Monday, July 28, 2008

Photographing mosques: Asia and Africa

Ask any Catholic and an overwhelming majority have not entered a mosque. For Filipinos in particular, the exposure would be slim as not only is the Philippines predominantly Christian (80%), the some 5% of the population who profess the religion of Islam are concentrated in the southern part of Mindanao.

I probably would not have ventured into a mosque were it not for my frequent travels. As a photo hobbyist, I am fascinated by the architecture and grace of mosques. Motifs feature repetitive and rhythmic patterns, radiating and concentric structures and even Arabic calligraphy. In replacement of the human form common in Christian art but as a rule forbidden in Islam, geometric forms come into play, suggesting the shapes of nature, like leaves and flowers and on occasion animals specifically birds. Architectural attractions closely identified to mosque include domes, vaults, courtyards and minarets.

While mosques are open to any practicing Muslims, some do allow visitors. Most of the photos are exterior shots though as often, time is not on my side when I pass by these mosques. Whatever interior shots I have of the few mosques I have entered, I am sharing them below. Hopefully someday, I will be able to take more.

Masjid Muhammad Cheng Hoo, Surabaya, Indonesia

As there are Chinese churches, there are also Chinese mosques. Sino-Islamic architecture are distinct from traditional dome and minaret design. Think of pagodas and Chinese scroll paintings.

One gorgeous example is the Masjid Muhammad Cheng Hoo in Surabaya. Established to commemorate the arrival of Chinese Muslims who sailed from Mainland China to Java several centuries ago, the mosque has to be seen to be appreciated.

Masjid Cheng Hoo
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1.3s, f/4.5, 18mm, ISO 400
Masjid Muhammad Cheng Hoo, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia
phototip: night exposures are dramatic… be careful of bleeding.

When I visited the mosque last year, it was during nighttime. Fortunately, the watchmen still allowed us in and here is a glimpse of geometrically sharp interiors.

Masjid Cheng Hoo
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 0.5s, f/4.5, 18mm, ISO 400
Masjid Muhammad Cheng Hoo, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia

Masjid Abdul Gaffoor, Singapore

From the outside, one thing is clear with the Masjid Abdul Gaffoor. This mosque has walls and minarets embellished with a plethora of celestial bodies. Crescents shot up profusely from the minarets around the central dome.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/1000s, f/4.5, 110mm, ISO 100, +1.0EV
Masjid Abdul Gaffoor, Little India, Singapore
phototip: Focus on the extraordinary, that which makes the architecture unique. In the case of this mosque, it is the profusion of crescents adorning the roofline. Getting them in one shot is difficult. I had to overexpose the shot by 3 stops (a full 1 EV) to provide the contrast and drown the noon sky a bright white.

the Sultan Mosque, Singapore

Back in August 2006, I was having a wonderful dinner meet with Singapore flickr friends in a place called Zam Zam at Arab St. The Muslim restaurant just happened to be across the Sultan Mosque so we had plenty of time to shoot the mosque after sundown. Some mosques, I think, are perfect for night photography. Such is the case of the Sultan Mosque with its beautiful golden dome.

Sultan Mosque
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 20s, f/18, 18mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV
Sultan Mosque, Arab St, Singapore

Masjif Nurul Huda, Bali, Indonesia

This is mosque is probably an early 20th century structure right in the heart of Klungkung regency. We stopped over this mosque one afternoon to take a toilet break. Mosque toilets are open to everybody and are known to have clean running water. This one takes the cake: every one of the 12-15 cubicles in the men's and women's rooms have 2 taps of fully running water that just stream down the drain! I hope they get their source from a river somewhere or else that's a wasteful use of a resource.

Masjid Nurul Huda
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/400s, f/8.0, 8.6mm
Masjif Nurul Huda, Klungkung, Bali, Indonesia

Masjid Raya, Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

This is a fairly new mosque that was made by the initiative and benefaction of the current vice president of Indonesia. Reputed to be the richest man of the country who made his fortune in holdings from real estate to forestry, Hj Jusuf Kalla made sure that this mosque stands out in lime and soft yellow. The exterior and interior furnishings are said to have come from Turkey.

