The Black and White Photography Challenge

The Black and White Photography Challenge is making rounds on Facebook. I love looking at the work of my friends.They never fail to impress me. Their work gave me ideas on how to shoot photos the next time an opportunity arises. Sometimes I ask them questions on their techniques and accessories they use. They are also generous in sharing what they know.

For some reason, two friends of mine tagged me to do the challenge on the same day with photos from same shoot location. I obliged. These are two people I look up to in photography. It is an honor to be challenged by them.

They both tagged of a boardwalk in Siargao. I am now convinced to go there next summer.

They both tagged me  in a photo of a boardwalk in Siargao. I am now convinced to go there next summer!

The two of them identified me as a blogger. Hence, this blog post. In the challenge, I was asked to post 1 Black and White photo each day for five consecutive days and tag one friend each day to do the challenge.

I started choosing photos in my folders that I think were crisp enough to be manipulated using photo editing software. Yes, I often compensate my limited photography skills with my IT skills.  Googling is one of my special talents. I searched Pinterest for ideas and forums and blogs for tutorials. Kinarir! (You’d think this is my career.) In a recent out-of-town trip with my cousin, I choreographed some shots and I told him how I would post-process the photo. To which he replied, “You are not photographer; you are a photo editor.” Haha Well, yes, I am an editor!

As much as I love colors (proof of which is my tendency to bump up saturation sliders in apps to get the brightest of colors in photos), black and white photography has its own charm. I would rely on shadows and shades to allow my photos to show depth and character. In many instances in the past, whenever I get blurred photos, I turn them to black and white to save the photo from deletion. This time around I specifically chose photos that have potential for enhancement. I post-processed some photos that in the end did not pass my strict standards for this challenge. Feelingera lang, may standards pa akong nalalaman. (I am pretentious. I have make-believe standards. Hehe!)  Here are the samples of the rejected photos I edited. Charing. Parang reality contest, may elimination round. (Kidding. Just like a reality contest, there is an elimination round.)


In the first photo, I wanted to it to have that enchanting forest feel to the image but it was a blurry image and I felt dizzy after staring at it while editing. I chose another style of editing for the second photo that I had to redo post processing. In the third photo , the flower did not stand out from the background.

These are the photos that made the cut. Naks!

This was taken while I was on a pumpboat to Magallanes.  I like this photo because of the reflection on the water. However, there is something that needs to be done here . We live in a flood-prone area. Those living near the water need to be relocated. This photo was taken a year ago but I still saw these houses when I passed by this area two weeks ago.


My cousin recently bought a car. We took the vehicle for a joyride around town. I was seated in front and I brought my camera along. Thus, I got a good spot for snapping photos. I re-edited the photo. This is one of my rejected photos. I rejected the editing. I am fond of high contrast and high exposure photos that I end up with bright whites which in the rejected photo eliminated the beauty of the clouds so I repeated the post processing and went easy with the exposure.

When I first bought a digital point-and-shoot, one of the few tricks I tried to learn was to shoot using its macro feature and my favorite subjects are flowers. Nine years later, I still love taking flower photos. This is a photo of a flower called cosmos. I hope I got the name right this time. This is an example of my tendency to edit photos using high contrast and detailed sharpening. One can see the grains and specks which I shall declare that they add character to the photo. Palusot! I have edited the photo several times over because I worked on a low resolution one which showed some pixelation when viewed on a tablet.  OC lang. My cousin gave me some tips on working on the luminance to remove the black specks (in photography, they call that noise). I will keep that in mind.


For my fourth photo, I wanted to use a photo taken from one of my trips.  Because I noticed my fondness for jet black photo, I tried to go for a lighter tone. I also learned how to add some haze on the photo for that dreamy effect. This was in Kapurpurawan, Ilocos Norte.


For the fifth and final day of the challenge, I saved the best for last. KIDDING!!! I tried to showcase (showcase talaga? kumikitang kabuhayan? NOT!- — Really? Showcase? Like a successful livelihood?) the range of the what I can do with photography my editing skills by using different subjects and different compositions.  I try to post photos I have not posted before. For the final day, I wanted to do portrait.  Because I lack time to find a model and most of my photos of people are already on Facebook, I have no other choice but do a self-portrait. (Napilitan lang kunyari. — I am acting like I am forced to do this.) Having tried to photograph myself using the timer (lumabas din ang katotohanan. ginusto niya to! LOL — The truth surfaced. She likes doing this. ), I know how exhausting it is to go back and forth, set the timer and pose for the camera; only to find out that the focus did not turn out right.  Here’s the secret to a stress-free self-photography: tripod, camera cable and laptop. Prop your camera on a tripod, connect the cable to your laptop, use the live viewer of your camera software, position yourself in front of the camera while holding the laptop, view the image on the laptop to get the angle and pose till you get the shot you wanted then click the button on your software to take a photo. Oh, another tip:  take advantage of the diffused morning light from your window. 😉 Voila!


