Saturday, December 19, 2009

$300 Video Gets $30 Million Hollywood Deal

When I saw this in Yahoo, I could not believe it.  I just had to blog about it!

A guy from Uruguay named Fede Alvarez made a $300 4-minute sci-fi video on giant Robots and spaceships invading Montevideo (Uruguay's Capital) and uploaded it on YouTube Thursday and by Monday, his emailbox was loaded with bonafide Hollywood offers. A bidding war ensued and Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures signed him on with a $30 million deal.

After seeing the video, I myself would have offered the same amount if I had it.  This guy is talented.  I was already impressed with "Paranormal Activity" which was done for just around $15,000.  This guy is just blew them out of the water with what he has achieved for just $300.  This story is a great testament to talent over raw budget!  -- as technology starts to equalize the playing field, talent will become king.

 Here is the video titled "Ataque de Panico (Panic Attack)."  The craftsmanship is just amazing:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Invisible Self-Portraits by Liu Bolin

Liu Bolin is a Beijing based artist/photographer, from the Shandong Art College with an MFA in Central Academy of Fine Arts.  He started his "camouflage series" as a protest against the government when it teared down his art cooperative building to make way for the Olympic edifices in 2005.  He says that his work is a statement about how ordinary people do not fit in modern chinese society and as a protest for the government's persecution of artists.  The pictures are straight photographs and does not involve photoshop or manipulations of any sort (Liu is literally painted into the background).  This series has since been exhibited at Paris' galerie Bertin Toublanc, at Eli Klein Fine Art in New York and at a gallery in Maimi.

Here are some examples of his work through the years...

--Pictures by Liu Bolin. Video from by Reuters and bteikoh.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Two Veteran Filipino Actors Pass Away

Former LVN star Bernard Bonnin died last Saturday morning at age 70; and award-winning actor Johnny Delgado died last Thursday at age 61.

My family and I would like to extend our condolences to our sister-in-law, France Bonnin-Magadia and to her family and extended family.  We are sorry we could not be there, but our prayers are with you.

Bernard Bonnin - Filipino Actor (Sept. 1939 - Nov. 2009)

Bernard Bonnin with Maggie De La Riva in "Ako Ngayon, Ikaw Bukas"

Bernard Bonnin was a former LVN actor best known for his portrayal of Philippine comicbook action hero "Palos."  He starred in more than 100 feature films from 1958 to 1970.  He was still actively acting sporadically until 2007, when the Primetime TV Tele-series "Palos" starring Cesar Montano and Jake Cuenca finished filming.  Among his more memorable films were: "Mga Anak ni Waray" (1959), "Sandata at Pangako" (1965), "Walang Duwag na Bisaya" (1965), "Arizona Kid" (1971), "Tatlong Patak ng Dugo ni Adan" (1980), and "Buy One Take One" (1988).  He is survived by his current wife, Digna and his five children -- Charlene (Gonzales-Muhlach), Richard, Gabby, Vincent and France.

Johnny Delgado - Filipino Actor/Writer (Feb. 1948 - Nov. 2009)

Johnny Delgado in "Tanging Yaman" Hilda Koronel

Johnny Delgado was an award-winning TV and Film actor/writer best known for his work on the TV comedy series "Goin' Bananas."  He won a FAMAS Best Actor award for "Tanging Yaman" (2001), an Urian Best Supporting Actor award for "Kakabakaba Ka Ba?" (1981), Metro Film Fest Best Actor for "Tanging Yaman" and Best Supporting Actor for "Ligalig" (2006) and FAP Best Supporting Actor Awards for "Ligalig" and "La Visa Loca" (2006).  He is survived by his wife, Actress and Director Laurice Guillen and daughters Anna and Ina Feleo.

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Opportunity to Shoot A Meteor

If you have been wanting to photograph or video tape a meteor, tonight might be your chance. Take your cameras and tripods out, there might be an amazing meteor shower coming your way.