Masjid Raya Makassar
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/500s, f5, 7.1mm
Masjid Raya, Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia
phototip: Use noontime sun to make the marble gleam.

Masjid al Markaz, Maros, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Indonesians love to express their faith by building mosques. This one in Maros, a town south of Makassar, was just a skelelon last June 2005 but when I took the photo in October of the same year, it looked almost finished. In primary yellow and red, the architecture is stunning. The tiles are said to have come from Australia.

Masjid al Markaz Maros
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/800s, f5, 14.7mm
Masjid al Markaz, Maros, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Masjid Agung Surabaya, Surabaya, Indonesia

This is a truly eye-catching mosque by the ~10km Gresik-Surabaya toll highway connecting Surabaya and the Juanda Airport. Its construction started around 1993 but was finished in about 8 years. It is so big and so blue. The mosaic, the tiles and the minaret are visually arresting.

Masjid Agung Surabaya
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/125s, f8.0, 17.5mm
Masjid Agung Surabaya, Surabaya, Indonesia
phototip: If possible, do not crop minarets! Unfortunately, I was traveling in a speeding car when I took this.

Masjid Agung
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/125s, f/5.0, 37mm, ISO 400, +1/3EV
Masjid Agung Surabaya, Surabaya, Indonesia

the Mosque du Nord of Diego Suarez, Madagascar, East Africa

In Madagascar, about half of the population are Christians who are concentrated in the central highlands and half are Muslim who are mostly in the coast. You therefore see a lot of small quaint mosques in the northeast city of Diego Suarez. The Mosque du Nord in beach of Ramena in the Emerald Bay is particularly small. Not only is it built on the sand, it sits on such a parched and arid landscape which could only be described as unforgiving.

on the highland and coastal divide
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/80s, f/10, 40mm, ISO 100
the Mosque du Nord, Ramena Beach, Diego Suarez (Antsiranana), NE Madagascar

Mosque du Nord
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/250s, f/10, 30mm, ISO 100
the Mosque du Nord, Ramena Beach, Diego Suarez (Antsiranana), NE Madagascar

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, July 25, 2008

the Cacing Diaries #13

5 month + 2.5 weeks

Just a couple of weeks after my last diary entry and Cacing can now eat solid food! She can now sit!

going solid

It was after our regular visit to the pediatrician early this month that we got clearance to give solid food to our daughter. We have observed lately that she salivates at the sight of us eating and our pedia decreed that at 5 months, Cacing is ready to venture outside of formula milk.

My wife is shying away from prepared and prepacked food so no Gerber nor Cerelac for Cacing. Instead, my wife prepares a porridge mixture made of ground rice powder and mashed sweet potatoes! Cacing is a true blue Filipina and enjoys her rice. The sweet potato also provides roughage and it helps a lot in regularizing Cacing’s bowel movement.

Upon advise of the our doctor, my wife only introduces a new flavor to the basic porridge every two days so that we could isolate any allergies. Thankfully, there has been none so far. Cacing has tried mangoes (not her type as she cringes at the sharp taste), apples, banana and squash. She seems to love the bit of puff pastry we gave her (it has butter and not much gluten anyway), as well as the morsel of steamed lapu-lapu (white grouper fish). Three times a day she gets some semi-solid food and I bet she could not wait for more.

sitting up straight

As I’ve said, Cacing now likes to sit up straight but for safety reasons, we still have to support her back. This way, she gets to enjoy a lot of time outdoors, watching the world go by. Her favorite pasttime early in the morning is staring at how the laundry bubbles rise and fall while our helper washes the clothes. This and jumping up and down on the lap of her nanny complete her day.

Her daily routine includes two baths. First, we lay her on a net hammock and wash her with baby milk soap solution. Then we’d rinse the suds off her body while holding her aloft. Then finally, we would set her on a tub of shallow water. While before we still have to hold her straight, she can now sit solo, holding on tightly on the side of the tub for support. In glee, she would kick at the water, splashing and toying with her rubber ducky.

And oh, I get to bathe her every afternoon after I get to work. A truly enjoyable chore.

