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Monday, December 20, 2010

Audiophile & Sennheiser Product Shot

Note: This is not an official audiophile review but rather a simple sharing of my own hi-fi sound loving experience. To make things a bit interesting I mixed this article with a basic easy-to-do info of product photography. Enjoy reading!!!

Audiophile According to Wiki

An audiophile, from Latin audio"I hear" and Greek philos "loving," is a hobbyist who seeks high-quality audio reproduction via the use of specialized high-end audio electronics. Audiophiles prefer to listen to music at a quality level that is as close to the original performance as possible using high-fidelity components. These specialized components include turntables, digital-to-analog converters, equalization devices,preamplifiers and amplifiers. Both high quality solid-state and vacuum tube amplifiers are used. The quest for audio perfection can also include horn loudspeakers or electrostatic speakers, power conditioners,subwoofers and acoustic room treatment.

My Audio Experience

I can't really say I'm an audio junkie (maybe people have their own levels of addictiveness) but I know a thing or two about audio equipments thanks to may dad. He is the real audiophile in the family. He still have his audio equipments form the 80s' and he listens to music louder than me (for realz). Let's just say I'm a fan of good quality hi-fi sound system but not as hardcore to the point that I'll buy audio equipments like turn tables, amps, speakers etc. (but I did buy an amp for my guitar) also because of my lifestyle I can't manage all those things. Besides I need a bigger place to dump all of that stuff. So I'm referring to portable audio systems with high fidelity sound.  I have quite a library of CDs mostly songs or bands that you don't usually hear on the radio with music genres including - Hardcore/Punk, Groove, Metalcore, Death, Grindcore, Rapcore, Punk, Ska, Emo, Indie, Energetic (dunno why they call it that), Hard Rock, Trip-hop, Hip-hop, R&B and a long list of genres. All of these are just round silicons with inlay cards and plastic cases without the right sound system and your iPod or MP3 player is as good as paper weight without the right headphones.

What I need to get my audio fix is a good set of headphones. I need my music when doing almost everything specially in my photography (it gives me motivation and inspiration). So what brand should I get to fill up my  sound wave addiction? Monster Beats? Sennheiser? Bose? Audio-Technica? Scullcandy? OK I have my prospects but what about budget? Definitely it's one of my main concern. I need a hi-fi sounding headphones but my budget is limited. Some of you might think I'm either crazy or a cheapskate or both. Is there such a headset out there that can meet your sound expectations and limited budget? Believe it or not there is - Sennheiser is well-known for their hi-fi headphones, microphones and audio equipments and the good thing is they have a mid-range line-up of good quality hi-fi sound headphones for my active (or sometimes not so active) lifestyle.

The Headphones

"Sennheiser HD 448 - Taken with Nikon D700, Nikkor 16-35mm F4 VR,
Nikon SB-900 triggered with Phottix Strato 4-in-1 radio triggers with 
Rime Lite mini softbox to soften shadows."

"Sennheiser HD 448 (close-up) - Taken with Nikon D700, Nikkor 105mm Micro VR,
Nikon SB-900 triggered with Phottix Strato 4-in-1 radio triggers with 
Rime Lite mini softbox to soften shadows."

Sennheiser HB 448 - This baby is one of the best headphones in the market (on the mid range that is) but surprisingly I've seen reviews that says this can pound the Monster Beats by Dr. Dre on sound quality. A $400-$600 headphones versus a $100 Sennheiser? I just can't believe it! One day I'll try Beats by Dr. Dre if the speculations are true. Well I've seen Beats and it totally blew me away on just built quality alone (haven't tried one). Let's say OK Sennheiser and Beats were stalemate on sound quality crisp treble clear high and mids with a satisfying punchy bass (but not boom bass) a more real stereo sounding experience, built quality wise Beats win but don't disregard the high-grade plastic and partial metal used in HD-448s. It's lighter than it looks and feels very comfy (fits my big head). It has good quality cable but not the same as the ones on a Pro monitor headphones. No noise bleed (not nose bleed) what so ever. One drawback is it doesn't have enough grip to hold on my head tight. If I bang my head few times while listening to Deftones it will slide off my head. The rest is fine I just wish it's more grippy.

