This is bad. This is really bad.

I had no intention of doing anything else other than the one on my calendar. I only had one agenda yesterday: to have coffee with Bel Certeza. Money is pretty tight. Refer to the previous post as to the reason for my economic woes. But an hour or so before I left the house, I contacted a friend of mine from college. Her boyfriend’s band, Brisom, was going to play at Saguijo. I asked her if I can be added on the band’s guestlist.

Now, I’m not a cheapskate. I know how important door charge is to the bands that play a venue. If I have extra cash, I’d pay the door charge. But I do not. I told Marsha, the aforementioned college friend, that I’d take photos of Brisom in return. I didn’t get to. No, that’s not why things are bad. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.

So I left the house with two agendas for the day. With the possibility of a third. First agenda: Coffee with Bel Certeza. Second agenda: Saguijo for Loop (!!!) and, of course, Brisom. That third possible agenda? 12 Monkeys. That third one was unlikely, but it was still on the table.

The traffic going to Century City Mall, the place where Bel and I would meet for coffee, wasn’t that bad. I left earlier than I should have to avoid the Friday Payday rush hour traffic. I got to Starbucks about an hour before our scheduled time. She arrived late. I didn’t mind the wait. I needed the spare time to write the entry prior to this one. Besides, I don’t easily get bored.

So Bel arrived. I stood up. We hugged. We sat down. And we talked and talked about everything and nothing. We talked about her recent troubles, my epiphanies, mental health, her Singapore trip to cover Laneway, my frustration about a certain musician, etc. It was fun. I always thought that Bel was one of those people that I’d love to have coffee with. I proved myself right. Although now that I’m remembering it, she didn’t actually order coffee.

We had dinner afterwards at Hole In The Wall, also in Century City Mall. It’s a upscale / sosy foodcourt with artisanal foods and Instagrammable décor. It’s pretty much a food court equivalent of a third wave coffee shop. I have a love/hate relationship with it. One BREAKING NEWS about Hole In The Wall is that there’s a Ble branch there! In case you didn’t know, the Greek restaurant Ble is one of the best restaurants that originated in BFHomes. Sadly, I couldn’t order there as I’m currently relying on my credit card and Ble only accepts cash.

I ordered a Cuban Sandwich from a sandwich shop called Mister Delicious. One bite off of it and I drowned in irony. It was dry. The bread was too crisp. There was no taste at all. Now, I’m not too picky on what I eat. Even if the food tastes bad, I’d eat it if I’m hungry. But I was desperate. And I was hopeful. Stupidly hopeful. I finished one of the sandwiches hoping that with each crunchy bite, a semblance of a taste would be felt by my tongue. My tongue only said “fuck you, Johnny. You’re an idiot.” I didn’t attempt to take a bite off of the second one. Perhaps that was their version of the Cuban Sandwich. Toasted bread, tasteless meat and filling.

Thank Heavens Bel ordered a double Souvlaki from Ble and I asked for the single on that double. Now that Lamb Souvlaki was freaking magical. It didn’t taste like the Lamb Souvlaki I usually order at Ble prime, but it was still damn magical.

After dinner, we returned to Starbucks where she was to work. I finished a cigarette, then we said our goodbyes.

 

Now, Saguijo. Damn it. Saguijo.

You have to understand, even with all the compliments and incoming paying gigs and subjects using my shots as their social network profile photos, I still consider myself as a novice in photography. I have my own style. I have my own perception on things. I know a thing or two, but I’m no expert. But I have already locked down the technicalities (i.e. settings) that I usually need. Is there room for improvement? Hell yes. I could still learn a lot. I could still improve. But for my (current) style, I’ve mastered it.

Now, you know that I recently got a Speedlite and triggers. Last night was the first time I actually got to use them in the field. I left the monopod in the car because I wouldn’t be needing super steady or high angle shots. Bringing all my gear would only be cumbersome. Plus, aside from wanting to keep things as simple as possible, I wanted to play with my new toys.

I’m not an expert on flash photography. Fragmenting music photography with flash is a new world for me. But I had a crash course on flash photography from the Zack Arias OneLight 2.0 that I downloaded months ago in preparation for when I get a flash. I only watched it, really watched and understood it, when I got the flash. I tried watching and understanding it when I downloaded it. I only got confused cos, I suppose I needed a flash to fully grasp what Zack Arias was talking about.

So I know the basics of flash photography. But knowing and application are two different things. I screwed up at first. I even temporarily blinded Micmic of Loop because the flash power was too strong. I dialed down the aperture to for correct exposure. I was still getting the hang of the dialing the right exposures all night. Okay, I’m aware that 90% of my shots are underexposed, but that’s how I like them. Most of my shots last night were too underexposed, even for my taste. I got to boost the exposure on some of those shots on post since I was using a flash on 100 ISO.

 

Okay, now the reason why things are now bad.

I was in the zone last night. Even with new gear that I was still getting used to, even with a new tool to enhance my music photography style (neo-noir music photography,) I was in the zone. Played around with the off flash. Placed it in different areas. Even had a friend hold it from outside the glass window in Saguijo, pointing at Loop’s drummer, JC, while I shot him from inside. I liked the outcome. Loved it.

Ugh. First night using my flash…first night using an off camera flash, and I now want to experiment with two off camera flashes. That’s bad. That’s very bad. I don’t have money for another flash!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it already, but Saguijo is my favorite music venue to shoot at. The wall behind the stage looks like a canvas. I can take a break from isolating the subject from the darkness (like I often do in Checkpoint) and “painting” them on a canvas. Once again, my frustrations in wanting to do portrait photography manifests itself on music photography.

Anyway, I wanted to test drive the new setup some more but I had to go home immediately because the car I drove last night was needed in the house. It’s a shame. Needed to practice some more. But hey, I’m currently in my car in front of Route 196. I’ll get to practice some more in a bit.

 

At the risk of jinxing it, I’m going to have my own calling card for Infinity Blues Photography soon! I already talked to a musician slash graphic artist friend of mine and he’ll be making my logo and the layout for the calling card. It’s an X-deal arrangement. I’ll take band shots of his band for their EPK in exchange for the logo + calling card layout. I’ll be also working on a website! I need to step up my game this year!

 

Here are a select few photos from last night:

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