Life is Awesome

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon   Upon waking up in the morning before starting your day, expect life as awesome–see it, imagine it, feel it. Set aside worries and take a More »

Family is Everything

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   Our greatest inspiration in life is our family—parents, siblings, wife, husband, niece and nephews even our grandparents. Not only the biological family but also true More »

Flower Pattern and Mandala in Sweet Potato

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   Few days ago I crave to eat sweet potatoes cooked in coconut milk with sugar and jackfruit meat. While chopping the sweet potatoes (Camote in More »

Understanding People

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   When looking at people is like trying to look at a pair of slipper with hundred varieties of style and of color. All look similar More »

Forgive Others for not Being Kind

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon    To understand people of how they act and misbehave is the kindest thing we do to ourselves. I repeat, it is the kindest and most beautiful More »

Continue that Dream! Happy 2017!

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon     Life without a dream is nothing! It is the fire that keep us going. It gives life to the soul. It is the breath of More »

Small Note

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon   While going to the vet clinic to pick-up my rescued cat after his neuter, a man approached us with his small note written “Apology for More »

Smile Don’t Cost a Thing

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon “Good morning ma’am,” the lady security guard says to the staffs of women who pass by at the x-ray security machine at the entrance of a More »

“Seeking for an Answer”-Personal Experiences about Religion

Written and Posted by: Margie Babon   It is not a surprise to me if some people hate me for what I am writing about religion and cannot accept some ideas that More »

Usual Unusual

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon   It was 12th of February, Friday after office during rushed hour where traffic is so heavy and commuting is such a burden.  It is so More »

Category Archives: Photography

“I am Brave, Bold, and Courageous”- Artistic Self-Portrait Int’l. Call for Submission 2016


Bold and Courageous-28Sept2016


Inside me is a strong force to live and survive. I have the strength to face life may it be an obstacle, hardship or triumph. No one can ever pull me down for I know myself more than others. I have been through tough times that no one has ever helped me and stood with except my own self. I am strong, courageous and independent.

I am brave to face the unknown, to go out for daring adventure and choose the path that only few people travel through.   I am not afraid of life on what will be the next as long as I am doing my best. Without regrets, I know I am guided to every decision, choices and desires I want to create. I am brave that I take out fear and surrender everything to the mystery for I know the process of life is working according to my present actions, thoughts and deeds.

Though there are times I become weak and uninspired almost giving up still the force inside reminds me to thrive.Up and down, up and down, the journey of life even if I stumble and get tired, I must keep going for life is more meaningful by moving towards the direction that we want…. by moving forward.

Without difficulties, I won’t be able to understand fully what life is about. Without hardship, I won’t be able to test my tolerance, I won’t be able to learn to sacrifice, and I won’t be able to learn accepting and loving more of myself.

Like a well-rooted tree grounded to the earth, I can stand still under heat and rain and no matter how many storm may pass, still braver and stronger. I can raise the level of my tolerance if required so. Training my mind to be tough when criticism strike and knocking me down; to learn how to ignore people that treat me like non-living things without feelings and emotion; and to be brave enough to face difficult people and situation without losing my identity and ambitions. My faith is high and I know I can overcome everything as long as I am confident, determined and brave.

I believe that there is no loser when it comes to life for all of us are struggling to live, learn and survive.

What separate us from one another is the courage to face life by being responsible on who we are. It’s the bravery of the heart that don’t gives up is what we need. A heart that never ever gives up no matter what!

“Be bold; be brave enough to be your true self.” –Queen Latifah


Join now!!  and send your entries to



“I Am Different”- Artistic Self-Portrait Int’l. Call for Submission 2016

Written and Posted By: Margie Babon


I am Different copy

No one has the right to compare you to others whether your family, your friends, even yourself, you should never compare who you are and what you have with others. Each person in this planet is born with its own character and attitude. Though we came from our parents still we are different from them. We cannot say, she’s like her dad, mom, or even her grandmother because none in this world is duplicating of who you are. .

Each has its own way of expressing him/herself according to its own personality, style and originality.  No matter how weird, simple, elegant, naïve or eccentric each individual is, the difference we have from others is what makes us special.  And sometimes our differences draw us to one another to be together that forms friendships, bonds, tribe and even a group.

We have different level and capacity of thinking and socializing with others. And we choose to be with people that align with our values. We find it easy to get along with people who share similarity with us.And when we find people who are against our thoughts and ideas, we back off from them and repel.Finding people that are different from us requires understanding and maturity. It doesn’t mean they are against us, it only means they are different from us.

We may have different color of eyes and skin but each individual are sharing same needs in life. Not only for food, shelter and other basic needs but each of us is longing for love, kindness, happiness and appreciation. We continuously seek love from our family, from our friends, from our co-coworkers, from our boss, from our teacher, from our classmate, etc. All of us have the same heart beat and breathing same air of oxygen to live. No matter how different our physical features could be, but deep inside us there is longing for love and in return we give love in order for us to be happy.

Each individual has his/her own world depending on the comfort zone and private life he/she set for him/herself. If there are 7 billion people in this planet, there are also 7 billion different worlds coexisting with infinite numbers of billions universe and galaxies. And each world that each individual are revolving with could be made of joy, or full of hatred that it can be either revolving around love or fear. Depending on the emotions they put in their world. But then even we have our own different world, there is desire of people to be together, to make a difference and create meaningful life by helping others. There is a space within the human heart that intends to give service to the humanity without seeking anything in return. And by sharing unique ability of each of us to serve people makes us all one and the same!


Submission deadline: 22 October 2016

Send entries to:



Miracle of each of us


“The world is boring if everything that you see is all the same. So be unique, be different from anyone else.