For Sennheiser HD 448 product details click here.

"Sennheiser HD 218 - Taken with Nikon D700 and Nikkor 16-35mm F4 VR
with available florescent lighting"

Sennheiser HD 218 - the cheapest of the Sennheiser HD series for S$80 or US$50. Don't get turned off by the low price this baby is better than most of the headphones on its class. Noticeable bass, high and mids are OK. Nothing to complain about, regarding the very affordable price. It's very light and it rests comfortably on your head. Nice high-grade plastic built quality. Again my complain is that it's not that grippy. One time I'm rushing to cross the street then it just fell off my head. One more thing despite of the close back design this headphone bleeds a bit of sound  but not as much as the Sennheiser HD 238 Precision (open back design). This is a very good replacement for the stock earphones on your iPhone or iPod or any MP3 players.

For Sennheiser HD 218 product details click here.


A sure bang for the buck and definitely one of the best headphones in the market. It has it's drawbacks but hey you get what you pay for and the deal breaker aside from the low price is that you get more than you'd expected. Noise cancelling is not that stellar but it still OK at least it doesn't need batteries to operate unlike other noise canceling headphones. I can say that the Sennheiser HD 448 and Senheiser HD 218 serves its purpose. Maybe one day I'll try Monster Beats by Dr.Dre (if budget permits). Peace!

Notes About Product Shots

Usually product shots have 3 light source - Main light, Fill light and Background light. Some products only need 1-2 light source depending on your presentation. In my case a low key shot. On the photos above I've used only one light source with soft box to soften the shadows and just enough to give the subject a certain sheen to it for a more sophisticated look. You might need a polarizing filter for very reflective surfaces (you don't want your face appearing on the subject) to reduce reflections unless you intentionally want it. Hope this helps. Cheers!!!
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Monday, November 29, 2010

The Future of Photography - Plenoptic Lens Technology and More

Ever get tired of out of focus photos where the nose of the subject is clearer than the eyes or a portrait where the shoulder is sharper than the face? Imagine no more out of focus photos. You can decide which part of the photo you want to focus at. Sounds like science fiction right? Few of us know that the technology already exists. It's just 3 months ago when my friend send me a link discussing the Plenoptic Lens Tecnology from Adobe, yes the maker of Lightroom and Creative Suite you can't only just post process the exposure, white balance, noise, etc. but also the focus. Yup this is not a joke it's real and it's here. 

Here's a demo of how the thing works.

*Video courtsey of Laptop Magazine.

Here's a diagram of how the thing works:

"With traditional or current generation cameras, a ray of light enters the lens and gets recorded on a specific spot, as illustrated above."
*Photo courtsey of Laptop Magazine.

"Plenoptic lens adds magic to it, the same light ray passes through several lenses before making it to the sensor, so it’s getting recorded from several different perspectives."
*Photo courtsey of Laptop Magazine

The actual size of  plenoptic lens - consist of tiny lenses. Light data passes through the plenoptic lens before it reaches the sensor (refer to diagram above).
*Photo courtsey of Laptop Magazine

Now the question is what camera can do this kind of mind boggling technology? A Plenoptic lens and sensor - that is the obvious answer but how does it actually works? A pre calculated aperture settings from minimum up to the maximum F stops giving you different depth of fields. We all know that raw is amazing in  storing detailed color data but storing DOF on a file is just too much for me to handle (for a few seconds) then I realized it's possible. If only there is a sensor and lens that can capture multiple layers of DOF settings in one file then post determine where to focus after shooting the photo.

The Raytrix is a camera company from Denmark that answers all these mind boggling questions. Their so called 4D cameras are now out in the market. I will not get into details about the camera models 'cause I'm not in the position to do so. I'm still new to this technology and still figuring out how they manage to pull this thing off. 

"Raytrix-R5 4D lightfield-camera"
Photo courtesy of

Raytrix Technology

Refocus Demo - You can see here a sample on how you can post adjust the focus of your photo.