One of the best annual meteor shows, the Leonid Meteor Shower, is happening between 1am and dawn.  NASA predicts 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the Americas and 200 to 300 per hour over Asia.  The Leonid stream is moving in the opposite direction of Earth and produces impact speeds of 160,000 mph.  When our planet travels through the stream of debris, they vaporize and create dramatic streaks of light (with hues of white, blue, aquamarine and green -- occasionally into fireballs with streaks visible for several minutes.

Since we are currently on "New Moon," the skies will be dark enough for a good picture or video clip.  The best locations to shoot would be away from the lights of the city.

The Earth will pass one of the denser debris stream around 1am PST Tuesday Morning.  The meteors can appear anywhere but can be traced to their hub, the constellation Leo.

I recommend shooting with a normal to short telephoto lens (50mm to 100mm on 35mm) since they are unpredictable and could show up anywhere on the sky/horizon.  This will give you a wide enough coverage to capture the light show.  Good luck!

Here are some photos of the Leonid Meteor Shower from

Photo by Howard Goodman

Photo by Alain Pierre Hovasse

Photo by Mark A. Brown

Photo by David Ryle

--Photos from

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Corman, Bacall and Willis Get Oscars Tonight

Indie legend Roger Corman, Actress Lauren Bacall and Cinematographer Gordon Willis are receiving their Oscar trophies tonight.

For the first time, since the award was instituted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in 1948, the honorary Oscars will be presented in a separate ceremony from the televised 82nd Annual Academy Awards, to be broadcasted on March 7, 2010.

Together with John Calley, this year's Irving J. Thalberg Memorial Award winner, the three honorary Oscar winners will also receive their statuettes during the private Academy's inaugural Governors Awards event at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood & Highlands center tonight.  Jonathan Demme, Angelica Huston, Quentin Tarantino and past honorary Award recipient Kirk Douglas are among the presenters.

Roger Corman with Vincent Price

Roger Corman, widely known as the "King of B movies" for his low-budget features, is also known as the mentor of movie legends: Francis Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, James Cameron, Jack Nicholson, Charles Bronson, Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro.  Corman's former company, New World Pictures, was the U.S. distributor for the films of international cinema greats: Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Francois Truffaut and Akira Kurosawa.

Lauren Bacall with husband Humphrey Bogart

A Star of more than 30 films, Lauren Bacall is best remembered for her roles in "The Big Sleep," "Key Largo," "Dark Passages," "How to Marry a Millionaire," "Designing Woman" and "The Mirror Has Two Faces."  She was married to actors Humphrey Bogart and Jason Robards.

Gordon Willis on the set

Cinematographer Gordon Willis is a legendary visual stylist in cinema.  Nicknamed "The Prince of Darkness" by his fellow cinematographers,  for his preference for shooting in the dark, he is best known for his work on the Godfather series and his collaboration with Woody Allen on Annie Hall, Manhattan and Zelig.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

IPhone Mouth in Music Video

I know that the IPhone is one of the most versatile gadget out now, but this is just insane (pun intended)!

I saw this first on, my favorite blog for everything IPhone. The video was part of a 24-hour competition between two bands to see who could produce the most viral video. This video, by the South London band "Mirrorkicks," gets my vote! -- it is both creative and novel, I wish I came up with the idea:-)

For more info on the "Mirrorkicks," go to:

For more info on the Viral competition, go to:

--Video by the Mirrorkicks from YouTube by Viralmess.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Paranormal Activity

The latest Indie phenomenon to hit movie theaters worldwide, "Paranormal Activity" is making independent cinema history.   It is currently number one in the box office.  And as of yesterday, it has grossed $86,944,269 in the United States and Canada alone, making it the most profitable (box office sales to production cost) independent film ever, toppling long-time cult favorite "The Blair Witch Project".  Made with a total budget of just around$15,000, it is a story about a young couple who uses a video camera to capture the paranormal activities they are experiencing in their home.

Shot with one video camera and a crew of 3 by Israeli born first-time writer/director Oren Peli, "Paranormal Activity" was shot for 7 days straight in 2006 at Peli's own house in San Diego. The basic idea for the movie, came from Peli's own fear of ghosts and his own experience with night time noises in his own home. As soon as he had a basic outline for the story, he held a marathon casting session in Hollywood that attracted around 150 actors and actresses. Among the hopefuls were Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston, who both saw the casting call advertised on Craigslist.  Peli hired them for $500, simply because they had great chemistry and was convincing as a real couple.  Peli lucked out, since both actors turned out to be real professionals and Micah even had previous experience as a cameraman in his University's TV station (making him perfect for the role and the de facto cameraman for the movie).