“The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.” –Walt Disney





Unusual Clouds

Posted and Photographed by: Margie Babon



unusual clouds in Manila

Last Sunday, April 19 at 11 a.m. (Manila Time), I went out towards the balcony to get some fresh herbs for my pasta. I notice the clouds are quite different and very unusual, it appears like an explosion of gas.  Then after 5 days, deadly earthquake had hit Nepal and other neighboring areas were also affected. While watching the video of the explosion of avalanche in Mt. Everest, the white snow are like giant clouds and I recall the clouds I took photos two weeks ago. The formation is almost similar.


Are the clouds I saw a week before the earthquake is a sign of tragedy, a coincidence or a holy premonition that something will happen in the future?






Though clouds appear amazing to me, I feel scared while staring at it using my 200mm telephoto lens.


Merging Colors and Movement: Abstraction by Michael del Pilar

Posted by: Margie Babon


Lady in red

Title: Lady in red
Setting: Canon 450 D-80mm-F/5-1/15sec-ISO-100


“Wow nice shot! You have a good camera!”

A common reaction of people I’ve heard not only during the time I exhibit my photos in public for the first time  but even friends and family who would like to see my work. I have to admit, that typical reactions offend me at first but as I keep on showing my work more and more, I get used to it. I realize, why should I become offended, first and foremost, they do not know the technicality of manipulating SLR and second, they are not aware that composing a photograph not only in digital camera  is a talent combined with skill that must be developed over time.

If only people are aware,  a well-composed photo is a real challenge especially outdoor shoot like documentary.   Not everyone who owns SLR camera has the talent to make outstanding photograph.  A camera is just a tool, I see it as a toy that you have to play and explore with.  It takes “real talent” to make captivating and eye-catching photos.


2014_An ace Honestly

Title: 2014: An Ace Honestly
Setting: Canon 450 D-22mm-F/13-2sec-ISO-800


There are photos which are not average in a sense but convey stronger emotions, attitude and character that are contemporary style.  A kind of photograph that some find weird, eccentric, eerie and crazy. But in that weird style of photos is a work of art, an expression of mysterious meaning which is not easy to create but takes brilliant mind to capture the idea and make it visible.

Learn from Michael del Pilar as he opens the door to his creative mind, freely giving his prowess on camera technicalities and humbly sharing priceless wisdom from his years of experiences in creating abstraction behind the lens: a merge of  movement and color in every tone of composition.


Night rippin

Title: Nightrippin’
Setting: Canon 450 D-20mm-F4.5-1/30sec-ISO-1600


Angelic Magic

Title: Angelic magic
Setting: Canon 450 D-70mm-F/9-1/6sec-ISO-100



Share to us your background on how photography becomes a hobby.

I am Michael del Pilar. I am a retired meat cutter from San Jose, California. I picked up my first camera at 10 years old, a Kodak Brownie. After a 10 year lapse I became interested in photography again while in the military. I was stationed in France outside of Paris near Versailles for a year. During the last 6 months of my tour, I purchased a Ricoh 35mm Rangefinder and a guide book. Every weekend I would go into Paris by myself and roam the City of Lights. I saw many of the usual tourist attractions but the most memorable experiences were those taken off the beaten path. After the military, the color slides taken during this period sat in my closet for over 40 years before finally being scanned and digitized. Photography classes at Pasadena City College and San Jose City College were valuable in learning how to develop and enlarge B/W images. Five years ago I bought my first DSLR, a Canon 450D.


Shooting Star

Title: Shooting Star
Setting: Canon 450 D-235mm-F/14-1sec-ISO-1600



As a hobbyist, share wonderful lessons, technique and experiences that photography has taught you which could be inspiring to amateur who wants to explore the world of photography.

I am simply an avid amateur with a passionate hobby. In my opinion every genre of photography is important to learn and I continue to explore them all. A few months after acquiring the Canon it was the holiday season and there was an annual Christmas in the Park event in San Jose with colorful displays and a carnival with amusement rides for children. I went there at night for a week straight exploring the photo possibilities. There was a 50 ft high Christmas tree with a large star on top all lit up and connected to some kind of sensor with a randomized algorithm. Every several seconds it would change colors, intensity with different light configurations.



Title: Starstruck
Setting: Canon 450 D-55mm-F/13-1sec-ISO-1600


With a telephoto lens I began experimenting with ICM (in-camera-manipulation) by moving the camera with a slow shutter speed from 1 to 7 seconds. I discovered that by moving the camera up, the star would appear to be falling down and by the moving down it would appear to be flying up. After a few nights I was whirling the camera all over the place like a madman…people were looking at me like I was crazy which, of course, I was. I later learned that this technique had been in use for a long time. The effects were dynamic conveying a feeling of motion and energy. Like anything else, it’s trial and  error…one successful image out of ten is a good ratio.


Fountain Explosion

Title: Fountain Explosion
Setting: Canon 450 D-12mm-F/1 1-1/6sec-ISO-100


This type of shot requires editing either a little or a lot. I use Aperture on my Apple to adjust focus, colors, saturation, etc. I suppose this type of work is best described as Abstract. When the subject (star) is in focus, the shutter is release & during that prolonged exposure, the camera is moved while away from my face. The ISO will vary..1600 is not uncommon. The Manual program seems to work best here.


Staring to Fall-for you

Title: Starting to fall (for you)
Setting: Panasonic DMC-ZS7-248/5mm–F4.9-1/250sec-ISO-160


Another type of ICM which involves rotating the zoom manually while clicking the shutter. I like to use Shutter Priority (TV on a Canon). The exposure time is not as slow as the other method, more like 1/2 to 1/10sec. Any type of lens can be used from wide angle to telephoto. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, I will shoot from the hip, which is a very hit or miss affair. You can either rotate in or out, clockwise or counterclockwise. It’s good to experiment to see which you prefer. This is another technique I thought I “discovered” but has actually been widely used for a long time. This method can be applied day or night on any type of subject..people, buildings, sculpture, landscape, flowers, animals. I usually try to keep the subject in focus in the middle of the frame while zooming since everything around it will be blurred creating a surreal movement appearance.


