Pembo - Photographers Paradise

(Welcome to Pembo, OMD - 25mm)

Welcome to new favourite part of Manila.  I have to say that ANY photographer visiting Manila simply MUST take the time out to visit this area.  Its an amazing little district full of intertwining streets and an extremely vibrant street life culture.  This place is exactly how I imagined Manila to be in my mind before I visited, full of smiley faces, great colour and amazing characters - even the cats look cool in this part of town!

(Coca Cola Cat, OMD - 25mm)

I'll start off this post with just a few images from the first 10 minutes of walking into Pembo....this should give you a view into the place, from chaotic traffic, variety of characters, smells of street life (check out the pig photo!) the place was like a circus of life, and I must yet again thank my new friend Kurt Kamka for showing me this place.

(It's all about family - OMD - 25mm)

(Hanging out on the street, OMD - 25mm)

(A local form of transport - the trike - OMD - 45mm)

(Bacon sandwich anyone...OMD - 45mm)

(Peek-a-boo, OMD - 25mm)

As I wandered down the street in Pembo (I was only here for 2 hours), I couldn't decide which lens to use on my camera (this is one reason why I usually just take 1 lens with me whilst out on the minimise confusion and help me concentrate on one focal length)....There was so much to see here, I wanted to shoot wide angle environmental shots, then shoot close up portraits of the same people....luckily the Olympus OMD lenses are all very small and light, which enables me to carry 4 primes, which all together weigh less and take up less room than just one of my Canon 'L' lenses.  I switched frantically between my wide, medium and longer lenses (12,25, 45, 75) throughout the walk to enable me to capture as much as I could of this place.

(Harsh light, works for me!, OMD - 45mm)

(A sneak peak into someones living room, OMD - 25mm)

(A proud man, OMD - 25mm)

(More than happy to pose, great character, OMD - 25mm) 

Something myself and Kurt discussed on our walk was how everyone just can't help smiling in the Phillipines.  Its a great 'de-stress' exercise to just go for a walk around Manila, its infectious and by the time we had finished our shoot, we felt we had a very fulfilling afternoon and pleasant experience, and I feel lucky to be able to just walk around and engage with these people, my life is enriched by meeting them and I am very grateful that they allow me a few seconds of their time to capture their vibrant smiles and laughter.

(Laughing girl, OMD - 45mm)

(Brotherhood , OMD - 25mm)

(Shy at first...OMD - 75mm)

(...then strike a pose...OMD - 75mm)

The light was very harsh and the weather hot as we walked the streets, but as the whole area is made up of small streets and alleyways there is plenty of opportunities to use the shade and dappled light to get some nice shots, even in harsh light, I don't worry too much, there is always a way to shoot...i love shooting into the light as much as anything, so I am always on the lookout for interesting light to use to my advantage when the weather is like this.

(Full of character, OMD - 25mm)

(Hello stranger, OMD - 45mm)

(I LOVE the colours of the buildings - OMD - 75mm)

(Shy boy, OMD - 75mm)

(Mini-Gangsta, OMD - 25mm)

(shooting into harsh light works well with natural diffusers, OMD - 25mm)

We were lucky enough to stumble onto a basketball match between some locals also and  they allowed us to shoot them for a while, this was a welcome break for us from the harsh sun outside as we hung out in their indoor court for 20 minutes and a good chance for me to test the high speed 9 frames per second framerate of the Olympus OMD, as I had not used it for sports photography yet, worked pretty well i thought.

(Olympus OMD had no problem with fast moving sports, OMD - 75mm)

(A national past-time in the Phillipines, OMD - 12mm)

I know this blog post is quite a long one with plenty of images, I hope that doesn't bore anyone, I really couldn't make my selection any smaller to show this place, its so interesting for me, I just wanted to share the beauty of this place, and as I said earlier, I strongly encourage anyone visiting Manila to take the time to visit this locale.  Here are a few more images of some of the great people we met along the way.

(Family life is everywhere , OMD - 75mm)

(One of my few black and white images from this trip, OMD - 25mm)

(Eating 'Balut', a fertilized duck embryo complete with feathers....yummy....OMD -25m)

(Local musicians in Pembo, OMD, 75mm)

(Friendly waves goodbye as we left Pembo, OMD - 25mm)

(We will be back for sure!, OMD - 45mm) 

All images here are shot on the Olympus OMD with various prime lenses and all processed with 1-click presets fromVSCO film presets, still by far my favourite film simulation filters that work directly as a preset within Lightroom 4.

For other posts I have written recently with images of the new Olympus OMD in Manila please see the links below:

LINK TO BLOG POST: Shooting the back streets of Makati

LINK TO BLOG POST: Residents of Makati Catholic Cemetery

LINK TO BLOG POST: OMD goes to Manila (first trip in July 2012)

LINK TO BLOG POST: OMD shooting in Ulingan, Tondo, Manila

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