Wednesday, August 31

Surfer's Day Out featured in Unearthing Asia

What to say? I love Bali.


I've said this before and I'm going to say it again. For the record. There are only two places where the plane lands and I feel I'm home: one is Manila, the other is Bali.

I love the culture. I love the freedom. I love the bike rides. I love the rice fields I pass by on my way to work. And the place I worked in? A small international community school. Sounds oxymoronic? Most probably does. But it is all that. And it was beautiful!

You see that image right on top? That's a capture of two I love. My husband. And Bali.  I took it when he was trying to get all Bali Surfer Dude - that didn't quite work out as well as the look of him trying to be one did.

And boy, was I tickled pink when I found out that someone took that off from my Flickr and featured it in a travel article that has gone viral. (Translated in many languages, too. Ok, three or four. But as far as troll counting goes it's one, two, many. So it counts. Puns and ramblings.)

Here's how it looks on Unearthing Asia:


If you click the image above, it will take you to one of the sites which featured the article.

My ego is thrilled. And I'm stoked that my work was used to entice people to visit one of my hearthomelands.

If you haven't been to Bali, I strongly urge you to go.  Sit by the water edge and eat fresh seafood using your hands. Or just find a nice spot and enjoy a cold drink and an interesting book.  Or maybe go surf.

Tuesday, August 30



Chocolate cookies, interesting sketches and sharing. Three things which make me think of Labelle.


Her sweet disposition is all enhanced by her warm personality - oh, and she'll want me to say that there's an added dash of sass and spice.


I have a soft spot for this tough cookie.


Monday, August 29

Pan de Sal Breakfasts


There's something about pan de sal that pulls those little hands into the bread bin. This little roll of bread easily becomes a favorite of little eaters.

My son was first introduced to it when we went home to Manila for a visit. It became his bread of choice. He nibbled on it while he played and went about his daily business. You don't see it in this image but he was playing with his Thomas the Train whilst munching.

The soft, warm handy little roll is definitely a must-try when you visit the Philippines. Small neighborhood bakeries bake new batches in the morning for breakfast and in the afternoon for merienda (afternoon snack). Lovely with some organic peanut butter, fruit jelly or coconut jam. Also works well with coffee. And some Thomas the Train, apparently.

Thursday, August 25

Teen Thursday Tutorial: ISO & White Balance

Thursdays are extra special for me because it's the time I have to spend an hour or two with teens to talk about Photography. It is so inspiring to see the world from their perspective. So exciting to watch them grow - both technically and artistically in the creation of images using their cameras. I have never left a session without feeling inspired.

My aim for Teen Thursdays is two-fold: first, to showcase their work; and, two, to share what we have discovered in our meetings.


These past few weeks were quite technical. We studied Shutter Speeds, Aperture, Scene Modes and, today, ISO and White Balance. I hope you find these posts informative and inspiring, too!



ISO is the third piece to the magical three for exposure. It's all about sensitivity to light.

You've prepped the shutter speed to how fast you want to take the image. You've opened your aperture as wide as you want to capture just that much of the image. The image comes out dark, you need more light… what do you do?

You make your sensor more sensitive to it. You let it absorb as much light as you want it to. You increase its ISO.

Here's the dilemma, though, the more sensitive it is to light, the more different shades of light it absorbs. The higher the ISO, the higher the chances of recording these wayward bits of light (called grain). The more we have of these bits of light, the less sharp our images are. The contrast also goes bust. The softer the image is - and, though this is sometimes good, it is only good if you intend the image to have that feel. Otherwise, it's just a big soft mess.  

So when you decide on your ISO choice, choose with intent and with purpose. If you're outside, best set it as low as you can go: ISO 100 and ISO 200 will work well on different kinds of days. If you're inside in a poorly lit area, try to work with ISO 400 and maybe ISO 800. Be very careful and aware - and I will repeat myself - of grain. Intend to have it or be forgiving about it.

White Balance


White Balance is sometimes known as the fourth bit of the magical three.

As much as it doesn't have anything to do with the amount of light you record, it is an important component in terms of the color of the light you record.

You can try the lower temperature settings for "cooler" (also known as blue-r) images. Tungsten at 3200k and Fluorescent at 4000k will do the trick for you.

You can up the temperature for "warmer" (also known as more orange-y) images. Shade at 7000k, Cloudy at 6000 and Sunny at 5200 will help you get that warm look.

And that's about all that it is, basically. And I do mean: basically. No frills. No big words. No complicated technicalities. 

I hope this helps some of these talented teens review their lessons learned today… and if some beginner somewhere finds this helpful, too, then it just doubles the pleasure in sharing the knowledge.

Now, for a showcase of real sweet images created by real talented teens.

(Slow Shutter Speed)


(Fast Shutter Speed)


(Night Shot)




(Aperture - Shallow Depth of Field)


Worth the click: 
Manual Photography Cheat Sheet (lovely work by another Filipino, Mig.)

See you next Thursday for another tutorial! Happy clicking!


Monday, August 22

I Remember Beema


One good thing about looking through old photos is meeting old friends.

Let me introduce you to Beema.

He's a lion. A beautiful lion I met when I visited Bali Safari and Marine Park a long time ago. His portrait is one of the highlights of my visit there. It speaks so much of emotion, of strength, of calm and of potency. It speaks the same language the caged bird sings.

This has been added to iheartfaces photo challenge: pet week.  (Though lions should never ever be pets. Unless they're lion plushies!)

Saturday, August 20

And it is live! (Chie Sipin Photography Website)

Whew.  Been out for some time - taking a break with family and diving back into teaching - but now I've bounced back and quite ready to take on the online world again.

This sabbatical was not an idle time for me.  In the course of all these little things, I've decided to take another plunge into a new world - one that I've been testing the waters of for some time.  Are you ready to hear what it is I've done?  I've gone and put a website up!

It's been very exciting building it up from scratch but I had real good help from a fantastic web design company: Rimlight Design!  They were pretty amazing.  From this inspiration board:


They came up with this:


Isn't it pretty? *big grin* I love it!

Now, I have a pretty little shelf to place the images I've captured on!

I've also decided to wade in a little further and merged my two blogs into one!  Yup.  Bluebelle Photography has been transformed into Chie Sipin Photography and entries from there can now be found here!

(I think I have too many exclamation marks in this post, but I'm really excited about it all... *stops self from ending previous sentence with yet another exclamation mark.*)

Oh, and yes, Chie Sipin Photography has a Facebook page, too.  If you click this, it'll take you straight to the FB page.  I just want you to know, I'm not adverse to a like or two.