Multiview Demo - Here you can see how the camera angle change from point A to point B on your photo. The change is not that drastic but still it's quite amazing how this things work.

*All links courtesy of

The new technology we are facing will definitely change our views in how we practice photography. Before it's OK to shoot (if time does't permit) over/under exposed photos as long as it's raw so you can post adjust it afterwards in Lightroom or Aperture. Now you can also adjust the view and the focus. There is nothing left for the photographer to do but to press the shutter release or there is more to the technology than just making our lives easy. It seems to be promising and definitely ahead of our time. This will make photography process even faster where every one will just point and shoot literally. Does this take the fun out of photography? It's just too darn easy. The answer lies to the end user of this technology. Let's give it a few years then we'll see how it goes.

It seems like this technology is only targeted on high-end medium format digital cameras like Hasselblad, Phase One, Contax, Raytrix, etc. I’m wondering if it will make its way to our APS-C cropped and 35mm full-frame sensors. Let’s wait and see.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Danbo's Misadventures - Episode 1 (Pilot)

This is the first episode of Danbo's Misadventures. I hope you'll like it. If you do so leave a comment so I will continue doing the series. Thank you and happy viewing!!!

*All photos was shot with Nikon D700 and Nikon 105mm f2.8 Micro VR.

Another boring day at school.

Danbo: Why is this queue taking so long? Oh wait! Is that...

Danbo: ... Miyanokouji Mizuho (宮小路 瑞穂) my dream girl!!!

Danbo: Should I talk to her? This is my only chance. She'll be transferring to another school next semester. Here goes nothing!

Danbo: Hi There! Maybe you haven't notice me we take bio together. I'm Danboard you can call me Danbo for short. Not that I'm short... short for my name (what am I saying) Um ah...

Miyanokouji: Huh?

When you think everything is turning out great... tragedy strikes.

Big Dan: Hey Babe is this twerp bugging you?

Miyanokouji: Not really.

Big Dan: Beat it twerp!!!

Danbo: Sob :-(

Rejection is always hard to take but it's also rejection that keeps us stronger. Will Danbo ever get over this tragedy?

Kitty: Why are you crying Danbo?

Danbo: Oh It's you Kitty. I'm not crying.

Kitty: It's that girl Miyanokouji right?

Danbo: How did you know? I never told anyone.

Kitty: C'mon Danbo you're so obvious and besides you're my best friend how can I miss that one.

Danbo: Well I guess there's no hiding secrets from you. I'm just sad that I haven't even had the chance to talk to my dream girl. Maybe I did... sort of but that Big Dan Arrrrg!

Kitty: Silly you. Dream girls only exist on dreams. Don't worry you'll find one that is real and truly cares for you. You just have to look harder. You'll never know she might be standing in front of you.

Danbo: Good thing I have you Kitty. 

Kitty: Yes you do. ;-)

Danbo: Umm. Is it OK if I walk you home?

Kitty: Thought you'll never ask. :-)


Dedicated to Jenny Gironella and Baby Kae my two Kitties in life!!!
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Carnival of Chaos

Group of talented Hardcore, Death Metal, Trash Metal and Metalcore Pinoy bands in Singapore performed in one spectacular event. Joining them is local death metal band Fall of Mirra and Ian Tayao front-man of WilaBaliw and Queso (former Cheese)promoting their new album with album signing. Too bad I missed few bands 'cause me and my buddy Jay were stranded at Little India (whammy!) but it still was a blast!!!

It looks tempting when i first saw a concert photograph with bright lights and crisp colors so I one day decided to do my own concert photography. This is my first attempt My Flickr Photostream. It was harder than I though. I was using a Nikon D90 (APS-C cropped sensor) and a Nikon 55-200mm VR DX lens before (R.I.P. but they both served me well) and need to crank up everything knowing the 55-200mm has a floating aperture of F4-5.6 I don't really know what the results might be. Thanks for the NIN good lighting budget I manage to get the job done or what others might say a "first-timers luck". With luck, anticipation and the right gear you don't have to worry about anything aside from the bouncers chasing you because photography is not allowed on the concert/gig or show so to avoid this hassle you should follow regulations or at lease be discreet about it (very hard if you attached a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR lens on your Nikon D3). Happy shooting!!!

