Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Our Adventures: Hot Air Balloon Festival 2013

Overcast. Dark skies did not dampen the eager crowd. 

If you were able to see my tweets you could tell that we were pretty excited to get to go the Hot Air Balloon Festival this year. Actually Paul's siblings have been planning to go last year especially since Paul's brother-in-law hails from Pampanga. 

Surprisingly it was still a last minute preparation and we made plans to go on the last day of the 4-day festival, which was on Sunday. The 18th Hot Air Balloon festival was held from February 21-24, 2013. 

We left at 4:00 AM in Antipolo and made our way to Pampanga only experiencing traffic when we got to the festival itself which was held in Clark Freeport Zone. 

There were so many people that we had to park our cars very, very far from the site of the event. We walked a long, long way, trudging along grass and gravel, while dust seemed to come from everywhere, we even went through a tunnel just to get to the festival. 

We were walking with so many people and some of them were joking that the long walk was already similar to a 'panata' or a promise/pilgrimage.  

Colorful balloons making their way up to the sky. 

Although the hot air balloons could already be seen from afar, they were not as many as I had hoped to see- (We were not able to see the Darth Vader balloon T.T )  maybe because it was too cloudy and the sun wasn't out yet or maybe we should have arrived earlier. But like as always we just made the most of what was in front of us. 

Spectators by the fence await for the amazing sights. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Are you following 'The Following'?

Warning: Spoilers ahead. 

Okay so I haven't been able to post anything for the past few episodes of 'The Following' It doesn't mean though that the 'poet's fire' (pun intended) has already been put out because the excitement that I feel about this new series is anything but - put out. 

Although I do have some qualms in the new series which mainly focuses on how the show portrays the FBI as incompetent if not incapable of foiling the plots of Joe Carroll's dead poet society. 

Just take note of The Following: 

I mean, why oh why would you send an FBI agent alone to protect the wife of a known Joe Carroll nut job...err..associate (who Surprise! turns out to be in the club also). This mistake of course,ultimately leads to the demise of the lone FBI agent who was sent to guard an accomplice instead of a victim. I mean didn't they have the whole cavalry when they were protecting Sarah and Claire? 

Oh yeah and we all know how that turned out. 

Sarah got all the muscles of her eyes carved out while Claire had her head almost blown off. 

I think my frustration in the portrayal of the FBI in the show is pretty clear in my examples above. 

But wait there's more...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Spotlight: The Body Finder

I was actually really excited when I got 'The Body Finder' the title of the book had an almost 'The Bone Collector' appeal to it. The premise of a young girl who could sense dead bodies (specifically) bodies of people who were murdered had a lot of promise. 

But then, unfortunately promises are made to be broken and this promise was broken really bad. 

The book had a great potential to be a real thriller unfortunately it was overshadowed by the nauseating teenage love affair between the young heroine with the gift to sense the dead and her (why of course!)  childhood friend (who else?) 

Perhaps the author, Kimberly Derting was aiming to create a seemingly normal life for Violet - the main character of the story with the gift/curse of sensing murdered souls and being able to detect a unique 'imprint' off the person responsible for their deaths. 

Unfortunately through Derting's efforts of creating a normal 'teenage' life for Violet she just managed to make her social life with friends and school - very mundane and very, very cliche. I mean- seriously - you find yourself in love with your childhood friend- who in the course of the summer has grown into a 'hunk' that every girl in school is now after. I mean really? Seriously? Is this what every teenager goes through? 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Project 365: Week 3

I can't believe that I've shot, 21 days of Project 365.  I'm starting to be in a frenzy of brainstorming on what to do next.  Around February 6 or 7 my wife got invited to go to Paramore Night 3.  In preparation I had to get a wide angle lens for the event(Paramore Night blog post) since my kit lens(Canon 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 IS) auto focus is whacked.  Yes, I hate to say it that I rely on the AF motor when shooting fast paced events.