Here are some more pics!

bathing beauty
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/50s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 800, +2/3 EV
Cacing sitting on her own in her “bath tub”

ready to party
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/50s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 800, +1.0 EV
This strapless dress is courtesy of my best friend in Bali

the yawn
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/30s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 400, +2/3 EV
Letting out a big yawn while on her crib

a typical pose
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/50s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 400, +2/3 EV
Cacing, on her crib. A lot of her pictures are shot at this perspective obviously.

hairdressing 101
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/60s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 400
Everybody loves fixing Cacing’s long hair. Our housemaid is Cacing’s de facto hairstylist.

chemistry girl
Wearing a dress given by my sister in NY, Cacing dances at an acquaintance party of chemistry majors and teachers of a local university where my wife is teaching.

party girl
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/320s, f/1.8, 50mm, ISO 100, +1/3 EV
in party mode at Lai Garden SM City, Cebu

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bali Arts Festival 2008- part 6

I find it hard to time my trips to Indonesia because of the demands of my job. Fortunately, I need to visit Bali quite often, at least 4 times a year. This frequency gives me plenty of opportunity to catch the Bali Arts Festival which is held every year for a span of 4 weeks, usually around July.

Even way back in the 90s, I was a fan. I would sneak out at night to catch the festival’s free cultural shows, view art exhibits and check out the handicrafts products in the trade fair (always on bargain).

My most memorable performance to date was the wayang kulit a popular form of shadow theatre featuring flat cut-out leather (=kulit) puppets mounted on sticks. Played for both art and entertainment, the wayang shows are often enactments of religious Hindu mythology blended with historical facts. The Balinese to this date patronize this old theatrical form even if they are played all night long in villages. I only saw an abbreviated version but I was totally enraptured. It was as pure, if not as primitive as I imagined it to be. A blanket of white was stretched as a white screen and coconut-husk lamp was used as the illuminating fire. Over gamelan accompaniment, the dalang or puppeteer chanted the morality tale in Balinese. I did not understand most of the story but I was entranced nonetheless.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good photograph of the performance as this was way back in 2002, pre-flickr and before I knew anything about camera settings. The photo below is in fact only 26KB as it was taken from the most rudimentary of p&s digicams available during that time.

wayang kulit
a wayang kulit performance at the Bali Arts Festival 2002, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Olympus C900Z,D400Z, 5.6mm, ISO 100

Checking my archive of photographs, I also remembered that the following year, I was able to catch another performance. This time it was a free interpretation dance held at the ampitheatre of the Bali Arts Center in Denpasar, the regular site of the festival. The Festival does not just present classical but also new dance forms. Not surprisingly, the performances were well attended. There were a few tourists but the crowd were mostly Balinese, young and old. That is what is heartening with the Balinese as a people – they appreciate and embrace art. Local patronage is never wanting.

tari kreasi lepas performance at the Bali Arts Festival 2003, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/60s, f/4.9, 21.3mm

In the course of the month-long festival, performances from provincial cultural troupes outside of Bali would also be highlighted. They obviously keep the festival fresh with new ideas. Lucky for me too as normally, I would not be able to visit these farflung provinces but in Bali, I was able to watch authentic performances. In 2005, for instance, I enjoyed thoroughly a presentation from Flores island. I was amazed at the bulky costumes and large drums that the group transported all the way to Bali.

a dance performance by Flores dancers in the 2005 Bali Arts Festival, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/15s, f/4.5, 17.5mm

This being the main cultural exposition event of Indonesia, the Festival also attracts the guest performances from other countries. This year, the international representation came from the US, Japan, Taiwan and Korea. Too bad, I was not able to catch any as last month, I left shortly after the opening day of the Festival.

But again, there will be some other chances in the future. I certainly hope to see more in the years ahead.

Here are more photographs from this year’s Bali Arts Festival opening day meped.

Balinese ladies blur
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/13s, f/20, 31mm, ISO 200

kepas angin
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/10s, f/22, 55mm, ISO 200

parade, zoomed in
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/15s, f/14, 21mm, ISO 200

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/2500s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 400, -1/3EV

2 dancers
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/1000s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 400, +1/3EV

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/1000s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 400

topeng tua
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/800s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 200, +1/3EV

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Saturday, July 19, 2008

my Islands of Sulu

The archipelago of Sulu is one of two partial land bridges connecting the Philippines and Borneo (the other being Palawan). Composed of about a couple of hundred of islands, Sulu stretches from Basilan island in the northeast to the province of Tawi-Tawi in the southwest. In between is the eponymously named province of Sulu which probably has the least explored and least inhabited cluster of islands in the country. Teeming with inhospitably thick hardwood forest, wild snakes and boars, they are largely left untouched by man. Like jewels, they are a treasure from above and beyond.

