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

Had a very interesting last week. Spent most of it in the mountains shooting Philippine Kakao:

Kaokakao
 

The day after that, I found myself in Chinatown shooting Philippine Kaoka :)

 


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

And so, yet another year has passed and we're well into the next one. 2013 for me was a year of return trips. Some destinations, like Danang and Bhutan, were totally unexpected. Others, like Myanmar and Iloilo, were long planned and much anticipated. And I definitely did not expect to start and end the year in Vietnam's central highlands. But of course, all these places came with their own share of fulfillment - return trip or not, every journey was different. And every journey was a great learning experience.

 

So here's my best of 2013 :)

 

10) Good Morning Vietnam

 January 1, 2013: This was the best way to start the year: on the back of a motorbike, taking in the sunshine and the cool winds of the Vietnamese central highlands. Having tied the knot just a few weeks ago, my wife and I were on our first holiday as a married couple. You can call this our honeymoon - one that eschewed boring resorts with their stiff confines and stuffy people. Instead, we barreled down the highway on a pair of wheels, visiting waterfalls and coffee farms and slurping pho at little roadside stalls. Then we rode some more, through pine forests and rustic villages before ending the day at a cathedral in Dalat. Here we reflected on the exciting year that was, and said a short prayer for the next twelve months ahead.

10

 

But of course, many more things happened in Vietnam - read my article in Cebu Smile Magazine to find out the whole story!

 

9) Danang Revisited

 October 27, 2013: My first Vietnamese steps were in Danang, way back in 2005 when I was a struggling freelancer. On that trip, though, the city was just a quick beach stop on the way to other, more popular destinations.  This time it was different; on a 3-day layover between assignments, I was presented with a chance to roam this place I knew little about.

 

09

I’ve gotten familiar with Vietnam in the eight years that have passed, but I was pleasantly surprised with this new neighborhood. Danang was laid-back and friendly (they all thought I was Viet kieu – an overseas Vietnamese), with none of the typical Hanoian snarl, and just a little bit of the hectic Saigonese pace. The food was excellent, and the location - right amidst a cluster of awesome cultural sites - was perfect. Hue lay up north, while Hoi An, My Son and the Marble Mountains were down south. And there’s the fine yellow sands of China Beach, just across the road. The eight-year, three-day wait was worth it – I found my favorite Vietnamese city.


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

2) Back to Burma

 August 8, 2013: This land burned itself into my memory five years ago, when I first came here as a media guest. Myanmar was a heady blend of culture and beauty, the likes of which I had never seen. It was exotic and isolated, and in many ways untainted. Quite simply, I fell in love with this place.

02


It took me some time, but I finally made it back. With my pregnant wife in tow, I eagerly got reacquainted with “The Golden Land”.  Myanmar was just as I remembered it – hot and dusty, and brimming with character. At the capital Yangon, we explored the same gilded temples, bustling streets and crumbling colonial buildings I had photographed before. We fed pigeons for good karma at Sule Paya, and greeted sundown at the Shwedagon Pagoda. A few days later in nearby Bago, we shot long lines of Buddhist monks and visited more temples. And we feasted on mohinga, khao hswe and laphet htoke.

 While admittedly we couldn’t go too far and wide (the old-school infrastructure wasn’t the best for babymooning), this whiff of supremely picturesque Burma was intoxicating enough for me. This was but a fleeting trip compared to my epic journey in ’08.

 But dammit I missed this place - and I was just happy (so very happy) to be back :)

And I will be back again – oh, yes I will be – when my PhotoTreks photography tour goes to Myanmar this September. Visit the PhotoTreks website for more details!




1) Why I Became A Photographer



June 17, 2013: Nimalung, Central Bhutan. The colors bewildered. The sights overwhelmed. Not in a long while have I been this fired up about taking pictures. The balconies were packed with people. Monks in their scarlet robes mingled with country folks clad in native attire. Policemen in ceremonial dress watched by the sidelines. All eyes were on the courtyard below, where masked dancers were commemorating the annual tsechu, a four-day festival held in honor of the Buddhist saint, Padmasambhava.


01


My senses felt overloaded. There were simply too many things to cover. Panic threatened to set in. Amidst the humming dung chen horns, the spinning prayer wheels, the swirling dancers and the singing women, I struggled to keep my composure. “Remember your training. Think objectively. Shoot for a story”, I reminded myself. Eventually I found my rhythm and things fell into place. The story unfolded. Backstage and onstage, in the stands and at the village outside, my cameras documented this amazing display of Bhutanese culture.

Rarely do they come together, but on this day they were all here. The exotic, the picturesque, and the mind-blowing. The joy of discovery. To capture these all – that is why I became a photographer.

 


... and that is why I still am :) Can't wait to see what happens this year!


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

If you're in Indonesia and find yourself facing a view that looks like this, stick around.

Padang

You're in a Masakan Padang restaurant, and lunch - a good, hearty, spicy, oh-so-tasty lunch - is on its way....

padang pile

In fact, if you're lost and hungry anywhere in this country, this is all you need to find :)


 
Posted By Lester V Ledesma

It's coffee harvest time once again in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. At the town of Da Nhim, just outside Dalat, a buying station collects freshly picked coffee cherries from the surrounding plantations:

 

Harvest1

 

Just off the road, a farmer from the Ca Tu ethnic minority group picks Arabica cherries:

 

Dharvest2

 

 

Dharvest3

 

The going rate for a kilo of red cherries is VND 6,800. That's around 12 Pesos.


 


 
Google

User Profile
Lester V Led...
lledesma@sky...
Singapore

 
Category
 
Recent Entries
 
Archives
 
Visitors

You have 826775 hits.