Banahaw Tugtugan 2


I always wanted to take pictures of a concert in the dark. I’ve seen a lot of photographers do it, and taking pictures in dark areas is always a challenge. I had an opportunity to do it at Banahaw Tugtugan 2 which was held at Bangkong Kahoy Valley, April 12, 2014. I was trying to capture how the stage looked most of the time. Since it was dark, I know the 35mm-70mm lens will not be able to handle dark areas with quick movements properly. So I decided to use the 50mm prime lens. As with any prime lens, the 50mm is great taking shots in darker areas than the zoom lenses, but the challenge is how to take a proper focus and framing. Even with the prime lens, I till have to lower the iso settings, risking the image taking a lot of grain. At this point I will rely a lot on some post processing to clean up the image a bit.

They only closed most of the light on the first performance which I have as my first image. That’s how it actually looked, it was dark and challenging to take. I used iso1600 with the shots that were really dark and shifted to iso800 when the stage was brightly lit. It never got as dark as the first performance except for the Poi Fire Dance which I had to completely change my style in taking pictures in an instant.

It was a very good night especially that the weather in Bangkong Kahoy Valley changes almost at any second. It could have rained unexpectedly, but it turned out very well. No rain, weather was dry. The only problem is that the wind chill gave us chills. It was really freezing. It was a nice experience considering being in Metro Manila is so unbearably hot. Although we were not so prepared, we did bring jackets to prepare ourselves for the cold, but it was colder than what we expected. But in terms of photography, the weather was perfect.

List of performers were:

  • Sir Mar Dizon and Akasha
  • Talahib Peoples Music
  • Kinaiya
  • Lakbay Lahi
  • Dreadknot Used
  • Ukelele Philippine Ensemble
  • Archipelago
  • Xestra
  • Local Talents and many more.

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The poi fire dance was the hardest to take. I didn’t think to use the tripod at the time, but I was trying to capture the action, and I think it turned out well.  It wasn’t easy because I had to manually focus the prime lens, I had a lot of shots that were blurred out, but this one went well because the fire itself looked clear. I tried getting the person to look clear, but I know that if I used my camera flash that it would wash out the image. Overall, I’m very happy how this turned out.

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The ethnic dancing was a bit easier than the poi fire dance, but still, focusing was hard because I had to do it manually. Here, what mattered was detail of the person, showing that they are dancing. I had to get a clear shot of them, while they move around, so the main focus changes every second.

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There were other performances that I wasn’t able to take a picture of, especially the neon light show using black light, but I was manning the Captain’s Sweet Galley booth at the time. I saw the performance, but I was too far to take any pictures.

Overall I am very happy how I was able to take the pictures. I really wish I could have taken some closer shots of the performers, but I couldn’t get any closer. How I wish I had a prime lens with a bigger lens. But any other prime lens other than the 50mm are very expensive. Always make the best out of what you have.

Looking forward for more concert pictures in the future.

You can check out the Banahaw Tugtugan Facebook page and Bangkong Kahoy Valley website.

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