Monday, October 29, 2012

Gamers Night: When too many fun stuff collide.

     I know I have not posted anything for some time. But I have taken pictures once in a while. Some of them really worth writing with pictures I'm proud of. But some events have gone ahead that need to be posted first.

     But here's the thing: I'm not really good with people and spontaneous shooting. Almost all the shots I took needed work, and still I'm not too happy after all. And these shots are "moments" which can not be redone.

     Definitely not my forte. But Street and Journalistic photography are fields I really want to get into. I'm just really bad at it and desperately need tutelage.  That doesn't meant I didn't keep on trying, though.

     I belong to a group of gamers stuck in Korea.  Nothing but normal foreigners who love to play games from consoles or PC.  We try to meet once in a while to have some fun.  Play games, get drunk (not me), and enjoy hangover while playing games again.  It's the core of this blog's photos.

     I didn't know what to expect during out first meeting.  So as I commonly do, I just bring along my bag full of camera gear with me just in case.  I get to meet new people for the first time, go to bars for the first time in a long time, and clubs for after 10 years.  Places, people, and events where I don't find it comfortable to just randomly take out my camera and shoot.  The meeting lasted the whole night and the day after it.  I got a chance to take only one photo that time.

Jon's blurred face was intentional.  The woman's reflection was my intended subject.  But I wished Jon's face wasn't blurred as much.  No second take here as the woman noticed and covered the mirror after this first and only shot.

     Our second meeting was in Daejon.  This time, I insisted to myself to be the photographer of this meeting.  I expected a lot of gaming.  A lot of gamers.  And I have lots of scenes in my mind.  I wanted to take pictures of people having fun while trying to beat the crap out of each other... through gaming.  If ever things won't go as planned, I had the whole weekend to spend roaming around Daejon.

     Unfortunately, everything didn't go according to plan.  Due to my day job, I arrived late and alone.  But what made everything go wrong was when I lost my phone, the minute I got off the bus... the last bus going to Daejon and no other bus coming back.  This ruined my mood for anything.  When I arrived at the venue, it wasn't what I expected either.  And with my bad mood, I just couldn't think creatively that night.  I forced myself taking pictures.  But they're all snaps.  I could've just used my phone's camera... oh yeah, that was lost.

Faux Hawk
Jon's the shy one.  I see his Facebook page filled with pictures of him making faces.  None of them show what he normally looks like which, in this case, is what I got.  It wasn't intentional (like I said, they were all supposed to be playing some games) but it's what I can come up with.

Not So Shy
Well at least someone in this group wasn't too camera shy.  Gav was one of the gamers I was keen to personally meet here in Daejon.  I wish I took more pictures of him in action.

Again, one of my new-found friends who happen to be camera shy.  This picture was taken sort-of candid as he just woke up and was talking.  To be honest, the only good shot I got out of Dave since he too makes faces.

Morning Rituals
Nothing makes a guy look better than right after a shave.  Chris is one of the guys who could be annoyed with my flash works but just lets me do my thing... until he can't take it anymore.

When the Curtains Close
Now THIS is more me.  It was only when everyone settled down to sleep as morning breaks, that I found a scene that speaks to me.  Trying not to bother everyone, I refrained from taking out my tripod and just shot this hand-held.

     I took a lot more pictures here but I performed so bad, that I'm ashamed to show anything else than the above.  And since my plans were ruined, I decided to go back home and spend the rest of the weekend angry at my self.  But if there's one thing I learned from this photo op, it's that I desperately need to learn more about using speedlite.  I think I skipped a couple of steps and went straight to being creative with light, but disregard the basics of flash photography.  Well, who could blame me?  If you search for "flash photography" online, you'll find nothing but the more advanced techniques rather than, let's say, pre-school of using flash.

     Third meeting.  This time in Suwon.  I felt confident bringing my gear along with me to a familiar place.  Chris, Dave, and Jon, got me a stuffed croc named Spikey.  A prize they got from shooting stuff with a BB gun... I think it was the only "game" related thing we did that night.

Or name changes to Snappy when it gets angry... or so they said.  Nevertheless, he's now the proud owner of Meow's former carrier bag.

Camera Shy?  Are you sure?
Trying to take pictures of some street performers who are disappointingly camera shy, Dave got in the action with Spikey.  This is his normal photo face.

     It was Friday night and of course the streets are busy.  Lots of stuff happening around.  Some, I have not seen before during my Suwon rounds.  We also met some girls who partied along with us for the night.  It's a good thing they don't really shy away from my camera.

For $20
Although it was this guy with his drum that caught my attention, his partner (guitarist above) already showed signs of not wanting his pictures taken.  Rushing before this guy loses his cool, I had to snap the hell out of it and just hope I get something good enough to show.  Feeling the tension from the people around, watching me, I had to cough up 20,000 won for the two.

