Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My first attempt at HDR

I recently joined facebook page called Circle of Amateur Photographers. They feature a weekly theme and everyone are encouraged to send their entries. Last week's theme was Bokeh and I submitted a picture. Sadly, my entry did not make it as one of the finalists. This week's theme is HDR. I know about HDR but I haven't tried it yet. Since I no longer have time to do an actual HDR shot, I tried to create an HDR image out of one photograph using Photomatix and here is the result. I know, I know, next time I'll do an actual HDR shot with the actual three exposures. But for now, due to time constraints, this will suffice :)

One Shot HDR by israelv
One Shot HDR, a photo by israelv on Flickr.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Baguio Adventure Day 4: At Wright Park

I hereby present the last batch of pictures from our Baguio trip. I caught sight of these daisies as Lei & I walked through the length of the Pool of Pines. Beautiful flowers never fail to catch my attention, and these are no exception.

Daisies by israelv
Daisies, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
Upon reaching a gateway of some sort, we turned and looked back at the Pool of Pines which now seemed to stretch up to The Mansion. In a word -- breathtaking!

Gateway by israelv
Gateway, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
Going past the gateway, we reached a rise in the land and we could see the whole of Baguio. From this vantage point, we had a feeling of serenity as we quietly take in the beautiful view. But just to the left, and in stark contrast to the scenery we've just witnessed, creepy-looking trees devoid of leaves create the impression of despair and gloom.

Creepy Tree by israelv
Creepy Tree, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
So as not to spoil the moment, we just ignored this ominous sight and continued our trek until we reached a very long flight of stone steps leading downwards toward the horseback-riding area. Although the thought of horseback-riding appealed to us, our bodies did not agree. Tired from the day's activities, we longed to get back to SM City Baguio for a hot dinner and some quiet time at Starbucks before we finally take the Victory Liner bus that would take us back to Manila.

But before we proceeded I just had to take a shot of these fiery-looking flowers before we left.

Fiery Flowers by israelv
Fiery Flowers, a photo by israelv on Flickr.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lightbox for Android: The Last Leaf

While closing our window, I chanced upon this dried leaf on top of our A/C unit. It was just begging to be photographed...

The last leaf... by {israelv}
The last leaf..., a photo by {israelv} on Flickr.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Instagram: Milky, our pet Dachsund

Here's a picture of our pet Dachsund, Milky. In case you're wondering why her name is Milky even though she is a brownie, it's because of a white line that runs across from her head to her stomach. So that's the origin of Milky :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baguio Adventure Day 4: At the Mansion and Wright Park

Lei and I finally reached our last stop on our fourth day in Baguio. These are the gates of The Mansion. The Mansion was built in 1908 to serve as the official summer residence of U.S. Governor-Generals at the instance of Governor-General William Cameron Forbes. It now serves as the holiday home and working office for each President of the Philippines during his or her visits to Baguio. (From Wikipedia)

The Mansion's Gates by israelv
The Mansion's Gates, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
After posing in front of the gates, we were now posing inside the gates and with the actual Mansion on the background. We noticed immediately a new addition to the Mansion's grounds and that is the huge yellow ribbon underneath The Mansion sign.

The Mansion by israelv
The Mansion, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
Just across the street is Wright Park. Named after Luke Edward Wright, he served as Governor-General of the Philippines between 1904 and 1906 and also as U.S. Secretary of War from 1908 to 1909. Gov. Wright was also the architect of the shallow elongated rectangular man-made pool of water known as the "Pool of Pines". (From Wikipedia)

Reflections by israelv
Reflections, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
While strolling hand in hand along the Pool of Pines, we caught sight of a horse feeding quietly beside a tree.

Caught in the Horse's Mouth by israelv
Caught in the Horse's Mouth, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
There were quite a number of tall trees around the area and here was one of them. Or were these actually two trees?

A long way up! by israelv
A long way up!, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
More pictures of Wright Park in the next post!

Baguio Adventure Day 4: At Cordillera World

Lei and I were on our way to the jeepney terminal when we remembered the sign we saw earlier about the Cordillera World. So we made a detour there and it was sure worth it!