Wanting to tap into our most primal fears, Peli deliberately staged most of the 'Paranormal Activity' that happens in the movie at night, when most of us feel vulnerable.  Taking his cue from "The Blair Witch Project," he opted for a more home-made feel by using a hand-held video camera -- because it gave the movie a raw believability (as well as substantial savings in equipment and crew).  The dialogue was also more natural because there was no real script, but just an outline of the story, and the actors were made to improvise.  Shot out of sequence, the footage was edited on Sony Vegas editing software (on a home PC) as soon as they finalize each scene, with the visual effects applied at the same time.

The movie premiered at the Screamfest: Horror Film Festival 2007.  The Screamfest screening help land Peli an agent in CAA and a place in Slamdance.  Miramax Films Senior Executive Jason Blum and his partner Steven Schneider saw the film and started working with Peli to tighten and smoothen the rougher segments of the movie.  After seeing a copy of the movie, a Dreamworks Production Executive pestered her boss Adam Goodman to see it and the movie went up the line to Steven Spielberg, who liked the film and greenlighted a remake.  Paramount then acquired the domestic rights to the film, and international rights to potential sequels for $300,000.  During the negotiations, Blum and Peli negotiated a 'one-time' screening into the contract to see how the audience will react to the original.  It was during this screening that a decision was made to can the remake and release the original version of the film.  It was originally scheduled to be release on 2008, but the split between Paramount and Dreamworks delayed it.  Adam Goodman, now a Paramount Executive, finally released the film this year (Sept. 25 - limited; Oct. 16 - wide).

I gave this movie an 'Absolutely Brilliant' rating for two reasons:

Owle Bobo: A Must Have for the IPhone Filmmaker

The Owle Bobo is an IPhone 3Gs camera mount/stabilizer equipped with a 37mm wide-angle/macro (.45x) combo lens and a high quality vericorder microphone.  The sleek futuristic case is constructed from anodized billet aluminum and features an accessory shoe, as well as several "screw-holes" that can accommodate a tripod/monopod or any other gadgets or accessories you want to attach.

I have seen all kinds of gadgets to attach to the IPhone, but this is one accessory that an IPhone Filmmaker must have!  Watch the video below and I am sure you will agree.  I am definitely getting one as soon as I post this blog.

Here is a great review from, which carefully examines the product's features:

For more details on the product and to purchase it online, go to:

-- Pictures from  Video from

Monday, November 2, 2009

Canon EF Mount Zeiss Lenses

Carl Zeiss, Inc. just announced the newest addition to its ZE Series Lenses (Canon EF Mount), the Distagon T* 2/35 ZE.

The Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 ZE is a 35mm standard wide-angle prime for all film and digital Canon EOS cameras models, with a wide aperture of f/2.  It features a moderate 53 degree field of view (horizontal) with very minimal distortion, perfect for commercial, travel and nature applications.  A manual focus fast lens that features a short angle of rotation for precision focusing, the 35mm ZE was made for professional handheld use.  Constructed with 9 high-definition zeiss elements and coated with the Zeiss T* anti-reflection coating, it easily captures bright light sources without unwanted artifacts.  Stylishly sleek and elegant with an all-metal mechanism, it compliments the contours and rounded body design of the Canon EOS cameras.

The 35mm ZE is the 6th lens from Zeiss available for the Canon EOS Series.  The other ZE Series Lenses are: the Distagon 18mm f3.5 ZE, the Distagon 21mm f2.8 ZE, the Distagon 28mm f2 ZE, the Planar 50mm f1.4 and the Planar 85mm f1.4.

The complete ZE Series to date is shown below:

Canon cameras with fine Zeiss lenses -- a dream of mine that has become a reality!

