Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kulkami Summer Day 2011

Steven had to check out some equipment in their family farm. It was a great chance for me to take photos again of this peaceful place.

Bees were flying around the property. Dozens of colonies can be found in the sheds and inside the house. I was lucky enough to witness a bee getting mauled by an army of ants.

The sun was golden as it started its slumber and as it woke us up in the morning. Its light, together with the ample amount of rain we received all year round, nourished flowers and weeds around the property.

But water and light also ate away the numerous abandoned machines. Plants have taken over and seemed to make tons of metal and rubber part of them.
a massacre

the biggest honeycomb in the world

bush for an engine

automotives are good fertilizers
Mary had a little lamb

the sun starting to do its job
I will tell you about what happened at night on the next post.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Kapunda Cemetery

After watching "Exorcism of Emily Rose", I was inspired to do a photo shoot in a cemetery. Fortunately, Steven and I were scheduled to spend Christmas in Barossa Valley so I decided to do it in Kapunda Cemetery.

It is an eerie place because it is surrounded by vast farmlands and some of the graves are more than a hundred years old. There are also claims that spirits lurk in that place.

It is unmistakably  the most picturesque cemetery I have ever seen in my life and I will definitely take more photos in the near future.

The Visitor

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Body issues

2003 (25 years old)
When I was younger, I used to think that I had a big tummy. I wanted to look like the models that I see on gay porn and mainstream fitness magazines. I just wanted to look perfect.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon the photos taken during those years that I thought I did not look nice. Boy, I was mistaken--my body actually looked smashing! What was I thinking?

I do not think I have outgrown this insecurity because I still catch myself pinching my own tummy and looking at it in the mirror. I should have appreciated myself more back then or else I won't be this insecure.

2004 (26 years old)

2004 (26 years old)

2003 (25 years old)

2004 (26 years old)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

DIY diffuser for macro photography

Shooting macros is a big dream of mine and I am trying my best to produce great photos with the limited resources (MONEY) I have. Macro lenses are extremely expensive and Pentax lenses are rare in Australia as the brand is not popular.

First, Steven bought me a macro extension tube from ebay. It is a hollow tube that fits between the body and the lens. It helps me get closer to my subjects so it is a good alternative to those lenses. BUT it has no electronic components so I have to focus and set the aperture manually. I also have to use artificial light because there is a huge distance between my sensor and the lens.

And this is when I get creative: I made my own light diffuser for macro shots. You just need the following:

a pair of scissors
plastic milk bottle
whiteboard marker

You just have to cut a flat piece of diffuser from the bottle and use the marker to trace an opening for your lens. Then you cut out the circle--that is all!

You just have to fit the diffuser around your lens and pop up your flash. The light is still a bit too harsh and too cumbersome to use but it will do for now. I think I have to shell out 50 dollars to buy a proper (still cheap) macro light from ebay.

Anyway, here are the results of my constant fiddling so far.

Clumped pistils

Reaching pistils

Spring and web

Monday, December 12, 2011

Not A Christmas Party 2011

It is supposed to be summer but the wind is still warm. My friends and I thought that it would be a great idea to spend an early Sunday evening in Semaphore but we ended up being covered from head to foot.

Because the weather was not that inviting, it was easy for us to get a picnic spot for a barbecue.

But the weather was not really inviting so we decided to go back to our place to drink more soda and munch on some colorful cookies. We played Spoon and Uno and I won the latter game devilishly and went to bed to bed with a smile on my face.

Looks summery, right?

Amir (middle) and his sunset

Shane-a happy camper

Thanh and Rob (another happy camper)

Rob's normal face

Sinfully good

Concentrating on the cookies

No more cookies

Sunday, December 4, 2011

DIY flash diffuser

I have been very hesitant to take photos of night party events because I do not have the proper flash and diffuser yet. Built-in flashes are always too harsh when it comes to taking indoor photos so I have always turned them off. But if I turn them off, my photos end up being blurry because of the slower shutter speed.

Finally, I was able to read a tip from Digital Photography School website. It includes 11 DIY light alternatives and the light diffuser is one of them.
Here are the things that I used:

a white business card
a pair of scissors

On the narrow side of the card, cut flaps that are wide enough to fit the card to the sides of the built-in flash. You can bend the card upwards so that the light will be bounced to the ceiling. Voila--instant diffuser!