All photos was shot in Raw format with Nikon D700 with Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR and Nikon 50mm f1.4G without the use of flash. Post-processed in Lightroom - adjusted exposure and white balance.

* To view complete album visit My Deviantart - Concert Photograpy.

"Five Minutes of Fame (with Ian Tayao)"

"Voice of Pariah""

"Pariah Beat Machine"

"The Shredder"

"T.T.T. Psycho-tech"

"Just Riff It"


"Don't Fret"


* To view complete album visit My Deviantart - Concert Photograpy.
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

FHM Model Girl Next Door - Joy Caralde

Joy Caralde - FHM's Girl Next Door Model of June 2007. She came to Singapore for vacation and I'm one of the lucky guys to shoot her photos. Photo shoot was organized by Paul Reodique from MASP - a Singapore based Filipino with a real passion for photography. Here are some of my photos from the shoot.

All photos was shot with Nikon D700, Nikon 105mm f2.8G Micro VR, Nikon 50mm f1.4G and Nikon SB-900 Speedlight (for fill lights). Location - Fort Canning Park Singapore.

*To view complete album visit My Deviantart Fashion Photography

*To view complete album visit My Deviantart Fashion Photography
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Friday, November 5, 2010

HATEBREED Live in Singapore!!!

HATEBREED concert in Singapore is a blast!!! Seen familiar faces from different places following Hatebreed's Southeast Asian Tour. That is hardcore life. Their next stop Philippines. Get ready to be blown away!!!

Hatebreed is a hardcore/metal band from US associated with bands like Agnostic Front, Madball, Biohazard, Earth Crisis, Downset, Vision of Disorder, Strife and many more. They cater a different audience but sometimes death metal fans also go to their gig/concerts because of the same intensity and brutality but message and principles they're sending is different. Mostly Hardcore songs inspire people to crush oppression, push through hardships in life, fight for what's right and destroy any kind tyranny. The songs are mostly distinguished by choruses shouted out loud by a group of people demonstrating UNITY. That is what hardcore is all about!!! HARDCORE LIVES!!!

*To view complete album visit My Deviantart Concert Photography

*To view complete album visit My Deviantart Concert Photography
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Wildlife Photography with Nikon 105mm f2.8G VR

Warning: This is not a review of AF-S Nikkor 105mm f2.8G Micro VR instead this is just to share my experience using this lens on wildlife. I most of the time use this awesome lens (despite of its minor flaws) for portraits and macro shots of inanimate objects or toys (not the one you are thinking naughty you) so this is a departure from my regular usage of Nikon 105mm f2.8 VR and I won't be discussing any technical specifications or MTF charts on that matter 'cause I can assure you this lens is sharp (I did a few front and back focus testing of my own). Let's treat this as a simple field application of this lens and my “likes” and “dislikes” while I’m using it for wildlife. Take note that all photos are shot hand-held without the use of any tripod or monopods and I can say that it’s not “proper macro photography” the fact that I didn’t use any ring light or the Nikon R1C1 Macro lighting system. I just want to see for myself if it’s possible to shoot macro photography hand-held with the use of VR (vibration reduction in Nikon terms) or IS (Image Stabilization in canon terms) on just available lighting like other photographers claim.