Manufactured under license by Cosina in Japan with Zeiss glass, it is available in a variety of camera mounts: Canon (ZE), Nikon (ZF), Pentax/Samsung (ZK) and M-42 screw thread (ZS).

For an in-depth review of the individual lenses, go to:

The 50mm and 85mm Planar ZE lenses are available in

--Photos from

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Antonioni's "Blowup": Subjective Reality Through the Photographer's Eye

Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blowup” is a cinematic masterpiece that has withstood the test of time. It is as relevant now as it was in 1966. It has inspired and influenced countless filmmakers, as well as sparked heated debates among movie aficionados. It is a very potent work of art that either agitates or aggravates its viewers into spontaneous applause or inordinate disdain.

I just purchased my copy of the film yesterday, after seeing it on cable the other week. I have seen the film more than a dozen times before and my feelings had been mixed. But seeing it again after so many years made it fresh, and this time around I was applauding.

I remember attending a special screening of “Blowup” with my wife Anne eight years ago, in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. While we were visiting the museum, I saw an announcement of the screening. I literally pushed Anne into the auditorium, eager to finally see the movie on the ‘big screen.’ We were newly married then and I really did not know how she will react to the film’s ending.

Antonioni directing the "fashion shoot" sequence.

I was still a teenager the first time I saw “Blowup,” and I thought it was an absolute work of genius. The second time I saw it, I was in college and I thought it was clever. The third to the nth time I saw the movie, I was in film school and my feelings toward it vacillated from admiration to revulsion. By the time I was seated next to my wife in the LACMA Theater, I was somewhat indifferent. Pathetic as it may sound, I was basically watching it again to relish the ‘photography sequences’ (I was not yet a career photographer then) – It is, after all, the quintessential “photographer film.”

As the crowd stood up from their seats to give the film a standing ovation, Anne looked at me quizzically with the most amusing “what the F___” expression I will never forget. She hated the film! She understood what Antonioni was trying to do, but she hated the movie for manipulating her – taking her for a ride. Anne believes that the film is too artificial, too contrived even to be considered clever.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mamiya DM Series Digital Backs

[This entry was set for 10/22/09 but was delayed for several hours by a Blogspot system error]

Earlier today, Mamiya (USA) introduced four new Digital Backs: the DM22 (22megapixels), the DM28 (28megapixels), the DM33 (33megapixels) and the DM56 (56megapixels).  Earlier this week, the company also introduced four new cameras with basically the same model numbers -- the reason for this is because the body is essentially the same model for all the cameras, the new Mamiya 645DF (or Phase One 645DF), the only difference between each camera model is their Digital Backs.

Manufactured by Leaf and designed by Mamiya with the help of Phase One, the new Digital Backs feature 22, 28, 33 and  56 megapixel sensors coupled with a 16 bit/channel color palette, which promises to deliver exceptional color accuracy and high dynamic range (12 f-stops).  It processes its RAW images as Leaf Mosaic HDR-type and is fully compatible with Capture One and Leaf Capture (both included in the package) or Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.  The ISO range varies for each model -- from 25-400 for the DM22, 50-800 for the DM28 and DM33, to 80-800 for the DM56.  All four models have 6 x 7 cm touchscreen LCDs.  The Digital Backs are also fully compatible with the Mamiya 645 series, as well as the RZ67 and the RB67 systems through special adapters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Canon 1D Mark IV

A few hours ago, Canon Inc. released a new Pro DSLR "the Canon 1D Mark IV" to replace its previous Canon 1D Mark III model.   It features a new 16.1 megapixel APS-H CMOS sensor with improved ISO sensitivity from 100 - 12,800 (standard) to 50 - 102,400 (expanded).  It also features dual DIGIC 4 image processors, full HD Video and improved AF points.

Like the Mark III (its recent predecessor), it features a professional grade magnesium alloy outer and inner body with weather and dust resistant seals and gaskets.   It is also capable of shooting at a burst of 10 frames per second and offers a "Live View" mode with autofocusing options.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

David Hockney Paints with an IPhone

David Hockney has been painting with an IPhone for more than a year now. He discovered an IPhone application called "Brushes" and just started to doodle, sending 4 or 5 of his spontaneous "sketch-paintings" per day via email to a group of about a dozen friends -- from where the electronic paintings eventually find their way out to the rest of the world. David has created hundreds, maybe even thousands of these original "art pieces"  by now ever since he began.

