The perfect snap

I shall label my style of photography as "haphazard"

I shall label my style of photography as “haphazard”

Earlier this year, I decided to embark on an ambitious project of developing a coffee table book from our research project with the Agta farmers in selected areas in Bicol despite my dubious skills at photography. Before I start to discuss this project, I want to give a brief background first on how I came to this idea.

During my first foray into the field, I was so excited about doing anthropology that I went overkill with my friend’s camera. I took almost a thousand photos of the area, the people, and other objects of (non-)interest. When the novelty of doing fieldwork wore off (nah, not really but since–at that time–the thousand-something photos I took may have been just useless gigabytes of data), I opted to travel without a camera.

As the months wore on, it became apparent that the project might be ending without any relevant output. Knowing that I don’t want my thousand-odd photos to go to waste, I said that we should make a coffee table book out of the data and the photos that I took. I was very excited! As an amateur photographer, to have my photos featured in a publication like this–even if it is really basically self-published–is a dream come true. Sincerely. Clearly, there is more than a considerable amount of self-interest riding onto this particular pet project of mine.

Unfortunately, for the third and fourth sites I exercised restraint and did not bring my camera along. This meant that I would have to go back to the field for the sole purpose of taking photos all over the place. Throughout 2014, I’ve been scheduling this trip and each time I do, it gets cancelled. At the last leg of the year, I found a window of opportunity to work on this task that I’ve been putting off for so long.

So how did everything go? I think that for the most part of our lives, majority of it is just chaos and we simply use our powers of persuasion/delusion/rationalization on ourselves so that somehow we make arbitrary sense of what has happened.

Actually, in writing this blog post, I was interrupted by more than 24 hours and the thread of thought has already been lost. Now, I’m mentally dwelling on other things. So, in conclusion, this is photo of how things so random can suddenly come together and create something that is better than what was expected. This is how I feel about the photo above. I was able to generate this effect because I while walking around, using my telephoto lens with high-speed and narrow aperture settings for photos of the open sea and the mountainside under the intense light of a clear and sunny day, I saw in my peripheral vision this sleek amphibian that crawled to a sunny spot of the tree trunk under all the foliage. I stared at it for a little while then I snapped a photo of that nimble lizard. This is the photo that came out, and I didn’t notice how great it was because after snapping that shot, I just stared at that lizard while walking away. I knew why it decided to stay at that spot because after two straight days of rain and darkness, it’s a great comfort to bask in sunshine.


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