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Photo Essay 2

Posted: January 28, 2014 in photography
Tags: , , , , ,


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I decided to do another photo essay which used a subject who’s totally a stranger. My previous subject was my son and unfortunately, it is not allowed.

I chose Aling (Mrs.) Susan who is a broom vendor in Cavite Philippines. She sells broom on the road just outside their compound gate. I usually drive by that road and buy a broom every time I visit my home in Cavite and along the road, several vendors like her can be found selling all sorts of crafts. It was my first time to approach a subject to be photographed, no, it was my first time to photograph and use a total stranger as a subject. I have approached others but due to skepticism, which I very well understand and also saddens me, I was turned down every time. Aling Susan had her reservations and doubts but agreed after I showed her my school ID and explained my purpose and what’s the project all about. Aside from the obvious reason that this is my project and to deepen my photography skills, I also wanted to know the story behind road vendors and share it to the world. I always wonder how they manage to get by financially selling their goods like brooms.

My project is a portraiture photo essay and this is Aling Susan’s portrait as a road vendor.


The assignment was to take pictures from a moving vehicle such as cars, bikes or motorcycles. I was in the Philippines when I did this assignment and as much as I wanted to use slow shutter, the topic of slow moving traffic was more appealing. I was supposed to present 3 pictures that would present my topic. Here are those: (also another part of the assignment was to edit them converting a picture to black and white, adjusting the contrast and correcting a high or low key photo)

tollhighkeyThe picture was taken in front of a toll gate while waiting for my turn to pay the toll fee of course. The high key nature of the photo was corrected to better define the toll gate which was still far from where my car was (picture below)

tollcorxn The photos were taken during my travel after visiting an aunt from the province. Since it was on a Sunday afternoon and almost everyone that went to vacation have the same frame of mind as I had, we jammed up in front of the toll gate. The photo has a high key quality that the sky was almost washed out. After correction (highlights and shadows, levels, and contrast) the sky showed more texture, the banner above the gate was more defined and the color came out better.

tollmansharpnd    tollmanbw

The two pictures right above are same pictures with one converted to black and white. The photo was chosen for black and white as the other two photos would less benefit from the conversion. This photo after the conversion still showed the essence of the photo. Edited using adobe photoshop, converted black and white, adjusted contrast, levels and curves.

traffic                  trafficcontrast

The photo was taken after passing the toll gate and entering the city. Although it was Sunday, the mall around the area created a big traffic too. The contrast of the original photo was not enough to show the jeep at the back of the side view mirror. Using adobe photoshop, the contrast was tweaked and levels were tweaked and applied unsharp mask to all the photos.

As we continue on photography, the study of light and shade using a balloon model. The task is to take a picture of a balloon in a home studio setting manipulating the light to produce a low or high key photo with low and high contrast. I read a bit on the topic and here is what I have learned.

Light is directly responsible for the appearance, shape, and color of objects. The light spectrum in its entirety contains all the colors we can see.

Light illuminates all the volumes of the three dimensional world.

It reveals its composition of planes, which appear closer or further away depending on the amount

of light that reaches them.

We see forms like cubes, cones, spheres and cylinders or pyramids in light but shade is necessary to distinguish these forms. The dimension of an object, depth or thickness in photography will depend on the placing of light. Shading gives an object tonal value and is related to the distance of the light source. The farther the light source, the more shade the object possesses. For this assignment, I chose photographing the balloon in low key.


Low key with high contrast

Low key with high contrast

low key with low contrast

low key with low contrast

Notice the shape of the balloon using high contrast, made the shape very visible while the low contrast, some of the edges almost disappear into the background.

Photo Essay

Posted: May 19, 2013 in photography, Uncategorized

nathanI just finalized my project on photo essay. I chose my baby Nathan as the subject. He’s far away but I got to visit him last month for a whole month. All of the shots used ambient light. The cover, I shot when I got back. The sock was the only thing I got with me so I used it. He outgrown the sock and I kept it so I have something to hug (or smell) even when he’s not around. We used to remove his socks as it made his feet sweat 🙂

Nathan is 4months old turning 5 this 24th and at his age, there are lots of changes happening. He started giggling and smiling a lot, started using his hand and mouth to play and started showing different facial expressions. I love looking at his face and love talking to him. I took a lot of pictures of him in different settings and angles but I chose the closeup ones to show his face and its expressions. Here are the 6 photos I chose and the cover is in black and white. Click the link for the pdf.

GRA1_ GRA106_Assignment 06_ Photo Essay_Melinda_Mendez_20.05.13.pdf

Today I dropped by my client’s restaurant and took some photos of the place and their products. I was lucky the sun was friendly although it was freezing cold. This was my first location shoot and it went well I guess. Lucky too that customers began coming in while I was there and I was able to take some photos of food that was served so nothing was wasted. Funny because I felt like I was shooting sports photos when it was actually food photography which is usually laid back 🙂 We were avoiding of course serving cold food that I needed to take shots in a flash. Well, it was fun and first time is always the worst so I hope the coming ones would be better.

As to my project, it is constantly evolving. The business card was approved by the client but the brochure was changed to a take-away menu. So I will be actually making them two types of menu list. I hope to make them brochure and more but I guess this would be after my deadline. Anyways, here are some shots from today’s work.


wDSC_0024      wDSC_0028wDSC_0099      wDSC_0056     wDSC_0187      wDSC_0073       wDSC_0105       wDSC_0202      wDSC_0178