I am intrigued by this story because David Hockney is a prominent artist, who's not only widely famous, but is also reconized as a seminal figure in 20/21th Century Art. An artist of this caliber utilizing the cellphone (particularly the IPhone) as a tool to create "Art", gives "cellphone art/photography" a boost, an endorsement of sorts -- publicly declaring the electronic gadget fit for the creation of "Fine Art." Of course a lot of photographers (and artists) have been using the IPhone as a serious photographic tool since it was first introduced, but there have been many cynics.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Man-Made Black Hole Traps Light

Not a real Black Hole by definition, but rather an electromagnetic device (mimicking a Black Hole) that traps light, was built by two Chinese Scientists from the Southeast University in Nanjing.  It works at microwave frequencies and may soon be extended to trap visible light, leading to a more efficient way to harvest solar energy.

I wonder if this would also lead to applications in "the Art of Photography"...

For the full story, go to:

--Images by scientists Qiang Cheng and Tie Jun Cui

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The September Issue - Vogue Documentary

Like most fashion photographers, I aspire to shoot for the top magazines.  Vogue is one of the oldest iconic fashion bibles in the whole world, and arguably the most prestigious.  Its roster of celebrity photographers are the world's most celebrated -- Annie Liebovitz, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber, Patrick Demarchelier, Mario Testino, David LaChapelle, Herb Ritts and Jeanloup Sieff, just to name a few.

Cover Photo: Mario Testino

R.J. Cutler's award-winning (Sundance-Cinematography Award) documentary "The September Issue" takes a behind-the-scenes look inside the mythical world of Vogue Magazine (US) as it prepares its highly anticipated September 2007 issue.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Irving Penn Dead at 92

Legendary photographer Irving Penn died yesterday (October 7) in his Manhattan home at the age of 92.

Known for the stark Euclidean-simplicity of his compositions, Irving Penn transformed the mundane into beautiful abstract photographic masterpieces.

He was born in Plainfield, New Jersey in 1917. Although he started taking photographs in the late '30s, his original ambition was to be a painter.   As a student at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Design, he studied with famed Harper's Bazaar Art Editor Alexey Brodovich.  He ended up working with Brodovich in the magazine, then became Art Director at Saks 5th Avenue.

He left Saks to paint in Mexico for a year.  Dissatisfied with his efforts, he went back to New York to work in the Vogue Art Department under Alexander Liberman.  Unimpressed with some of the photographer's work, he started shooting the layouts himself.  Except for a brief stint in World War II as an ambulance driver and photographer for the American Field Service, he became a permanent fixture at Vogue -- A legend in residence.   His photographs are in the permanent collections of numerous institutions like the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Getty Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago among many others.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Captive Wildlife Photography

"Captive Wildlife Photography" is a sensitive issue for Wildlife Photographers.

I stumbled on a good blog entry by Wildlife Photographer Paul Burwell today on this particular issue:

On the blog, he questions the integrity of photographers who claim to shoot in the wild, but actually shoot animals in captivity (zoos and wildlife parks).  He proposes that "captive wildlife photographs" should include a disclaimer or a designation that indicates its "captivity" origins.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I am proud to announce that "Atomic Vision" (this blog) is now a featured Blog on Alltop, a leading news aggregator online.  It is listed under filmmaking and photography.

Featured in Alltop

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Manila Flooded

Dubbed the worst flood in the Philippine Capital for half a century, tropical storm "Ondoy (Ketsana)" devastated large portions of Manila and 25 other provinces yesterday. 12 hours of downpour dumped more than a month's worth of rain, leaving 80% of the city submerged and at least 106 people dead and missing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Leica Prosumer Compacts (X1, D-Lux4, D-Lux3) Comparison

The Leica D-Lux 3 is a camera I swear by.  I take it with me everywhere in a leather holster attached to my belt.  Aside from a slight bulge, the camera is so light and compact it has become my favorite "everyday camera" -- it is inconspicuous and can easily fit in a pocket.  Although I have been shooting with my IPhone lately for non-work related photographs (some of which have actually ended as fineart prints), the D-Lux 3 is still my camera of choice when it comes to more serious photos, specially for pictures that will end up as larger art prints.  I bought my camera two years ago and I have never regretted my purchase.

