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Monday, June 13, 2011

Just Migrated to Wordpress

Hi everyone. I just moved my blogspot to wordpress. I hope this wont affect the way you view my site. A fresh beginning on a whole new level of experience. Thank you for joining me here on blogspot. 25,780 hits (within 7 months) while I'm typing this piece I don't know If it's a good thing or not but thanks anyways for the support. Cheers!

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Cruel Hand - 100% Hardcore

Hardcore punk with crossover trash is is the thing of my favorite bands like Cro-Mags, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (DRI) and Suicidal Tendencies (okay I know you guys will think I'm freakin' oldschool) but Cruel Hand is top on my favorite list. Songs like "Dead Weight" makes you wanna stomp your feet until the ground breaks and the song "Under The Ice" every body screams "Get up!!!" - youth crew style. Few songs from the new album "Lock & Key" unleashed new inspiration to all hardcore fans who mosh, tumble and slammed until *Scape Lab is just a pile of rubble - kidding just a figure of speech. Both front-man Chris of Cruel Hand and Kurt of Straight Forward have something in common - both have Filipino mums - what are the chances of that? Did the promoters knew? Nah it's just probably coincidence. I'm always proud to see Pinoys making a difference specially on the hardcore scene.

"Cruel Hand"
Vocals - Chris
Guitar - Nate
Guitar - Sam
Bass - Seger 
Drums - Derek

Opening Act

June 8, 2011 - Seen familiar faces on the crowd from the past few hardcore gigs. It's a week night so I expected not a lot of crowd but in my surprise the venue is almost filled up with raging hardcore fans and bands trying to get a piece of hardcore fix. The show was opened by local favorite Straight Forward brutalizing everyone in the crowd with powerful vocals and lyrics preached by Kurt a half Filipino, half Italian Singaporean and backing him up the symphony of destruction made by musical talents - Nerd on bass, Danila & Fhamy on guitar and beat maker Naem. They look like regural dudes but they are freakin' brutal. As usual it was a great performance. For exif info of the photos visit my flickr photostream.

"Straight Forward - Kurt doing his thing."



"Fhamy & Nerd"


The "Maine" Course - Hardcore Photography

I just made a joke about the title - yes they are from Portland Maine. Who would ever thought that Cruel Hand will ever come to Singapore? The guys from ECHO did a great job in bringing them here. After Straight Forward the crowd went outside to catch some air or just probably chill while Cruel Hand do their sound check. A big growl got our attention that made us run inside *Scape Lab. The chaos has started!!! 

Here are few photos I manage to shoot. I can say the lighting is descent enough to get good quality shots. The place is large enough for me to maneuver around the stage (seems bigger than Home Club). All photos were taken with Nikon D700, Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II and Nikon  70-200mm F2.8G VR II. All exposure settings in manual mode.

"Engaged with the Crowd"
A wide angle shot of the band with Chris fully engaged with the crowd as they sing along with Cruel Hand. 
Lens used - Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II.

Facial expression is always important. It give life to every performance.
Lens used - Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II.

"Up Close and Personal"
A wide tight shots gives impact to the subject. Use a wide angle lens and shoot as close as possible.
Lens used - Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II.

"The Big Head-bang"
Love to shoot the actual swing of the hair. The viewer will feel the action same thing as you experience it. Lens used - Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II.

"Feel the Funk"
Capturing the bassist (Seger) feeling the groove of the bass-line.
Lens used - Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II.

"Busy Beat"
I always have trouble shooting any drummer with  the right angle but I had no problem shooting Derek on this shot. Lens used - Nikon 70-200mm F2.8G VR II.

"Emotions of Pain"
Emotion is important in every shot. See how the crowd looked in awe at Chris while he delivers the lyrics to them. Lens used - Nikon 70-200mm F2.8G VR II.

"Tight Note"
Always nice to capture a tight shot with the lead guitarist shredding all the way.
Nikon 70-200mm F2.8G VR II.

"As High As You Can Get"
Never miss the the jump shot. Cha-ching!!!
Lens used - Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II.

"Hardcore Crew"
The crowd is one of the most important element of a successful concert/gig. Seeing them getting involve in the action is an opportunity for a good concert shot. Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II.

"The HxC Fans"
It's always fun to have group shots. Fans are very critical 'coz they are the ones who'll be looking at the photos. Much props to this fellas after hard work or hard studying at school still manage to go to 
Cruel Hand show. Lend used - Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II.

Note: To view complete series of photos visit my flickr photostream. Special thanks for Echo Productions for bringing Cruel Hand in Singapore and to all the hardcore guys and gals who came to the show - you guys are awesome! 
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Strobing & BMX Flatland

When we look at magazines like Cream, BMX Plus, Ride BMX, etc. most of the riding photos specially the interesting ones were shoot with strobes. I my case I don't own strobes so I use speedlights  as an alternative. Basically influence by Joe Macnally and Chase Jarvis both Nikon users, not that I like them 'coz they both use Nikon but because of their shooting style. They incorporate strobes on most of their works. BMX photographers like Yasuyuki Takeo a.k.a Green-G (BMX Plus) and Fat Tony (Ride BMX) are my personal favorites. It gives a lot of impact to the subject if you isolate the subject in any way possible. In some situation we use "bokeh" to isolate the subject from the background or foreground, Some cases panning is suitable specially for any types of sports racing, lastly and the most interesting of all (for me) is strobing. Some call it painting with light or light bending - derived from the animated series Avatar were light is considered as an element that produces power but light is actually not included on the elementals it's just cool to call it that way so if you do strobing you are a "light bender".

The Set-Up

I use a basic lighting set-up - 2 speedlights a Nikon SB-900 and Nikon SB-600 and a light stand for each. On my sample photos the the speedlight where place face-to-face with a distance of almost 4-6 meters away from each other. The center will be the subject's playground. You might wanna move around the subject to get the right angle of shot. See the diagram below.

Speedlight setting may vary depending on the situation but in my case I used manual mode 1/16 power on both flash, shutter speed 1/250 (max sync), lens used Nikon 16-35mm F4G VR II @ 16mm F4. Both speedlights were triggered by Phottix Strato 4-in-1. This strobing style was used by Yasuyuki when he visited  Singapore for a promo shoot with York Uno (Ares Bykes Japan). I was new in photography on that time. I still use this technique on most of my flatland shots but the speedlight and camera settings were based my own liking and not based on a fix setting use buy a particular photographer. 

The Photos

Timing is crucial on BMX photography, I guess on almost any kind of photography but here it's the main key. Getting the right angle and facial expression will make it more dynamic. Try different approach on your shots. My favorite is the worm's eye view - although this is a bit tricky 'coz your not looking on the view finder and basically you're just guessing if your faming is correct or not. Eventually you'll get the hang of it.


"Bunny Hop - Tail Whip"


"Crack Packer"

Final Words

This kind of BMX flatland photography is only applicable on controlled situations. If you're on an actual BMX competition it's better not to use strobes, better if you shoot discreetly without flash for it may affect the performance of the rider. If you really want to shoot a rider you should ask permission first, you don't just shoot someone in the face while doing warm-ups or routines 'coz it's very irritating and rude. Riders worked hard in perfecting their tricks it's better to give them credit every time you're publishing their photo(s). Most of them rides for a living so treat them as you treat a model with shooting and publishing rights. Some of them will just go for it for fun but some are not really comfortable with it so do your homework first might as well know a little background on the rider what company he is riding for and the purpose of the shoot.

Notes: To view the whole set visit my flickr photostream. Thanks to Charleston and Ordep for performing few tricks on this BMX flatland session. Happy viewing. Cheers!
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