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

The sun sets over Mt. Besakih in Central Bali.




I first visited the Island of the Gods back in 2007 to pick up a photography award. The PATA Gold Award was major, but I'm glad to say it wasn't the most important thing that I took home from Bali :)

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
I used this photo to illustrate a point during a recent talk in Manila.

Curiosity is a hallmark of a great editorial photographer.

He must see the world as a constant source of wonder, much like a child who sees everything for the first time."

He must also be there when serendipity happens. And he must have the technical skill to capture that fleeting moment.


That's me way back in 1983, photographed by my mother at the old family farm in Batangas.

This photo won the grand prize in a photo competition. Yup, the mom's an award-winning photographer :)

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
Photoworld before the arrival of the internet photography forums was the ultimate hard-on for any photography enthusiast in Manila. That's because it brought everyone together - photo suppliers with consumers, camera manufacturers with buyers, photolabs with photographers. I remember spending hours at Glorietta browsing through the booths selling secondhand gear and photographic equipment. My most memorable buys were an EF 80-200mm f4.5-5.6 USM zoom (Php6,000) and a plastic two-reel developing tank (Php135, I think) which I still use today.


I also remember gawking at the old master photographers whenever I spotted them - folks like John Chua, Edwin Tuyay and Wig Tysmans, they were the gods of their genres in the Philippine photography scene. Of course, you had to pay the Php2,500 registration fee if you wanted to hear them lecture at the AIM conference rooms.

But there was this one time, over ten years ago, when the unregistered me snuck into the lecture hall (sorry Mrs. Huang I just had to do it!!!) to sit-in on my then-favorite travel photographer's class. A few years later - in 2003 - I found myself standing at the Photoworld stage, giving the travel photography class.

Then I moved to SIngapore and that was the last Photoworld I ever attended :( Good thing by then the internet forums had already arrived. Ph-Photo (again, the old Ph-Photo) was the first virtual community of Filipino photographers, and it sort of democratized the way photographic knowledge was spread. No longer did you need to wait for January to up your learning curve - instead, there was this vast, free pool of education waiting to be googled, shared, emailed or blogged on the web.

Today, the learning, the networking and the shopping are all at one's fingertips. But there's still nothing like the "camera"-derie of photographers being in the same place at the same time, celebrating their passion for the camera craft.


Check out the Photoworld Manila website to learn more about this year's convention.

Ph-Photo can be accessed at the Yahoogroups site.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
In the same place, two years later. I never thought this could happen, but thank God it did:

Path to the Past

Dear Mr. Ledesma:

I am delighted to advise you that your entry “Paths to the Past” in the Travel Journalism - Travel Photograph category of The 2009 PATA Gold Awards has been selected by the Judges as the ‘best in class’. The Judges were most impressed with the quality of your entry and, indeed, the overall high standard of entries submitted this year. You may be interested to know that this year’s awards attracted 236 entries from 120 organisations worldwide.

I hope very much that you will able to join us at the People’s Great Hall, Hangzhou, China (PRC) on Friday, September 25th to accept your Award during the PATA Gold Awards 2009 presentation lunch.

Your Gold Award will be promoted in the 2009 PATA Gold Awards Winners’ Showcase brochure that will be distributed at the Awards Lunch and will also be featured in the PATA Travel Mart 2009 Daily News, published by TTG Asia. Information about the winning entries will also be on display at the Travel Mart.


More info on this year's awards can be found at

Other GOLD award winners in the Travel Journalism category include:

Travel Journalism – Destination Article

Taipei 2.0 by Jennifer Chen
Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, September 2008

Travel Journalism - Travel Photograph

Path to the Past
Lester V. Ledesma
Ink Publishing, Singapore

Travel Journalism - Travel Guidebook

Korea, Sparkling 365-365 Reasons to Visit Korea
Korea Tourism Organization

Honourable mentions

Travel Journalism – Destination Article

Is Baja on the Block? by James Conaway
National Geographic Traveler, November/December 2008

Travel Journalism – Destination Article

Shanghai Surprise by Julie Miller
VIve magazine, April 2008, Australia




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