Luckily I have a friend that owns a fish eye lens(Sigma 8mm 3.5).  So you'll see more shots with the ultra wide angle lens, that I used for less than a week.  It was tough at first since I have to hunt for the best position, then later I found out that often times, shooting up close to your subject will really bring out obtuse shape of the lens optics.  

From Night-Morning Shift to Afternoon-Evening Shift

While all this is happening, my work schedule was moved from the evening shift to the afternoon shift.  I usually shoot In the morning once I come home, so now I have to take a step back and think when will be the best time to shoot.  I'll be blogging that one in the Week 4 post. So most of the shots that you'll be seeing here were shot in the morning/afternoon.  The following week will be another story...

February 7, 2013 - #15 Fishing Around
This was the day that I got the lens from Milo(the owner and our friend).  Pogs another guy who's a photo-enthusiast was eager to get first shot with the lens(Thanks for tagging along!).

Shot with my camera(Canon 500d/T1i/Rebel/KissX3), with fish eye lens, and a flash mounted(580 EX II - from Voltz).  In the unedited RAW file you'll see wider view of the Mediahub Headquarters. In post processing, I applied a little lens correction to compress the room, applied a brush tool to over expose the eyes.

February 8, 2013 - #16 Milo's baby
Of course, a nice detail shot of the borrowed lens would be nice while I have it right?  So that's what I did here.  It's a pain to set up my stuff for macro shots, since I have to take out the battery grip of the camera, in case I'm going to mount the camera on a cheap tripod(mentioned in Photo Insight: Lights), pull out the wireless trigger, screw it on the flash, pop on the diffuser, mount the kit lens, set the aperture to desired setting (f/12 is where I start), screw the reverse ring on the front end of the kit lens, remove the kit lens from the camera, reverse mount it, and your ready for your trial and error. Sigh...

Trial and error, here I have to test the flash position, framing/composition, focus, and flash output.  I still haven't written them down for blogging purposes but hopefully in the Week 4 blog I'll be jotting it down(I hope).  Getting the desired shot is the reward that I reap with all of the hard work.

Shot with 500d, wireless trigger mounted, flash positioned at around 4'o clock(from camera position (same level as the camera), power output not sure if it's 1/8 or 1/16+.  I'm satisfied with this shot since I didn't have to bump my ISO up.  And I think I'm improving on macro photography(I hope so).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Series Spotlight: Finale: Asia's Next Top Model

The top 3. Battling it out for the title of Asia's Next Top Model

Congratulations to Jessica! 

I really think that she deserved it.

It's a great thing to know that there is such a thing as second chances. I was surprised when all this talk about age and numbers came out. Jessica was already 27 and apparently in the modeling world that's like being 40. 

So suddenly there was this big question of 'Is she too old to start now?' 

Just hearing the story of why she started out late already - just broke my heart. Being all alone and having to take care of herself, studying while modeling part time, I just wanted to run to the TV and give her a big hug. 

Thankfully there is some truth in the saying 'better late than never'.  

But of course not all is what it seemed.....

I was kind of bummed when I read online that Stephanie won, not because I didn't want her to win- because I did. I was bummed because I read about her 'supposed' winning even before the finale (as early as Friday). Posts on Instagram from fans already said that she won, there was even a source! (Why none other than Wikipedia-of course!) 

It wasn't like i peeked into my Christmas present under the Christmas tree- because I didn't know that this vital and essential piece of information (the ultimate-information) would be hidden amongst the seemingly and supposed innocent and 'spoil-free' comments-on Instagram none the less! 

So I kind of felt that the 'OMG She won!' moment was premutely-stolen from me. 

Lesson learned - don't trust anything you read on the internet without credible sources. 

It's never too late to dream. Congratulations to Jessica Amornkuldilok-the first ever Asia's Next Top Model. 

Book Spotlight: UnWholly

Photo by: Paul Cheng 
In what seems to be a very close likeness to reality Neil Shusterman's UnWholly joins its predecessor UnWind as being the Young Adult version of an all out Pro-Life and Pro-Choice War. 