"AF-S VR Micro NIKKOR ED 105mm F2.8G (IF)"
or Nikon 105mm VR for short

Again this is not a technical review of this lens. If you're looking for good in-depth review there's a lot out there in the web. You might wanna check the links bellow:

Photozone Nikon 105mm f2.8G Micro VR Review
Cameralabs Nikon 105mm f2.8 Micro VR Review
Thom Hogan Nikon 105mm f2.8 Micro VR Review
Ken Rockwell Nikon 105mm f2.8 Micro VR Review

Portraiture and Short Telephoto

My experience in portraiture for this lens is great either on controlled or uncontrolled situations I can’t find anything to complain about it just don’t forget to switch the focus limiter or else the focus barrel will focus from minimum to infinity. It gives you “bokeh” almost as good as the Nikon 85mm f1.8D if you know the right technique. You can check my daughter's photo for bokeh sample. This lens has a minimum aperture of 2.8 if use as short telephoto and might stop down (like floating aperture) of f3 to f4 on macro or its minimum focus distance. I also used this lens as a short telephoto on my Voyage de la Vie photo series and it never gave me any problem in focusing knowing that the theater is very dark. There is one concern though which is the focus breathing. The focus sometimes is hard to frame because of this. Looking at the viewfinder you can see the subject gets bigger or smaller making the focus barrel go in full turn which is quite annoying sometimes but not that big-a-deal if your patient (haha). All in all for portraiture and short tele this baby is a winner.

Wildlife and Macro

This is eyebrow raising challenge, shooting critters with this lens hand-held. This is my version of “Photography Myth Buster” I will prove to myself how true the claim of Nikon (on paper) and other Nikon 105mm VR owners that this lens is capable of macro/micro photography without the use of a tripod using only the Vibration Reduction system or VR for short. I know a lot will react (hope not violently) about this but you can judge for yourself. The blurred edges on some macro photos are not CA (Chromatic Aberrations) or Color Fringing it’s probably the cause of the wind or my finger clicking the shutter giving it a slight movement hence the blur. The lens might block available lighting so I shoot on high ISO (1000-1200) not bad for the Nikon D700. For the regular telephoto use It’s not that hard to manage unless your face to face with a wild boar thinking you’re some kind of threat to its pack and to its babies. This encounter is the most exciting part of my field test also good way to promote ecological awareness and another way to connect with mother nature.

The Photos 

"Yellow Spider 1"

"Yellow Spider 2"

Photo taken with Nikon D700 and AF-S Nikkor 105mm f2.8 Micro VR (VR on handheld) at Pulao Ubin Singapore Nature Reserve. This photo is originally in Raw format exported as Jpeg for web upload. This spider landed on my forearm and i just took a snapshot of it but it's really not that easy because this critter is moving all over my arm so i need to hold still at the same time catching up with it moving like crazy.

"Cotton Stainer Bug"

Photo taken with Nikon D700 and AF-S Nikkor 105mm f2.8 Micro VR (VR on handheld) at Pulao Ubin Singapore Nature Reserve. This photo is originally in Raw format exported as Jpeg for web upload. A bit windy hard to hold still. I wish I had my tripod with me.

"Yellow Tang"

"Blue Fish"

Photo taken with Nikon D700 and AF-S Nikkor 105mm f2.8 Micro VR (VR on handheld) at Pulao Ubin Singapore HSBC Museum of aquatic life. This photo is originally in Raw format exported as Jpeg for web upload.

"Wild Boar"

Photo taken with Nikon D700 and AF-S Nikkor 105mm f2.8 Micro VR (VR on handheld) at Pulao Ubin Singapore Nature Reserve. This photo is originally in Raw format exported as Jpeg for web upload. This wild boar just stop in front of me starring and approaching me. I good opportunity to shoot up-close good thing it doesn't have tusks (or else i'll be a bit intimidated) could be a female or a young boar. Then others saw me with boar they just go nuts and start taking photos not as discreetly as I did but noisy and aggressively made the boar run away.


A lot of positive reviews about this lens were published in the internet from web magazines, blogs and video blogs and all of them are saying that this lens can deliver exceptional photos when handled correctly. Sharpness, creamy bokeh and spot on focus accuracy are just few features expected from this pro-grade lens buts does it really deliver? Answer is "yes" based on my photo shoot specially the claim that VR works on macro photography. There are certain limitations that needs to consider like focus breathing and drop of f-stop on close focus distance. It's not a perfect lens buts it's excellent when used properly. People who says that VR is only good for low shutter speed doesn't really know what their talking about. They're forgetting that framing a subject (specially in macro) is very important you can see the difference of frame shake with VR on. It's more stable and less time consuming. This will be one of my favorite lens. Borrow one if you have doubts but I recommend you buying it 100%. 

