Cellphone Charm

Mom decided to brave EDSA and drive herself to pick up Dad from the airport this morning.  I decided to go with her, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy drive. She only drives from home to work (and back), and that’s not even daily – only when Dad’s away and the car’s free.  

From the passenger seat and with the belt safely on, I could sense that Ma was somehow nervous and of course we were going at a very safe speed 🙂  

So with Dad back from his business trip from The Netherlands, there’s something for everyone in his bags.  He got me a violet Ruth-Robin bag with Amsterdam written all over it, and I picked out this cellphone charm from the handful that he brought back:


Of course I’d take a photo of it and display it on my blog – this is my blog after all and I can talk about the mundane if I want to 🙂  But as soon as I looked at the photo I took, I wasn’t happy.  And just as I’ve done so many times since January, I took shot after shot until I captured it the way I really liked to show it off. 

I tried it this way:


But that didn’t make me happy so I tried another angle:


I didn’t like the edge of the table there though. I did like how the charm itself looks so defined.  Still, I wasn’t satisfied so I tried another way:


Now that, in my eyes, was promising.  It was clear.  But the mini havs totally upstaged the Amsterdam building.  That cannot be. 

So try again I did:


That one’s close enough, me likey. 🙂  I am almost done then?


Even with the floor showing through, this is my favorite from the bunch.  I love h0w the colors came out. I used a trick that Walter (an OM from work) showed me last week, it was using the internal flash (is it called internal?).  The colors turned out softer and more natural than when you just use the flash like normal diba?


Basic Digital Photography Class

Friday night at work: I was having a very productive evening, and I felt light and positive all day.  I realized it was two things that had me at such high spirits: my agents were not around, and I was looking forward to my basic digital photography class the next afternoon.

By morning though, things took a turn for the worse.  From very productive, I plunged to zero productivity.  I had only three agents around but all of a sudden I had to attend to them.  So though my shift was really just supposed to be until 8am, but I gave myself until 1pm to finish everything and that was the time I was supposed to leave for my class – I ended up finishing what needed to be done at 2pm.  To make matters worse – it was raining. Really hard.

Raining on Saturday afternoon meant that we probably won’t be able to shoot photos.  Still, the idea that I’d be learning about my camera excited me.  Sir Nicolay moved our start time from 2 to 230 because of the rain. That worked for me so I wasn’t late! Yay! Plus, I hadn’t eaten since dinner the previous evening, so waiting for the instructor gave me time to grab a bite (the baked potato was delish!).

Oh, and you know what else made this class exciting? My best friend was in it too:

my pretty bff

my pretty bff

My photography doesn’t do justice to her beauty, hehe. Wait till I hone my skills even more 😉

The first part of the class was the lecture part on what makes a beautiful photo, and how to take them. I love Sir Nicolay’s presentation.  It really looked as if he invested time and a lot of effort in preparing the course.   It’s really a beginner’s class – if you don’t know shit about photography, you’ll leave the class with a wealth of information.

At the beginning of the lecture though, there was one thought running through my mind – why define beauty?  I realized in the end that it is important to talk about universal concepts of beautiful photography because it has mass appeal.  When you follow those concepts – many will come to like your work.  Then you can break all the rules, break them all you want and find your own beauty. Haha. 🙂

The trickiest part about photography, to me, is finding that perfect mix of ISO, aperture and shutter speed.  It’s just so easy to use Auto, but if I always use auto mode then I probably should have just stuck it out with my Kodak point and shoot.  After the discussion, and before we actually went out to shoot (the rain stopped the sun came out while we were discussing!), Sir Nicolay gave us a subject and we were supposed to think of the right settings to capture it without looking through the cameras yet.  My answer ended up to be underexposed – but that’s how I actually like it because here’s the result:


I love it because the imperfections are hidden. Compare it with this one, which was taken with just the right settings:


Aside from Jo and myself, there was one other girl with us, Mitch who works at ABS-CBN (where my office is located!); there was Carlo too, and uhm, sorry but I forgot where he’s from. We were a fun bunch, or maybe I was just immediately comfortable because I knew someone in the group already?  Three of us had D60s (Jo bought hers the week after I got Maxine), while Mitch was the odd one out with her Canon 450d and all of its 9 AF points.  For the photoshoot part, we were joined by another girl who was at that morning’s session.

