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

...but you know it ain't never gonna look like this:



Posted By Lester V Ledesma

I love it when my workshop participants get in the spirit of things :)


FOM Travel



Posted By Lester V Ledesma

The right amount of rain can put nostalgia into any scene:


KL Station


Kuala Lumpur Train Station

Canon EOS 7D + Loreo shift toy lens

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

 #10) The World at 200mph


November 6, Singapore: You know it the moment you hear the throaty roar of its V10 engine. And you feel it when the driver puts the pedal to the metal, sending the Lamborghini Gallardo from zero to sixty in just over three seconds. Your neck snaps backward, your head struggles to stay vertical against the strong momentum. Now I'm not a car guy and I'm certainly no gearhead, but sitting atop such mechanized muscle is a truly exciting power trip. The chick magnet styling, the James Bond-esque appeal, that feeling of superiority that comes from knowing you can easily leave anybody - anybody - in a cloud of dust and petrol fumes. The speedometer reads over 200mph, and physics and adrenaline conspire to give you that deliciously giddy feeling. And when its finally over you are breathless and spent. Your head is floating and your heart is pounding. And you want to do it again. And again. And again. Yes, it's almost like sex.



#9) The Best Siesta. Ever.


December 2, Philippines: I was tired from a hectic schedule and not-so-fresh from an overnight flight. But thankfully this was downtime and the Smile team was on location. And if the location was as lovely as this - Lilom, a private resort on the shore of Mabini, Batangas - then there was only one thing to do while waiting for the best light.


This I did very well, sprawled on a bamboo balcony facing the sea. The late November weather was delectably cool. Coconut leaves rustled in the afternoon breeze. Roosters crowed and wind chimes sang. My eyes may have been shut but I took it all in, breathing fresh air and dreaming - no, living! - the classic tropical paradise dream. I rose from slumber with orange sunlight in my face, and facing a view so pretty I couldn't wait to get back to work. Those were sixty minutes well spent.


Oh, and our cover looked great - check out the January issue of Smile!

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

#6) Street Photography With Luis


September 15, Malaysia: Whenever I hold a camera I have a story and a theme, sometimes even a layout in my mind's eye. Call it a professional habit, something I have cultivated in my fourteen years as a travel photographer. So imagine the internal retooling when photojournalist Luis Liwanag joined me as a guest speaker in PhotoTreks: Malaysia. This veteran lensman was renown for his evocative street photography, a shoot-first-think-later style of shooting that captured fleeting moments in everyday life.


It was a method of madness that contrasted my own, and from the start it was clear there was much to learn. Where I would approach a situation thoughtfully, my counterpart would wade in with cameras blazing, sometimes inches away from his unsuspecting subjects. And when I would stop to "art direct" my quarry, he would hide in plain sight, snapping away to reveal an instant of whimsy, or joy, or intrigue. Later on I switched gears, and did as the man did. No stories or layouts, just a heightened sense of awareness for anything interesting ("kung anu-ano lang" was how he described it). Damn it was challenging. And fun. And liberating. There's a select handful of photographers whose work truly inspire me. This guy is one of them.

#5) The Long Lost Hometown


October 22, Philippines: It was just another fiesta in a career spent shooting fiestas for a living. But this visit was personal, and we had much, much more than photo-coverage in our heads.


We had come to Bacolod to shoot the annual Masskara Festival, and to reconnect with a city I used to visit as a child. This, you see, was my late father's hometown - a fact that was driven home (pardon the pun) by the numerous streets, buildings and grand old houses bearing my family's name. In another place we would have been strangers; here we were greeted by relatives I hadn't seen in years. And for five days we lived the Bacolodnon lifestyle (basically eat, party and drink lots of beer...) while I tried to shake the dust off my long-unused Ilonggo. Sure, we'd occasionally go out to shoot fiesta dancers on the street. But as my girlfriend Joanne said at one point: "para kang taga rito!" ("you're like a local here"). Going home was the real attraction here - the Masskara was just an excuse.



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