This has been an exercise on creativity. I have not done much watercolor art recently so I welcomed this kind of challenge in creativity. I realized that there is so much to learn but I enjoyed the process.  Oh, by the way,  I added my watermark on the photos. It is not  a font. It is my own handwriting. I used an app called Sketches.  I used the tablet since the screen is bigger. I used the app and wrote my name using my forefinger, saved the image and superimposed it on my photos.  (I googled how to make the background of my watermark transparent so it would look like I wrote directly on the photo.)

That was a long post.  Thank you if you have read until the end of the post. I hope you learned a few tips or two. Feel free to leave a comment  below. You may give a critique about my photos.

By the way, my friend, Kit,  belongs to a group who does wedding photography and videography. Like their Facebook page if you want to hire them or just be inspired with their work: Infinity Studios.

My former colleague, Joseph, also does wedding photography. To get in touch with him,  like his Facebook page: JosephGaw Photography.

Do you still print photos?

I am always the photographer in group gatherings and family activities. I take hundreds of photos in every event.  However, my aunt often laments that she does not get to see the photos. Of course, I showed her the photos but she tends to forget I have taken those photos because she often forgets I had them. I post some of them on Facebook but she does not have Facebook and email.

These photos are from the recent family get together when my cousin came home.

These photos are from the recent family get together when my cousin came home.


When we went to the mall yesterday, we found those cute picture frames which can be nicely grouped in the wall.  I had my bedroom wall painted gray and the white frames would really stand out in my wall.  I am thinking of having my photos printed to black and white. The problem for me now is selecting which of the photos will I choose to have printed.

Also, I still have piles of albums from the time when we still use film cameras. It would be nice to put them all in one photobook for posterity. But that would be hundreds of photos since childhood. It is like printing a real book. It will take time for me to meticulously layout each page.  I am parking that idea on my head.

Producing a photobook can be expensive so I need to find something where I can save some money in printing.  In my case, I have two projects in mind- the photos I will put in the frame and the old photos I need to reprint.

Good thing there is ePhotoCouponCodes where all the discount codes for my photoprinting needs are all in one place. Everything is online so I do not need to drive to the printers. My prints will be delivered on my door step. That is so convenient.

How about you? Do you still print photos?

30 Reasons Why I had an Awesome September 2014

I love it when I do not notice the month passing by. This means I kept myself busy. September was my birth month and many of my friends were also born in September.

Here are 30 reasons why September was an awesome month:

1. Had some chill time. It was raining on September 1 so I stayed home all day. I napped. I seldom nap because I am a day person.

2. Send off party for our friend which turned out to be a surprise birthday for me and my friends. Our friend is leaving for Saudi Arabia after a month-long vacation and another friend is celebrating her birthday the next day. My wonderful friends made it a surprise birthday celebration for me and another friend, too. Sweet.

Look how surprised I was! Photo c/o Kit

Look how surprised I was! Photo c/o Kit

3. It’s the birthday of  my friend, Mitzi. It was an afternoon of joyride and foodtrip with her bestfriend and bestfriends’ moms. Yes, she has a lot of bestfriends. She is the friendliest girl in the world.

4. Sometimes the highlight of my day occurs in my head.  It is when I achieve clarity on things that have been playing in my mind lately.

5. I got confirmation about a job for the following day.

6. Treat from a friend. My friend, Dinah, treated us to dinner. She promised to have dinner with us in celebration of her new job.

7. My 37th birthday. I had a simple celebration with family.

8. It’s Mama Mary’s birthday. This is also the day I started my no-softdrink-drink-only-water diet. (Today is October 16 and I did not drink a drop of soda since September 8.)

9. The thought of the day was this.

10. Book list. My cousin tagged me in a Facebook post so I made a list, too.

11. Lunch with my cousin, Ghia. We have been exchanging comments on Facebook for years now and we live in the same city but we seldom see each other. Because this day was the birthday of another cousin in heaven, who was a big brother to us, we met for lunch.

12. I had time for art. It has been awhile. I wish I can do art everyday but I need to earn a living. One day, I hope watercolor art would be one of my sources of income. For now, I just need to practice.