So the sun decided to come out and let us have our fun.  It’s not easy to take beautiful photos after all, though I think it was the pressure of knowing that the instructor and everyone else would critique my shots by the end of the day.  I ended up deleting a third (or more) of the shots I took.

This was one of the first shots I took, I didn’t have to think about it so much and I liked the turnout.  This is the wall of the shed (was it a generator shed?) at the back of the UP Theater:


For this next one, I just know I could have done better, but I can’t pinpoint in what manner. Do you have any suggestions on how this could have been captured even more  beautifully? Perhaps if I didn’t have two bags on my shoulder and I wasn’t sleepy already, I’d have kneeled lower and taken this from a better angle…


I cropped this image already, because the original had too much of the road itself, I should have waited until the jeepney was near enough.  


I took two shots of the same thing, the second one was brighter, but this was the one I liked better:


I like shooting at angles like this one. I love green!


These next ones were taken with different settings. I wanted it to be bright, but I loved the ones where the clouds’ natural colors could be seen:






This last one, is my favorite photo for the day.  I’ll probably use it as my wallpaper:


I am so excited to get into photography even more! I will scrimp for awhile though, even as I already feel the need for another lens, I’ll wait.  Maybe I’d go for an extra battery first (versus a battery grip), or an additional compact flash memory or SD card. We’ll see. I kind of promised I’d work on my skills first before I buy accessories. 🙂

Yummy chicken sandwich

This is crazy! Last night, I had to delay leaving for work because it rained non-stop and the creek overflowed leaving the street out front flooded.  I wasn’t happy about having to trod through two-inch thick (and yucky smelling) mud at two in the morning when the water subsided just so I could go to work.  We cancelled what would have been our impromptu team building activity (supposedly at a private pool) because we thought it’d still be raining today.  But guess what? The sun was up, and it’s been super HOT all day! Crazy!

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that the storm has left Philippine territory because it has done too much damage and took one life too many. But the weather’s been too unpredictable you don’t know whether to accept that summer’s gone by and we have had no vacation to speak of, or if there’s still enough summer left to make quick plans.  Ugh.

Oh and one more. Because it was hot and the sun was up this morning, the mud from last night has dried and is even more foul smelling than when it was wet.  Waaah! Where are the local officials when you really need them? Hello, clean up brigade please?


While I was at work today, I was surprised to see the mother from the reality show Jon and Kate Plus Eight on the headlines at the MSN homepage.  Apparently, a tabloid released a story about Jon cheating on Kate.  Jon denies it, and the girl that he was rumored to have been playing hooky with also denies the allegations made by her brother. It’s sad that they’re in the middle of such a controversy.  I enjoy watching the show because I love kids – but I can never imagine myself having that many kids, all at the same time!


I shared lunch with Ingrid today at The Loop (hi Ingrid! :)) It was the busiest I’d seen The Loop so far – we had to settle for the bar-like areas because there were no more tables left.  I also noticed for the first time that what used to be Figaro was already boarded up.  I hadn’t been buying from Country Style for awhile, but I used to buy salad for lunch there a lot when I was still in the midshift (just this time last year – a loooooong time ago).  I finally was able to have their Traditional Chicken Sandwich!




Tomorrow I’m attending a basic digital photography class, and Jo will be joining that too! Yay! We get to explore our D60s together! (I’m excited, can you tell? 🙂 )

Self Portrait Attempts

My Facebook and Windows Live contacts would have seen these photos by now, but what the heck, what’s another announcement right? Haha!


The FB album info says this: 

I took these photos on Sunday evening. The boyfriend was in search for the perfect pair of pants, and I was already sleepy from having no sleep since setting off for work the night before. Since fitting rooms these days are roomier and equipped with chairs (and have excellent lighting), I figured I’d sneak in there with him and snap a few. Haha.