That these islands remain mysterious even to the native Tausugs themselves is borne from the islands history of strife and turmoil. Traditionally a stronghold of the Muslim secession movement, Sulu has always been in the news for the wrong reasons. Its largest island Jolo is the de facto point of reference of the activities of the bandit group Abu Sayyaf, who notoriously kidnaped tourists in Sipadan, Sabah (April 2000) and Dos Palmas in Palawan (May 2001). No thanks to this scary reputation, Jolo and its neighboring Sulu islands sadly became a no man’s land, shunned by outsiders. Over the years, the province has been struggling to gain a better reputation in domestic tourism purely because of concerns of safety.

Just last June, again, Jolo became the epicenter of another high profile kidnaping of Ces Drilon, a popular TV broadcaster of the ABS CBN network. I was preparing for a trip to Indonesia when I received the text message of her disappearance. There was a news blackout for 2 days but eventually the news hit the frontpage. The incident eventually was resolved and the hostages were released. However, there goes any plan, however far-fetched, for me to go to Jolo or any of its islands. The company I work for would never give me clearance to go there for any official reasons. Sad, but I have to admit that family now comes first and I cannot be foolhardy.

the edge
Canon EOS 350D, 1/640s, f/5.6, 55mm, ISO 100, -1/2EV
one of hundreds of islands of the province of Sulu, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, the Philippines

Canon EOS 350D, 1/1250s, f/4.0, 85mm, ISO 100, -1/2EV
one of hundreds of islands of the province of Sulu, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, the Philippines

All these make me reminisce the great time I had photographing the islands from above, in my numerous flights over Sulu when I visited Tawi-Tawi in the last few years. Flying over the southernmost islands of the Philippines always took my breath away. The next island is as fantastic as the next. Pearl white beaches compete in ringing each of the islets that show no sign of humanity. Partly protected by distance and the reputation of strife, these isles lay unwasted, undiscovered. Maybe it is meant to be.

more aerial shots of Sulu

ring and cabochons
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/800s, f/4.5, 17.5mm, +2/3 EV
islands of the Sulu archipelago, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, the Philippines

donut, hole
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/1000s, f/4.9, 21.3 mm
islands of the Sulu archipelago, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, the Philippines

Canon PowerShot S40, 1/1000s, f/3.5, 12.3 mm
islands of the Sulu archipelago, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, the Philippines

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The concept of beauty

Beauty, the ideal that we all grasp but always find difficult to describe in specifics, is forever etched in our mind. What defines beauty? Who says what is beautiful and what is not?

A couple of years ago, we were viewing the magnificent murals of Angkor Wat, admiring the intricately carved apsaras (mythical nymphs) that grace the flaking sandstone walls, when our guide, pointed to us one particular figure. “That,” he said, “is for me the most beautiful apsara in all of Angkor.”

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/100s, f/7.1, 55mm, ISO 100, -1.0EV (no post-processing)
the famous toothy apsara in the Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Kampuchea

An apsara, by virtue of her divinity, is regarded as the epitome of grace and beauty and there are the features that are recognizably common: A round face with puffed cheeks. A bulging forehead. Almond eyes that definitely are Asian. Full lips that would put collagen-injected puckers to shame. Buxom fertile breasts. Elongated ear lobes stretched by the weight of the heavy earrings.

However, I noticed what seemed to be some unique features in this particular apsara: A high-bridged and aquiline nose, which almost is not Asian. A cleft chin. And most peculiar of all, an open smile which revealed straight even teeth.