13. Charity work by my cousin and his friends. I tagged along with my cousin and his friends as they gave snacks to street children and prisoners. I never thought my cousin had a compassionate heart. Mabait din pala. 😉

14. Appreciation of my art. My friend asked for my artwork and I am flattered.

15. Did my errands. I like it when I am able to settle bills before the deadline.

16. Got a visit from this cutie pie.

17. Uncle’s birthday.
18.  More fridge magnets! When I posted thus photo of my fridge magnet collection, friends abroad pledged to give me one from their place when they come home. Yay!


19. Another friend celebrated his birthday. It is another opportunity to meet with friends.
20. Party with my travel friends. Four of us have birthdays in September. To make the get-together a little more fun, we agreed wear a dress. Two of my friends did not follow instructions. 😀

We changed clothes in the evening. 😀

21. I got news from a client about a raise in my professional fee. I quoted a smaller amount but I was paid 60% more.

22. I have been planning a trip with a friend. We have agreed on a date and when to book the trip.

23. My cousin introduced me to SoundCloud and I recorded my singing voice! It was not meant to be heard by the public. I think I have a better speaking voice so I recorded this.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

24. I was in a workshop about women empowerment. It is amazing to be around amazing people.

25. I went back to my exercise routine.

26. Scandal is back. It is one of my favorite TV shows.

27. I did the cooking because my aunt is not feeling well.

28. It is my friends’ 11th wedding anniversary. I was supposed to drop by their house to greet them but I had cook duties and I was finishing a report. Instead, I sent her a recording of me singing Christina Aguilera’s “I turn to you”. It was special and funny at the same time because I never sing in karaoke and I do not have a good singing voice. LOL!

29. I cooked arroz caldo with malunggay upon the suggestion of my aunt.

30. I know I am loved. Look at our guard dog. Always on duty! 😉


Home Updates

Before my cousin’s vacation came to an end, my aunts asked her to help clean up the garden. My aunt got sick for a few weeks so the upkeep of the small garden in front of their house was amiss. My cousin declared that she can’t wait to leave since we had her working for the past few days by letting her cook and putting her into gardening duties. She said that in jest because I know she was proud of the outcome of the garden space.  She rearranged the placement of plants.



And the outcome is this:


Not bad for an hour of work. I helped her with some lifting and cleaning up.

My own home underwent some changes, too. My walls was repainted with lively colors. This is now my office area.

 office area

This used to be our dining area when my parents were still around. Since I now live alone, this has become my work space. My house is beside my aunt’s so I eat my meals with them in their house.

The rest of the house still needs some sprucing up. This wall near the kitchen needed some loving. My aunt was annoyed that I have uneven wall surface that she bought some decals to hide the cracks and bumps in the wall.


Shopping for the home has become easier. Instead of driving to home stores to buy furniture and things, you can now do that in the comforts of your own home. You do not even have worry about transporting the things to your home since the items will be delivered to your doorsteps. You can even get discount coupons from Whether you are doing major renovations, rearranging or a simple home organizing, it is a lot more fun to get things done when you get save a few dollars trying to make your space look pretty.

How about you? What are some of your home makeover tips?


Shopping for Clothes

It has been a month and a week since I quit drinking soda. I did not restrict my food intake though. I only allow myself to drink water and nothing else. Even when my cousin came home this weekend and the temptation to drink soda was high because we were always snacking, I still did not cave in to drinking soda. I hope I would be able to keep up with this until Christmas. I will reward myself with a bottle of soda on Christmas day.

Why am I doing this? I just wanted to take care of my health and at the same time look good wearing clothes I want to wear without worrying about the bulges in my midsection. I have received compliments that I have shed a few pounds already. I am flattered but in reality, I really did not lose weight. When my cousin came home this weekend, she brought with her some clothes she ordered from a designer who makes clothes that are sold by major clothing brands. Right now, I am giving up the dress she gave and hand it over to another cousin. I still have a long way to go in order to fit well into the dress.

This is the peplum dress I am giving up. Even though it looks like it is my size, the hemline is too short and the fit hugs my body at the wrong places.


It does not hurt that much to give up the dress since there are already a lot of shopping sites online where I can get great deals when shopping for clothes. Before even starting to browse for clothes, I visit for discount codes. Shopping for clothes is more fun especially when I get discounts. I always keep a measuring tape close to me when online shopping for clothes to determine whether clothes would fit me or not.

How about you? Do you shop online?

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