Aegyo 1
One of the girls we met and get to join us for the night.  I happen to like this picture despite her pose.  I guess this is what she means by being cute.

Aegyo 2
There are some parts in this picture that I wish I had on the above.   This is why I couldn't choose between the two.

Poker Face?
This is one of my favorites of Jon's pictures.  Nothing but a simple look at the camera.

Phone Hypnotism
The other girl we met that night.  I really didn't care what their name was, or what they do.  That's up to the rest of my comrades.  What mattered to me was how I could creatively take a picture of her.  I like her face.  And I'm glad I got one nice frame.

Conversation Is The Key
It's when these people talk to each other that they let their guard down a bit.  Of course, they still try to look good but not over-the-top like when they pose in front of the camera.  To me, this is when I see their pretty faces.

Love and Hate
The title is about me.  One of the things I love about Dave is how he looks good without even trying, and does not know it.  But looking good without trying, and not know it, is what I hate about him too. I hate that these guys feel the need to distort their faces whenever their pictures are taken.

     Yes, it was night time and I get to do low-light photography.  But it's still different when the subjects aren't static.  I'm not confident using flash in the streets as it really attracts attention.  In fact, my camera alone takes much attention.  But I was relieved when I saw one spot that took me to a comfortable zone:  An arrow on the street.

Since I'm still collecting pictures of these arrows painted on the street, I'm glad I found one quite busy and interesting.  Many of these don't have interesting lights behind it.  But this one is more than I could ask for.  Busy and colorful lights with cars and people passing by.  The changes come and go every minute that makes me want to stay here all night.

I have always been confident with my lens's (Samyang 85mm) ability to handle flare.  In fact, this is the very first time I got one from directly pointing it towards the light (I've done this many times before and got no flare).  Maybe it's the night mist, maybe it's the smoke, or maybe my glass wasn't cleaned thoroughly.  But this is a happy accident.  Technically a flaw but aesthetically adds a lot of character to this image.  I like it.

I very much liked this capture.  But the post-processing was confusing.  There's a way I want to emphasize the smoke but I can't figure out how.  So far, this is the best I could come up with.
     The night was over and we decided to meet again the next day.  It was fortunate that we parted as dawn was about to break.  I saw a spot near Chris's place in Dongtan where I could try to catch a bit more dark before light comes.  I hurriedly took some test shots and immediately changed my lens to 18-55mm.  Usually during sunsets, we chase the light before it's completely gone.  In this case, it's more like the nick of time.  Shoot too early and I get nothing but black sky.  Shoot even a minute too late and I'll get a washed out sky... I shot about 30 seconds too late.

Into the Light
It took me quite some post-processing with this image when I think I could have alleviated a lot of my problems, should I have shot a bit earlier.  This demands a revisit.

     Time went by very fast.  It was early night and I was near Suwon Station, deciding whether to meet the guys at Dongtan or visit another friend of mine nearby.  Some people in green uniform suddenly appeared beside me and set some tables and food.  People with compartment trays fell in line as the guys in uniform gave them some food.  I wasn't too curious as I saw this happen near Seoul Station before.  Hoping I could get some journalistic shots, I went trigger-happy with my camera (something I don't really like doing.  I like to be more precise per shot, rather than shoot randomly and hope for the best).

Rice Comes First
Even in the Philippines, when food is served, rice always comes first.  I guess it's an Asian thing.

Be Shy, Stay Hungry
Most of them noticed me taking pictures.  But they'd rather mind their meal than me.  I can feel their discomfort.  That's why I tried to work as fast as I can.

Green Samaritan
These functions drain a lot of energy.  Preparation, cooking, and serving, would tire me much that I won't have the strength to smile.  Yet these people in green seem to be happy with their work.  They even had some time to make short conversations with the people hurrying to get their food.

     It was until I saw someone finally cracked and pointed at me, that I stopped shooting and retreat to a corner.  I was setting my camera back in my bag when that pointing guy started scolding at me.  At this point, I really didn't care.  I was just forcing myself to shoot in the first place.  I didn't apologize.  I just said, "It's done." and ignored him.  He walked away in disgust but I knew he couldn't do more.  He was too hungry to care.

     I think I failed this journalistic part again.  The images I took didn't make up a story.  I myself didn't have a story as I was shooting.  Like I said, I didn't get curious.  I didn't delve into what's going on, and I think it shows in the photos.

     Nothing much happened the rest of the night.  At least nothing that inspired me to hold my camera again.  I decided to see my other friend before meeting the guys.  On my way, I saw a teddy hanging by a wire.  Sadly staring in the open.  Which is the last photo of today's blog.

How ironic that this little guy seems to have taken suicide with the word, "Happy" on its shirt.

1 comment:

  1. Really like this, not only your pictures but your story telling. If I wasn't there I'd know exactly what was going on! Feel free to not hate me btw :)