I have included the D-lux 3 in this comparison, even if it has recently been discontinued, because it is still a good camera and it is the basis for my evaluation of the two newer models.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino’s newest film “Inglourious Basterds” pays homage to the Italian Spaghetti westerns and to the 1970s World War II Macaroni combat film “Inglorious Bastards” by Italian Director Enzo G. Castellari that Quentin absolutely adores. Like most of his films, the movie is an eccentric blend of influences from various genres, styles and cultures amusingly spliced together to create an original.
Like Quentin, I am a big fan of Director Sergio Leone. The opening sequence (or Chapter 1) of the movie is an obvious retake of the “family massacre scene” from Leone’s “Once Upon A Time in the West.” The camera angles, the editing, the pacing and the framing are all Leone. The film’s musical score and soundtrack actually contains several previously released tracks by Ennio Morricone, Sergio Leone’s musical composer and frequent collaborator (Tarantino actually wanted Morricone to compose the original soundtrack for the film, but he was unavailable). “Once Upon A Time in Nazi Occupied France” was even seriously considered as a subtitle for this film. I believe Quentin actually saw a similarity between his Nazi villain Hans Landa and Leone’s villain Frank (played by Henry Fonda) in “Once Upon A Time in the West.” Both look and act unassumingly -- they play against their stereo-type, but are actually cold-blooded ruthless killers.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Music Video Shot with the Canon 1D Mark III

I found this blogged on the "Strobist" Blog of David Hobby. I instantly fell in love with the technique -- shooting a video on a still camera's frame-rate (a Canon 1D Mark III at 10fps with Profoto Pro-8A airs, later inserts with a Canon 1Ds Mark II), absolutely brilliant! Not exactly "convergence," but effective none the less. It is a great example of creativity and technical prowess over plain technology.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Douglas Kirkland

One of the most prolific Motion Picture Stills Photographer in history, Douglas Kirkland is a legend in Hollywood. He has been photographing movies and celebrities for over 50 years.

Born in Toronto in 1934 and raised in Fort Erie, Canada, he took his first picture with a box Brownie at the age of 10. Two years later, he was shooting with a 4 x 5 Speed Graphic sheet film camera. He started his professional career when he was just 14 years old, working for a local studio after school and on Saturdays. At 22, Douglas managed to get a job with Irving Penn as an assistant before finally getting hired by Look Magazine as a staff photographer. He became famous in 1961, when he photographed Marilyn Monroe for the 25th anniversary issue of the magazine.

He began photographing celebrities on a chance assignment with Elizabeth Taylor who agreed to do an interview with the magazine, but with no pictures. Elizabeth Taylor has not been photographed formally for a year and a half because she had been very sick, but Douglas accompanied the journalist on assignment hoping to persuade her. After the interview, he went to say goodbye but looked her straight in the eye and said, "Goodbye, it was nice meeting you... can you imagine what an opportunity it would be for me--being new at this magazine--if you gave me a chance to photograph you." A moment of silence passed and then she said, "Come tomorrow night at 8:30." The photo session was a success and was published worldwide, and his career working for the movie industry was launched.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Charity Work for Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Last Sunday, my daughter was the Guest of Honor at the Portuguese Bend National Horse Show, held at the Rolling Hills Estates in the Palos Verdes Peninsula. She awarded the Gabriel C. Duque, Jr. memorial trophy with Childrens Hospital LA Head of Radiology, Dr. Marvin Nelson.

Seeing her award that trophy brought tears to my eyes...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Canon EOS 7D Camera

As a camera enthusiast and collector, a "new camera launch" always excites me. Being a Canon user since the old F-1 era, Canon camera announcements are an extra treat.