Yin Yang

Title: Yin-Yang
Setting: Canon 450 D-190mm-F/10-1/6sec-ISO-1600


Other effect which can happen whereby the subject is captured twice (usually people) like a double exposure but the secondary image is usually fainter like a ghostly effect. These can never be predetermined, they just happen. Like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. You will need to edit these images also. Even after editing, only a few will make the grade, like polishing a diamond to reveal its unique facet. Both these techniques are fun to play with.



What are your favorite shots? Do you ask permission to take photos in public places?

Temple of Knowledge

Title: Temple of Knowledge
Setting: Canon 450 D-10mm-F/5.6-1/80sec-ISO-100


Whats all that noise

Title: What’s all that noise?
Setting: Panasonic DMC-ZS7-1 1mm-F/4.1-1/80sec-ISO-200


My favorite shots are actually straight photos in B/W or color.  When taking pictures in public of people, places or things, I do not ask permission. I try to be discreet and respectful. I’ve only been told a few times that photography wasn’t permitted.


Surreal Scene

Title: Surreal Scene
Setting: Panasonic DMC TZ4-47/10mm-F3.3-1/250sec-ISO-100


Any other tools you use in night shots.

I use a tripod & unipod occasionally but generally most things are handheld.



I notice that you love to include motivational quote in every picture you upload in Fotoblur, how do you connect the picture to pick-up inspiring or descriptive words?

La Ville Lumiere

Title: La Ville-Lumiere
Setting: Ricoh 35mm Rangefinder-color slide-Kodachrome film(scanned)


Often I will add a motivational quote to my posts on Fotoblur. There is no rhyme or reason to this, just food for thought. Here are a few examples:

‘Starstruck’…”If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney.

‘Nightrippin’…”Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”..Nelson Mandela.

‘Shooting Star’..”If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living”.

’2014: An Ace Honestly’..”Challenge yourself with something you know you could never do, and what you will find is that you can overcome anything”..Anonymous.


L arc de Triomphe_la nuit

Title: L’Arc de Triomphe, la nuit
Setting: Ricoh 35mm Rangefinder-color slide-Kodachrome film(scanned)


My favorite quotes are by Eve Arnold: “It is the photographer, not the camera,  that is the instrument”……”It doesn’t matter if you use a box camera or you use a Leica; the important thing is what motivates you when you are photographing”.



Currently, where do you take photos, any special shot location?

I have family on the East Coast that I visit often and New York(Manhattan) has become a favorite place for taking pictures the past several years. Roaming the streets/avenues, day & night with camera in hand shooting whatever presents itself.. people, architecture & sculpture in particular.

Guiding Light

Title: Guiding light
Setting: Canon 450 D-17mm-F2.8-1/10sec-ISO-200


 There are different sources of inspiration to look at even at your own backyard. Always be aware of potential photos when you’re out and about, especially when you don’t have a camera. This trains your mind to see the colors, textures, perspective, framing all around you.



 About the photographer

Michael del Pilar (Mickey) is from  San Jose, California.  A Fotoblur member for a year. His eight photos has been awarded and featured at Fotoblur.


To contact and see more of Michael del Pilar’s work visit his portfolio at: del Pilar



About the Author

Margie Babon was given a privilege to be a wildlife photographer in 2006 that let her choose to become a vegetarian for seven years now. Has background in film making as a producer and researcher on the plight of Agta-Dumagat documentary film Children of the Mountains that garnered the Mark Haslam Awardee in 2005 in Toronto, Canada. Sharing her passion in drawing & creative writing  is a great opportunity to express her wisdom  which is far beyond the teaching career for more than five years in College of Architecture and School of Fine Arts in Manila.




The Beauty is Gone….

Posted By: Margie Babon


My last post card of Tacloban City. Shot as of August 2013.


Sharing the poem I  have written from my  travel to Tacloban City last August 2013.


Now all the scenery are only in memories….Tacloban is now a ghost town after the deadly typhoon Yolanda  (Haiyan) ruins everything…



Tacloban Post Card

Written  By: Margie Babon


The Provincial Capitol Building built in 1907.


In a busy street

Full of concrete

I found a treasure

Written in the history


Corinthian column at The Capitol


Old American buildings

Some are Spanish

Others in an Indonesian motif

It was lovely if only preserved

Amazing,  if only conserved.


Part of the Hotel and Convention center at the Leyte Park.


The downtown,

Quite disappointing..

Giving up?

Not an option,

I want to see

A charming potion.


6:30 morning light at Leyte Park


Mangrove area under the famous San Juanico Bridge


So I follow the light

at six-thirty

Thank God,

I was lucky

Exquisite scenery

Awaits me!


6:30 morning light at Leyte Park


Hotel and Convention Center at Leyte Park


Pool amenities at Leyte Park Hotel and Convention Center


Thank you Tacloban,

For a short moment.

It was wonderful!


Open ocean in front of Leyte Park


What a perfect shot

That the nature has cast.


The Astrodome


In a cloudy late afternoon, the famous San Juanico bridge that connects Leyte and Samar Island in its 2km. span built in 1969-1972, still the longest bridge in the Philippines.


Lucky for me to see a Philippine flag being raised during the flag ceremony with the government employee of Leyte.


Mc Arthur wall sculpture at The Capitol


If Mc Arthur says,

“I shall return.”

No idea


I will return.


Photography: Margie Babon, 2013. All Rights Reserved



About the Author

Margie Babon has given a privilege to become a wildlife photographer in 2006 that let her choose to be a vegetarian for seven years now. Has background in film making as a producer and researcher on the plight of Agta-Dumagat documentary film Children of the Mountains that garnered the 2005 Mark Haslam Awardee  in Toronto, Canada. Sharing her passion in photography, drawing & creative writing  is a great opportunity to express wisdom  which is far beyond teaching career for more than five years in College of Architecture and School of Fine Arts.


