Three weeks in the Cordilleras of Luzon and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of experiencing the rich cultures that make up the Igorot people. This is a common trend I have experienced while working on the Katutubong Filipino Project and one reason I hope to extended the project longer term, perhaps for another three years. More time is needed. This is especially true when trying to tell the story of the Igorot people who live in six different provinces with over 20 tribes all speaking different languages, practicing different rituals, and have different beliefs and cultures. Visiting the Cordilleras was like stepping into another country for me, a drastic change in geography and people’s general positive outlook and attitude toward their own way of life.
Things often do not turn out the way you might expect them to. Such was the case during my recent trip back to the Sierra Madres. I returned to a part of Isabela and Cagayan provinces to visit some old Agta friends from last year. Upon returning this time I had a plan to go on a hunt with some of the men, a hunt for wild pig, deer or monkey. These are game items that the Agta still hunt for occasionally in the forest to eat or sell to locals. I was excited about this trip and thought with the contacts I had made everything would fall into place fairly easily. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Uncontrollable circumstances such as bad weather, broken transportation, and previous obligations of my contacts lead to a serious amount of time waiting.
It’s been eight years since I was last in northern Palawan during my Peace Corps days. Back then I spent a lot of time in Coron and Busuanga doing marine surveys and remember how beautiful the islands were in this part of the country. This time my travels brought me to Coron to photograph the Calamian Tagbanua people, one of a number of different indigenous groups found in Palawan. During the months I spent in Coron years ago I remember isolated fishing communities that harvested seaweed and octopus. I also remember the picturesque tropical islands, especially Coron Island which stands tall above most of the others with its karst limestone cliffs. It was these memories in part that made me want to return and explore the area with my camera.
I just returned from a two week trip to Isabela province in northern Luzon to document the Agta and Dumagat Indigenous people in the area. Oma and I traveled for three days to reach our destination; starting in Manila we traveled by bus for two days and then took a 15 hour boat ride on a small outrigger full of cargo to reach the towns of Divilacan and Maconacon. These two towns are separated from “main land” Luzon by the Sierra Madre mountains. There are no roads going here and the towns are only accessible by boat or a small plane. The remoteness of the area is what initially attracted me because I was hoping to find something more authentic, something different from other places I have been to in the Philippines.
I’m back in Mindanao and wanted to share some images from the past few days. I have been here looking to photograph some of the indigenous peoples in the northern region of the island, and it has proven to be somewhat difficult. Despite one very disappointing day we were able to find a small Mamanwa community that allowed us to photograph them.
I’m just checking in as I have been moving around for the past couple of weeks. I arrived into Seattle after another boat trip in Alaska over a week ago. It’s been fun exploring the city and spending some time with a good college friend there. I’m now in Daytona, Florida at the Harley Davidson rally for a week of Boogey Lights and the biker folks. I’m hoping to get some nice portraits of the bikers while here. I will be back in Seattle early next week and then heading up to Alaska again for some more time on the ocean.
I’m back in Dutch Harbor after being out at sea for the past month and a half. I have been observing on long-line commercial fishing vessels fishing for Pacific Cod in the Bering sea. It was a long time out and I must say it’s nice to be back on land. I wanted to share some more images from this beautiful part of the world where bald eagles and rainbows can be found on any ordinary day. I had some great shooting days before I left to sea last month. Now the weather in Dutch is getting cold and windy and its hard to stay outside for very long.
I have been working on an environmental outreach project the past few days in Bayabas, a municipality in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao. I was invited to come here and photograph their mangroves and other coastal vegetation for a local photo exhibit. This public exhibit will be used to help educate residents about the importance of their mangroves and coastal resources.
Wherever I travel I often find myself photographing local markets. I find a great amount of life and energy in markets and I think that’s the main reason I’m drawn to them. The high energy mixed with the variety of people/personalities and colors usually makes local markets a must place for me to photograph when in a new location. Aside from being good photographic locations, I love trying new foods, smelling new smells (and not all are pleasant), and enjoy watching the daily life of people all around me. It still amazes me that to many people these markets are their way of life. This is what they do day in and day out, whether it be selling vegetables or gutting fish. It still humbles me.
The Philippines held national and local elections yesterday and for the first time used automated machines to count the votes. I was able to go to a local elementary school close to my house here in Cebu to see what the scene was like. It’s basically what I thought it would be like and very similar to the presidential election six years ago. It felt like a town fiesta in a way with loud music playing, candidates giving away free food, political fliers all over the streets and people generally in good spirits.
I’ve spent the last week visiting my mom and family on the shoreline of Connecticut. The weather has been great here and the fall colors are entering into their peak. Not only have I enjoyed seeing my family, but I’ve enjoyed shooting in an area which holds a lot of childhood memories to me. I [...]
Sometimes we can forget that we don’t need to go far to find something captivating to shoot. Last week, while being weighed down by office work, I found inspiration from a least expected place–a papaya tree. I often find myself sitting in front of the computer for hours, editing, uploading and doing website optimizing. I [...]
PRESS RELEASE: Humanity Photo Awards (HPA) 2009 This is Yang from China Folklore Photographic Association (CFPA), organizer of the Humanity Photo Awards (HPA), the ONLY worldwide folklore photo contest. It is aimed to everyone who loves folkore cultures. This year, HPA is co-organized with the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Comittee (GUAGOC) and UNESCO. In addition [...]
The more I find myself in front of the computer, the more I want to be away from it doing something else. Particularly, being out in the field and taking photographs or spending more time with my kids. Let’s face it though, if your images are left to sit on your hard drive; is it [...]
I had the opportunity this week to interview Pedro Patrício one of the founders and developers of Photoburst.net, a travel photography daily contest. Pedro was kind enough to answer all of my questions, revealing a little more behind this new and creative contest he has helped start. Photoburst.net is a fairly new website that publishes [...]
After a few months of planning and organizing I finally sent off around 1500 slides and negatives to be digitally scanned. I feel relieved, but anxious at the same time to see the final digital images which will eventually be added to my stock gallery. These images are mostly from my travels to Latin America, [...]
(Update 2012: I have a newer tutorial on editing underwater photos which can be seen on Light Stalking’s website) This is short tutorial to show you how I make quick edits to some of my underwater photos. Most underwater pictures will have a green or cyan color cast that needs to be removed and light/detail [...]