I don't upgrade my photo gear every time a new model is announced... I usually skip one generation before I trade-in my cameras for better ones. The introduction of the new Canon 7D last Tuesday is timely -- I am ready to upgrade from my 40D.

Although I use 1Ds bodies for professional (commercial) work, I find them too heavy to lug around for my own personal work. Combine them with a couple of Pro L lenses (not to mention the telephotos) and you would need to bring an assistant just to get around.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Influencial Cinema Advocates Murdered

Alexis Tioseco, a Filipino-Canadian Film Critic and Nika Bohinc, a Slovenian Film Critic and freelance writer, were murdered yesterday (tuesday night-Manila time) in their home in Quezon City, a suburb of Metro-Manila, Philippines. According to the Police report, the couple was gunned down as they were entering their home. Both died of bullet wounds, victims of a violent burglary. Three gunmen, with the help of their live-in Maid, got away with an undetermined amount of personal valuables, including jewelry and their laptop computers.

This is a tragic loss for the Cinema world!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

District 9

"District 9," a late-summer Sci-fi thriller produced by Peter Jackson and directed by South African first-timer Neill Blomkamp, is surprisingly good. It may well be the best Blockbuster movie of this summer.

Set in Johannesburg South Africa and shot/edited psuedo-documentary style (with lots of news clips and video interviews), the Apartheid undertones are immediately recognizable. The title itself is a play on District 6, a mixed-race area in Cape Town where black residents were forcibly evacuated when it was declared "a White-only" neighborhood. Refugees forced to live in a squalid slum segregated from the rest of the population, these Aliens commonly refer to as "Prawns," draws from Blomkamp's own childhood memories of racial segregation and descrimination in South Africa.

Although the theme is politically charged, the movie successfully entertains by delivering an action-packed human drama that is both engaging and some-what intelligent. The plot is simple and straight forward: Aliens land on earth - Aliens ran out of fuel, and is trapped on Earth - Aliens finally escape. But by concentrating the story mainly on one human character, Wikus Van De Merwe and on the agony and the desperation he experiences as he slowly becomes an Alien himself, the film cleverly forces the audience to witness his tragedy -- and in effect, orchestrating an unconscious shift in the audience's sympathy, from loathing the insect like creatures (at the beginning of the film), to mild-empathy for the Aliens' plight and support for their eventual escape (by the end of the movie).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Beauty Work

I just finished working on these photos... I will be posting them tonight on my website.

We had a lot of fun working on this shoot.

Model: Natalie Anne Walleman
Hair & Make-up: Victoria Rubell
Stylist: Anne Prado-Magadia

--Shot with a Canon 1Ds Mark II, 24-70mm 2.8 L lens.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hitler On the Nikon D3x

I found this hilarious clip from a Nikon user's website... I tracked it on Youtube.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Two Filipino Filmmakers to Watch

The Cannes Film Festival 2009 highlighted the talents of two up and coming Filipino Filmmakers, Brilliante Mendoza and Raya Martin.

Brilliante Mendoza won the Best Director Award (a first for the Philippines) for his indie feature "Kinatay" -- beating an illustrious field of directors, which included Ang Lee, Pedro Almodovar, Ken Loach, Alain Resnais, Quentin Tarantino, Jane Campion and Lars Von Tier for the coveted prize. Brilliante is a self-taught filmmaker with a background in Advertising and Production Design. He made his first movie "Masahista" in 2005 at the age of 45. "Kinatay" is his 8th feature-length film. Three prior films, "Serbis" "Tirador" and "Foster Child," were also entered in previous Cannes Film Festivals.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Canon 5D Mk2 with Panavision Lens

I just saw this on the net... A Canon 5D Mark II fitted with a Panavision Primo 11 to 1 zoom using Panavision's EOS adapter.

I know that the 5D MkII is a good camera, but this is just a bit too much! Like a monster truck, it works... but the setup actually nullifies the utility and purpose of the machine and what it was originally intended for (a convenient "COMPACT" camera you can easily carry around, that can shoot both high-definition cine and still at the same time)... And like a monster truck, it is also slightly intimidating, but strangely attractive at the same time.

You know what they say, the larger the lens...