Even while I was reading the first book - Unwind - it was hard for me to come to terms with the reality that the book was presenting. 

In a (Dystopian) future after the Heartland War which is basically a Pro-Life and Pro-Choice war, the Unwind Accord is signed. This law states that a life cannot be terminated upon conception. However, parents of a child have a choice to 'Unwind' them before they reach the age of 18.

Unwinding the child means that every piece of that child will be surgically removed and will be transplanted to other people who need the parts. Just think of it as being an organ donor but they don't need to wait until you die before they take your body parts. In this sense the child is not dead but is in a 'divided state' and 'lives' through other people. 

Pretty out there right? 

Not so out there as you might think since author Neil Shusterman actually got his inspiration from a scientist who claims that within our lifetime 100% of the human body will be viable for transplant. It was this coupled with news of teenage riots in Britain and the very strong opinions of people regarding abortion that became the stepping stones to Shusterman's award winning 'Unwind'. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Para Thrilla in Manila Part 2

So much stored energy. Raw photo by Mariae Evangelista ( @shitxhappens ). Minor post processing by me. 

Like the big Paramore fan that I am - here I am blogging about the event while everything is still raw, fresh and unfiltered. It's already 2:11 AM Manila time and we've just come home from a (dare I say) way better Paramore concert than their last one in 2010. 

Well for one thing the concert venue was (a whole lot) better since it was held in the MOA (Mall of Asia) Arena as compared to the last concert where it was all gravel, rocks and grass aptly called MOA Concert grounds 'coz it was (just) ground. 

But this time (Woohoo!) the venue was so much better. MOA Arena allowed for the crowd to be enclosed so the cheers, the screams...err the singing could all be easily heard. Plus the venue was air conditioned. (Big plus). 

Our seats were way better compared to their last concert. This time, we were at the Lower Box section and my boss who was able to watch The Keane concert in the same venue already told me the good seats to purchase and damn! were they good! Thanks Boss ^^,  

It's snapping time with Hayley! Photo by: Mariae Evangelista (@shitxhappens). Minor post process done by me. 

This girl is on fi-aaaahhh!. Amazing photo by Isaiah  Abalos. Minor post processing done by me. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Project 365: Week 2

As posted earlier this year(around last week of January), I started with Project 365.  This post contains photos that were taken from January 31,2013 - February 6, 2013.  As the little project went on, I start to think what shot should I take, what should I do?  So My mental state was thinking of doing things differently.  So without much further ado here are photos 8-14.

January 31, 2013 - #8 Ridges

As of this day, I was puzzled why shooting macro in with a reversed kit lens, doesn't give me proper exposure. In my week one blogpost, on day 5; I was perplexed as I had to bump up the ISO way up to 6400(so that's the reason why its all grainy).  I read somewhere that shooting with a reverse ring you'll have to manually adjust the aperture of the lens(which can be done with an older lens), and of course contact points from the lens to the camera body isn't communicating which results to setting the ISO really high. 

I worked my way around it by trial and error.  I used, a wireless trigger(not sure of the brand) and a Canon 430 EXII.  Placing the flash near the subject, and setting it in M(manual) to set the power output manually.  I had to shoot a few test shots, for framing, and light positioning since macro and using strobes are not my strength(do I have any?). It's tough tiring and tedious, but once you got the desired shot, you'll be happy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Paramore Night: III

Sooo..it's 3AM, just got home from Paramore Night III and I wanted to start blogging while everything is still fresh :) 

While I've seen Paramore groups all around the world have their own gatherings and meetings, we Filipinos also had our own special gathering of Paramore fans and this was by celebrating Paramore's music through our local bands and artists-this was aptly dubbed as Paramore Night III (where was I for Night I and II?!?!?!) 

Through the magic that is Social Media I was invited to this event and I was able to  get in touch with the organizers and instantly got an event for PCheng Photography to cover. (woot! woot! two birds with one stone!)