Against other apsaras in the same wall, she is a standout. Take the two apsaras shown below for instance. Even by today’s standards, they remain verisimilitudes of pulchritude. Yet one gets the feeling that when compared to the smiling apsara, the two could only appear generic and typical.

the concept of beauty
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/80s, f/5.6, 18mm, ISO 200, -1/3EV (no post-processing)
typical countenance of apsaras in the Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Kampuchea

Leaving the temple, I shelved these observations. But just recently, back in the confines of home, I searched the internet and found out that the smiling apsara is indeed a famous relief, cited in travel books. It is one of only ten apsaras who bear toothy smiles. (Online sources would often point to only two but has surveyed 10). Tourists actually spend time to look for this one and if their guide is not knowledgeable to this trivia, they often could not locate it.

What drove the artist to carve this toothy apsara? From what I read, Khmer tradition calls for apsara dancers never to show their teeth during a performance. Grinning with an open mouth is also generally considered impolite in Asia. As a child, we were taught to always cover our mouths with our hands to hide the teeth.

The contradiction comes back to what construes as beauty. Is it the allure of mystery? Or can beauty be bold and in your face? In the art of Angkor, mystique occasionally is out in the open, not just suggested, not coy. Honesty can still be beautiful, now and in the past.

more apsaras

photographing the relief
me, taking a picture of the toothsome apsara, as taken by my wife
travel tip: the Apsara is on the wall of the first exterior gallery facing to the east. Photographing the famous toothsome apsara was challenging. It is carved high on the wall and shooting it at eye level was difficult. I had to wedge my feet on the ledge and tiptoed as much as I could, to get a more level vantage point.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/125s, f/5.6, 45mm, ISO 400, +2/3 EV, (no post-processing)
an apsara at the temple of Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Kampuchea

Canon EOS 350D, 1/40s, f/5.6, 38mm, ISO 400, -1/3 EV
an apsara at Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Kampuchea

Canon EOS 350D, 1/40s, f/5.6, 30mm, ISO 400
an apsara at Angkor Wat, red from the rubbing of human hands, Siem Reap, Kampuchea

Canon EOS 350D, 1/15s, f/5.6, 47mm, ISO 100, +1/3 EV (no post-processing)
an apsara overcome by the creeping jungle at Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Kampuchea

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sunrise at Compostela

Again, it’s work. I woke up at 4AM, took a quick bath and headed off to our meeting point. By 4:30AM, we were on our way to a beach in Compostela, some 22 kilometers from the City. We need to inspect some seaweed seedlings and low tide was early in the morning.

This was July 2 and weather had been cloudy all week. Cebu and the rest of the Philippines are in the middle of a strong Northwest monsoon season. We just had a major typhoon and weather is pretty much unpredictable.

However, at sunrise time of 5:29AM, the sun turned shy and did not show its resplendent self. The gray clouds were too thick. Too bad for me and my camera. A few minutes later, daylight became more pronounced and the glimpses of the sun could be seen coming out of the horizon. I caught some boats crisscrossing the open Camotes Sea and the photographs weren’t that bad. We still counted ourselves lucky. There was no rain.

off to sea
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/125s, f/5.6, 300mm, ISO 100, +1.0EV

Back on shore, we were eager spectators of the soft light slowly growing brighter and brighter. Sunrise viewing is always like a spiritual experience for me. And now that I am into photography, I began to snap some silhouettes that early morning sun could offer.

Compostela beach silhouette
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/1600s, f/3.5, 18mm, ISO 100, +4/3EV

Despite the ungodly hour, the beach was not deserted. Fishermen were also in the open sea, casting nets and chasing fish into cages. We originally thought that they were standing on the reef as it was low tide. Later, when we ventured into the sea on a boat we discovered that they were actually in deep waters. They really must be strong swimmers as they apparently were treading in the water all along.

fishermen at Compostela beach
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/250s, f/5.6, 300mm, ISO 100, +2/3EV

As it no longer was dark, we eagerly had breakfast. Menu was simple- fish fillet wrapped in aluminum foil and grilled over charcoal. A few peppercorns, stalks of lemongrass and tomatoes were the only spices. Served piping hot, it was heavenly.

broiled fish
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/1000s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV

Soon enough it was 7AM. Our work was about to begin. Enough with photography, for now.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bali Arts Festival 2008- part 5

black and white

I did the calculations. I have 21 black and white pictures to date in my flickr account. That represents only 1.3% of my 1,655 photos (public and private).

