Category Archives: Photomanipulation

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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Week 52/52 : You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one

Another 52-week project finished. I can’t believe that this is my 5th one! Wow. I started doing this back in 2009 out of sheer boredom, and I never imagined that I’d still be doing it 5 years later.

I think in all my years of doing the 52-week project, this was the first time that I seriously thought we wouldn’t be able to finish all 52-photos by the end of the year. I think there came a time when I was about 7 weeks behind, and Ezra was 14 weeks behind. I have no idea how we managed to catch up after that, but I’m really glad we did. I’m thankful that the holidays started early this year so it gave me plenty of time to shoot and edit.

I’m not entirely sure why this year was so bad in terms of us being able to submit our photos on time. I this was just really busy year for Ezra and me. We both have jobs so it’s harder to find a time for us to shoot, unlike when we were students. In the past years, I used to be really anal about only posting photos that were taken that week. I considered it cheating when we post pictures that were taken at a different week. But this year, due to our schedule, Ezra and I would usually shoot 3 to 5 photos in one session and post them at different times. You would think this would make it easier for us but editing takes a lot of time too, so even with this strategy we ended up falling behind. But I think the two main things that really set us back this year was our month-long visit to California this summer, and my grandmother’s passing last August. I usually find time to edit photos and post them even when we’re on vacation, but our visit to California this year was so packed with activities that I barely had time to sleep, let alone edit anything. And of course when my grandma passed away, Ezra and I weren’t in the mood to shoot self portraits so we ended up taking a month hiatus.

Anyway, even with all the stress of having to catch up this year and make it to 52 photos before the end of the year, I think I’m still going to do this project for 2014. I’ve been doing it for so long now, it’s going to feel weird if I stop. Let’s just hope I do better with deadlines this time. Wish me luck guys!

Stock credits:
The room came from hellonlegs on deviantArt (
The books were from gothicbohemianstock (, jojo22 ( and barefootliam-stock (

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Week 50/52 : Don’t expect the world to play by the rules just because you do

I read a quote that goes something like this about a month ago. I forgot to bookmark the page and now I can’t find it again. I’m not sure what the exact wording was, but it was something similar. I’ve been trying to find it on Google and similar results pop up, but not the quote I want. The closest I’ve found so far goes

“If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair, you’re fooling yourself. That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.”

But that wasn’t it, because I remember immediately thinking of doing a self portrait with chess pieces when I read the quote I’m talking about, so I’m thinking it probably had the word “game” or “rule” in it. Note to self : next time you find a quote you like, bookmark it or write it down!

Anyway, even though I can’t remember the exact quote, the message stuck with me. All my life I’ve been a goody two shoes – I make an effort to know the rules so I can play by them. I think that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but the thing I need to remember is that not every one will live their life the same way. Just because I stand patiently in line doesn’t mean that I’ll get to the front faster than some jerk who managed to talk themselves into cutting in front of someone else. Just because I pay my bills, follow the proper steps and don’t cheat in life, doesn’t mean that life will reward me for it. As children we are often taught that if we follow the rules we get a prize, and if we don’t then someone will come and punish us – but this is not always the case in real life. People break the rules all the time and many of them get away with it. In fact, sometimes the rule breaking comes from the people who should be enforcing the rules themselves. After all, what’s to stop them from taking a few shortcuts to get what the want? The answer should be integrity, but I’m learning that this doesn’t mean as much to some people.

Those are some pretty heavy thoughts to be having the day before Christmas eve, so I’ll end my ramblings here.


Filed under 52-week project (2013), Photography, Photomanipulation