It was my first time to visit the Philippines, before I left I had read the scam horror stories, the drink and food spiking warnings and finally the Government travel websites not recommending travel to the Philippines because of terrorism, unsafe ferries and dangerous public transport … so it was with a little unease that that I ventured to these islands. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised, what I found was beautiful scenery, very friendly and helpful local people, and in the right places a very high standard of food and service at a relative low cost. In the Philippines I don’t doubt that if you venture into the wrong place at the wrong time there is a potential for bad things to happen, but for an average tourist using common sense and not straying too far off the tourist track, the worst of your problems will be overcharging taxi drivers and a persistent hotel porter wanting to carry your bag. I packed my Manfrotto travel tripod with me to the Philippines as I intended to take a number of HDR pictures along the way, but as it turned out for various reasons I didn’t use it once, and all the HDR pictures below have been taken by hand holding my weighty D700 camera, so I apologise in advance that the sharpness of the photos could be better.
I took this 5 shot HDR picture without a tripod, sitting cross legged on the floor with my elbows wedged into my knees for ‘support’ and surprisingly the pictures came out relatively sharp.
Magellan’s Cross was planted by Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan when he arrived in the Philippines on April 8th 1521, the cross is housed next to the 16th century Basilica del Santo Nino Church.
For Techies: Nikon D700 24-70mm lens, ISO 200, f/4, shutter speeds 1/1000 –1/60 sec, 5 shots
I took my tripod to this amazing church and was looking forward to taking a number of HDR pictures, but what I had forgotten was that I had taken the tripod head off the tripod to fit into my travel bag for the flight to the Philippines. So here I was, inside the Baclayon Church with a tripod that I couldn’t use and my tripod ball head back in my room at the Amorita Resort. To make things worse, I was the only person in the church and I could have set up the tripod anywhere I wanted without annoying anyone … I took a number of hand held HDR shots resting on my rolled up jumper and on the back of an old wooden pew in the church.
The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines, dating back to the early 1700’s.
For Techies: Nikon D700, 24-70mm lens, ISO 1600, f/3.2, shutter speeds 1/320 – 1/5 sec, 7 shots
I arrived at the Chocolate Hills in the evening, I had hoped to photograph them in a good yellow light from the setting sun. The evening sun turned out to be hidden by rain clouds and mist, but a misty backdrop and developing cloud adds interest to the photo.
The Chocolate Hills are in Bohol Province, Philippines, there are around 1,770 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres. They are covered in a green grass that turns brown during the dry season, giving them their name ‘The Chocolate Hills’.
For Techies: Nikon D700, 24-70mm lens, ISO 100, f/11, shutter speeds 1/100 – 1/6 sec, 5 shots
I stayed at the Amorita Resort for a few days, and would highly recommend it, it’s a great scenic location and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. I took this HDR picture by supporting myself and camera against the wall in the dining area, even with a palm frond dangling in my face the HDR picture turned out reasonably well. This photo is looking through the Amorita Resort dining room and over the popular Alona Beach.
For Techies: Nikon D700, 24-70mm lens ISO 800, f/10, shutter speeds 1/1000 – 1/100 sec, 5 shots