Urban Photo Race Amsterdam

12 hours, 4 checkpoints, 6 themes, 18 photos, 1 city

My legs feel like lead but I'm so happy to have completed the feat in 10 hours. I thought I would finish sooner but what the heck, the themes were quite challenging! I was struggling with two themes and halfway through the race, I thought about giving up but I powered through it and now I can proudly say that I have completed the race.

Here are some of the things that I have learned:

  1. It's hard to do street photography if you're scared of getting close and approaching people. I am afraid to approach strangers to take their photo because I am either scared of offending others or getting rejected.
  2. There are so many techniques and the only way to learn them is through practice. I wish I had tricks up my sleeve like using reflections or mirrors or using shadows.
  3. It's hard to shoot in black and white. How do you convey warmth or color when you're shooting in B&W? I think it's very challenging but it does push one's limits and creativity!

I was so intimidated by the other participants because they brought in professional cameras and I, an enthusiast, was holding a tiny, mirrorless camera. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the photo race! It was an awesome experience because I learned so much about myself, my camera, and street photography. So without further ado, I would like to share with you some of my entries a.k.a. my favorite shots from today. :)

Ik ben 90 jaar oud. This sweet, old man happily agreed to have his photo taken. He told me that he's 90 years old. :)

Ik ben 90 jaar oud. This sweet, old man happily agreed to have his photo taken. He told me that he's 90 years old. :)

This is such a noisy photo taken from Amsterdam Centraal. I love that from this crowd, there's one guy who's looking straight at my camera.

This is such a noisy photo taken from Amsterdam Centraal. I love that from this crowd, there's one guy who's looking straight at my camera.

A pair of turban-wearing gentlemen enjoying their moment in the sun.

A pair of turban-wearing gentlemen enjoying their moment in the sun.

In the Philippines, we call this HHWW -- holding hands while walking. :)

In the Philippines, we call this HHWW -- holding hands while walking. :)

Of course, a photo shoot in Amsterdam won't be complete without the notorious bicycle shots.

Of course, a photo shoot in Amsterdam won't be complete without the notorious bicycle shots.

We've been extremely lucky with the weather this weekend so I took full advantage of taking photos of people enjoying the sun.

We've been extremely lucky with the weather this weekend so I took full advantage of taking photos of people enjoying the sun.

Which one is your favorite? I hope you enjoyed this entry and I wish everyone a nice weekend. Til next time. Doei!

The Weekend Currently vol. 3

LISTENING

I would usually start this series with something I am reading lately but I find myself having no time to read nowadays. I am very preoccupied with many different things that reading isn't just something I can indulge in. But I've been listening to podcasts and did binge-listen to S-town. I've listened to it twice because it's so good. If you haven't, well I hate to tell you this but you're missing out.

If you like well-produced, wonderfully-told, captivating stories, then this podcast is for you. Bonus, they made some really good background music to go with the show. This is the new gold standard of podcasting for sure.

Now if we talk about music, well, I am obsessed with Jens Lekman's newest album. I was at his show in Utrecht this week and it was nothing short of amazing. I swayed all night to new and old songs I've loved longer than any of my boyfriends. Haha. I wish I could join him and his all-female, white sneakers wearing band. I will happily jump, whistle, clap, and sing as his back up.

"Yours truly, #JensLekman." #nofilter 'cause he doesn't need it! #concert #Utrecht #TivoliVredenburg

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WANTING

My friend Karen introduced me to a revolutionary brand called The Ordinary Skincare. This brand is particularly interesting because they 1) the products are incredibly affordable and 2) they tell their consumers what are the main active ingredients are in their products instead of telling what it does to the skin. If you're a skincare geek, you'd probably appreciate it. This led me to want to follow the Korean 10-step skincare routine. You know you're aging when you start worrying about getting wrinkles and crow's feet. My personal hygiene routine is already tedious and adding these extra steps will definitely prolong them even further but I think that's a small price to pay if you want to keep looking young, right?

LEARNING

Who's learning French again? C'est moi! Surprisingly, I remembered a lot of things out of my 10-year hiatus! I was "auditioning" teachers this weekend and one teacher said that my pronunciation is better than he expected. *clap*clap* But yeah, I definitely need to improve my vocabulary and start practicing how to conjugate common verbs.

CLICKING

I find myself on YouTube and Instagram quite a lot lately, trying to learn more about Instagram. I'm trying to up my Instagram game because I'm hoping to use it to launch my business.

Meanwhile, I've been doing another form of clicking lately. So I've decided to come out of my cave (lol) and be social for a change. I joined a couple of local Meetups in Amsterdam and I've been to two photowalks. First was a cherry blossom photo afternoon and another was a street photography walk. Here's my favorite shot.

Frohe Ostern! Happy #Easter! #cherryblossoms #sakura #nofilter

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THINKING

This is again related to what I've been clicking on lately. My mind is reeling with ideas on what strategy I should take to increase my following and improve my engagement in Instagram. I think my current feed is crowded and busy. I want to change that and somehow create a smooth flow from one image to another and have a consistent theme.

WISHING

King's Day is just 'round the corner and the most I could wish for is that we have some good weather so I can head out and take gazillions of photos. Last year, it was freezing and rainy so I stayed in. I am wishing that that won't be the case this year.

