Monday, September 15, 2014

8th Generation - IPhone 6 & 6 Plus

The new IPhone 6 and 6 plus
It has become a tradition of this blog to review IPhones as they come out. If you look to the right-hand column of this page, you can still see the ancient IPhone icon I still use to display my commercial portfolio. I have been an IPhone user since version one and have upgraded almost from one generation to the next with the exception of the last two versions (5 and 5s/5c). My wife continued to upgrade, so I have been suffering comparison with my old 4s for three 3 long years.

My reason for sticking with my 4s was two fold: I have a 64GB version and Apple never expanded the internal memory of the IPhone 5/5s beyond that; and the specs. of the camera on both versions remained essentially the same as the 4s-- 8 megapixel f 2.4 (f 2.2 on the 5s, big deal). Aside from the cellphone, text and email functions, I use my IPhones to take snap shots (occasionally for fine art photography) and as my main music player/IPod. I have been needing a larger capacity smartphone, but Apple has been keeping its maximum memory at the same levels. With just my music and Apps, I have already been topping out at 60+ gigabytes for the last two years. Why would I invest more money on a device that is essentially similar to the one I am already using?

I got a Samsung smartphone as a backup since a lot of people have been raving about them, but quickly got disenchanted because the interface is light years away from the IPhone's. It's hard to describe-- its like driving a Hyundai to Apple's BMW. They are both good functional cars, but they are just not in the same class. A lot of people are critical about the IPhone lagging behind Samsung technology, but I guess to me and to a lot of diehard IPhone users, it all boils down to feel and user experience. I want my smartphone to be an extension of me, not a fiddly gadget I need a manual to figure out. The IPhone's thoroughly intuitive interface, by itself, has kept me loyal to the brand.

When Apple finally announced the newest version of its smartphone last week, the IPhone 6 and its larger twin, the IPhone 6 Plus, the first thing I checked were their maximum memory capacity and their camera specs. I was so relieved to find out that both versions come in 128GB models, although 164GB would be more than welcome. The camera remains at 8GB with essentially the same specs. as the 5s, but with a new sensor equipped with "Focus Pixels" that Apple claims to provide more information on the image resulting in better autofocus, face detection and exposure control. The newer features that got me excited are the camera's capacity to shoot video at 60 fps in 1080p and 240 fps at 720p as well as shoot time-lapse with continuous autofocus and cinematic video stabilization (optical image stabilization too in the 6 plus version). Despite what I still consider to be slight camera upgrades, these are features I gladly welcome since I can now finally take serious video footage with my favorite smartphone.    
The camera now features super slow motion and time-lapse.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #15

This week's theme: COPS

I thought it would be appropriate to highlight the police this week-- in honor  of the recent headlines about police officers criminally hijacking a civilian van in broad daylight in the middle of EDSA (Manila's central thoroughfare) for several million pesos; and in gratitude for losing my driver's license after an officer of the law booked me yesterday for an imaginary traffic violation:((  

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"The Odd Couple"
"Special Escort"

"Disiplina Daw"

--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #14

This week's theme: URBAN POVERTY

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"City Beds"
"Spare Change"
"Rhogelio's Uphill Battle"

--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Being Sensible About Street Photography

My daily weapon of choice: Fuji XE-1 with the 27mm pancake lens
I am skipping the 13th week installment of my "Weekly Street Photos" to write an essay about my own personal beliefs on the practice of "Street Photography" in general. 
I am avoiding no. 13, because it seems to be a general practice the world over (even my apartment building ridiculously omits listing a 13th floor on the elevator). Since a lot of people subscribe to this superstition without actually questioning its Templar origin, must I follow their lead blindly? If you agree, then please stop reading. What I am about to say, might seem offensive to you!
For the sake of argument, I should probably start referring to my "Street" photos as "Street Documentary" or "Street Photojournalism," because the term "Street Photography" apparently comes with a lot of baggage. Some street photographers I've come across are so dogmatic about the term "Street," they insist that "real practitioners" of the art should stick by a prescribed set of rules-- that encompasses, not only the aesthetic qualities that each photograph must contain, but also on what subjects can be included, where it must be shot and what equipment should be used.