So I prefer colors. The wilder, the better. The more vivid, the more attractive. There are occasions – and they come few and far between – when I see photos in b&w light and I would then convert the colored originals into b&w.

Such sentiment came to me with these portraits at the Bali Arts Festival Opening Parade. I can volunteer three reasons on the b&w decision.

1. First is to eliminate the distraction of color. B&W allows the eyes to focus on the subject and the prevailing mood of the composition. All the subjects are male and I felt that masculinity is served in strong contrasts and almost inscrutable shadows.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/100s, f/5.0, 230mm, ISO 100, -1/3EV

2. Second is to recreate timelessness. Time was when b&w was the norm so monochromes evoke nostalgia like no other.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/500s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 400, +1/3EV

3. Third is a reason that is innately Balinese. In the island’s Hindu culture, the combination of black and white, as evident in the ubiquitous poleng black and white checked cloths which are draped all over statues, pavilions and even trees, represents cosmic duality. Light and darkness could not be more universal and specific at the same time.

Bali Arts Fest child performer
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/250s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 100, -2/3EV

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A short foray in wedding photography

I don’t think I’d ever be a wedding photographer.

Like anything new to me, I probably would enjoy it at first. Novelty always moves me. I can imagine myself contorting in unusual positions and challenging normal conventions so as to cook up the most unusual of compositions and the most intimate of responses.

However, I would not have the patience to capture all steps of the ceremony and the party thereafter, nor could I prevent myself from getting bored in doing the same stuff all over again. Any couple who are about to enter a most important chapter in their lives deserves a photographer with more commitment than my fleeting cursory interest. Hats off to the all event photographers for enjoying the rote and always finding something fresh.

Anyway, last May 24, I found myself invited to the wedding of Keith, a colleague. As he’s a fellow chemist who used to work with me in the lab, I could not say no but decided to come only for the church ceremony.

I’ve already heard mass inside the Guadalupe Church several times in the past but that was before flickr. Having been built after the war, the church is fairly new by Cebu standards. It does have an interesting central dome which helped me from getting restless as I whiled away my time by photographing it at several angles.

dome of the Guadalupe Church
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/60s, f/4.0, 18mm, ISO 100, +2/3EV (as-is, uncorrected)
the dome of Guadalupe Church, Cebu City, the Philippines

However, the wedding ceremony started 30 minutes late. I then decided that I might as well photograph the couple, not really during the mass as I don’t have an official photographer accreditation which is now required by the Archdiocese of Cebu, but at least in the minutes leading to the part when the wedding party would walk down the aisle. I did not really photograph the rest of the wedding party. I did not have a good vantage point as I was sitting at the back pews and there was a rope cordoning off the aisle. Besides, their official wedding photographers already covered them. I took some shots of Keith and waited for Angel, the bride to arrive.

Keith a-calling
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/40s, f/5.6, 220mm, ISO 800, +1/3EV (as-is, uncorrected)
Keith, just before his wedding at the Guadalupe Church, Cebu City, the Philippines

As customary in the Philippines, the bride was the last to come out. When she only got off the car, she was a vision in white. Against the strong afternoon light glaring out of the wide church doors, she seemed to be floating in air. My initial shot was of the bride being attended to by her bridesmaid. I love how the color pink was cast over her gown, as reflected from the dress of the bridesmaid.

for the last time
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/125s, f/5.6, 55mm, ISO 800, +5/3EV
at the Guadalupe Church, Cebu City, the Philippines

My best shot however came when she already was alone. The curtain of rope hanging at the door which is to keep birds from entering and nesting inside the church became a dramatic background. And when she slowly began to walk down the aisle, she beamed a wide smile which distilled the joy of the occasion.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/200s, f/5.6, 55mm, ISO 800, +5/3EV
Angel, the bride, just before walking down the aisle at the Guadalupe Church, Cebu City, the Philippines
phototip: The strong backlight here was pushing the exposure compensation to +5/3EV. Except for the conversion to b&w, this photo has no other post-processing.

I took a few more shots of her as she marched towards her waiting groom. Everything else was denouement for me and I did not lift my camera again. Wedding photography still escapes me.

Stumble Upon Toolbar