“Rearranging Nature,” Lesson and Insights from Photographer Esteban Rios

Posted By: Margie Babon


Title: “Eyes” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/5.6•1/125sec•ISO-400


 1. What fascinate you to choose wildlife photography?

Going out with nature is a pleasure and a celebration for me. Through photography, the colors of flowers, bugs, mammals or birds encourage me to explore and enjoy the gift of Mother Nature. 


Title: “Home Sweet Home” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/13•1/160sec•ISO-100



2. The composition of the picture of animals as the main subject appears to be portrait photography, is this intentional? What is the message you want to convey in animals/wildlife portraiture?

Animals are always posing even in the zoo.  In fact, I think animals in captivity are claiming or even begging for freedom, (“Los animales en cautiverio claman e incluso ruegan por su libertad”).  “The right to be free”  is the most important message I want to convey in my pictures.



Title: “El Condor” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/6.3•1/125sec•ISO-400



In wildlife photography, animals that are in captivity are advantage to:  (1) wait for the best moment to shoot and (2) look for the best angle in order to catch the most possible feature of my subject.  With this, I can get the basic elements of portraiture:  (1) subject (2) lighting (3) color   and although it seems impossible, (4) character.  


Title” “Lunch Time” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/7.1•1/25sec•ISO-200



The expression of the subject is a massage itself, a question of interpretation for both photographer and spectator. Obviously, a photographer has the opportunity to express more of his thought through the title of his work, but a viewer has unlimited ideas of what could be the title of the picture is.  A photograph can communicate thousands of words.


Title: “If I Only Could” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/9•1/100sec•ISO-400



3. Do you manipulate the photos using a studio?

Wildlife photography is a real challenge, the conditions of light is not adequate for a good composition. Though it needs editing and correction specifically on the background and adjusting levels of light, still it is best to preserve the innate character of the subject and the environment.


Title: “I Got It” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/5.6•1/1000sec•ISO-100



I don´t have a physical studio with four walls, however, I have made some pictures improvising a little studio using a couple of desk lights and a black curtain.   Most of my pictures are taken out door but with the use of improvised studio, the picture looks an indoor shot.


Title: “From the Shadows” Setting: EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/5.6•1/40sec•ISO-400



4. On image Contemplation and Calling Dr. Love,  please share ideas and concepts of the composition.


Title: “Contemplation” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/5.6•1/200sec•ISO-400



What makes the picture common is the gaze of animals in these pictures is very remarkable with the flat background inserted. To achieve this style, the cage is being eliminated, replaced with texture or flat background in painting effect.


Title: “Calling Dr. Love” Setting: ) Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•190mm•F/5•1/800sec•ISO-100



5. Share some experiences of taking shots of wildlife, location  and settings on photograph Long Long Fly, Low Level Flight and Flamingo.


Title: “Long Long Fly” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/7.1•1/2500sec•ISO-200



Title: “Low Level Flight” Setting: ) Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/7.1•1/1600sec•ISO-200



Title: “Flamingo” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/9•1/320sec•ISO-400


These pictures were taken in different places. The flamingo´s picture was taken in Celestun,   Mexico, the two pelicans were taken in Belize CA and the picture titled “I got it” was taken Ixtapa, Mexico.



6. How do you compare your experiences taking photographs of wildlife and people?


Title: “A Happy Day” Setting: NIKON D5000•18mm•F/6.3•1/200sec•ISO-250



With regards to the human as a subject, I want to capture the character through their sight, expression and features.


Title: “The Happy Tourist” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•119mm•F/5.6•1/320sec•ISO-200



Title: “Dreams” Setting: NIKON D5000•18mm•F/6.3•1/200sec•ISO-250



While in wildlife, my target is to get most possible details of their world and their habitat that contribute for more discoveries and new learning that  have taught me that animals have their own character.


Title: “Tigris” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/7.1•1/250sec•ISO-400



The innate character what makes the differences between human portraiture and wildlife photography, but taking them with respect is the common main tool.

My picture of homeless and old men is a way for me to heightened awareness to let other people help them.


Title: “Bad Times” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•190mm•F/5•1/160sec•ISO-200



Title: “Has Been Hard Life” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/5.6•1/160sec•ISO-400




7. On image Green Model and Love,  any lighting set-up you use in these images? 


Title: “Green Model” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/5.6•1/80sec•ISO-400



I took these pictures in a zoo with the use of natural light, using flash is very rare.


Title: “Love” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/6.3•1/250sec•ISO-400


These settings must have  plenty of light in the aperture as possible to close the shutter with speed, the reason why I use ISO 400.



8.  Featured Photos in Foto Blur Magazine:


Title: “Monochromatic Strips” Setting: : Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•214mm•F/8•1/1000sec•ISO-200



Foto Blur Magazine featured my entries with the title Monochromatic Strips” while the entry entitled “Thoughts” was published in Issue 12 (Winter 2011).


Title: “Thoughts” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/9•1/100sec•ISO-400




9. Share some tips on how to get a good image of wildlife.  Any behavior of animals you want to capture in the camera?


A photographer must have a huge patience to capture a good image of wildlife. Sometimes you have to be in the same place for minutes or perhaps hours, waiting for the best moment to come. Unknowingly, many people are not aware that animals like birds are so fearful of human.  It is an advantage to use telephoto lens to capture animal behavior in a distance.


Title: “Imminent Danger” Setting: NIKON D5000•55mm•F/5.6•2/30sec•ISO-500



The most important requisite for the photographer’s profile is “patience” where you can stay for hours waiting for the best moment to shoot.



Title: “No Limits” Setting: ) Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•119mm•F/5.6•1/4000sec•ISO-400



While in photography, the most essential tool is the light. Keep in mind that “without a light,     subject has no life; overall picture is dull and boring.” ( “Sin luz no hay foto, el objetivo no es vívido; el resultado es soso y aburrido”).   A good supply of light creates a good and lively photograph especially with human.



Title: “Double Clear Day” Setting: Setting; NIKON D5000•18mm•F/5.6•1/200sec•ISO-160



And the best source of light is the sun. Shooting outdoor works best in the morning before noon at 6-10 or late afternoon from 3:30-5:30, we call it the golden hour.



