound. I heard that not even Poseidon’s trident will be able to pierce through his shirt-mail. Others said that the brown knight also has the intestine of a red dragon, which he killed just using his bare hands, around his neck to protect him from the fangs of the dreaded blue traffic enforcers that infest the land of Gilmore.

In one hot and humid day, I saw the brown knight passing by. And I witnessed first hand all of the things I heard about him. But on that day, I saw him carrying two sacks with contents I do not to know. His dark eyes were fierce and keeps on looking at his sides like a scared puppy who has lost its master. The sweats on his face was noticeable and I felt a certain degree of apprehension by the way his two-wheeled horse was moving. I couldn’t blame him since several knights, believed to be under the spell of black magic, were killed and swallowed by an unknown creature during the past few weeks.

This unknown creature was hailed by some as an avenging “angel”, a crusader whose purpose is to annihilate renegade knights that are believed to be practitioners of black magic.  Others call the unknown creature as Beelzebub’s creation, his alter-ego, a “monster” which was unleashed to bring forth fear and live on the blood of the knights it slaughtered whether the knight is a practitioner of black magic or not. This creature, this angel, this monster, is said to have a powerful boom stick that can cut a knight in two.  Rumors only whispered in dark alleys said that this creature has two hard shining shell as its head with only a black slit where the eyes and mouths are located. It was believed that the creature possesses the ability to transform itself like a shadow so that the victim will unable to see it approaching for the kill.  The most frightening characteristic of this creature, so I heard from one folk who had managed to see the creature in action and lived, is its thunderous steps that sounds like “varooom-varooom” every time  it moves.

As the brown knight became smaller and smaller from my vision going deeper and deeper into the horizon, I casted the creature off my thoughts and wished him godspeed. As I turned my head to continue on with my business, I sensed something that made my hair stood up… “varooom-varooom”, “varooom-varooom”, I heard it screamed! Directing my eye to the source of the sound, I suddenly realized that only my eyes were turning with my head and the rest of my body frozen in fear.

There I saw the creature… its two heads covered completely by a shining orb with only a large slit that looked like an eye and at the same time, looking like a mouth. The creature momentarily stared at me before it ran towards the horizon where the brown knight went a moment ago. “Varooom-varooom” it went…!

The last thing I remembered was hearing a scream that sounded like “Bang-bang”!

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The Future of Mobile Photography

The future of smartphone cameras… The Dual Camera Setup!

This year will be a plethora of smartphones sporting a dual camera setup. This will be the future of mobile photography. LG and Huawei were the first to incorporate a dual camera system on their smartphones early this year and before the end of the 3rd quarter, iPhone 7 Plus and Note 7 will also have the same feature as rumored in most technology websites. For Note lovers (like me), Samsung was rumored to be skipping Note 6 to align its flagship Note phablet to its S model.

What is a dual camera setup and what are its benefits?

A dual camera setup incorporates two prime lenses at the back of your phone. One lens will usually have a monochrome sensor and the other lens, a color sensor, which can capture three to five times the light of a single setup camera. The result, better sharpness and clarity even in dark conditions. It is rumored that Note 7 will have a whooping 1.4 aperture for its dual camera setup.

The battle for mobile photography is now afoot!

Photo courtesy of Phone Arena

El Niño Sunset in Manila

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It would have been a perfect shot if not for the power cables that are visibly hanging all over Metro Manila…

Anyway, our country, the Philippines, is currently experiencing a phenomena called “El Niño”… An unusually warm ocean temperatures in our part of the world. And adding that up to the dry season we have during summer, we now have a “catastrophic” dry spell ruining our local crops and rice fields resulting to hundreds of millions of pesos worth of agricultural products gone to waste.

Oddly, though our government has spent millions of dollars to improve the country’s irrigation systems, our local farmers are still having a difficult time growing their crops this El Niño season. To the rest of the world, the funds I mentioned earlier did not actually went to the irrigation projects. These funds were “allegedly” pocketed by our public officials which we call the “pork barrel scandal” of which is currently under investigation. The funds were “allegedly” funneled to fake non-government organizations (NGOs) with the concerned public official “allegedly” receiving huge amounts of commisions.

Anyway, back to the photo… I hope you like it as much as I did, sans those nastly lines that continually plague my sky photos of our cities.

To swim or to campaign…?

The “floaters”… Yap, summer is here and swimming is trending. But Filipinos are more concerned nowadays in campaigning for their candidates for the upcoming elections in May this year. By golly, that would be next month on May 9.

Campaign success stories are sometimes true but often than not, social media users are spreading fake stories and lies for the benefit of their candidate. On top of these, there are  lots and lots of smear campaigns against other candidates. Cyber bullying nowadays is a trend with each supporters throwing derogatory remarks to one another as if their lives are at stake, with some even threatening bodily harm to the supporters of the other candidates. Well, that’s how dirty politics is anywhere in the world…

The circus with tons of promises is in town and I see a lot of clowns wooing the voters!

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My Waterloo…

Believe it or not, for two consecutive years (2015 and 2016), I became a victim of the same sand bunker at the same hole in Sta. Elena golf course during the Smart Infinity Golf Classic.

If you find it just a coincidence, I find it as an empirical evidence that I never learned on how to manage this specific hole.

If it happens again in 2017, I’ll make a camp fire right in the middle of this sand bunker.  I will shovel every grain of sand inside the bunker to the fire to make a glass bottle which I will hit my head with…!!!

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2015

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2016

Missing you all, guys!

Isn’t it great to have a good hot cup of coffee while thinking about your friends, such as the amazing bloggers I know like you?

It’s tax period here in Manila and I’m jumping from one galaxy to the next riding my Bicentennial Hawk, the improved version of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon, of course! The Stargate keeps on closing and opening throwing me into the deep abyss of a wormhole rendering my trusted communicator powerless to connect to our Galactic Network. As soon as I hyperspace back to our Star System, I’ll catch up with you great guys!

Missing you all!
Commodore Ompong
Stardate 0-2-10

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