NEEDING

A holiday -- seriously, folks. It's been a couple of months since I have gone somewhere (last trip, I was in the US). I am so stressed at work and feel that I should somehow take a break but on the other hand, I have to prioritize saving up moolah for when I move to a new apartment in summer. Le sigh. I got my eye on a trip to Morocco in fall, though. I am definitely looking forward to that. :)

COOKING

I've been cooking almost every day for the last six weeks thanks to HelloFresh. :) If you managed to read this post 'til the very end, I have a surprise for you. I am giving three free boxes of HelloFresh (woot woot)! So there will be three lucky people who could get. How to win? Simply follow me on Instagram and leave a comment below. I will contact the lucky winners on Friday, April 28. Good luck! (P.S. Coupon codes are only applicable in the Netherlands.)

Candid Amsterdam

If you're an aspiring photographer, perhaps like me, you'll like the most egalitarian form of photography -- street photography. Anyone with a camera and the guts to take photos of strangers can practically do it. This weekend, I joined two Meetups. On Saturday, we headed over to Westerpark to take photos of the cherry blossoms and on Sunday, I joined a street photography walk. I enjoyed the latter very much although I probably won't join another street photowalk for the simple reason that people get uncomfortable when they see big ass lenses. My camera is very small and I tend to use a tiny lens so when I take street photos, it's very discreet  and unthreatening.

We went around the city center and after an hour and a half of walking, I managed to take 93 photos but ended up with only 8 that I really liked. Here are my top photos this weekend in chronological order. I wanted to post them in black and white but my boyfriend convinced me that these photos are better off in color. So without further ado, here's candid Amsterdam.

I didn't ask these gentlemen to pose for me. I just caught them at the right time -- them looking at my camera.

I didn't ask these gentlemen to pose for me. I just caught them at the right time -- them looking at my camera.

This couple was standing right in front of a colorful background, a photo of them is plain mandatory.

This couple was standing right in front of a colorful background, a photo of them is plain mandatory.

During the day, you wouldn't have a clue that this is part of the Red Light District. It looks very charming.

During the day, you wouldn't have a clue that this is part of the Red Light District. It looks very charming.

Today's money shot. I can't believe I was quick enough to capture this -- just two gentlemen taking a break in one of the alleys.

Today's money shot. I can't believe I was quick enough to capture this -- just two gentlemen taking a break in one of the alleys.

Amsterdam is a very crowded city especially on the weekends. What I love about this photo is how they are kissing like they were the only people in the world.

Amsterdam is a very crowded city especially on the weekends. What I love about this photo is how they are kissing like they were the only people in the world.

This guy is so absorbed with whatever he was reading, completely oblivious of the city buzz around him.

This guy is so absorbed with whatever he was reading, completely oblivious of the city buzz around him.

A Yoda impersonator was making a baby cry.

A Yoda impersonator was making a baby cry.

Our walk ended at the Dam Square where there's a Kermis (ein Kirmes auf Deutsch).

Our walk ended at the Dam Square where there's a Kermis (ein Kirmes auf Deutsch).

Book Launch: Humans of Amsterdam

You must've heard of Humans of New York and/or Humans of Tel Aviv. Here in Amsterdam, we have Humans of Amsterdam and tonight I attended its official book launch!

THE HUMAN BEHIND HUMANS OF AMSTERDAM

Here's the story of Debra Barraud, the photographer behind Humans of Amsterdam.

THE BOOK LAUNCH

Out of so many people who got photographed, Debra invited three of them so they can tell their stories.

Debra opened the event by telling her story and about how Humans of Amsterdam was born.

Debra opened the event by telling her story and about how Humans of Amsterdam was born.

Trina, an Afghan woman who lost her parents at a very young age. During the times of loss and grief, she turned to books. Her father dreamt of seeing her study in Germany. She is now a student in Hanover.

Trina, an Afghan woman who lost her parents at a very young age. During the times of loss and grief, she turned to books. Her father dreamt of seeing her study in Germany. She is now a student in Hanover.

Amer, a Syrian refugee, finds home in the Netherlands. He aspires to create bionic organs to help his countrymen who lost organs as a result of the war.

Amer, a Syrian refugee, finds home in the Netherlands. He aspires to create bionic organs to help his countrymen who lost organs as a result of the war.

Bart Ongering a.k.a. Meester Bart (Master Bart), a Dutch educator who blogs about his students' often funny, honest, and sometimes painful statements.

Bart Ongering a.k.a. Meester Bart (Master Bart), a Dutch educator who blogs about his students' often funny, honest, and sometimes painful statements.

National Geographic presented Debra a symbolic first copy of her book which the latter offered to her mother, who was sitting in the audience, to express her gratitude.

Debra signed my copy! :)

Debra signed my copy! :)

THE BOOK

In case you'd like to see some snapshots of the book. :)

I left Scheltema feeling so inspired and energized to complete my photography course (s/o to Michigan State University). I've always known that I wanted to do portraiture but didn't know where to begin. But after this event, I realized that a good photo tells a story. So after my basic training, I will learn about visual storytelling next. It's time to stop taking photos and start making them!