Title: “Hopper Face” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•55mm•F/14•1/200sec•ISO-100




10. What motivates you to make photography as a passion and not just a hobby? Any photography school background or you learn photography by yourself?


Title: “A Surreal World” Setting: NIKON D5000•18mm•F/6.3•1/250sec•ISO-320



Taking pictures makes me feel part of the whole environment; I feel a sense of belonging that inspires my life.


Title: “Thirsty” Setting: NIKON D5000•18mm•F/13•1/100sec•ISO-200



When I share extraordinary picture, it feels good that somebody appreciates what I’m doing. (“Me hace sentir bien el saber que alguien aprecia lo que estoy hacienda”).


Title: “Cadmium” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•47mm•F/5.6•1/80sec•ISO-100



When I receive a constructive criticism, a compliment or even an award, I feel the need to improve my work better in order to inspire more people and never disappoint audience and followers.


Title: “I’m not Guilty: Setting: NIKON D5000•55mm•F/6.3•1/100sec•ISO-500



I’ve learned photography by myself that started as a hobby, perhaps, the gift of composition and creating stunning photos evolves as I practice more and more.


Title: “Song Bird” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•238mm•F/5.6•1/200sec•ISO-200



By reading magazines and taking a look at the thousands of pictures available online, it helps me to accumulate knowledge and sensitiveness and apply it in my own composition. Learning from other photographer aside from my own experience contributes in my improvement.


Title: “Tea Time” Setting: NIKON D5000•20mm•F/4•1/25sec•ISO-400



11. Does photography brings you happiness by documenting animals, people and places?


Title: “Breaking Through” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/5.6•1/200sec•ISO-400



I really appreciate the beautiful and interesting things in life. When I take a picture, I feel the sensation of having a direct contact with my subject and its environment.


Title: “The Flower of Love” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•47mm•F/5.6•1/40sec•ISO-100




12. Do you believe that photography is a matter of luck or chance? Or both?

Title: “Hummingbird’s Skill” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•190mm•F/6.3•1/500sec•ISO-200


Well it is a wonderful question because in my opinion the street or wildlife photography is mainly a matter of luck. A luck that you have to look for, and when you find it, that luck becomes a chance, an opportunity to create a new and different  composition, thus, luck is also a challenge; a challenge how to shoot when the subject is around.



13. As a photographer, describe the beauty you see behind the lens that other people may not be able to find and appreciate?


The everyday life and our occupations sometimes impede us to see what is surrounding us, and even the little big things, such as each wrinkly of a senior citizen, the smile of a little child, the majesty of a bird, the color of a flower the strangeness of an animal, the clouds in the sky making a painting with the lines of the landscape and why not the abstract shapes in buildings.


Title: “202″ Setting: DMC-ZS7•44/10mm•F/6.3•1/40sec•ISO-200



Title: “2323″ Setting: NIKON D5000•18mm•F/5•1/10sec•ISO-400



As a photographer I have opened my senses to everything, I see beauty in everything and that beauty are marvelous things I enjoy capturing.





14.  What type of camera are you using, lens, filter, etc.


My equipment consists of:



Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi

Nikon D5000

Lumix DMC-ZS7



Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm 1:3, 5-5, 6G VR

Sigma 70-300f/4-5.6 APO Macro II D

Canon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6




UV Filter and Polarizer



15. What is the most unforgettable experience in taking picture  wildlife photography on location?


I have been to different wonderful places like Cuba, Guatamela and Amsterdam in Netherlands. But my best experience was when I had the opportunity to visit the flamingo sanctuary in Celestun Yucatan, Mexico.

First I had to get lodging in a very modest hotel with only few services (there aren´t too much to choose in the area) then I had to wake up very early in order to take a little boat which took me through a sea arm until the place where flamingos get together.


Title: “Morning Meeting” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•168mm•F/7.1•1/500sec•ISO-400



The experience is incredible because I only those birds in the zoo, but in that moment, they were flying in front of me…wow!!!  And what a bonus is different kind of birds are staying close to me, pelicans, seagulls and others.  An 8GB memory stick was immediately full; fortunately I have extra memory stick to take more photos.

Though the trip has been finished, it gives me excitement even when I came back a year after, it feels like it is my first time to see the flamingos and birds again.



16. Any social connections you are working with like a camera club, where do you use your photos aside from posting in Foto Blur?


Title: “To Nowhere” Setting: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi•300mm•F/8•1/20sec•ISO-200



I use to share my photos in different forums, such as Daily Award, Photo Net, Pixoto and in some group in Facebook.


Sharing pictures to the audience gives me a sense of happiness.  (“Compartir fotografías con la audiencia me causa alegría”). For me, photography is an art that I enjoy a lot. And if somebody else wants to buy, I would be very happy to sell it particularly for publishing purposes.   It feels great to see your own work in a magazine or in a webpage.



Connect with Esteban Rios:

Esteban Rios, photo courtesy of Jorge Friedman

Esteban Rios Gonzales is currently living in Michoacan, Mexico working as a sales coordinator and enjoying photography for more than 5 years.

To contact Esteban Rios, email:

See more of his work at:


Other web pages:




About the Author

Margie Babon was given a privilege to be a wildlife photographer in 2006 that let her choose to become a vegetarian for seven years now. Has background in film making as a producer and researcher on the plight of Agta-Dumagat documentary film Children of the Mountains that garnered the Mark Haslam Awardee in 2005 in Toronto, Canada. Sharing her passion in drawing & creative writing  is a great opportunity to express her wisdom  which is far beyond the teaching career for more than five years in College of Architecture and School of Fine Arts in Manila.




The Isolated Island of Calayan

Posted by: Margie Babon

Imagine yourself living in an island where the supply of electricity is limited only for 2 hours a day every night starting at 6 in the evening until 8.  No signal of mobile phone, no ice cream, no cinema, no mall, no television, rough road, no traffic. Can you survive?

