Selection of Philippine avian wildlife all captured in habitat, plus nature and miscellaneous images.

Birding places

An ‘H-Bomb’ over the South China Sea

I was shooting surfers at San Juan, La Union, Philippines, last February 2011 when the sun got so low there wasn’t enough light to freeze the waveriders. Seeing no clouds obstructing my view of the South China Sea, I quickly mounted 2.8x worth of TCs to get a bigger sun.

It would appear as if an H-Bomb had exploded to the west in this shot taken just as the setting sun was about to touch the horizon. The two spots in the center of the sun’s disk were sunspots no. 1161 and 1162.

Shooting Info - San Juan, La Union, Philippines, February 19, 2011, Canon 7D + EF 500 f4 IS + stacked 2x/1.4x TC II, 1400 mm, f/16, 1/400 sec, ISO 200, manual exposure, 475B/516 support, single exposure, no filters, uncropped full frame resized to 950x633.


The moon kisses a mountain top

While on a birding trip to the Cordillera mountains of North Luzon in 2008, I got up at dawn and proceeded to my target birding spot half an hour drive away from the place where I spent the night.

The cool mountain air felt refreshingly good on my cheeks as it rushed in through my open car window. As I casually glanced westward, I noticed  a developing spectacle in the distance – the setting moon was rushing to meet one mountain top!

I immediately stopped my vehicle and parked by the side of the mountain trail. I didn’t have time to mount a longer teleconverter nor set up my tripod, so I plopped my bean bag on the hood, and proceeded to take some bursts with my ready 700 mm combo. I was just in time to capture the scene a few seconds before the moon kissed the mountain top, till it disappeared below the distant tree line.

The moon appeared very warm to my naked eyes, so I took the liberty to desaturate it in post process to make it appear more neutral.

Shooting Info - Elev. 1595 m ASL, Mt. Polis, Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines, Canon 40D + EF 500 f4 IS + Canon 1.4x TC II, 700 mm, f/8, ISO 250, 1/200 sec, manual exposure, bean bag.

Smallest RORO craft in the world?

This watercraft ……..random arrangement of wooden planks was inching towards our side of the mighty Cagayan river to fetch our two-car convoy for a birding sortie at Malasi Lake  a few kilometers beyond. This place is over 500 km north of Manila.

Supported by two wooden boats each with its own 4-cylinder diesel engine, the platform of the raft can carry 3 small cars or tricycles. I initially hesitated to risk the crossing, but when I looked at the faces of drivers that crossed before us, it looked like doing so is the most ordinary thing in the world. Well, the prospect of bagging quite a few lifers swayed me to go for it.

Shooting Info - along the banks of Cagayan River, Cabagan, Isabela, Philippines, January 20, 2007, Canon 1D MII + EF 100-400 IS, 235 mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, hand held, manual exposure in available light, near full frame.


Whew…. we made it across the river.

My brother Jeff (driving the lead car) and I heave a sigh of relief as our vehicles make it across the Cagayan River, and he was just too happy to drive to terra firma. I couldn’t imagine the nightmare of the raft capsizing and God forbid, losing my Sigmonster, 500 f4 IS and other gear stowed in the vehicle.

Oh…. the things we do for love! 🙂

Shooting Info - along the banks of Cagayan River, Cabagan, Isabela, Philippines, January 20, 2007, Canon 1D MII + EF 100-400 IS, 100 mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, hand held, manual exposure in available light, uncropped full frame.

Going home aboard a metallic bird

After a brief sortie during my early birding years, I was walking on the tarmac of Bacolod City airport to board my flight to Manila when an amazing display unfolded before my eyes.

The sunset was breathtaking.

I couldn’t resist opening my carry-on bag, bringing out my 300D + kit lens and taking some snapshots of the spectacle.  The couple on the right are my friend William and his wife, who walked ahead of this birdnut. A maintenance guy ran in front of the plane to do some task.

Sometimes, the shooting gear doesn’t matter much. It seems to me any bird, whether metallic or feathered, can look good under such sweet light.

Bacolod City Airport, Philippines, April 26, 2004, Canon 300D + EF-S 18-55, 18 mm, f/13, 1/125 sec, ISO 100, hand held, jpeg capture, near full frame.