The Cordillera World was a mini museum of all things Cordillera. There were wooden statues of Igorot warriors in various poses, wooden statues of animals, assorted wooden figures, a life-sized Igorot male and female statues, etc. There was even an elevated wooden house, complete with a bedroom, a living room and a kitchen, at the center of it all.  Near the base of the wooden house, I found these assorted horns:

Horns by israelv
Horns, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
There was even an area where you can have your pictures taken amidst an assortment of flowers. Our tripod surely came in handy.

Flowery by israelv
Flowery, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
There were so many things to see but so little time. I found this wooden sculpture of an Igorot warrior to be particularly impressive!

Igorot Warrior by israelv
Igorot Warrior, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Cordillera World. We were now ready to go to our next stop. But before we did, we just had to take one quick stop at our favorite dried pusit vendors :)

Dried Goodies by israelv
Dried Goodies, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
Now, on to The Mansion and Wright Park!

Baguio Adventure Day 4: At Mines View Park

Again, Lei and I planned to wake up early since we would be going to Mines View Park today. But alas, the cool Baguio weather and our comfy bed made that impossible. BTW, here is a picture of our very nice and zen-like accomodation.

Everything Zen! by israelv
Everything Zen!, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
After having lunch at Retro Diner, we had a long walk to the jeepney terminal that would lead us to Mines View Park. It was tiring but the cool air made it bearable. On the way, I saw this derelict building which had some graffiti on it with nary a pedestrian giving it a second glance. But for me, it was a perfect subject.

Graffiti at Session Road by israelv
Graffiti at Session Road, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
We finally arrived at Mines View Park after a short jeepney ride. Tourists really flock this destination. We still remembered the restaurant, where we had lunch the last time we were here, with a fantastic view of the mountains. As we made our way to the obsevation deck, we were greeted by this sign. It was fairly new, I think.

Welcome to Mines View Park by israelv
Welcome to Mines View Park, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
We savored the cool mountain air as we made our trek on steep and rocky trails like the one below.

Steep! by israelv
Steep!, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
Once we arrived at the observation deck, the view was really breathtaking!

Nice Vista by israelv
Nice Vista, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
As a bonus, we found this cat sleeping lazily on top of the rocks. For P50, you can have a picture with a Saint Bernard dog at one of the booths below. But a picture with this cat is priceless! :)

Mountain Cat by israelv
Mountain Cat, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
The chilly air made us want to go back. And since it would be dark soon, we plan to catch the jeepney that would take us to The Mansion and Wright Park.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Baguio Adventure Day 3: At Strawberry Farms and Back to Burnham Park

My wife, Lei,  was so excited on our third day. Finally, we would now go to the Strawberry Farms which we had not  visited during our Baguio trip almost three years ago. For the price of P250/kilo, Lei was able to pick red, luscious strawberries at the farm.

Luscious, Red Strawberries by israelv
Luscious, Red Strawberries, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
Before leaving, I took one last shot of the Strawberry Farms...

Strawberry Fields Forever by israelv
Strawberry Fields Forever, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
After enduring the heat and the long commute from La Trinidad back to Baguio City, we decided to hang out at Burnham Park again. On the way, we discovered Baguio's own Rizal Monument which I also took a picture of.

Rizal Monument by israelv
Rizal Monument, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
As we crossed the street from the Rizal Monument to Burnham Park, I noticed a sculpture partly covered by a tarp. It seemed to be a bust of Daniel Burnham, although I'm not sure. I took a picture of it. After rounding a corner, we read a sign about the ongoing renovations of Rose Park of which the bust would be a part of.

Burnham Monument by israelv
Burnham Monument, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
We were finally back in Burnham Park, by the man-made lake. It was so nice to feel the warmth of the sun.

Idyllic Day at Burnham Park by israelv
Idyllic Day at Burnham Park, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
As we got hungry from all the walking and sight-seeing we decided to go back to SM. While crossing the soccer field on the other side of Burnham Park, I noticed what seemed like a statue of some sort. Upon approaching it, we saw that it was an Igorot sculpture which had fallen to a state of neglect. Even the people around seemed oblivious to its presence as they lazily sat on mats underneath. But for me, it was another perfect subject.