The travel to Calayan Island happened in May 2006 that is almost 7 years ago but the experience of meeting the local and seeing the nature is very extra ordinary. Aside from conducting a teacher’s workshop for Water Education and Water shed Training program, we travel with ornithologist and wildlife biologist to document the newly discovered Calayan rail in 2003 that is a flightless bird which is almost similar to Okinawa rail in Japan except of its red feet and beak.

Calayan Island is situated in the upper northern part of Luzon and southern part of Batanes Island.  To reach the Calayan is not easy. From Manila, you have to take 12-15 hrs. bus ride to Aparri, then from Aparri you have to spend overnight to catch the boat that leaves  at  6 in the morning. The bus ride can be tolerated but the boat ride was not a happy journey. We didn’t expect how tough it is to travel in the open ocean that you cannot see anything except for water, no islets and trees. Lessons that make us realize that it is not easy to live in a water world.

The videographer and I decided to sit o top of the captain’s cabin because of the camera and other equipment with us. While the group that will conduct the training and the porter seated on the open bench side of the boat. The adult passengers are around 50-60 while the kids that are being placed inside the captain’s cabin numbered 20-30. Since the boat is quite big, it cuts the water to pass through that causes a huge white water splash to the passengers sitting on the two sides of the boat. They are so wet and  yelling while holding on to the rope,  as what the porter told us, he do not know if the passenger beside him is still there, the water is covering everyone.  The kids inside the cabin are crying as the boat is sailing up and down in a 28 ft. huge wave. If you are one of the passengers, you will ask yourself, “am I ready to die?”  While I and the videographer is almost being fry in the heat of the sun for 2 hours, I can’t stop to vomit in a zip lock bag, lucky that I smell a citrus in the cargo box I am leaning with. Paolo who is a photographer sitting in the open bench side of the boat cannot forget the orange color vomit of a kid that is so contrast to the blue-green color of the water.  Everyone is asking, “Is the island near?”

The continuation of the story is in every photograph.

Welcome to Calayan Island!


People are busy unloading the boat as we reached Calayan Island.


Imagine how heavy the boat is, aside from almost 90 passengers, it carry cases soft drink, beer, grocery supplies, kerosene container, etc.


Cases of soft drink is covered by a wide plank of wood where passengers are being seated.



We receive endless smile from these kids and teens playing on the beach.


Holding a ball of sand, this kid knows how to enjoy life in the island.


We enjoy the sunset on the first day.


The councilor who offer our stay in Calayan Island.


We explore the whole town of Calayan the next day after a series of interview in the morning .  All we can see are kids playing in the afternoon, some locals are pounding rice, creating a basket, weaving a mat, cleaning the yard and feeding the chicken. There is no market in this island. Locals from far rural areas are selling vegetables and fruits, fish and meat directly to every house.


This shot is from the bell tower of a Catholic Church showing the town of Calayan.


I was mesmerized by a sweet smile of this girl playing in the indigenous pine tree of Calayan.


A different sunset on the 2nd day.


Taking a walk at night after dinner, we are looking for desserts, lucky for us that we found home-made fruit ice-crushed in one of the convenience stores. We were surprised that even the island is isolated, locals are staying late at 10 or 11 in the evening  drinking beer.


Electricity is limited only for 2 hours. Some houses use car batteries for bulbs and fluorescent at night.


Only a motorbike supplies a quite sufficient light when you stroll the town at night.


On the third day before catching the Calayan rail, we went to a white sand beach that takes us  1 hr.  ride and 45 minutes walk.


Undeveloped trail going to the beach area.


Small rock formations welcome us at the entrance.


Undeveloped beach of Calayan.


No other visitor or locals are with us. The Calayan beach is very different, we stay in the shallow part; at first, the water will form into a huge wave then as it hits the coast, it will push you so hard and slide to the sand then will pull you back to the waters.


The team of teachers from Manila.


Carabao carrying goods from rural areas going to town.


Porter Amboy strike a pose, who is working as a tour guide for more than 8 years. Mountains in Calayan are made of corals, and Papay (another old man porter who is a long-time fisherman) told us that if the mountain is made of coral stone, the island rose from the deep part of the ocean.


In this triangular rock formation, a lot of fish can be seen in the shallow part near us.


No comfort room, no restaurant, no anything. We bring our empty pack lunch and walk 45 minutes to catch a ride going back to town.


During our fourth day, we separated from the other group who will give teacher training, while us, we will document the Calayan rail.


“Kuliglig” is the common transportation in the provinces of Philipines. I am wearing a red cap, with me are videographer Adrian and researcher Mabel.

The battle begins after unloading our equipment from the end of the road that can be reached by Kuliglig. We hike up and down the hills of a carabao path. It was so lucky that we didn’t expect that heavy rain is coming. We are all wet and cold, sliding on the dark and muddy path at seven in the evening. The hike to reach the shack where we stay takes us 4 hours. To see a Calayan rail is really not easy.


The only light we use at night that keeps us warm after a long walk in the muddy forest.


The shack where we we stay. The first house from the far left is the house of the old couple who owns the land, the middle is the guest house and the kitchen. While on the right side is the toilet.


Raising chicken for source of eggs and food is a typical livelihood of locals.


Raising native pigs are still a culture in the island.


The old man who owns the shack.


“Tatang” (old man) has his own rice barn on the left side. In the province, rice is very important staple food.


The indoor kitchen that is well ventilated is made of wood and cogon grass roof.


Capturing a photo of Calayan rail is difficult, it moves in speed. We have waited 2-3 hours for this bird to show up in two different locations we have been to. Calayan rail is being hunt for food consumption, locals doesn’t care if the bird is endangered or not.


Going back to town,  since there is no mobile phone or any means of communication, we are waiting for luck that a Kuliglig will drop by to fetch us. But it did not..we walk again for how many hours after a long hike from Tatang’s place  going to the road proper.


