This online shoebox contains random pictures, notes, whatever. I've been a professional writer-photographer for so many years now. It's a damn good excuse to carry a camera around.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
A carabao takes in the scenery (and a drink of water) in Legazpi, Albay:


Photo shot with a Nikon FG-20, Agfa APX 100 developed in Rodinal.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

An excerpt from my article in Asian Photography Magazine:

"Just before I enter town, I spot a group of monks resting under a tree. The scene is so pretty that I slam on the brakes, and quickly approach them with my camera to take a few frames. These orange-robed, bare-headed guys must be amused by my presence, but they simply smile while I take their picture. Afterwards, we chat a bit and - believe it or not - exchange Facebook accounts. It is well past sundown when I finally reach my hotel. I may be tired and hungry but I don't mind one bit, for I am totally enchanted by this land and its people."



This was a dream assignment from Fah Thai Magazine: to traverse to the mountains of northern Thailand to cover this country's growing coffee industry. For almost a week I barrelled down dirt roads on a 4x4 with my guide Scott, photographing this crop's fascinating journey from the plantation to the cup. At Doi Chaang we saw Lissu coffee pickers at work on fields blooming with bright red Arabica cherries. In Doi Mae Salong we trekked through tea plantations and interviewed farmers who descended from lost Kuomintang armies.


And of course, there was the coffee itself - sweet, full-bodied and smoky, with hints of berries and brown sugar. Made by Akha ladies who poured cappucinos with picture-perfect latte art, in wifi-enabled huts in the middle of nowhere. Screw blue mountain - coffee heaven is right here in Southeast Asia.


Excerpts from my article in Cebu Smile Magazine:

"Of all the ways to see the Albay countryside, the bird’s eye view has got to be the most exhilarating. Imagine being strapped to your seat beside a wide open window, with a spinning propeller above you and all of creation underneath. A helicopter ride offers that rare chance to see God’s perspective on things."


"This being the land of Mayon, one can easily guess where the flight path often leads. There are no long-winded pre-flight rituals on this trip. You just get on the aircraft, warm up the engine and go. From the helipad at Legazpi, your pilot heads to the volcano’s base and then up the mountain, till you're face to face with Lady Mayon herself. From above, the verdant greens show the scars of centuries of lava flows. The scorched earth seems to get blacker, the volcanic moonscape more sinister. Then there is the crater itself, its ashen surface blanketed with moisture and sulphur fumes. This is shock and awe at 8,000ft."

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
On a moonless night, you can barely see her perfect shape:

Mayon Nite

Look hard enough, though, and you'll see her glowing crater.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
The bell tower of Cagsawa Church is all that's left of this town, after Mayon Volcano erupted in 1814:


Posted By Lester V Ledesma
What happens when you put a camera in the hands of Legazpi's Trick Shot Boys?


They'll put a rock on your finger, as they did to my colleague Adi the Art Director:


These kids live around the Cagsawa Ruins, and they know their stuff well. They can operate any camera - even my big, black EOS 7D - with ease, coaxing out perspective trick shots like these, no Photoshop needed. They'll make you blow the smoke over Mayon, or lean on a tiny-looking Cagsawa ruin, or fly high over the Albay countryside. The shots are funny as hell :)

The kids say they just learned on their own. But I think somebody must have taught them their tricks. Whoever this somebody is - I wanna buy you a beer!




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