To view the complete album click here.

Follow me at Facebook.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

iPhone Replacing D-SLR?

"No way Jose!" definitely that will be your first reaction to the title or you might think I've gone bonkers but it's really amazing how the guys from FStoppers pull this thing off more like "Photography Myth Busters". This is just to prove that you don't need a high-end camera to shoot stunning photos. Sounds naive? Yes and No! Why? Yes because there is no way to compare the image sensor of the iPhone on a let’s say the crappiest d-SLR in the market it will still pound the iPhone big time. And No because it’s true that achieving quality photos is all about lighting given that most cameras now a days have high megapixel count. We all know that the iPhone is considered a P&P (point and shoot) camera so it runs in automatic mode. It automatically tells you what shutter speed, aperture, ISO or EV to use depending on the scene well it’s not really about the scene it’s more on light availability in other terms its the way the camera meters the light. Sounds confusing? When its dark the auto system tells the camera to crank-up the setting to the maximum possible setting which most of the time is unusable because of grains and blurriness of the image that’s is why a lot of P&P users or digital SLR users set to “Auto” wonders why they shoot crappy photos. The way to trick the camera is to give it enough light to automatically set its value to the best possible setting. In this case the camera won’t crank-up the ISO, the EV, the shutter, aperture and you’ll end up with a nice looking photo. This was not explained on the video so... here you go. Surely it’s not up to par with digital SLRs but it’s another clever way of maximizing the capabilities of your iPhone. I forgot to mention they post process the final image to make it more appealing (Ooops!). So sit back and enjoy the video.

"The iPhone Fashion Shoot"

So if an iPhone is capable of good photos what more for a more capable d-SLR. So know your settings very well. Master it! I say NEVER use “Auto” (the green icon on the mode dial) on your d-SLR learn the basics, be patient and you’ll be surprise on what you can do with your camera. Happy shooting!!!

*This video was linked from “”. Check out their website you might learn a thing or two about photography. Cheers!!!
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Voyage de la Vie

From their press release:

About the show

“Voyage de la Vie” or the “journey of life” is a story of a boy’s metaphoric journey, or a rite of passage before he becomes an adult.

Enter the world of the mysterious Lantern Keeper, the charming Crystal Cat and the mesmerizing Diva along with extraordinary inhabitants. Explore the journey of the boy on an adventurous search to discover his destiny. An unforgettable experience of magnificent sets, glamorous costumes and amazing circus feats awaits…

A circus theatre spectacular, the story is told through song and dance, combining with the energy, physicality and athleticism of circus arts, resulting in a contemporary cutting edge performance art form which fully engages the senses and keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. The first circus theatre spectacular ever to be created in
Singapore, it presents an international cast of circus stars brought together from 16 countries.

To view the complete album visit My Deviantart.

"Victor Kee"

"As Round As..."

"Victor Kee 2"

"Jonathan Leong"

"Melanie Chy"

"Aurelia Cats"

"Pole Dancers"

"The Circle of Death"

"Confetti Means The End"

As a child I grew up with stories like "Never Ending Story", The Wizard of Oz", "Alice In Wonderland", the recent "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" what do they have in common? - The protagonist/s somehow manage to escape the real world full of stress and great expectations to a world where everything is possible and the righteous always prevail. I always imagine myself on the same situation I just wish I could go to a different place in times of hardship and troubles but like the saying goes "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." for some reason I think it's better that way.

This is my Voyage de la Vie series of photos. Photography is not allowed during the performance so I don't encourage anyone to do so unless you're as stubborn as me or you have proper authorization. I always keep my watch and be as discreet as possible but with the Nikon D700 it's really hard to be quiet the mirror flips loud therefore I need intervals on my shots (not to catch any attention from the theater crew). Anyway I still manage to get the job done. Enjoy! Cheers!!!

To view the complete album visit My Deviantart.
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