Locals are carrying loads of dried branches of wood as a source of fire for cooking.


Shy at first, these 2 girls are laughing and talking in their own dialect while staying away from us. We are wondering where does the wood came from?


We are totally shocked of this. This is only 1/4 of the whole mountain of being slashed and burn. Locals said, the land will be used for cow grazing.


We are happy to see the local vendors selling fruits, veggies and fish. Walking 4-5 hours is nothing for them just to reach the town and earn a small amount of money.


After school, the son comes home for lunch then go back. With him is his father carrying load of can goods and grocery for his family.


Our second to the last day, we were trapped in the island by a heavy storm.


Morning shot of the ocean in front of the town.


Kids are happily playing with the huge waves.


At five in the afternoon, the weather makes us worry how to get to Aparri the next day.


Due to the heavy storm, our stay was extended. We just go around the town, taking pictures while waiting for the storm to passed.


Fishermen can still catch fish in the rivers.


The fish was caught in the brackish water as seen in the picture.


One of the scene that touches our hearts, we have witnessed how the family is doing the coffin of their loved ones.


The coffin is not yet ready, the dead man is lying on the bed while the wife is sharing her story with us.


These men are working at 9 in the evening to finish the coffin.


The isolated Calayan island teaches us simplicity of living and life in the island is difficult. If you re a person who longs for  a complete silence, to connect within your inner spirit and to God,  Calayan Island is perfect place for life’s reflection  and meditation. Even though job opportunities are limited, we cannot blame the local hunter to eat animals in the forest because earning money from farming and selling bananas of 4 hrs. walk to earn 100 pesos  a day is very tough. A realization that urban development can give them opportunities to improve the way of living.


A last glimpse of Calayan Island.

Photo credits: Apocalypse Point Productions, Paolo Picones and Margie Babon



About the Author

 Margie Babon is an architect by profession, a vegetarian and a yogi by culture. A painter, photographer, creative writer and  an entrepreneur by hobby. Her working experience as a wildlife photographer in 2006 let her choose to become a vegetarian for six years now. Has background in film making and work as a researcher for the award winning documentary film,Children of the Mountains that garnered the Mark Haslam Awardee in 2005 in Toronto, Canada.  She has teaching experience as a part-time faculty  in school of Fine Arts and college of Architecture for more than 5 years. Currently living in Manila and excited for her experiment on veggie patties while dreaming to go back in Sabang Beach to surf the glassy blue wave of the Pacific Ocean.











Freedom Prohibited, Colors Unlimited

Posted by: Margie Babon










Two years ago,  I gave my photography class a special project  in street art.  Force to do the task, the projection of the student’s faces without uttering words is loudly shouting at me that they don’t want to do it. Even the reactions are not good  and lots of alibis around such as,  “ it would be scary and not safe to document, maybe they are just around the area and they will see us taking photos of their work,  they might hit us, and so on,”  the project was pushed.

To let me experience how it feels to document street art, I did it by myself the whole afternoon of Sunday and went to different four locations near the area where I live.  While taking photographs, people were telling me that most of the youth who did the painting on the wall are members of the gang, member of a secret organization or either involve into drugs.

Most of us are familiar with the history of the oldest people on the planet that dwells in the cave. Aren’t street art has no difference with how the writing on the cave is same as writing on the public wall?  Or course, except that the cave men use bone, stones and natural pigments to draw the fish, bison, and other things they can see within their own environment.

By walking four hours using small instant camera, I found out that street art graffiti and vandalism has its own calligraphy, meaning that I cannot comprehend, has its own terminology and abbreviations, hierarchy and interconnected fonts that is almost the same from one another.

I am curious how they do it in a limited supply of street light at night and how fast they finish the work in a restricted boundaries and time. Surely, most of this group of anonymous street artist must be athletic in running not to be caught up aside from being hyper creative.

Vandalism and street art graffiti is an offending activity to the society especially to the authority.

Is it because some people are insecure when it comes to art and that they don’t have the skill to do it? Is it because we live in a world that the laws and rule prevail from traffic light down to pedestrian lanes?  Is it because some people don’t accept it as an art but a serious case of cleaning the dirt and violates the rule of tidiness and cleanliness? Aren’t the authority should realize that without unknown street graffiti artist working at night, janitors will have no job and work to do during daytime?

As I browse again the pictures I gathered two years ago though most of the works were gone, street art teaches me two things; (1) it is not only an expression of feelings and subtle emotions of anonymous people, but, (2) a mirror of every human being in the aspect of attitude, culture and survival.

Some photographs have underlying meaning that could be silently related to you. Whatever your perception is, people behind this work don’t only attempt to show in public the mysteries of their mind but also embark upon the religion, cultural norm and the society as a whole.

To make my street art photo documentary meaningful and useful, I submit some of the pictures in Italy for the mail art project.

Here’s the link:

If you think street art is a crime, I leave that judgment to you.

You have the right to savor your own perception in every picture.









































Let me end this post with a quote from American artist Elura Emeraldo:

“artists who paint on the street are merely expressing themselves, not hurting anyone”


About the Author

 Margie Babon is an architect by profession, a vegetarian and a yogi by culture, a painter, photographer, creative writer and      an entrepreneur by hobby. Her working experience as a wildlife photographer in 2006 let her choose to become a vegetarian for six years now. Has background in film making and work as a researcher for the award winning documentary film,Children of the Mountains that garnered the Mark Haslam Awardee in 2005 in Toronto, Canada.  She has teaching experience as a part-time faculty  in school of Fine Arts and college of Architecture for more than 5 years. Currently living in Manila and excited for her experiment on veggie patties while dreaming to go back in Sabang Beach to surf the glassy blue wave of the Pacific Ocean.













Beyond “Perya”- Filipino Style of Amusement Park

Posted by: Margie Babon


No required plane ticket for you to feel the experience of riding in the air.  Not as extravagance as Mickey Mouse in Disneyland or as expensive as Universal Studio in Singapore. “Perya” is a Filipino word for carnival or amusement park that is filled with fun and thrill for everyone.

