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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.

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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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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mobile Suit Zack-Danbo

"Amalgam Zack-Danbo"

Another addition to my Danbo series of photos. I combined my Mobile Suit Zack with Danbo. Actually I just replaced the arms. We always see Danbo so cute and innocent here she's fierce and awesomely tough (in a cute way of course hehe). "No more Mr. Nice Guy!" in Danbo's case - Ms. Nice Gal.
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Cliche or Another Postcard?

"Amber Dusk"

I don't usually shoot landscapes or seascapes but I guess the sunset is the most wondrous event that we always take for granted. No matter what other (photographer/s) may say  that it may look like a postcard photo or another sunset cliche just try to watch the amber sky at sun down then you'll start to think you should have brought your camera along with you. Anticipate the right moment 'cause it's only a matter of minutes before the sun fades into the horizon.

*Photo taken last January 2010 Boracay Philippines.
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Old Chucks

I was browsing my files and came across this photo. This was taken almost 3 years ago by my wife with my Fujifilm FinePix S602Z Pro bridge camera. I did a vintage touch to it to make it more nostalgic. The dry leaf is just a bonus element on the whole composition. This is just to prove that primitive digital cameras can take awesome photos as well you just have to utilize it properly. You wouldn't believe that I used a 3.1 mega pixel Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P52 on product shots for a catalog few years back. Don't under estimate the power of "point and shoot" - I know it sounds naive but it worked for me. I might post the catalog here someday.
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Beauty Of The Not So Obvious

Walkin around Lasalle College of Arts I saw few things that are not very interesting looking on a common point of view. Some some are already interesting in its own right but became more interesting viewed on a different perspective and some static objects can tell us something that is not obvious at first but upon observation a story is revealed.

"Life Saver No.2"


These two photos were taken 2 years ago with my old gear Nikon D90 and AF-S Nikkor 35mm f1.8G lens.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This series involves mostly the use of Nikon Speedlights SB-900 and SB-600. Strobing is a lot of fun if you know what your doing and can be quite frustrating if you don't. Just know your settings very well experiment with light angles. You should also know how to direct your subject/s on what pose to do make him/her feel confident but not too over confident or else your photos will turn out to be unnatural. On different case such as sports photography it's always good to anticipate the next move of the subject - power of anticipation ( 
I sounded like a photography nut) but whoever nut said that is true. Enough with the photography babble enjoy the photos.

"Garuda vs. Youki"


"Spinning Back Wheel"

"Time Machine"


To view the full album visit My Diviantart,  My Flickr photostream or My Facebook account.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Kae's Christening

"Give Me A Dose Of Holy Spirit"

"Ready For My Christening"

"Kikay Kae"

"Mama & Kae"

"Meg & Jen"

"Marissa & Jed"

"One Hungry Bunch"

My baby Kae's Christening 11 September 2010 at St. Alphonsus de Legouri Chapel, Makati City Philippines. As you can see on the photos baby Kae is very cooperative and not shy. She seem to have a good chemistry with the lens. 

*To view full album visit My Facebook or visit My Deviantart
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