Monday, August 15, 2011

The one-on-one

       I ran out of space on my flickr page and not having a pro account is really bugging me.  I'm cheap and very rarely pay for these things but I'm starting to enjoy what flickr's giving.  So I considered being a paying customer.  The problem is the payment.  Should there have been other means than a credit card, I'd have sent the money already.  Or if they would accept local credit cards (like Samsung or something), I'd have asked my boss to pay for me.  I have one last person to ask but I really don't want to talk to her for now.  I have not asked my family any favors for a long time.  Sure, anyone of them in the U.S. could do me a favor.  But really, I don't want to talk to them... long story.

       I first asked some of my friends in other countries, hoping they'd help me out.  Unfortunately, they too don't have a credit card.  Last idea I have is to ask for a favor from any American in here.

       Saturday night, I met
a guy from a flickr group to buy his tripod set and DSLR backpack.  I was pretty giddy knowing I'll finally get a decent tripod.  I've been running sessions on my mind of what I can do with a better tripod.  I know it'll help me get better frames especially with panoramic shooting (one that I'm currently into). And although the tripod and the bag aren't what I was really planning to buy, they're sold at a good bargain and serves just as well.  At least help me out while saving up for the ones I really want.  I was hoping the tripod would even sway me from buying a new and expensive one.

       But John (not sure that's his name but let's call him that) surprised me when he set the tripod up.  I thought it he was just giving me a demo of the tripod.  I'm not used to it really.  I'm used to Koreans just throwing the item while grabbing my money and get rid of me as soon as possible.  Well, that's how I've been treated by them for the many times I've purchased an item here.  Not being used to a seller giving me a demo (as if I wasn't convinced of buying his item already), I started to feel uncomfortable.  Especially when he asked me to mount my camera.  Little did I know that we were about to start a one-on-one.  It was nerve-wrecking when I realized this.  I didn't sign up for a lesson and really, I was not prepared.

       He did insist.  Asked me to shoot however I normally shoot.  Being nervous and all that, I ended up giving him one of my worst.  The process of setting up the camera and all was there.  But the execution was just blah.  I ended up setting the ISO to "auto" which I have never done 3 days after using the camera for the first time.  I didn't get the chance to show him the rest of what I do after taking the first shot.  I didn't show him my whole procedure.  Instead, I just framed, run my fingers through the dials, and clicked, then just showed him.  At that point, I can tell how much less he thought of my knowledge.  Sure I'm a beginner.  But him starting to talk about the relationship of the triad means something.  My confidence sank even deeper.  But our discussion did progress very fast.  The problem is he's a rebel.  He's one of those who shuns what most beginners follow.  So I got somehow troubled with what he's preaching.  I got used to conventional rules/guidelines that his language almost seem foreign.  If ever I understood what he was saying, it seemed like he's saying them with an accent.  But I can't question him.  He's giving me free lessons.  All I can do is absorb.  I can't question him at all.  Basing on his story, he's a pro.  He claims not to be, but to me and according to him, he's sold a hefty number of his photos.  So yeah, he's a pro.  But still, he confused me a lot of times.  I keep giving him hints that I'm just a beginner.  A stereotype beginner.  One who tries to please other people.  One who tries to follow the rules first.  One who simply just want to get better.  One not so into selling photos ('cause I know no one will buy them, not at this stage).  Perhaps he's excited of meeting a totally clueless guy starting in photography.  I'd like to think that.

       Despite the uncomfortable situation, there's something about him that made me open up a lot more than I do to other people.  Meeting him the first time, I usually keep quiet and just listen.  Nod sometimes or maybe just say, "yeah".  I've been disciplined (my entire life) not to look straight in the eye of the person I'm talking to.  In my family, it's a sign of disrespect.  Not disrespecting him at all.  But he is the first person ever, whom I looked straight in the eye for more than 2 seconds, and still able to talk.  It didn't feel weird.  Or even better, there's something about him that made me brave enough to ask him questions.  A lot of questions.

       So I've learned a lot from him.  But the best part is when he took some headshots of me.  Self-portrait has been my frustration for a long time.  Whenever I try to take a picture of myself, I always hated it.  There's always something to complain about.  In turn, I don't really have the confidence of taking pictures of other people.  In fact, I'm scared of it or more like I hate it.  But when he took 2 pictures of me, demonstrating a lot of things, I was very inspired.  I now realize how much the 50mm can offer when it comes to portraits.  I've been trying to use that lens a couple of times but always end up using either the wide or the zoom.  50mm is awesome!

       Remember my first blog?  John made me realize my mistake.  It wasn't that those cosplay people didn't like me for being colored or that sort of thing.  It was my mistake for assuming every participant went there for the purpose of having their pictures taken.  It wasn't because I'm a foreigner.  But because I most probably looked and/or acted like a pervert with the "camera excuse".  He shared me some of his stories.  Showed me some of his pictures.  All-in-all, he is a great guy.

       But how about the purchase?  Well, I did ask him to help me upgrade my flickr account.  That was Saturday almost midnight.  It's Monday dawn now.  Still no pro.  But I'll wait.  He might not have intentionally done so, but I think he was testing how bad a negotiator I am.  A pro upgrade on flickr would cost about $25.  I reminded him that it might equate to 30,000 won.  With the bag and tripod be 60,000 won + 50,000 won, he charged me a total of 150,000 won.  I didn't budge and just gave him the money.  I bet if it were other people, they'd still haggle for less.  But he did gave me a Circular Polarizing Filter along with a hand strap and extension tubes.  And he spent about 3 hours with me.  All is good and I'll just wait for a couple of days for my flickr account upgrade.  What made me feel bad was his comment, "I'm easy." made me feel like a bad person.  I'll just brush it off.  It's not like he meant to offend me.


  1. I check funny, in thinking you being attentive the way you describe it... LOL! Hmn! galing naman that made you realize your mistake why people there particularly those koreans treat u the way they did... Mukhang nahihiyang ka na dyan sa Korea a...