When I was in high school during 90’s, I had this first and last experience of going to Perya with my high school friends. I cannot forget that experience from riding the Ferris wheel, swirling octopus and horror train. The most unforgettable was seeing people running away from the place where I am standing with, though I am also confused, I also run. While running, people  are shouting, “it’s raining  a vomit.” When the octopus ride stopped, I saw my classmate Jenny; her lips are white as  vinegar. She was the one vomiting in the air! Instead of feeling sorry, we are laughing at her.

Another experience was riding the horror train. As the train is approaching  the horror cave, we are just laughing and laughing at the  white lady near the entrance who is conscious of how she looks; combing her hair and putting a flour face powder. Some are wearing costumes of a vampire and will pull your hair, other riders are shouting, “hey you’re so ugly..What’s your name, can you be my girlfriend, etc..”  It was really fun.

But after high school, I haven’t seen Perya anymore.  It is very rare nowadays in an urban sprawl where spaces are intended for commercial and high rise buildings.

Perya is a mobile and easily assembled amusement park which is only common  to provinces and rural areas in the Philippines. Since it is easy to be dismantled, Perya can be into different places within two weeks or a month.

Audiences are enjoying the spin of the classic Ferris Wheel in a timeless night.


It was past 9 in the evening after witnessing the lantern exhibit and meeting illustrators at The Body Shop, my energy is still high and excited to take pictures of this scarce activity.

People are sharing same oxygen in this crowded Perya.

Filipinos like to go to Perya, aside that they fashion what they wear, they also love to bring the  kids to add a  pleasurable experience  and they carry a lot of patience to a long queuing.

Aside from the rides,  Filipinos are also wise; going to Perya is not a mere cash-out  but the goal is to  multiply the money and take home the prizes regardless of hours they will spend..  How?

Browse the pictures to find out more about Perya!

Enjoy!  :)


Balloon Hitting

Staff are laughing when they see me taking pictures of their booth while the player is too serious to hit a jackpot of biscuits, chocolate, toys, sticker, etc.


Excited to replace the balloons in front of SLR camera. Behind him are the exciting prizes for the winner.


With all her might, she is showing her energy and enthusiasm to shoot the arrow which takes a little sweat under.


After hitting four balloons, the lady is asking for a prize.


Perya tools that will hit the luck.


The target.


The instrument.


Target Shooting

I was surprised by these little toddlers at 9:30 in the evening, who are being trained by their mom to position the gun towards the toy soldier and rubber duckies.


Hanging stuff toy prizes.


Board  Game

This board game can really kill your time. Quite addictive to shoot a coin inside the square pattern with an equivalent prizes either in the form of money, food or things like mug, plates, electric fan, etc.

Colorful pattern with corresponding number and prizes attract the players to stay longer until they left empty hand.


Simple prizes within the 3 sides of the board game, shows that Filipino finds happiness in simplicity to take home ordinary prizes.


The busy betting hands.



Staff are using small strip of wood to collect plenty of coins.



The strategic betting hands that think on its own, where to land and how to win.


Even money is lost, laughter is side by side.


BINGO game

A lot of family are spending the whole night for the famous BINGO game.


An elbow macaroni is being used by the player to mark the number being called by the announcer. The host in BINGO games are very creative injected with humor, they add rhymes or joke before saying the number. Like, “in letter B, bumblebee, twenty.” In the old days, players are using small stone. Does it mean that stones are gone?



A colorful billboard of the carousel.


This girl is calling the attention of her mother to show that she is so happy for the carousel ride.


Toddlers are accompanied by the adults.


Happiness can be seen in the glow of her eyes.


The crowd, the place, the ride

Fully-packed crowd at past ten in the evening sharing different sweat, some are bitter, sour and sweet!


The wonder of science, how does sugar formed into a fabric of a cotton candy.

Vendors are taking the opportunity to earn more.


Blue cotton candy at the entrance of Perya.


An old man is pushing a small heavy cart filled with toys.


Share the joy, this yellow balloon was given free by the balloon-maker.


The classic Ferris wheel.


The boy on the left is blowing his face as he saw me stealing a shot.


People are everywhere.


Long queue at 10:30 in the evening.


Ladies wanna-be are yelling in exaggeration to catch the attention of the boys  sitting in front of them.


Students in uniform are asking the kids if the House of the Ghost is really frightening.


Haven’t entered yet, the boy in front of me looks horrified.


Smiling faces

Request granted for these kids who are whining to take pictures of them.


In the Philippines, when people see you with a digital SLR camera, they will call your attention by saying, “Ms. take us a picture” even you do not know them personally. As the saying goes, “strangers are just friends I haven’t met.”


Another group who are smiling at me and I welcome everyone to pose in front of the camera.


At the end of the shoot, myself deserve a hot and crunchy cheese popcorn…hmmm.yummy


The pop corn vendor is being joked by the two boys as they see my SLR camera. They keep on saying, “Bro, smile please, you will be discovered in the television.” But the vendor is so serious as he handed me my pop corn. I gave him a big smile by saying, “thank you.”


Perya is more than a place,  people here are enjoying  a fun-filled activity that enriches relationship of family and friends.

Even though people are betting to get a prize, depending on their intentions, to win or not, the money they bring is also a big help for the people working  in the Perya: the vendors and other small scale entrepreneur to sustain their families and have jobs.



About the Author

Margie Babon has given a privilege to be a wildlife photographer in 2006 that let her choose to become a vegetarian for seven years now. Has background in film making as a producer and researcher on the plight of Agta-Dumagat documentary film Children of the Mountains that garnered the Mark Haslam Awardee in 2005 in Toronto, Canada. Her creative writing gives her the opportunity to express inner wisdom to the humanity which is far beyond the teaching career for more than five years in College of Architecture and School of Fine Arts in Manila.

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