Shipyard Mornings

Sunda Kepala, Jakarta.

I went back to the first place I shot in the city.  It reminded me a bit of my Sunday Morning shoots down the Roxas Boulevard Boardwalk in Manila.  I wished my Bahasa was better so I could listen to people’s stories instead of just smiling and nodding all the time.

They say open with a strong image…


I only noticed now that these guys where sitting so far apart from each other.  One is looking straight ahead and the other never even made eye contact.  Double distance.





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Best of 2011: Product Reviews of a Single Guy

I’ve always wanted to review stuff but I could never get around to finding a theme for random reviews. So I’m doing this Best of 2011 to review all the products (lame or otherwise) that I loved using the last 365 days.  



Home and Living 





Audio: Samsung Sound Bar ( 

I did the whole home theater thing about 10 years ago but I quickly realized that a) I never did watch THAT many movies and b) wires are the enemy- they’re messy, they collect dust and they’re always long enough to make a mess. I got the Samsung Sound Bar which is essentially one long speaker with a built in sound procrssor and a wireless subwoofer that takes both analog and digital inputs. It creates faux surround and plays music decently without the hassle of wires. It’s cheaper than an iPod Touch too. 





Video: AppleTV 2 ( 


I was always intrugued by this little device ever since they priced it at $99. It hooks up to your TV and gets you into the iTunes store and all it’s media (the HD stuff is pretty cool) plus you can access sites like YouTube , Vimeo, (works with League Pass) right from the menus. And through wifi, it can access your Mac’s iTunes library, iPhoto, it mirrors what’s on your iPad2 (imagine Angry Birds on a big screen). With a jailbreak and the right software you can also get it to play any movie file by accessing a computer or a wireless drive right from the main menu.



Wellness: OSIM Home and Car Massage Chair ( 

Possibly the best investment I’ve ever made in my life. It rests on top of any normal char, sofa, or car back seat and massages both the lower and upper back with a swing and shiatsu motion plus the bottom portion heats and vibrates. Each “treatment” is 10 minutes long. It’s powered through the usual wall outlet or if you install it at the back of your car, it comes with a long enough cords with a cigarette lighter adaptor at the end. Car, chauffeur service, and aromatherapy oils sold separately. 








Grooming: Schick Quattro (

It’s time to end that search for the perfect razor. Saving is like buying anything. It’s a constant battle between cost and performance. I used to be a Gillette user moving from Sensor Excel to Mach 3 and back. Gillette makes reall good ones but they are very expensive and they dull really quick. Schick makes a titanium 4-blade cartridge with a 5th blade at the top corner for trimming and shaving right under the nose where wide surfaces can’t reach. Also they make a shaver with a trimmer (like shears) at the base to clip sideburns or to shape a goatee. The vibration also doubles as a massager when you shave. And the cartridges last longer (3 months for me) and cost only a bit more than HALF the price of a Mach 3. No contest.



Random: Mr Muscle Toilet Freshener 

An odd addition to this set but you have to try it to appreciate what I’m saying. This will drive drop-in (blue stains in the bowl) hanging-by-the-rim (imagine having to fish this out when it falls in) and spray type fresheners (expensive and environment unfriendly) in a few years. Imagine a gel-type freshener shaped like a stick of gum (or those mini C4 plastic explosives James bond uses) that you stick on the inner side of the bowl right under the flow of water. It gets activated by a flush and is made so well that it sticks there pretty well and lasts a while. It releases and nice citrus or lavender smell that can handle even the serious offenders.  





Here comes the good part… 





Travel Essentials: Balanzza Travel Scale (

This is a handheld scale that measures weight in both pounds and kilograms. It can go up to 50kgs which is more than the maximum weight per piece of luggage you take on a plane. It’s accurate and durable too. I find it being off +/- 0.2 kg compared to the airline scale. If you fly budget airlines like I do, this will save you a lot of money.  

Photography: Fuji X100 camera (;  

Warning: unless you like inflicting pain on yourself, don’t bring your Nikon or Canon near this camera. However, if you’re into street photography and you didn’t buy this hoping it would be the poor man’s Leica M9, you’ve got yourself an amazing camera. It’s light, it’s small, and it’s sensor and fixed lens are optimized to deliver outstanding image quality that will put to shame any APS-C Nikon or Canon. The cult following for this camera is well-justified. The X100 has in-camera RAW editing, simulations for classic Fuji films, HD video, and manual controls for aperture and shutter speed. For those who still know how to shoot with prime lenses and don’t want to carry around 10 lbs of gear, this might just be the camera for you.  


Computing Hardware: Seagate GoFlex Desktop Hard Drive ( 

I had a Western Digital desktop drive but it broke down in under a year (boo). I decided to upgrade my drive to something that reads and writes fast and didn’t have all the flaws of the WD. This drive has a docking system so you can move / swap drives around many computers, it also supports FireWire so if you do photos you get the added benefit of speed, and it also goes to sleep when your computer does (in my case it’s hooked up to my MacBookPro) conserving energy and drive life.  

Computing Hardware: Apple iPad 2 (  

I used to think that the iPad was a glorified iPod Touch but Steve was really on to something with this one. Unless I need to work (like work that pays my salary) this is probably everything I need. And for photography it i can just load photos from any camera, edit (see next entry below), and send to most photo sites, Facebook, or Twitter. This blog entry- text, photos, and all- is made on an iPad 2. 



Computing Software: NIK Software Creative Suite (  

They make a very powerful package for both computer and iPad use. Great for color and black and white photography because they take all the complicated stuff out and let you focus on making great images. They do the major stuff and you have all the freedom to tweak. They’re patented U-point control lets you edit only specific areas of the image giving you maximum control over what you’re working on. And if you have an iPad, Snapseed by NIK software a lite version of the computer suite and is several “best apps out there” lists.  






The Boardwalk in Black and White

Mostly quiet moments between people, the kind you didn’t want to disturb. Next time I’m here I don’t want to be with a camera. But that’s next time.



just us

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The Boardwalk in Color

I guess the time of day lends itself to rest and water, reflection. I’m sure this place is different in the daytime. More shots soon.


More shots:

A place of rest



its blurry ahead

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The best iPad photo app

I’m loving Snapseed by NIK software. I think it was Snapseed and the Apple camera connector that really sold me on the iPad. Now I can shoot, edit, and upload without using a pc or a notebook.

Snapseed can do all the basic editing and can apply different styles to your photos but what really gets me is the kind of control you have over the editing. You can tweak isolated places for brightness, contrast, and saturation with their selective editing technology called U-point. They also pay attention to small details like adding controls for structure (edge contrast), grain, and even border styles. I have become a fan.

Here’s a sample of the original photo taken from my X100, transferred using the cable and camera connector…

…and edited and uploaded through Snapseed

This blog entry was also made exclusively on an iPad 🙂

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Not just a night market

Some photos from a really early shoot at Pasar Kue or Pasar Senen in Jakarta– a night market that sells mostly cakes and pastries. It opens at midnight and closes down at 7 or 8AM. Finally I’m seeing Jakarta beyond its malls.

Something about shooting in color: If the colors are lousy, post processing won’t help. That said, I love B&W. The photos in the previous entry are from the same market.

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