For someone who doesn’t like having her photo taken, I think I’m crazy for sharing these here now. Haha. But here, check out the slideshow.

I don’t think I’ve posted here yet about my pending plans to move to another company.  I’ve already given 30-days’ notice to my current employer, but in the past week I’ve been having second thoughts about moving. There are several factors to consider apart from the salary increase I’d be getting when I move.  I’d have to consider the additional medical and disability insurance that I used to get for my mom for free at my current workplace – I’d have to pay for that in the new one.   It’s not too costly though so I don’t mind that so much.  I’d have additional transpo and food expenses too. So when you think about it, the increase in salary isn’t going to be substantial. So for that, should I go jumping at the opportunity to start all over again?

World Hunger

Have you ever tried playing Free Rice?

Today I donated 490 grains of rice, and reached level 36 (out of 60) for English vocabulary.  I noticed just today that you can now switch subjects! Cool, more fun while donating. hehe 🙂 Wait, while I was typing this, I clicked to switch to Math and now my donation is up to 520 grains! I’ll stop for the day though because I want to take a few more minutes to nap before I have to prep for work.

Now how exactly does playing Free Rice help alleviate worl hunger? Here’s what it says on their website:

Do I really make a difference by playing FreeRice?

The rice you donate makes a huge difference to the person who receives it. According to the United Nations, about 25,000 people die each day from hunger or hunger-related causes, most of them children. Though 10 grains of rice may seem like a small amount, it is important to remember that while you are playing, so are thousands of other people at the same time. It is everyone together that makes the difference. Thanks to you, FreeRice has generated enough rice to feed millions of people since it started in October 2007.

Now, let’s backtrack a bit. What is all this talk about World Hunger? For starters, you can read up some of the FAQs from the World Food Program.  Yes, we all feel hungry – that’s when our body tells us we need nourishment. Or simply, that it’s been hours since you last had a bite of anything.  But in many places all around the world, it’s not just about being hungry.  There’s malnourishment and undernourishment too.  Children of rural communities and depressed urban areas are most affected by hunger, but yes, those who are in the middle of conflict have less access to food as well.  

Every year, the number of people affected by this phenomenon is increasing at an alarming rate of 4 million per year.  It has become the number one health risk worldwide, greater than AIDS even.  I guess one of the reasons why we have not been very involved in efforts to address world hunger is that we take it for granted – specially when food is readily available for us.  Surely there’s more than enough food resources to feed the world’s population. What we forget is that equal rights to food does not mean that each person has equal access to these resources.

What can we do? You can give – time, effort, money – whatever it is you’re willing to give.  Me?  I write about it sometimes, I click the button on the Hunger site daily, and I play Free Rice whenever I could.  I won’t save the world, but we all must do what we are willing and can do to help out. Every little thing counts.

So I was totally excited to post my P365 photo for yesterday but then I remembered that I wanted to post today in keeping with the Bloggers Unite theme, Unite for Hunger and Hope.  And my photo isn’t really in keeping with the theme, if you  know what I mean?  It’s like saying I’d totally keep within my budget for this month, but seeing myself spending on too much food for just myself, or at a shoe store cashier and seeing the figure come up after my next purchase goes through the lady’s barcode scanners is just – ugh! But going back to what I reallly meant to say – please don’t kill me for talking about hunger and posting a photo of my latest guilty pleasure all in one blog post:


I’d been craving for Krispy Kreme’s Chocolate Carnival since I saw a poster somewhere a few weeks ago, I just never got around to buying any. Alfred was forced to go to Cubao yesterday morning just to buy dog food and grab a dozen of these yummies.  Thanks dear! I knew you would have been well within your rights to choose any of the three nearby grocery stores to pick up what Zune needed, but you honored your promise to get me these sinful delights anyway. Haha 🙂

I am thankful that I can eat something totally unhealthy like donuts, or anything else for that matter, it reminds me that there are people out there that don’t have that. I pray for them, and I hope that WFP gets to them too.  Not just because one is aware of these issues and want to help out doesn’t mean one has to starve right? 😉

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