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Posted By Lester V Ledesma
The back room of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity houses some truly eye-popping surprises:


And this is just on the top floor. The other two floors houses a treasure trove of specimens dating back to the 1800's. That's enough to give any hardcore biologist a hard-on... heheheh...

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
A Lucbanon spruces up his home with one of countless adornments made from "kiping". These are thin sheets of dried, edible rice paste, similar to Vietnamese rice paper. Legend has it that in the days of the Galleon Trade, a Lucban native visited Mexico and learned the method for making rice tortilla. This recipe was adapted to local materials, and has since become the famous signature of the Pahiyas festival.


The kiping are strung together to form an endless variety of decorations, the most common being the "chandelier" which is hung from rooftops. Before artificial food coloring arrived in these parts, the Pahiyas festival wore the muted hues of natural materials like annatto or beetroot. The use of cheaper dyes, however, has resulted in the flashier fiesta colors of today.


Dressing up a house facade can cost upwards of Php50,000 - no small amount for a rural household. Nonetheless, the fun-loving fiesta spirit endures. This is the same spirit that says "Let's share the bounty of a good harvest with everyone"


After all, there's always more where it came from :)

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
How do you shoot a city with 150 years of photographic history?

Brassai. Atget. Cartier-Bresson. These are massive footsteps to follow if you plan to do serious photography in Paris.


I found it hard to walk these city streets without thinking of their old, black and white photographs of the City of Lights. Those were classic images blazing with personality and nostalgia. Indeed, how do you make pictures with that kind of impact?


Shooting these streets, I realized that much of this was up to the city itself. That thick, Parisian atmosphere hung heavy in those pictures because Paris was exactly like that - Somewhat eccentric, very artistic. Bursting with life and character.


I'm glad to say that Paris still has much of its charm. Although nowadays the street photography in Asia could just a good (read: Hanoi, Vientiane, Bangkok), there's a special silver halide-laced flavor that this place can call its own.


And while Hanoi, Vientiane and Bangkok are changing every day, Paris has remained essentially the same for almost a century. Proof of this is in the pictures, of course - you can stand on many of the same spots where the masters took their photos, and find that the scenes (or at least the backgrounds) have barely changed.


When I was scanning these B/W negatives, I found that the photos looked good even without contrast control. In fact, the raw scans resembled classic black and white images taken at the turn of the century.

However good or bad a photographer you might be, you're bound to capture at least some of that Paris effect. That's just how this city is.

Photos taken with Voigtlander Bessa R, and Skopar, Industar and Hanimex lenses. Film used was Agfa APX 100 developed in a Rodinal-based developer.




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