New Year thoughts and whereabouts

It’s been well over a month since my last blog entry and I feel it’s time to let the world know what I’ve been doing and thinking.

Since arriving back to Cebu in Mid-December I have been in the process of reorganizing my entire photo database. I am now using Adobe’s Lightroom v2.6 and have found it to be a wonderful piece of software. I had always wanted to learn this program, but came to the realization that I must use this after reading Mitchell’s ebook and watching Photoshop Lightroom Essential Training videos. Processing my RAW files is now easier than ever and having my photos organized gives me a lot less to worry about. I am still tagging my images, but they are all labeled by place and date as of now. There are over 40,000 images in my main catalog, 25,000 images in my hired catalog (weddings, events, hired work not related to travel or documentary) and another 20,000 in my personal catalog. I honestly don’t know how I kept everything straight before using Lightroom to organize everything. I highly recommend anyone with a large photo database to look into Lightroom for organizing, processing and exporting your photos. It makes life that much easier and as Chris Horwood says, “it’s a tool that ultimately lets the photographer get back to photography.” And that what we all want, right?

The topic of getting back to photography is something I have been giving a lot of thought to lately. Since I decided to get more serious with photography about two years ago, I have spent a great deal of time doing everything I can to market my images, improve my website, establish connections with editors, sell prints in hotels, join contests, etc. and have spent less time than I would like in the field actually taking photos. This is of course a necessary and an important part of being a successful photographer, but I often find it inhibiting to what I really want to be doing. A balance is needed and I often forget that.

It seems appropriate that I began the new year with a simple small step of reorganizing my photo library. This is my initial attempt to become more focused, organized, and engaged in the type of imagery I want to produce. I suppose this is a type of New Year’s Resolution. A large part of this will be ‘getting back to photography’ and traveling to the places that need to have a story told. Upgrading gear and getting a contract with one of the big stock agencies are two more goals of mine for the year (both which will ultimately let me stayed more focused on the photography as well) . I’m excited for some upcoming trips I have planned this year and especially for moving forward with a clearer and more focused mindset.

Travels….My wife and I took a trip to the northern most part of Luzon, Philippines for her birthday a few weeks ago. Actually, we went to visit some of her friends from our Peace Corps days and celebrate her friends daughters first birthday. I of course was the official photographer and had a lot of fun spending time with everyone there. We were able to visit two provinces while on our visit, Cagayan and Ilocos. It was a first for me. Even in my extensive travels as a Peace Corps volunteer here in the Philippines I never made it that far north in Luzon. It’s a beautiful area with a rich history. I fell in love with the Cagayan river, which is the longest river in the country. I have plans to go back and fully explore the people who live and use the river everyday.


Children on the Cagayan River in their bamboo rafts.


A blind man sitting at the entrance of Piat Church in Cagayan.


A pottery worker in the old historic town of Vigan, Illicos.


An open cemetery in Vigan, Illicos.


A women doing laundry on the banks of the Cagayan River, Cagayan.


A farmer stops while carrying a heavy load on a dirt road somewhere in Illicos.

Returning to Cebu we jumped right into the Sinulog celebration. This is one of the largest festivals here in the Philippines to honor the Patron Saint of Santo Nino. Actually, we arrived back towards the end of Sinulog Week but in time for the Fluvial & Solemn Processions and the big Grand Parade. I love Cebu during this time because it comes alive with energy and there are lots of visitors roaming around the city. They hold a photo contest for Sinulog each year and it has really become a huge gathering. I believe there were over 1,300 registered photographers and over 10,000 entries this year. There is a lot of talk about the contest among Cebuanos and some nice cash prizes. I found it hard this year though to fully enjoy myself during the Grand parade because of the amount of photographers. The streets were crawling with cameras fighting to get the best shot. Anytime I tried to take a photo another photographer would in some way step in front or block me. I guess that’s why I like to shoot away from the large crowds. That being said, I always manage to get at least one winning entry every year.

Other contest news…I recently found out that I received two honorable mentions in the SilkAir Destinations Photo Contest. You can see the winning photos here.

I plan to update this blog periodically, but only when I have meaningful content. In trying to stay in focus this year I will most likely not be posting something every month. Although, I have hopes that by years end I will be more refined as a photographer and have more interesting content to share with you all. The journey continues….


A Sinulog dancer carries her beloved image of the Santo Nino.


Sinulog Festival Queen takes a breather during their dance in the Grande Parade.


Thousands crowd the streets of Cebu during the Solemn Procession.


A festival queen dances during the Grand Parade.


Sinulog dancers.


Devotees come to pay homage to the original Santo Nino inside the Basilica de Santo Nino.

Tagged: cagayan, illicos, lightroom, photography, resolution, sinulog,
Posted on: Jan 30, 2010