Photography hasn’t always been a passion for me, as it is now. It’s something that I got into later in life, and I’m really thankful that I did, as it has provided an important creative outlet for me.
Growing up in the Philippines, the cost of film and then having the photos developed and printed made it cost prohibitive for most. When I was in my early 20s, I made my first trip to Europe and decided that I would borrow my dad’s SLR (film-based, not digital) to capture the moment. Unfortunately, that first attempt was a dismal failure. Only after completing my sightseeing trip of London did I learn that I hadn’t loaded the film into the camera properly, and so I didn’t have a single photograph.
Two years later, the short-lived Advanced Photo System (APS) film format was launched, and I bought my very first camera. One of its selling points was its foolproof film loading mechanism, and after what happened in London, I think that this had a big influence on my purchasing decision. Another two years after that, digital ‘point and shoot’ cameras were starting to become affordable and take reasonable quality pictures (albeit low-res by today’s standards), and so I switched cameras again.
I now found myself taking more and more photos, as I no longer have to worry about the cost of films and film processing. Looking back, I have to say that I definitely took snapshots back then, rather than photographs. Usually, they’d be the typical snapshots of iconic tourist destinations and attractions, with me in them – “here’s the Eiffel Tower, and I’m that dot at the bottom”, “here’s a New York cab, and oh look, that’s me in it!” After a while, the excitement of being in every single picture wore off, and I started to want something more meaningful from my photos.
The turning point came when we visited the Galapagos Islands in 2009. For biologists, visiting the Galapagos Islands and treading in Darwin’s footsteps is akin to religious devotees making their way to Lourdes or Mecca. It being one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ trips, I really wanted to capture the best possible shots of all of the incredible wildlife that we encountered, often at just an arm’s length away. Sadly, my trusty compact camera wasn’t really up to the challenge, and after seeing the beautiful images that the hardcore photographers on the trip were capturing, I committed to learning how to take better shots and to buy a serious camera.
When we got back, I did my research and decided to buy a Nikon D90, which was Nikon’s latest ‘prosumer’ model. Now equipped with my first DSLR, I had more technical control of my images and I could learn to take better photographs. Since then, I’ve been hooked on developing my skills, and over time I’ve learned to take better and more creative photos. The photos shown in the Gallery section are just a few of those that I’ve taken with this body and a selection of lenses (Nikon 18-200 mm zoom, Tamron 18-270 mm zoom, Sigma 10 mm fisheye and Nikon 50 mm 1.2 prime) as I’ve traveled since 2009.