Igorot Statue by israelv
Igorot Statue, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
As the day ended once again, my wife and I stopped to rest at a BDO branch at Session Road. While resting I took a picture of my wife against the fiery sky of the setting sun...

Contemplating by israelv
Contemplating, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
Thus ends Day 3. See you on our last day in Baguio in the next post! :)

Baguio Adventure Day 2: At Burnham Park

Waking up refreshed and energized, we were then treated to a sumptuous breakfast by our gracious host. But we got so stuffed after breakfast that we fell asleep again. At least I think I did :)

Lunchtime came. Lei and I only had a thought in mind. We had to go back to Point and Grill at SM City Baguio. So we did.

This time around, we were more adventurous as we ordered a set of fried quails. At first we were terrified since we could actually see the shapes of the poor birds and one of them seemed to be even looking at us accusingly! Lei bravely took the first step. She picked one of the birds slowly,... bit them,... and enjoyed them! I also tried and I surprisingly enjoyed them as well. Although they looked terrible, they actually tasted quite nice :)

Fried Quail by israelv
Fried Quail, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
Our next stop was Burnham Park. On the way to the man-made lake, we saw a group of teenagers on skateboards. Some were good, most were not. But they made good subjects, nonetheless.

Skater Boy by israelv
Skater Boy, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
Upon reaching the man-made lake, my wife expressed again her desire not to ride on the boats since she got bored the last time we were here. So I just took pictures of the boats instead of riding them.

So many boats, so little time... by israelv
As night fell, I took out my tripod for some night photography. Here's one of my memorable ones, IMHO :)

Lovers by israelv
Lovers, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
After a quick dinner at Chow King, we went back to our accomodation via cab.

Baguio Adventure Day 1: At SM City Baguio

As my wife, Lei, and I sat on our comfy seats at Starbucks, SM City Baguio, hours before we take the 12:10 AM Victory Liner trip, I began to contemplate the past few days of our wonderful vacation in Baguio. It was an enjoyable and at the same time a very memorable experience.

It all began the morning of January 24th. My wife and I hurriedly rushed to the Victory Liner Terminal at Cubao. Happily, we were still able to catch the 9 AM trip after the mad rush hour. After a long 6-hour drive, across 3 stop-overs and 2 rather good movies (Gladiator & Columbiana), we finally made it to Baguio. At first we thought that we might not see the sun in Baguio since it was so foggy on the way there.

Foggy Zigzag Road by israelv
Foggy Zigzag Road, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
But as we entered the town proper, our trepidation turned to relief as the hot sun shone through the windows  of the bus and into our faces. We've decided to head first into SM City Baguio before proceeding to our accomodation.

At first we were thinking that SM City Baguio was just another SM just like all the other SMs that we've already visited.  But upon stepping on the wide open deck, were we in for a surprise! The view was so nice from that location. The cool winds caressed us as we savor the seemingly endless vista before us. My wife and I concluded right there and then that SM City Baguio is the best SM ever! It's the most picturesque, the most relaxing, and definitely the coolest among all the SM Malls we have ever visited!

SM City Baguio by israelv
SM City Baguio, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
After the amazement and wonder, our stomachs grumbled. Greenwich was the first choice but Lei decided that there were hundreds of Greenwich back home so we decided on something different. To Point and Grill we went. They have a nice selection of food at an affordable price. Lei ordered crispy pork binagoongan while I, much to my regret later on, ordered a Mongolian BBQ meal.

Crispy Pork Binagoongan by israelv
Crispy Pork Binagoongan, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
After the nice meal, Lei and I wandered around SM City Baguio until sundown. I took the picture below from one of the viewing decks during the golden hour:

Day's End by israelv
Day's End, a photo by israelv on Flickr.
Exhausted from the long drive and deprived from sleep, we then hailed a taxi and headed to our accomodation.
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