Unfortunately Paul had work until 11PM and parking was a b-tch! I really wish that we could do a George Jetson and pack our car in a suitcase! So we missed some of the bands that performed and only caught the last song of Midnight Meetings. (Frustrating! I know!) I wanted to shoot myself in the foot but we've pretty much learned to make the most of things so here are the photos of the event: 

Midnight Meeting's Ashley Gosiengfiao 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Marvel to come out with Heroine-Centered Novels this June

Marvel will be trying their hand with a different medium and will be coming out with Heroine-Centered Novels this June. (Yeheeeeey!!!) 

The first two novels will feature The She-Hulk and Rogue. Hyperion Books is joining Marvel with this project. The announcement came in today, Hyperion's Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Dyssegaard made the announcement and this is what she had to say about the deal:

"Marvel has had tremendous success with recent hit movies and we think it's a great time to explore what happens to super heroines when they are dropped into traditional women's novels."

From the Marvel front, Ruwan Jayatilleke, Associate Publishers/SVP, Marvel Entertainment has said that: "It's exciting to see Hyperion bring two of our most beloved female super heroes, Rogue and She-Hulk to life in ways you've never seen before. Whether you're a long time fan of Marvel or new to super heroes, these novels deliver exciting stories that will capture your imagination". 

Both novels promise to feature 'strong, smart heroines seeking happiness and love while battling cosmic evil.' 

Personally I'm really excited for this and I hope that the novels will be very well writen. I'm actually having reservations and I'm honestly scared that the novels will turn out to be too reminiscent of a certain Vampire Franchise. 

I swear If it turns out to be too 'Twilightly' I might choke on my own vomit, roll over and die. Here's to hoping the book won't be told in a  first-person voice that would remind me of Bella Swan. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Series Spotlight: The Following: Episode 2: Chapter 2

Two Faced: Broken Hero and Psycho Writer. James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon as Joe Carroll and Ryan Hardy. 

I started out writing about 830 + words on a recap of Episode 2 of the Following- which is aptly entitled Chapter 2. 

This was actually the first time that I was trying to write an episode recap and I discovered first hand how hard it really is. Hats off to those writers in Entertainment Weekly and other establishments for their episode recaps which comes out the same day as the show and it is still very well written. 

As I was trying to finish my recap of 800+ words I found myself wanting to write more about what I thought of the show instead of what transpired in the show. 

That is why here I am now, deleting those 800+ words (ouch!) and moving on to blog about my thoughts on the series so far. So yes! I just love The Following! 

The Following's (very) Bizarre Love Triangle: Nico Tortorella, Adan Canto and Valerie Curry as Paul, Jacob and Emma. 
I've also gotten Paul to watching it and as a music man he has said that he really likes the choice of music used in the series. I remember that the pilot episode opened to a few notes of Marilyn Manson's 'Sweet Dreams' and also ended with the same song all the way through the chorus in the end. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Nifty Nails: Product Review: OMG (Oh My Golly) Crystal Sand Nail Polish

Nifty Nails. Trying out Green shades and Crystal sand polish. 

Because I love nail polish and I do change the color of my nails every one to two weeks and since I already have some Nail polish product reviews blogged. I decided to dub my Nail Polish posts as 'Nifty Nails' as homage to Paul's new lens-Canon 50mm f/1.8  also known as Nifty Fifty. 

So, now that that's official let's go on to my latest Nifty Nails product review. 

My office mate told me that my palette mostly consisted of pinks, purples and blacks and it would be safe to say that it not only applies to the clothes that I wear but to my nail polish also, so I was really thinking about going out of my usual shades. I was all the more convinced it was time for a change when I learned that the color of the year (2013) would mostly be shades of green. Which is the basis of my next to buy-nail polish but then I saw that my other office mate (who loves green) already has shades of green nail polish to choose from. 

Yup. We bring our nail polish in the office and would do our nails :p 

I borrowed this OMG (Oh My Golly) Crystal Sand Nail Polish. It has a glittery moss-green shade.It's actually only about P100.00 and you can buy it at the Landmark department store and it's locally made. Yipeeeeeeee!!!