Monday, May 31, 2010

Wolfgang Live - Concert Photography

Work and play can definitely coincide side by side... that is what I learned after covering the recent "Wolfgang" concert last May 15 in Manila.

Anne interviewed the band for Sandbox Productions (Smart Cellular Phone Data) and I took concert photographs. It was my first official 'concert assignment' and I was hyped to the max. The concert was broadcasted online to 22 countries and since the band seldom performs live, ever since Basti Artadi (the singer) transferred to San Francisco, it was a concert no fan wanted to miss. I have been a Rock fan for a long time and I just recently took up the guitar (electric) as a hobby. Marrying my photography with my love of Rock Music was a treat I just could not pass up.

I have taken pictures with show/stage lights before, so I knew that I was well covered -- light wise. I used my 7D, mainly because of its higher light sensitivity (as opposed to my current 1Ds). Anticipating a rowdy crowd, I decided to leave my L primes and zooms at home and opted for my APS-C Sigmas (EX f/2.8 10-20mm and 18-50mm). Not wanting to leave without a telephoto, I also brought my Canon F/4 L 70-200mm.

Here are some shots from that concert:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cannes 2010

Congratulations to all the winners of this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Thai Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Palme d'Or: "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand).

Grand Prize: "Of Gods and Men," directed by Xavier Beauvois (France).

Jury Prize: "A Screaming Man," directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad).

Best Director: Mathieu Amalric for "On Tour" (France).

Prize of Un Certain Regard: "Hahaha," directed by Hong Sang-soo (Korea).

Best Actor: Javier Bardem, "Biutiful" (Mexico) and Elio Germano, "La Nostra Vita" (Italy).

Best Actress: Juliette Binoche, "Certified Copy" (Iran).
Best Screenplay: Lee Chang-Dong, "Poetry" (Korea).

Camera d'Or (Best Debut Feature): "Ano Bisiesto" directed by Michael Rowe (Mexico).

Best short film: "Chienne d'Histoire," directed by Serge Avedikian (France).
Here is the official trailer of "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, winner of this year's Palme d'Or:

--Trailer from YouTube by houdinistudio.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Robbery at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris

In Paris, a few hours ago, a thief broke into the Museum of Modern Art and got away with five modern masterpieces nearly worth half a billion Euros. Among the stolen pieces are paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Leger, Modigliani and Braque.

A lone thief, disguised in a hood and face cover, was captured by the museum's security cameras leaping through a broken window.  The security system of the museum, one of the most secure in the city, was disabled during the time of the theft. According to authorities, the anti-theft system and most of the security cameras have been broken for the past few days prior to the crime.  Investigators are now considering the possibility of an "inside job." Paris museums have been regularly targeted by Art thieves working for private collectors, and are sometimes aided by low salaried museum insiders/workers.

One of the biggest Art thefts in history, initially estimated by the prosecutor's office to total 500 million Euros, has now been downgraded by museum experts to an estimate of just around 100 million Euros.  The experts say that the stolen paintings would be impossible to sell in the open market where they would easily be spotted and would instead be sold at a substancial discount to private individuals. Despite that, it is still priceless and would definitely fetch an enormous amount.

Among the paintings stolen are Picasso's "Dove with Green Peas" (1912):

Matisse's "Pastoral" (1906):

Braque's "Landscape with Olive Tree" (1906):

Modigliani's "Woman with Fan" (1919):

...and Leger's "Still Life with Chandelier" (1922):

It never seizes to amaze me what people are capable of.  I might still be able to understand the 'money motive' of the thief, but the end collectors who buy these things to keep them, are beyond my comprehension.  Since they cannot sell these art pieces for at least a hundred years (or even more), because they are recognizable, the only other motive left I can think of is "pure selfishness" -- they want to keep these treasures for themselves.  For these people, visiting a museum is not enough...  they want to deprive the public from experiencing these masterpieces too.

Here is a clip from Reuters on the Theft in Paris:

-- Photos from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. Video by

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Manoel de Oliveira - Still Making Films at 101 (Years Old)

Acknowledged as the oldest living Director in the world, Manoel de Oliveira is still making movies at the ripe old age of one hundred and one. Born in Cedofeita, Porto - Portugal on December 11, 1908, he has been making films since 1931.

His most recent work, "The Strange Case of Angelica," was premiered last week at the Cannes Film Festival. According to the centenarian, the idea for the movie was conceived in 1946 and he wrote the first draft in 1952. He originally wanted to do the film just after the Holocaust of World War II, but has now resurrected the project, tweaking the story to include modern issues like global warming, economic crisis and environmental pollution, because he feels that we are suffering from a universal loss of value that is now wreaking havoc not only to our lives and our communities, but also to our planet as well.

As a teenager, Oliveira wanted to be an actor. He actually acted in the 2nd Portuguese sound film, " A Canção de Lisboa in 1933.  But after seeing the documentary, "Berlin: Symphony of a City" he directed his first documentary, " Douro, Faina Fluvial." He directed his first feature in 1942 and has made a total of 51 productions to date (feature and documentary). Manoel has been more prolific in the past twenty years, making a film or two a year since 1990 -- he only made 3 feature films in the first 40 years of his career, but has totalled 19 after that.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Affordable Waterproof Housing For Your Cameras

Dicapac WP-610

For a few dollars, anyone can waterproof, weatherproof or dustproof their cameras with a Dicapac waterproof case.  Made from high-quality PVC with Silicon and TPU Rubber, it is the perfect camera housing for swimming, snorkling, diving, boating, camping, skiing, rafting or simply as a proctective covering against rain and dust. It is currently available in twelve different configurations to fit consumer sized video cameras and still cameras (from SLRs to compacts).

I bought a Dicapac WP-610 case for my Leica D-Lux 3 and tested it last weekend in our pool.  I am glad to report that it is effective and well worth its price.  Here are underwater photos of my wife and daughter swimming:

Aside from the Leica D-Lux 3 and D-Lux 4, Model WP-610 also fits the Canon Powershot G Series and the Sigma DP Series. The case features a UV coated optical lens barrel with a front port diameter of 62mm and an additional 3.5 inch extension barrel for longer lenses.  A detachable neck-strap and foam insert (for better fit) are also provided.  The case is guaranteed to a depth of 33 ft. or 10 meters using a double seal system with a waterproof zipper, plus roll and velcro closures.

Another case I am interested in is the WP-S10, which can easily accomodate a Canon 7D or 5D Mark II.  It features the same materials as the WP-610 in a larger dimension and features a bellowing/extending barrel that stretches to 200mm (80mm diameter) to accomodate a variety of lenses. It also features a finger sleeve to access the shutter release and for reaching the top side camera control knob. It is guaranteed up to 16 ft. or 5 meters in depth.  This case will be perfect for most of my professional still and DSLR HD work, as a weather proof case and as an underwater housing for light diving needs.  It retails for a low $150!