Here are sample photos with and without the diffuser with the same settings. Thank you Steven for agreeing to be my guinea pig!
with the diffuser

without the diffuser

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mini Toy Camera

I bought my pink Pentax K-r from T-Dimension. It is an online retail company based in Hong Kong and they specialize on cameras and camera accessories.

A few weeks ago, they were giving away free toy cameras so I submitted my name and address. I was very ecstatic to see my new gadget.

I wish Australian retailers were as generous to their customers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A 6-hour hike

Waterfall Gully in South Australia is a popular work out place for fitness buffs because of its challenging trails. These trails are very steep and one of them leads to the Mount Lofty Summit--a 4-kilometer steep hike.

The trail is sometimes slippery and narrow. It can also be very crowded with people running downhill as it is easier for the legs.
But instead of taking the old path, we decided on walking an extra 5 kilometers to the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens. It was crazy but I think it made our walk more exciting. We saw a bandicoot, skinks and a few black cockatoos. We also walked amongst butterflies!
Then we reached the botanic garden but  Steven was already exhausted. Instead of roaming around for two hours, we just settled for a one-hour tour of the place. I was very hesitant to leave the greenery and the ducks.

And down we went back to the car park. By then, we had walked around 24 kilometers, consumed 4 liters of water and sucked on half a dozen of Kopikos. And we forgot to put on sun cream so we were both burnt.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

SBS' Immigration Nation

When I was a teenager in the Philippines, I looked at the globe and found Australia. I wondered how can this country be so far from Europe and be locked by the South Pole and Asian countries but it remained very white.
Now I know the answer.
In 2010, the Australian government channel produced "Immigration Nation", a documentary on the White Australia Policy. It showed its origins, its numerous victims and its downfall. The series is divided into three 60-minute episodes that contain TV broadcasts, posters, photographs, home videos and interviews of historians and various migrants. All of which are narrated chronologically.
What struck me the most is the constant dread that Australia had against Asians. The government separated families and deported non-white children to countries they are not familiar with. But in less than a lifetime, the country transformed from a very inclusive and racially homogenous society to a culturally and racially diverse one.
The Immigration Nation is something that all Australians should watch as it explains some of the ideologies that still exist in present Australian politics. It is also significant educational material for countries that are also made up of immigrants from around the world.
Go to the SBS website to watch all the episodes. It is also available on Youtube by searching "SBS Immigration Nation". Or you can just watch the hilarious TV ad here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

3rd year anniversary

It is hard to write about my relationship with Steven without writing about my stay in Australia because he is the primary reason why I am here. My stay here is based on my ongoing relationship with him.
As I learn about him, I learn about this country. Through his eyes, I have discovered the countryside and the wildlife. Whenever I talk about Australia, I also cannot help but talk about him.
My life with Steven is not perfect but I feel like it is. We do not have fancy weekends but I always look forward to them while I am at work. We do not have a house but our small apartment feels like a home. We do not have a lot of money but I feel like a million dollars whenever he looks at me.
Here is a photo that I have taken of us on Mengler Hill. After much playing around, he managed to keep a straight face and this is the result.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Taken at Aldinga Beach again. You can always click on the photos on this page to view the better-quality versions.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

American Horror Story's Jamie Brewer

I was encouraged by a friend to start watching this TV series. I admit the first episode made me really excited because of the nudity. But there is a scene stealer.

She is a very little-known actress named Jamie Brewer. Incidentally, her chracter's name is Adelaide and she seems to know a lot about the haunted house in the series. She pops up in dark corners and witnesses many gruesome events. Viewers do not know yet if she is merely a witness or a participant in numerous murders.

It is very surprising that she can actually compete with Jessica Conroy (the neurotic mother in "Six Feet Under") and veteran film actress Jessica Lange. I really hope we see more of her on this series and other shows.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bike stack

Yes, I am still having fun creating levitation images so while riding our bikes from Nuriootpa to Angaston, Steven help me compose this one.

Though it is staged, it is still really painful to create this stunt. Luckily, there was no brown snake around to fall on to.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Crab belly

Steven and I went to Webb Beach again to catch blue swimmer crabs. The water was teeming with them and we really had to watch our every step or else our ankles would be landing between pincers. When we chased one, we would see four others running away.
Seafood is a luxury here so catching crabs is the only opportunity I have in Australia to eat them. I guess it is OK because my mother always asks me not to eat them because these critters (especially their heads) are very high in cholesterol.