As a commercial photographer who has shot hundreds of commissioned work on assignment, street style photography attracted me specifically because of the implied freedom to shoot anything I want, when I want, in any way I want. If what I am doing is not "Street" in the strict sense of the term, please tell me so I can stop referring to it as "Street Photography." The hard-core zealots of the movement should not worry, since I use the term loosely-- I literally shoot outside on the streets. If a lot of people have objections on my personal methodology or aesthetic choices, "Personal Documentary," "Street Documentary," "Street Photojournalism" or even "Street Safari" are equally good labels I can readily substitute to refer to the type of photography I do.

"The Hunter" Hong-Kong

Whenever I photograph out on the street freestyle, I feel like a hunter stalking game-- aiming to capture fleeting images of 'life' as it flows around me. All at once, I feel connected to my surroundings, at peace with the moment and one with my camera. This wonderfully fulfilling intimate connection to the world is driving me to pursue this type of photography with a passion that borders on the obsessive, and motivates me to carry a camera every single day.
I have come full circle. When I got into photography 36 years ago, I was essentially a street photographer-- I shot anything and everything around me that caught my attention. I transitioned into amateur photojournalism when I became the photographer for the school newspaper and yearbook. We still used film back then (early 80s), so I also learned how to develop my negatives and print my photographs in the darkroom. I neglected my photography for a couple of years during the time I was in college, and for a few years after that; but formally studied it (with cinematography) when I went back to film school in the mid-90s, then finally pursued it as an alternative career 8 years ago. I got back into personal documentary photography when I began using the Fuji X system earlier this year, because the cameras are delightfully compact yet can deliver high quality professional images in almost any environment.
It would be a tragedy to put something as magical as "Street Photography" inside a box. I agree that rules and limitation can sometimes breed creativity; but it does not work for everyone all the time, particularly for those who engage in Street Photography for sheer pleasure, not merit or acclaim. Rules are for contests and competition, not Art. The limitations (or restrictions) of an art form naturally springs forth from the limitations of the medium itself-- never prejudice. Dogma breeds a certain cerebral paralysis that goes against spontaneity,  the very instinct needed to cultivate good documentary photographs.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #12

This week's theme: ADORABLE KIDS

(Click on Photos for better viewing)

"The Young MaƮtre d"
"Lost In Wonder"
"The Little Goalie"
--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Friday, August 8, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #11

This week's theme: PUBLIC NAPPING

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"Waiting Patient-ly"

"Power Napper"

"Grandpa's Siesta"

--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #10

This week's theme: MOTHER & CHILD

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"...I Can See You" - Hong Kong
"Feeding Time"
--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #9

This week's theme: SYMMETRY & ASYMMETRY

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"A Quiet Afternoon"
"Class Levels" - Hong Kong
"The Belly of the Beast"
--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Friday, July 18, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #8

This week's theme: STREET REFRESHMENTS

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"Roadside Refreshments"
"Burger Machine"

--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #7

This week's theme: PLAY

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"No Loading and Unloading Anytime"
"Compact Driver"
"Arcade Dance-off"

--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Friday, July 4, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #6

This week's theme: HOPES AND DREAMS

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"Roadside Business Conference"

"Future Pop Diva"

"Knight in Shining Lights"

--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Friday, June 27, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #5

This week's theme: CAUTION

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"Ibulsa" (to pocket)
"Pedicab Crossing"
"Sheltering Love" - Hong Kong
--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Most Photojournalists Use Canon

Have you ever wondered what camera brand Photojournalists use the most?  In the film era, it used to be Leicas and Nikons, but in todays digital world it's Canon!
Here is a pie-chart from hastalosmegapixeles showing the breakdown:
(click on image for better resolution)
--image property of hastalosmegapixeles  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Weekly Street Photos #4

Starting this week, I have decided to have a theme for my "street" picture sets to create cohesion within the post.

This week's theme: ABSTRACTION

(Click on Photos for better viewing)
"Translucent Family"
--All Photos are the exclusive property of Atom Magadia