Thursday, November 17, 2011

My 1st Solo Exhibit: "Grounded in the Old Manila International Airport"

My new Fine Art Photo Series - "Grounded," will finally be shown to the public.  This first installment of an ongoing Series, is a collection of 18 Art Prints featuring photographs of Los Angeles County streets assembled in a quartet.  Inspired by the avant garde photography of Aaron Siskind, "Grounded" revisits the possibilities of Abstract Expressionism in photography, using the most elemental ingredients of light, shadow, color and texture.

The Prints will be on display from December 4 (Aaron Siskind's bday) to January 6 in the Filipinas Heritage Library, the historic 1930s Manila International Airport in the heart of Makati (the Philippines' central financial district).  The venue was the country's first international airport and served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army Airforce during World War II.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Ultimate Camera - RED Scarlet X

When I found out about this... I couldn't wait to blog about it too!

RED Digital Cinema has finally unveiled its long promised "ultimate camera," the RED Scarlet X, immediately after Canon annouced its new EOS C300.  The Scarlet has been hinted about for more than 3 years, but has not been formally launched until a few days ago.  In the wake of Canon's reveal, RED immediately responded with the Scarlet X to douse the excitement building around the EOS C300 -- The Scarlet X will be retailing at half the price (9K + to the C300's 20K) and will be available by December (the C300 will be available Jan. 2012).  These are exciting times indeed!

I call the Scarlet X the ultimate camera, because it can be used for both professional still photography and cinematic videography -- like the new generation DSLRs, but for high-resolution (4K) pro-cinema grade applications.  The other professional grade digital cinema cameras currently in the market (including the new C300) are all dedicated motion picture cameras.

The RED Scarlet X looks really good on paper, capturing 5K stills (Redcode RAW) up to 12 fps and 4K motion resolution to 30fps.  The camera is modular and is adaptable to any shooting scenario, be it still or motion, and can be fitted with an array of gadgets and accessories including multiple lens mounts (the camera comes standard with either a Canon EF or PL mounts). 

The RED Scarlet X configures both as a still or motion picture camera

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Canon Enters Pro-Cinema - EOS C300

When I found out about this, I couldn't wait to blog about it!

As a hybrid photographer/cinematographer I was somewhat personally disappointed by the new Canon 1DX that came out a couple of weeks ago.  It is impressive for what it can do (perfect for wildlife, photojournalism and sports), but I felt that it somehow stood in the middle of nowhere... The fastest still Pro at this point, yes, but it is neither the fattest DSLR for high-end still photography nor the most capable Digital Cinematography camera out there.  I am heavily invested in Canon lenses, so I've been watching Canon camera (both still and video) development closely.

Enter the new Canon EOS C300, with a Super 35mm CMOS sensor.  It uses a new DIGIC DV III Image Processor and 50Mbps 4:2:2 codec. Compact, modular and compatible with all existing EF and the new EF-Cinema lenses.  A PL-mount version is also available, the EOS C300 PL. 

Modeled after the Super 35mm 3-perf motion picture film, the C300's CMOS has an active image size of 24.4 x 13.5mm, smaller than the 5D Mark II (and the 1DX), but slightly bigger than the 7D (and the 60D).  6.4 x 6.4 micrometer photosites (photodiodes), with individual lenses, efficiently gather light.  Proprietary technologies embedded in each photosite simultaneously lower the image sensor's noise floor, while enhancing the photon capacity of the photodiode resulting in an impressive dynamic range.  

The sensor also employs an innovative readout technique that delivers full bandwidth individual RGB video components without debayering algorithms.  Each of these components has a 1920 (H) x 1080 (V) sampling structure at up to 60 frames. From the original video component, a 1080-line 60i format or a 1280 (H) x 720 (V) at 60P HD format are selectively derived.

The EOS C300 CMOS is the first Canon CMOS sensor designed for high frame-rate motion picture applications.  With its large Super 35mm sized sensor and the DIGIC DV III Processor this camera has a remarkably high signal to noise ratio, capable of delivering cinema quality images with superb detail and high dynamic range even with minimal light.

The camera also has a special Canon Log mode within the DIGIC III RGB video processing system, which enables the Cinematographer to manually set exposure values to fine-tune his or her footage for post-production purposes similar to the current DI process.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Aaron Siskind - Abstract Expressionist

Aaron Siskind was a photographer with a Graphic Artist's "Eye."  Best known for his Abstract Expressionist photographs, he was associated with the Abstract Expressionist School of New York (art movement) in the 1940s and 50s -- which included close friends Franz Kline, Barrett Newman, Adolph Gottlieb, and Mark Rothko.

He worked as a high-school english teacher, before receiving his first camera as a honeymoon gift -- igniting a life-long passion for Photography .  He started his photographic career as a documentarian in the New York Photo League, creating photo-essays of political importance including Harlem Document, Dead End: The Bowery, Portrait of a Tenement, and St. Joseph's House: The Catholic Worker Movement. In the early 1940s, his work shifted to the abstract and metaphoric.  During a trip to Martha's Vineyard, Siskind began approaching still objects from a very intimate range, framing them up-close so as to underscore the formal qualities of their lines, colors, and textures. This newer, more abstracted work was well received, and he was invited to show his work at the Charles Egan Gallery, in the company of many Abstract Expressionist painters.

With Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Andre Kertesz 

Siskind joined fellow photographer and friend Harry Callahan in the Institute of Design in Chicago, where he became the Head of the Photography Program when Callahan left.  He help found the Society for Photographic Education in 1963, then reunited with Callahan at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he continued to teach until his retirement in 1976.
Aaron Siskind's Abstract Expressionist Photographs (particularly his "The Road" series) have influenced me greatly.  As a whole, I believe they represented the next logical shift of Photography as a fine art during the analog era.  Deliberately obscuring his subject matter by simply concentrating on form, texture and simple visual elements, Siskind was able to push photography into the realm of abstraction-- Simple and direct, without employing elaborate tricks and gadgets.  In this era of digital excess, we can learn a lot from this photographic master and genius.  All you really need is your imagination and vision (your innate ability to "See") to create stunning works of Art.

Here are some examples of his work: