Category Archives: Photomanipulation

Week 24/52 : Life’s roughest storms prove the strength of our anchors

This manipulation was obviously inspired by the recent weather here in the Philippines. Over the past week, we’ve had two typhoons, and we’re expecting another one this weekend. I’ve already written a blog post about what Glenda did to our house and my grandparents’ house, which you can read HERE.

We finally have power at our house again, yay! Let me tell you, living a week without electricity is no fun. It wasn’t even about not being able to get online or play games or watch TV. I thought that those would be what I missed the most, but I was wrong. I missed our washing machine, our microwave, our fridge and our electric fan. Our dirty laundry piled up because it was so much harder having to wash them by hand. And having to go to the market and cook every day was no walk in the park, but we had no choice because we can’t have leftovers since they would spoil easily in our hot and humid climate. But now the power’s back and I can’t be happier. Hopefully this means I can edit the rest of my self portraits soon.  (Although, looking on the bright side, having nothing to do at home meant I was able to brainstorm and come up with a couple of new ideas for my 52-week project :D)

I had fun shooting and editing this. I had to piece different parts of my body together during post processing since it wasn’t easy to pose as if you’re being carried off by the wind. And I had to paint almost all my hair on since I couldn’t use the fan when I shot this. But I really like how it turned out.

Here are the stocks I used for this image:

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Week 16/52 : Sometimes it’s about going there, not getting there

This is a little late since things have been a little busy lately. But to be fair I did shoot this last week, I just never got around to editing it. I’m on vacation right now with my family, we’re back in California, yay! I feel sort of embarassed that we’re back here and I still haven’t finished blogging about our trip from last year … but I’ve only got one entry left and it’s about 60% done, so I guess it’s alright :D

I was a little busy last week, doing last minute stuff for work and packing for this trip. I managed to squeeze this shoot in while we were picking out which bags to bring. I got sick on the last 2 days before we had to leave, so I barely even finished packing on time. I forgot to bring a lot of stuff because I was so out of it. I had to edit this without a tablet because that was one of the things I forgot to bring T__T

The quote in the title is from Drake’s graduation speech. His more popular line is actually “sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination”, which I like a lot too, but I feel like the other one spoke to me more. It shares the same idea as another quote I really like – “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. I used that quote in a past self portrait, and I talked about how I’m someone who avoids taking risks because I’m so scared of failure. I think the reason I love Drake’s quote because it’s a nice little reminder that we don’t always have to succeed in everything we do. Sometimes simply trying is an accomplishment by itself :)

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Week 15/52 : Happy Easter!

And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For He departed, and behold, He is here.
-St Augustine

This week’s self portrait is in honor of this blessed day. Our family hasn’t made Easter egg in years, so I decorated them digitally. I used my mom’s favorite marble eggs for the shot (she has a thing for egg figurines), and added the designs during post processing.

When we were younger my mom would let us decorate Easter eggs and she would hide them around the house for Ezra and me to find. And sometimes our neighborhood would organize an Easter egg hunt for the children and we would join in. I kind of miss those days :)

Have a blessed Easter everyone!

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Week 12/52 : Oblivion


Just a quick photomanipulation. Finals week is upon us, which means I barely have time to do anything these days. This past week I’ve been busy checking exams and computing my students’ grades. (Although I have been trying to sneak in a little blogging every now and then. Summer’s almost here and I haven’t even finished writing my entries for last summer!) I even stayed overnight at the office to check exams until 6am, but I still have loads of lab reports to check.

I might be crazy for attempting a photomanipulation during this busy time, but fortunately this photo didn’t take that long to edit. Premade backgrounds are heaven sent~ The only thing I had trouble with was the lighting. In this photo the light source is from the left, but the original picture of the clock had it on the right.

Stock credits:



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Week 10/52 : At the end of the day, confidence is the best hairstyle

This ended up looking like a shampoo commercial. Or, according to my sister, a poster for a horror movie. I asked Brinks and she assured me that it’s not as scary as Ezra lets on XD (Maybe if I was looking straight into the camera and I had blood on my face and clothes … hmmm … I should try that for my Halloween SP.)

I’ve been trying to grow my hair out for the past year. Ever since I stopped subjecting it to different chemicals, it’s been going well. I guess this is what I will look like with extremely long hair. The longest my hair has been was up to my waist, back in 1999. I’m trying to see if I can do it again. At the moment it’s about 4 inches above my waist, so I’m getting pretty close. I’m enjoying having long hair but I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it up. Summer’s coming up and it’s going to get EXTREMELY hot here in the Philippines. It’s going to take a lot of will power not to cut it.

I had something different in mind when I shot this. Originally I wanted to have my hair fade to a black background, which will then turn into the night sky. I really wanted my self portrait this week to have something to do with stars because I’m completely obsessed with this K-drama called You Who Came From The Stars. I kept trying to play around with this shot but nothing I did looked right. In the end, I figured I would just make the best of it for now. Hopefully next week I’ll be able to come up with something star-related.

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Week 9/52 : Can’t bring me down

In my last self portrait I mentioned that I had a dream about a mouse (hence the Minnie Mouse headband). According to the dream dictionary this indicates feelings of inadequacy and minor irritations. I’m trying to move past that, but certain things just keep triggering it. I feel like there are some people out there who are watching and waiting for me to fail. It might just all be in my head, but I seriously believe that there are people who take pleasure in bringing others down. It irritates me because I don’t see what they have to gain by stepping on others. And the worst part is that they probably don’t even think that they’re doing anything wrong. It annoys me the way they talk, as if they’ve never done anything wrong in their lives. They sit back and criticize everyone around them, but they seriously need to just back off and maybe take a look at themselves for a change.

Anyway, I’m trying my best to hold on and rise above these issues. Someone I respect a lot told me that I should learn to filter out certain things out and stop letting what people think of me affect me. And that I shouldn’t be scared to make mistakes, because that’s how people grow. There will always be someone who will try to suck all the happiness out from your life (call them real-life dementors if you want), and they may enjoy seeing you stumble and fall, but you’ve just got to show them that you’ve got the strength to get back up and fight on.

Stock credits:


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Week 5/52 : Sometimes, on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one

This image popped into my mind last week, but unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to shoot and edit it until yesterday. I was hoping to upload it in time for the Lunar New Year, since it marks the start of the year of the horse, but I didn’t finish it in time. I guess the important thing is I managed to execute the image I had in mind, and I’m quite pleased with it.

I had to do a lot of trial and error when I placed myself next to the horse. I haven’t been around that many horses in my life so I wasn’t sure how big it was supposed to look standing next to me. (I Googled some pictures of people with horses for reference.) After editing everything, I think the horse should be a little bit bigger … but that would mean that I’d have to redo all the shadows and blending. In the end, I decided that it’s a minor imperfection that I can live with. Besides, I’m secretly happy because the smaller horse makes me appear taller than I actually am XD  I actually really like how this turned out.

Stock credits :
Woods –
Horse –
Photoshop brushes (hair and mist) –

 (Quote in the title is by Lisa Hammond)

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Week 3/52 : Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.

Flowers. I choose flowers :)

This year I’m making a conscious effort to be happy. I know I said this a lot last year (and probably the year before that) but it really is a challenge for me. I need to learn to stop placing my happiness in other people’s hands and start taking responsibility for it. I need to realize that the only person that can truly decide if I’m happy or not is myself, so I should be the one in charge of my happiness. It seems like such a simple thing, but its not as easy as it sounds, at least not for me. In my 2013 wrap up entry I mentioned that I decided to start a daily journal of things I’m grateful for, and so far it’s been going well. It really helps by allowing me to see how blessed I am and it makes me appreciate life more.

Here’s to hoping that I fill my garden with lots of beautiful flowers this year :)

Flower vector brushes from

Quote in the title is by Mel Weldon

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Week 2/52 : Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

This photo was shot at the Bell Church in Baguio. It’s a Taoist church that has a some lovely architecture. Ezra helped me take this shot at the entrance, but I’m not really sure what those Chinese characters mean. My guess is that they’re prayers (it is a place of worship after all), but my mom thinks that it could be names of some people who have donated to the church. Do you guys know? I really hope I’m not doing anything offensive by by including it in my self portrait project. But tourists take photos here all the time so it should be fine.

Classes and offices have resumed last week T__T Unfortunately my brain seems to have lost the memo. I’ve been so lazy and unproductive this whole time. I was hoping that going on a short weekend trip will help get me out of this funk, but all it did was make me lazier than ever. Gaaah~ This week I’m determined to get my act together and start working through the pile of lab reports that I need to check. Wish me luck!

(Quote in the title by George Bernard Shaw)

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(EZRA) 52/52 : Every day holds new magic

This photo was inspired by an anime she’s currently watching. It’s called Magi : The Labyrinth of Magic.  I don’t watch it so I don’t know much about it, but she told me that those little butterflies are called “rukh”. They don’t look exactly like this in the anime because I used redheadstock’s butterfly brushes for this, but they look pretty similar to the reference photos Ezra sent me. Anyway, these rukh things are supposed to be some kind of life essence or life energy in the show.

I’m pretty happy with how this turned out, considering I edited it in about 20 minutes. We only have a few minutes left before the end of 2013 and I want to get this up on time :D

I’m very sad to announce that this will be Ezra’s last 52-week project :( She’s decided that she won’t be doing it for 2014. It feels kind of weird having to do it without her since we’ve been shooting self portraits together since 2010.  But she told me she’d still be asking me to take her photos and she’d still let me use her as a model for my photomanipulations every now and then, so that’s good.

This will be my last post for 2013.  Happy new year everyone!

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