--Photo taken from

Stanley Kubrick - Photographer

The most visual Directors, like Kurosawa, Lean and Fellini, have some sort of a visual arts background. Stanley Kubrick is no exception. He started out as a Professional Photographer.

Stanley got his first camera (a Graflex) at age 13 and was the class photographer at Taft High School. He was just 16 when he submitted a "staged photograph" (of a News Vendor the day after President Roosevelt died) to Look Magazine and was first published. This led to a 5 year career in the magazine (1945-1950). At 17 years old, he was the youngest photographer on staff.

On assignment for Look, Stanley photographed the boxer Walter Cartier, who became the subject of his first movie (short-film), a 16 minute 1951 Newsreel called "Day of the Fight" -- marking his transition from still photographer to filmmaker.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dorothea Lange

Every time I see an "out of business" sign, a boarded store or a beggar on the street in these tough times... I am reminded of Dorothea Lange and of her Depression-era pictures for the FSA.

But more closer to my heart, and to my mind these past few days are the striking images she made for the War Relocation Authority (WRA) on the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans to Relocation camps. These pictures were censored and impounded by the government, then were quietly deposited in the National Archives where they were forgotten for more than half the century.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

California Incentives for Runaway Productions

Last February, Governor Schwarzenegger approved California's first-ever tax incentives to lure runaway productions back to the State. Some say it might be too late, since the number of movies shot in California has dropped to less than half of what it was in 2003.

In July, he approved the first 25 film and TV productions to qualify for the 20 to 25 percent tax credit.

Is it good enough? Canada, which began offering incentives a decade ago, now has state of the art production facilities in place to challege Hollywood... 40 other States are also offering similar incentives, some with even higher tax credits and less redtape...

Better late than never, I guess?

Read the Reuters August 13, 2009 Article

Recent Movies Filmed Outside California

--Photo and Articles from the Reuters Archive.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

G. I. Joe - The Rise of Cobra

I was a collector of the original 12" inch GI Joe Action Figures when I was a kid. Naturally, I complained when the entire line was revamped in 1982 to 3 3/4" inch action figures. I loved the soldier theme of the original GI Joes and never really warmed up to the smaller 8 1/2" inch "Super Joe Adventure Team" theme that was slowly taking over in the late 70's, but the newer GI Joe "A Real American Hero" was just ridiculous to me (maybe I was just outgrowing my childhood).

But this latest GI Joe franchise, "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (a Blockbuster summer movie release), is something all together different.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Barack Obama

Happy Birthday Barack...

You are one of the few leaders out there, that I still have faith in.

--Picture taken from

Monday, August 3, 2009

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is in the news again... Art Capital Group (ACG) is filing a suit against her for breach of contract. Annie had given up her rights to her photograph and property in exchange for a loan. Now ACG is asking for her cooperation in selling off her copyrights to help the repayment.

This is tragic! One of the greatest Photographers of time, losing her rights to her life long work in exchange for a loan. A major recession, one of the worst financial crisis in the history of America, bail-out funds worth billions of dollars charged to tax-payers, now this! What will these financial genuises come up with next?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cotton Carrier Camera Harness

I just received my Cotton Carrier harness and I love it! See for yourself...

As a commercial and fineart photographer, I am planning to use it both in-studio and out on the field. It is the perfect camera harness for sports photographers, wild-life photographers, wedding photographers and photojournalists. I recommend it highly!

Visit the website

--Video taken from Cotton Carrier

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Corazon Aquino

Condolences to the family of former President Cory Aquino and to the Filipino people for the death of its beloved leader.

Cory was one of the few true leaders the Philippines ever had. We will truly miss her.

--Photo and video taken from the Associated Press.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Be A Creative Activist

Creative Visions Foundation supports "Creative Activists" - individuals who use the power of media and the arts to create positive change in the world.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pavement Photography 1

Every Sunday afternoon we bring our daughter to Acting class. My wife goes in with her and I usually end up waiting in the parking lot with my son.

Today, while I was smoking outside the car, I began to notice the beautiful patterns on the pavement...

Robert Capa's Picture - Fake?

A article examines the allegations.

--Photo taken from the archives.